We Tried the New Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses So You Don’t Have To

If you’ve held off on buying smart glasses because they tend to make you look like a Matrix cosplayer or simply want to upgrade your tech, the Ray-Ban Stories could be choice the choice for you.
Review of the New Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses

Ray-Ban Stories Review

The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses are the product of an unusual collaboration between tech giant Facebook (now Meta) and the luxury brand of Ray-Ban sunglasses. Launching in 2021, the Ray-Ban Stories succeed the Snapchat Spectacles as the latest in smart glasses design. But do they have the umph to take us forward into a sci-fi augmented reality, or do they lag behind as a gimmick? Let’s find out.

Design

Right out of the box, there’s no denying that the Ray-Ban Stories have style. They come in five different designs: Wayfarer, Wayfarer Large, Meteor, and Round. There is enough variation here to find a style that suits you. No matter which you choose, Ray-Ban Stories have the classic and sleek design that you’d expect from the Ray-Ban brand. They are, by far, the most stylish smart glasses to date.

Imprinted with the Ray-Ban logo on one side, the glasses have discreet inputs built into the temples of the frame. This makes them much subtler than their competitor, the Snapchat Spectacles, with their stylistic graphic lines. I felt comfortable wearing them at work, at a party, or at any other activity.

The only difference is that the Ray-Ban Stories are heavier than regular sunglasses. The Ray-Ban Stories’ Wayfarer design clocks in at about 5 grams more than the original Wayfarer frame, for example. I noticed the extra weight when I wore them, but they still sat comfortably on my face once I got used to the extra heft.

Features

Camera

Let’s get into the meat and bones of the smart functions, then. The Ray-Ban Stories boast dual five-megapixel cameras for taking photos as you roam. The images produced here are no match for those taken by a modern smartphone, but I don’t think this is what they’re designed for. Instead, it’s the convenience of simply pressing a button to snap a photo rather than having to pull out my phone, unlock it, find the app, line up the frame… and so on. With Stories, you might catch moments that you’d otherwise miss.

Ray-Ban Stories Camera

Audio

The audio was by far the highlight of the Stories’ main features. There are two speakers – one on each side of the glasses – that sit close to your ears. Music and calls come through incredibly clearly. For others nearby, the audio volume is somewhat muted, so it shouldn’t cause a stir on public transport or at work.

Microphone

Conversely, the microphone was a bit disappointing and affected the quality of the calls I took. Unless I raised my voice or spoke in a quiet area, the microphone struggled to pick me up clearly. This isn’t an unusual gripe – even the top Bluetooth earphones struggle with this issue. The impact this will have on your usage depends on how many calls you make in public, which will differ from person to person.

Ray-Ban Stories Audio

Price & Conclusion

Launching back in September of 2021, Ray-Ban Stories are priced at £299/$299. This sits somewhere in the middle of previous smart glasses – the original Spectacles came in at £129/$129, and their successor, the Snapchat Spectacles, launched at £330/$380. While not cheap, I believe the style factor and discreet nature of the Stories justify its price for the majority of people. For a regular Wayfarer Ray-Bans alone, you could be looking at £140/$140 new.

If you’ve held off on buying smart glasses because they tend to make you look like a Matrix cosplayer (looking at you, Spectacles) or simply want to upgrade, the Ray-Ban Stories could be the perfect choice. With a stylish, understated design and fantastic audio, Ray-Ban Stories are some of the best smart glasses to date.

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