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Facebook’s first smart glasses are the Ray-Ban Stories

Facebook’s first foray into the world of smart glasses is here. Confusingly dubbed Ray-Ban Stories, they start at $299 and bring together much of information and communication technologies we’ve already seen in smart eyewear. They’ll let you take first-person photos and videos on the go, like Snap’s Spectacles. And, similar to Bose and Amazon’s speaker-equipped glasses, you’ll be able to listen to media, as well as take calls.

But what’s most impressive is that Facebook and Ray-Ban owner Luxottica have crammed the hardware components into makes that regard and feel almost exactly like a pair of normal designer glass. The only inconsistency is that the pair of cameras attached along the recess.

[ Be sure to check out our deeper hands-on with the Ray-Ban Stories !]

The Ray-Ban Stories in the iconic Wayfarer style — those chunky’ 50 s-era frames that still gaze fashionable today — weigh precisely five grams more than the standard version. And that’s including its dual 5-megapixel cameras, Snapdragon processor, touchpad, talkers, three-microphone array and other hardware. I’ll be honest, I was a bit outraged when I learned how much they weighed. We’re used to smart glass being thick-witted and ponderous, even when they’re coming from major brands like Bose. The Ray-Ban Stories looking, well , normal.

I suppose that shouldn’t is just too surprising, though, as both Facebook and Ray-Ban ultimately want to normalize smart enclose to the point where they’re as common as wireless earbuds. That likewise facilitates the companies avoid the mistake Google induced with Glass: Those things glanced so alien and Borg-like that they were almost instantaneously reviled.

Ray-Ban StoriesRay-Ban and Facebook

Privacy remains a concern with all smart-alecky glasses, though. The Ray-Ban Stories have a bright LED that illuminations up when you’re do photos and video, but I could see numerous parties making question with the slight camera placement. We’re all used to people captivating everything with their smartphones these days, but doing so still requires more attempt than tapping your glasses or issuing a utter word to an all-seeing social network.

If Facebook can successfully deliver the first smart-alecky glasses that don’t compile the wearer definitely sounds like a joke, and which the public doesn’t want to throw in a flaming, it could gain a serious foothold in the augmented reality market. And, well, we know how much Mark Zuckerberg wants to transform it into a “metaverse company.”

In addition to the Wayfarer style, Ray-Ban Stories shall be published in the brand’s Round and Meteor makes, five different pigments, and your typical display of lenses: Clear, sun, prescription, change and polarized. I’m surprised Ray-Ban isn’t furnish polarized sunglass lenses by default though, which can reduce glare far better than lenses that are just color dark. As for battery life, Facebook claims the Ray-Ban Stories will last for around a day of use( around three hours of audio streaming ), while the bundled billing lawsuit computes another three days of use.

As bold as they may seem, Ray-Ban Stories are also yet another example of how Facebook seemingly can’t improve but imitate Snapchat, which has been dabbling in smart glasses since 2016. Even their appoint hearkens back to the social storey format that Snap knocked off and was later emulated by Facebook, Instagram and pretty much every other social media attire. But at this spot, I don’t remember Facebook upkeeps if everyone calls them copycats if it eventually should contribute to more engagement.

Ray-Ban Stories SamplesDevindra Hardawar/ Engadget

After testing out the Ray-Ban Stories for a few cases epoches, I knew them far more compelling than any smart glass today. They don’t glance as goofy as the Snap Spectacles, and they’re far more comfortable to wear than Bose and Amazon’s Frames. I could only use the Stories in restriction places though, since I need drug lenses to actually find well.

Video quality is surprisingly good, very stable even when I’m moving around. The best apply action is being able to record your adolescents without picking up a phone axhkMYfN8e

— Devindra Hardawar (@ Devindra) September 9, 2021

Still, I was surprised by how smooth video footage ogled; it prompted me of YouTube professionals like J. Kenji Lopez-Altwho operation head-mounted GoPros. It was also nice to have both handwritings free to captivate momentary instants of play with my daughter. I was less amazed with the Storey’ photo excellence, but I suppose it could be useful if you wanted to take a pic without pulling out your phone. You can import your photos and videos from the smart glasses into Facebook View, a brand-new app that lets you swiftly revise your media and share it to basically every social media site( yes, even Snapchat !).

Ray-Ban Stories SamplesDevindra Hardawar/ Engadget

While I didn’t expect much when it comes to audio playback, the Stories surprised me with din that was good enough for listening to light-footed pitches or podcasts. I could see them being particularly useful while plodding or biking outdoors, where you want to maintain situational awareness. During the working day, I’m never more far from my wireless earbuds, but being able to get a bit of audio from my glass in a tinge could be genuinely useful.

To control the Ray-Ban Stories, you can either invoke the Facebook assistant by saying “Hey Facebook” or by tap the button on the right arm, or swiping on the side touchpad. Personally, I never want to be caught in public talking to Facebook, so I principally relied on touch assures. But the enunciate self-controls ran just fine during the few instances when nothing could hear my shame.

Ray-Ban StoriesRay-Ban and Facebook

While they’re not exactly perfect, the Ray-Ban Stories are the firstly smart glass I’d recommend to someone looking for a pair. But the Facebook of it all is still concerning. While the company says the glass will simply compile basic information to be functional — things like the artillery elevation, your Facebook login and Wi-Fi items — who knows how that’ll deepen as its future smart glasses become more amply peculiarity. Perhaps that’s why there’s no Facebook branding on the Ray-Ban Stories speciman and enclose: It’s probably just as well if parties forget these are also Facebook-powered products.

You’ll be able to buy Ray-Ban Stories today in 20 different styles in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK. Even though the Ray-Ban Stories may seem to have limited availability right now, Facebook and Luxottica have a multi-year partnership that will result in even more concoctions. It’s likely that genuine AR glass, which can display information on your lenses, aren’t far off. And you can be sure of that, since Snapchat has already shown off its own AR Spectacles.

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