Meta isn’t slowing down after the success of its Quest 3 headset; its upgraded Ray-Ban Smart Glasses are the most recent item to leave the factory. Essentially designed to function alongside Instagram and Facebook, they are a follow-up to 2022’s Ray-Ban Stories (produced in collaboration with Ray-Ban, of course).
They capture images and videos that can be swiftly and simply published with a single click. With virtual reality (VR) gaining speed, can these improved models—which offer greater functionality and technology than ever before—be sufficient to persuade us that there is a market for smart glasses?
Without a doubt, this is a stunning pair of glasses. With smaller frames and all the technology securely tucked away behind the arms of the glasses, the glasses are sleeker and more understated than their older Stories counterparts.
If not for the camera and LED on either side of the frames, the final product would seem really elegant and like a typical pair of Ray-Bans. They’re also incredibly customizable; the pair I received was plain black, but you can select up to four frame colors—Jeans (blue) and Caramel (reddish-brown), to name just two—as well as various glass colors.
Meta says there will be 150 lovely variations in the end, which is more than plenty to work with. Even better, they are quite easy to wear—despite having a lot of technology within, they barely weigh more than a typical pair of glasses (48–50g, depending on the style).
The glasses do come with a gorgeous case, which is another huge improvement over the basic black Stories version. It is made of sleek leather and is modeled after the classic Ray-Ban case, but it also has an LED button that changes color based on battery life.
These are a convenient on-the-go option because they can charge the glasses as well (the case can retain a charge for 36 hours, which is not awful). Thus far, so positive. Privacy was the first concern Meta faced with Stories.
It made sense that people objected to being videotaped or photographed without their permission. In an attempt to address the problem, Meta has added an LED light to one side of the frame that illuminates when the glasses are in use. Any attempt to block the light will cause the glasses to stop streaming.
Although this is commendable, Meta still faces difficulties in popularizing their glasses even with a flashy marketing push.
The ease of usage of these smart specs is one of their key advantages. In addition to all of that, they are also overflowing with technical innovation. The glasses themselves operate via Bluetooth; to access all videos and photographs, one must first download the Meta app. Once connected, the glasses work as expected.
Just give the glasses a tap on the side to snap a picture, and swipe to begin and stop recording the video. It resembles wearing a very sophisticated camcorder. On Facebook and Instagram, they truly sparkle. Upon pairing with your smartphone, the glasses transform live-streaming into a fascinating experience.
You can seamlessly transition between your phone’s camera and the glasses’ camera during a live stream, which will surely excite influencers looking to add some variety to their feed. To be honest, it’s also a lot of fun and quite simple to use, especially at large gatherings when you want to free up your hands. The sole snag? They might not function well at concerts or festivals because they still rely on your WiFi or data quality.
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It’s impressive how many features have actually reached them onto the Ray-Ban Metas. There are five microphones spread unobtrusively over the frames, which let you record remarkably high-quality audio. The speakers also provide an incredibly high-resolution surround sound experience that surpasses my phone, all thanks to their placement on the frame above the airs.
Additionally, Meta informed us during our demo that the audio leak had been improved. It feels as though you are wearing headphones when wearing these glasses; even with the 2X intensity bass turned on, it can be quite challenging to hear what other people are listening to.
And lastly, the camera. It is significantly superior to my ill-fated Android phone because it has a 12MP camera and can record videos at 1080p for up to 60 seconds. Thus, the pictures are excellent and should be enough justification to purchase these.
Unbelievably, there is also room for a basic artificial intelligence (AI) system. By saying “OK Meta,” you can initiate and stop videos, snap pictures (which you may share with friends), and play music. Even if it’s not quite capable of indicating the weather or triggering reminders on your phone.
This is still really amazing stuff that makes good use of the state-of-the-art Snapdragon AR1 Gen1 CPU.
Battery life and specs
While the charging case extends the glasses’ 36-hour (or almost eight-charge) battery life, the case-free reality is less beautiful. About four hours of use is possible when completely charged, which is a little better than the previous model’s three-hour battery life.
The quick-charging feature on the case, which allows you to go from zero to fifty percent charge in around twenty minutes, is its one hidden weapon. Not too terrible, particularly for traveling.
The Ray-Ban Meta eyewear seems designed specifically for experiences in large crowds. Though Meta is attempting to position them as the future of simple memory-making, allowing you to shoot pictures of your kids at the beach and the Rolling Stones live, I could see myself wearing these to a festival or concert rather than unwinding at home by myself.
And what’s this? Persuasion might work on me. These have a stunning look, incredible photo quality, and easy-to-use technology—which is better than before. If Meta can resolve the privacy issue, smart specs might be the way of the future after all.