In a world where everyday objects are becoming smarter every day and communicating with your cell phones, glasses have not yet been able to catch on. It shouldn’t be because of the aesthetics, after all, Meta and Ray-Ban have been working together for a long time. See the Ray-Ban Stories range, available since 2021. Is there perhaps a lack of useful features? We wanted to answer this question first hand and traveled to London for a presentation.
We were taken there several variants of the new Ray-Ban | Meta Smart Glasses before. They are based on two models, namely the classic Wayfarer frame and the new Headliner model. Both were shown to us in numerous versions. Matt and shiny frames, with clear lenses and various shades of sunglasses and each in two sizes.
Stylish and classic, timeless They are without a doubt, especially since they can hardly be distinguished from their originals without built-in technology. Even its weight was unremarkable at just under 50 grams. But why should you spend at least 329 euros (standard lenses) or 359 euros (polarized lenses) on the table?
No hand free? Then use your voice!
Meta sees the smart glasses as an extension of the cell phone. You can use them to make calls, take pictures thanks to a built-in camera or listen to music. And if necessary, the whole thing can be done by voice command. This is practical if you don’t have your hand free, although manual operation is also possible. An elongated button on the right arm houses several control functions that are similar to Bluetooth headphones.
New in comparison to the Ray-Ban Stories series is the ability to not only capture film clips, but also to stream live. Who needs a bulky GoPro?
Admittedly, with only 32 GB of internal memory there is no room for extensive documentation. In addition, the small camera, which is mounted next to the bracket joint, cannot keep up with a good action camera when it comes to resolution. 1440 x 1920 pixels 30 fps is the ultimate feeling, while 12 megapixels (3024 x 4032 pixels) are specified for still images. If Meta and Ray-Ban really want to compete with action cams, the next models will have to do more.
We were also a little disappointed that only the portrait format is supported. The portrait view is of course suitable for streams on Instagram and Facebook, but film freaks look into the tube. A widescreen format would be a blast for hobby directors. POV shots from glasses would be the most authentic shot imaginable.
Authentic recordings with surround microphones
We found this to be a gap in the concept, especially with regard to the sound options, thanks to the five built-in microphones The glasses record surround sound – and plays it back via virtualization via two open-ear speakers when you watch the video on your cell phone.
There is no lack of sound quality and clarity. For a test recording, we played around with a coil spring while a presenter walked in a circle around us and snapped her fingers. Every single note in the playback clearly came from a distinctive direction.
Meanwhile, Meta manages the tightrope act of turning the volume 50 percent higher than with the Ray-Ban Stories glasses, while at the same time maintaining privacy so that you can make phone calls undisturbed can without bystanders overhearing the conversation.
Speaking of privacy: a small light lights up during a recording. This way everyone can see that the movie function is being used. So recording secretly is not possible.
The wireless connection to your cell phone or to the associated companion app naturally takes a toll on the small battery that supplies the built-in chipset (Qualcomm Snapdragon AR1 Gen1) with power. It should last about four hours.
You can charge the battery simply by storing it in a stylish glasses case, which provides up to 32 hours of additional running time when fully charged via USB port. The full charging process takes around 75 minutes.
Of course, the case also protects against dirt and other external influences. But you don’t have to worry about water. The glasses shouldn’t fall into the bathtub, but According to the IPX4 rating, it can withstand splash water.