Smart glasses seem to be having a resurgence lately. First, Amazon reminded us they still make them with Alexa built in. Now, Meta is launching a new lineup with a slight rebrand. They’re no longer called Stories. Instead, they’re called the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses, and they are so much more stylish than the original chunky rendition that looked like dull, Rivers Cuomo-style glasses. (I don’t like that guy. I don’t want to wear glasses that look like him.)
The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses feature improved audio, with custom-designed speakers that are about 50% louder and offer more bass for music, calls, and podcasts. Meta says you’ll even be able to hear them through windy and noisy traffic. The microphone has also been updated: five around the chassis, including one near your nose so that it captures your voice right as it leaves your mouth. For comparison, the Ray-Ban Stories only had one microphone, so it’s four times the coverage this time around.
The Meta Smart Glasses have a 12-MP ultra-wide camera capable of recording 1080p videos up to 60 seconds, making it easy to take passive B-roll of life and the pursuit of happiness. The glasses can also help facilitate a Facebook or Instagram live stream, which will surely appeal to the “creators” out there. If you are recording the world around you, a white courtesy light on the outside lets folks and passersby know they’re on candid camera.
The Meta Smart Glasses run on a Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 processor rather than the second-gen variant like the new Meta Quest 3. It’s IPX4 water-resistant, which means it can handle light water splashes. You could wear these on a boat. But you’d have to switch to a regular pair of gas station-procured sunnies if you were planning on jumping into the water.
The new glasses only get 4-6 hours of battery life but Meta says the included case can charge them up to 8 times.
We docked the original Ray-Ban Stories when we reviewed it because it didn’t fulfil a need other than being a Facebook-connected camera on your face at all times. At least with these new Meta Smart Glasses, they seem primed for passive use if that’s more your thing. I especially like the idea of the glasses for grabbing quick clips of the world around you. Trying to travel with a small GoPro or Insta 360-like camera to capture first-person footage is often cumbersome. But a pair of smart glasses can make capturing micro-moments more effortless. I am definitely in the era where I’d like to have snippets of memories with my daughter without lugging around a separate camera system.
It’ll be interesting to see if Meta gets away with remarketing these as “Smart Glasses” rather than some Facebook-adjacent experience. For now, if you’re curious to get a pair, you can pre-order starting at $449. They come in various colourways and will start shipping on October 17 in 15 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, and throughout Europe.