The Ray-Ban Stories are sleek smart glasses, and a fitting prelude to Facebook’s real ambitions in AR – though they aren’t perfect in practice.
Read more – https://www.techradar.com/uk/reviews/ray-ban-stories-facebook-smart-glasses
Facebook’s smart glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories, have been teased for some time now, and it’s perhaps disappointing that the Ray-Ban aspect is the most fascinating part of the launch so far.
These aren’t the AR glasses we know Facebook has in development, even if they could (and are likely) a precursor to just that: a soft launch product that tests the waters, gets the range in people’s minds and homes, and sets Facebook up for some splashy AR devices down the line.
For now, though, these smart glasses still offer plenty for those after some tech in their Ray-Bans – in fact the end product is an almost perfect realization of the Ray-Ban’s Stories’ design, even if it’s disappointingly similar to the Snapchat Spectacles in many ways.
A sleek exterior belies a medley of inputs and indicators, with touch-based volume control and a handy capture button for taking photos and videos. The dual-camera setup isn’t anything too flashy, but footage quality is perfectly adequate for the purpose. Call quality, too, is surprisingly clear, while the speakers placed by each ear offer an airy, open sound that makes playing pop songs on summer days an utter delight.
It’s not all sunshine, of course. It takes a good while to import images to your smartphone over Bluetooth (at least in our testing), while the in-app image editing is laughably basic for 2021. However, given the ease of sharing your captures to Facebook or Instagram (or anywhere else) directly, this doesn’t feel like a deal-breaker either.
You will need a Facebook account, as with new Oculus Quest 2 purchases – despite the Ray-Ban stylings and lack of any visible Facebook logo, the tech giant still wants to track user metrics here. You’re opted out of extensive data tracking by default, but can sign up in the connected Facebook View app if you want to help ol’ Facey B out.
What’s more alarming, though, is that the Facebook View app seems permanently active once installed, even once it’s been closed – which we go into more detail on below.
The Ray-Ban Stories – presumably named after the Stories feature beloved on Instagram – are highly impressive smart glasses. The Ray-Ban exterior will no doubt help it find an audience, with an essence of style and familiarity that a more in-house design would have struggled to replicate – but the innards have plenty to recommend them too. Just don’t forget that Facebook is at work in the background.