Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses have integrated AI technology, making them more intelligent than previous smart glasses.
  • The glasses are great for listening to music and capturing videos, making them a useful accessory for everyday use.
  • While the AI features are still in development, the glasses offer excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit, and a responsive AI assistant, making them a promising product.

I’m guilty of calling plenty of tech-infused glasses “smart,” even if the only thing they did was play audio through the stems. I don’t think any were any smarter than AirPods. But the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses do actually bake in a hint of intelligence which could be the difference for why this product blossoms into its full potential, whereas Ray-Ban Stories from 2021 just wilted.

The reason you’ll want these glasses today, however, has little to do with the AI and everything to do with listening to music or taking unencumbered videos.

Meta Smart Glasses

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses

Embraced by the next generation of culture makers, its journey continues with AI-enhanced wearable tech. Listen, call, capture, and live stream features are seamlessly integrated within the classic frame.


2 custom-built speakers

Temple length: 150mm, lens height: 40.6mm

Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 2.4 – 5Ghz

Included accessory
Charging case

Storage space

Custom 5-mic array


Image Resolution
3,024 x 4,032

Video Resolution
1,440 x 1,920 (30 frames per second)


  • Excellent sound quality
  • Comfortable like traditional Ray-Ban Wayfers
  • Responsive Meta assistant
  • Nice charging case

  • Touch controls were laggy at times
  • Using battery case is needed to get a full day of use
  • Full AI potential isn’t ready yet

looking through the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

My first pair of camera glasses dates back to 2016 with Snapchat’s debut of Spectacles. The company was on to something, but in the roughly seven years since then, the collective bunch of similar products has only been minor variations of okay speakers and passable cameras.

Meta’s inclusion of artificial intelligence in its new frames feels like the start of something meaningful. If the new large language models (LLMs) used in products like ChatGPT have a shot at permeating our real-time interactions, they need to be faster to access than reaching for our phones and opening an app. They need to be on our face or in our ears.

The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses provide that accessibility. Plus, in 2024, they’ll have the ability to identify objects within sight by using the camera to answer a wearer’s question like, “What’s that in front of me?” It’s an attempt by Meta to sidestep other virtual assistants and essentially put a better Alexa on your face—which Amazon is also dabbling in.

I really liked using the Meta AI assistant on the Smart Glasses—I was not expecting to either. It was fast to respond and, although its knowledge was limited without real-time data, it still added useful information at times I needed it. Once in the kitchen, it answered a question about measurements, while my hands were busy with food. (Yes, I wore the sunglasses indoors for testing. Since Ray-Ban does offer transitional and clear lenses, the use case still stands.)

I wasn’t crazy about uttering “Hey Meta” out loud or adding a third voice assistant to my repertoire, but it worked well for things it did. Still, the AI features here felt more like a proof of concept than an actual purchasing draw. I’ll need to revisit this next year when the feature set is expanded.

Having a camera and speakers in actual Ray-Ban sunglasses is, for better or worse, the reason to consider buying Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses today. Based on my face-on time, intelligence is definitely the linchpin that previous “smart glasses” were missing, but none of those other glasses really got the fit, style, and overall specs right in the way that Ray-Ban has been able to help Meta do.

The Style and Fit of Fashionable Smart Glasses

person wearing Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Ray-Ban does a lot of the heavy lifting to make this product wearable. Even in the semi-transparent blue matte color, and with a visible camera lens, the iconic Ray-Ban Wayfarer styling was completely intact. They even felt like a regular pair of Ray-Bans, of which I have a single point of comparison.

The polarized blue lenses complimented the frames. While not endless, the customization options for these Smart Glasses are meaningful. I was tempted to get clear lenses to be able to wear the glasses inside, but I decided to stick to the sunglasses option. (A decision I slightly regret as the short days of fall and winter approach.)

The standard size fit my head fine, but a large option is available. Comparing the first-gen Stories, I could feel all the places these new ones had been nipped and tucked to make them more comfortable to wear.

In addition to being polarized, my pair had ​​100% UVA and UVB protection. Simply, they functioned well as actual sunglasses.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses laying upside down
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Being in Southern California, I had plenty of opportunities to wear these Smart Glasses instead of my regular ones. They were slightly heavier than a lot of sunglasses I own, but not enough to complain about.

First and foremost, the most compelling part of the glasses was using them instead of earbuds. Listening to music through the glasses was a natural draw to want to put them on often.

The Smart Glasses are advertised as being two times as loud as the previous Stories. I believe it. I went running with the Stories recently and I could barely hear a podcast over the street traffic. These new Smart Glasses were loud on a run but could also overpower wind and street noise when I rode on an electric scooter.

It’s not only the volume that got improved. The sound quality was excellent, probably in the ballpark of AirPods 2. Technically, these aren’t Dolby Atmos-certified or anything, but they had a natural spatial audio feeling to them. That’s thanks to great directional optimization and open-ear listening—better blending of music within your environment. It often felt like crisp and clear music was just following me around. Plus, they recorded audio from videos spatially for authentic playback.

The touch controls are much better than the previous glasses, but they’re still not perfect. There were a few occasions when double taps were registered as a single one or when an attempt to pause music was registered as a volume swipe.

