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Review of Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses

For about a decade, various manufacturers have been attempting to innovate with smart glasses, yet the outcomes have hardly been impressive. The first notable attempt was the widely advertised Google Glass, launched ten years ago. Despite being an innovative device, it was practically unusable for real-world applications. Consequently, if anyone bought it, they likely toyed with it for a few days before letting the expensive gadget gather dust in a drawer.

However, the development of smart glasses continued, and currently, the market features dozens of models with various functionalities. There are glasses with built-in speakers, like the Bose Frames Tempo (I own a pair and will review them), and glasses capable of displaying movies – for example, TCL NxtWear Air or Nreal Air AR. There are glasses with speakers and support for smart assistants – such as Amazon Echo Frames, among other devices with different specializations.

In today’s review, we’ll explore the smart glasses Ray-Ban Metaa collaborative product from Ray-Ban and Meta. They are not augmented reality glasses, as they don’t have a projector, but they support various interesting features. Let’s see what they offer.

Technical Specifications:

Weight – 48.6 g, 50.8 g, or 49.2 g.
Camera – 12-megapixel, ultra-wide
Photo – 4032×3024
Video – 1920×1440, 30@fps
Chip – Qualcomm Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1
Audio – two speakers
Built-in memory – 32 GB
Water resistance – IPX4
Battery life – 4 hours.

Price – from €315 in the EC, 329$ on Amazon – RayBan smart glasses

 

There are 7 main options for the color of the frame and lenses, but you can also choose specific lenses for the required frame color. You can also order glasses with your needed diopters, including progressive lenses.

Package Contents

The package includes the packaging, charging case, pouch-case, charging cable, and user manual.

Design and Features

The charging case (which also serves as a case) of the glasses is made from excellent-looking and very tactile eco-leather.

The case features magnetic attachment, with an LED around the protrusion to which the case lid attaches, indicating the glasses’ operating mode (pairing mode, connected, charging process).

The charging port and a button to force pairing mode are located on the bottom of the case.

The open case: inside is the cradle for powering the glasses.

Interestingly, externally, they are classic Ray-Ban glasses. The fact that they are smart is only indicated by two “eyes” (right – camera, left – LED indicating recording) located on the frame, left and right, which look like a design element.

Here’s a close-up of the left LED.

On the top edge of the right temple is a control button: with it, you can take photos (single press) and videos (long press). On the outer part of the right temple, there’s a touch-sensitive area for controlling the glasses – for example, adjusting the volume.

Microphones and speakers are located on the lower edge of the temples near the earpieces.

Device Operation

To function fully, the glasses must be connected to a smartphone via the Meta View app, available for both Android and iOS.

Upon starting, the app requires logging in with a Meta account (Facebook login).

The app automatically detects the glasses in pairing mode. If the glasses have been previously registered with another account, the app will offer to reset to factory settings.

After connecting, the app shows how to control the glasses.

Voice control is enabled through the Meta smart assistant.

With Meta, you can give voice commands for taking photos and videos.

Currently supported languages include only English, Italian, and French.

The main screen of the app.

Glasses settings.

The control button can be customized: a single press for video, a long press for photo. The video length can also be adjusted, with recording stopping after reaching the set duration. The maximum length is one minute.

You can connect your Spotify account to the glasses. There’s a mode to pause playback when the glasses are removed. The glasses can receive calls and messages from Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which will be read out through the speakers.

The glasses sit very comfortably on the head and are convenient to use. Remember, when ordering, you can choose the type of glass and tinting (for example, photochromic), and you can also order lenses with diopters. This is very convenient because many people who need prescription lenses cannot wear regular sunglasses.

Now, let’s discuss what these glasses can do:

  • Receive calls coming to the smartphone, and you can use the glasses as a headset;

  • Listen to music from the smartphone and control playback;

  • Listen to incoming messages in Messenger and WhatsApp, read out by the voice assistant;

  • Give tasks or ask questions to the voice assistant;

  • Take photos;

  • Record videos.

Touch control operates in a more or less standard manner: accept and end calls, pause/play with a single touch, next track with a double tap, volume adjustment with forward and backward gestures. The touchpad is located on the front part of the temple, and it’s quite easy to get used to its placement for accurate control.

The sound quality in the speakers is good; the music is perfectly enjoyable. Understandably, you can’t get bass here, but the mid and high frequencies are reproduced quite detailed. The maximum volume is sufficient for listening outdoors in a not too noisy environment.

However, it’s important to note that these are indeed speakers, so whatever is played through them can be heard by people nearby. This is especially important to consider when using the glasses as a wireless headset.

I recorded a video so you could get an idea of how it sounds to those around. The speaker volume is set to full, and I speak a couple of sentences to compare with the voice volume level.

In headset mode, the glasses perform well if you are in a quiet environment. I heard the callers well in the speakers, and they also heard my voice clearly.

Photos and videos taken with the glasses are uploaded to the Meta View folder, which the app, for some reason, creates in the Download folder. They can be shared on various social networks and messengers from the Meta View app, or from the smartphone’s photo gallery.

Taking photos with the glasses is inconvenient because you don’t understand the frame boundaries. You need to practice first to understand how the image is formed from the camera, after which you will start to orient yourself more or less.

The photo resolution is 4032×3024. A kind of Instagram format.

Here are a couple of examples.

Videos are also shot vertically with a real resolution of 1376×1840 (apparently, there’s a slight crop of the frame due to stabilization).

The quality is decent, and the stabilization works quite well: I didn’t strain myself in the clips – I twisted my head in every possible way and recorded while walking. Here are a couple of videos shot on the street and in a store.

A one-minute video takes up 109 MB, with built-in memory of 32 GB, so there’s no need to worry about videos quickly filling up all available memory.

Both during photography and video recording, the glasses signal the recording fact: with a single flash for photography and a flashing LED for video recording.

Here’s what it looks like.

The Meta voice assistant works like a regular voice assistant. You can ask it to call someone, send a voice message, inquire about the weather, and so on. For residents of the States, the beta version of Meta connected to the voice version of ChatGPT is available, allowing you to ask the assistant quite complex questions. But all this is still in testing mode and not available in other regions.

Battery Life

As usual with such devices, there are issues. The claimed battery life in active mode (e.g., while listening to music) is 4 hours. In my test, it lasted about 3.5 hours while listening to music and using the glasses as a headset for brief conversations.

For the test, I ran them for 30 minutes as a headset – the battery level dropped by 20%.

The case capacity is enough to fully charge the glasses four times. A full charge from zero takes about one hour and fifteen minutes.

Observations on Device Operation and Conclusions

I didn’t identify any specific problems while using this device. Everything worked stably. One particular note is some thoughtlessness in the charging cradle design. The thing is, when the glasses are on the cradle, they are not very easy to remove from the case. Because it requires a certain and not small effort, and I never managed to pull the glasses out without touching the lenses with my fingers, leaving fingerprints.

Otherwise, all is well: the charging case-cover is nicely made and very comfortable to hold, the glasses themselves are classic Ray-Ban, and the declared functions are performed as they should.

I can’t say that this is a must-have item in everyday life, but I wouldn’t mind having glasses with such capabilities.

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