I have done more testing today with the Adafruit pn532 board. I am able to get the mifare card to read at 9.5cm from the back and 8.5cm from the front. The nfcring still won't read unless it is in a few narrow spots and still only about 1-2mm(not cm) away from the board.
The Elechouse pn532 boards are all getting 4.5cm from the back using the mifare cards. I have ordered a new one from http://www.elechouse.com/elechouse/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=90_93&products_id=2242 in addition to the 10 we have here at the moment.
To add a little information to all this, we are using raspberry pi's to power and read these boards. I have done tests today with the Adruino Uno using i2c on the Elechouse and SPI on the Adafruit board. I got the same 4.5cm on the Elechouse and 9.5cm on the Adafruit.
I have also tested the NFC inlays that came with the rings. They get 2.5cm using the Adafruit pn532 nd 1.5cm using the Elechouse. The inlay by itself looks closer to what @Lokki posted in his first video using the Classic(black?) ring.
I will wait until the new(11th) Elechouse pn532 board comes in to do final tests and if I am still getting these numbers then I will send these things back for replacement.
Is there any ring material/color/etc (besides Alpha which is too big for us) that has the best readability?