A camera on your phone that’s in your pocket is convenient, but having a camera readily available, almost as if you’re constantly looking through a viewfinder, is on another level for capturing moments.

While riding a bike or running, I used voice commands to capture videos and pictures. Other times, I clicked the small button on the top of the right stem.

The 12MP ultrawide camera is able to capture pictures with a resolution of 3,024 x 4,032. It’s encroaching on the quality of a several-year-old iPhone camera. For me, even if a camera isn’t as good as the newest version in my pocket. It still needs to be good enough that I don’t regret leaving my phone in my pocket. This one is close, but not quite at that point yet.

In bright light during the day, I thought the camera captured fine pictures—good even. Even in great lighting, I’m not sure that I could trust it with critical events and obvious memories in progress. The images weren’t dull or grainy. But I would hesitate to trust it fully because the perspective was often a little too ultrawide—warped and fish-eye-like—and I couldn’t glance at the results to confirm I shot what I expected.

An unintended consequence of the glasses showing a glowing light when snapping pictures and videos is that my 10-year-old daughter wasn’t looking at the lens when I took the first picture of her. It looked more like a candid shot than a portrait.

For now, the Meta Smart Glasses excel at getting a first-person perspective of times when you can’t or don’t want to hold your phone. The camera is a fun, creative tool right now. Maybe the next version will have people becoming more dependent on it to capture can’t-miss memories.

Videos are captured at 1,440 x 1,920 and 30 frames per second. I thought the results were perfectly fine for viewing back on my phone. They were a little stretched when viewed fullscreen on a 27-inch Studio Display. That doesn’t matter, though, because the goal here is to get people sharing clips and images on Facebook and Instagram.

Once videos and photos were taken, I did like how the Meta View app, available for iPhone and Android, could compile all the footage into short montages. I would like to see that feature continue to be developed, but I liked it and used it regularly.

The old 5MP camera system that shot 2,592 x 1,944 resolution images on the first-gen Stories glasses ultimately couldn’t cut it. The results just weren’t good enough. The results from these new glasses are good enough to not be distracting to the content captured.

The gallery below contains sample images taken directly from the glasses, without any editing.

The Charging Case Is Integral

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses charging case
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Back in 2021, I thought the charging case for the Stories glasses was nice. It was slightly bulky and completely rigid, but it had a nice leather-like exterior texture to it. In hindsight, that case wasn’t as good as I had thought it was—especially in direct comparison to the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses case that more closely resembles a soft case for a traditional pair of Ray-Ban glasses. The new one is stylish and more compact. It was easier to travel with compared to the bulkier Stories case. The new case also secures the glasses inside better so they don’t jostle around.

Ultimately, the case is the only way to charge the glasses (on the previous gen and this newer one), so you’re out of luck without it. Smartly, Meta moved the pairing button to the case and freed that functionality from the glasses themselves.

The Extras: More Details and Tidbits

  • The blinking privacy LED on the outside of the glasses is larger and more noticeable. It can’t be turned off. You’ll have to decide if you can be “that person” at parties or hanging out with friends.
  • The glasses can be used for live streaming to Facebook or Instagram (at 720p resolution). It’s a neat ability, but I can assure you it will not be a heavily utilized feature.
  • There was very little sound leakage with music playing at a 30% volume level. Conditions will vary for this aspect, but it seemed to be in the ballpark of the noise leakage you would experience with regular (non-sealing) AirPods.
  • The 5-microphone array sounded excellent when taking calls. (You can hear two examples below.)
  • Using the glasses to do a 30-minute video call lowered the battery by about 20%. (Battery is listed at four hours per charge. But actual time was hard to nail down because the use is hardly even sustained for multiple hours.)
  • There’s 32GB of storage onboard which is advertised as enough space for at least 500 pictures and 50 videos (60 seconds in length).
  • I came to regret not choosing clear or transitional lenses so I could comfortably wear the glasses inside and for longer throughout the day. I liked the sound quality enough that I would want to use them as semi-permanent earbuds, constantly hovering above my ears.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses start at $299 but vary in price depending on color and lens choice.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses unfolded on grass next to golf hole
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Because glasses go over your eyes, there’s an assumption that smart glasses will eventually include screens of some sort. We’re not close to that yet, though. So, instead, it’s interesting to daydream about an alternative path where the camera intelligently interprets (or augments) the world around us and feeds us relevant information discreetly into our ears.

Even taking that different path, the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses aren’t quite there, but they are at least pointed in the right direction, moving toward an intriguing destination. For now, they were able to capture shots while running or riding that I might not have been able to otherwise at times I couldn’t hold my phone. The speakers were also good enough to opt for not having regular earbuds in my ears.

Maybe the most antidotal indicator for me that these Smart Glasses are onto something and may be worth the money is that my wife and 10-year-old daughter both thought they were cool. And cool is hard to manufacture.

Meta Smart Glasses

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses

Embraced by the next generation of culture makers, its journey continues with AI-enhanced wearable tech. Listen, call, capture, and live stream features are seamlessly integrated within the classic frame.

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By John P.

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