It’s not the AR glasses that people have been waiting for but Facebook has finally released a new product in partnership with EssilorLuxottica. The Rayban Stories is a pair of smart glasses connected to your smartphone that will let you take photos and videos and then share directly with your favorite social network, which we assume is Facebook. However, these glasses don’t come with a display in the lenses so there are no augmented reality features, unlike previous similar glasses, like Snapchat Spectacles.
The glasses look like a regular pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers expect that it’s a bit heavier on account of all the additional hardware it carries. The specs themselves don’t have Facebook branding so it’s something you won’t be ashamed to wear. It has a 5MP camera that will let you take photos and short 30-second video clips. You can store around 500 photos in the built-in internal memory of the device. There is a physical button on the right-hand side of the frame if you want to use the camera manually but you can also use the wake phrase “Hey Facebook” for hands-free recording.
There is an LED light that tells people you’re taking a photo or video so there’s no sneaky, stalkery way of doing that. When it comes to quality, the photo is decent but only in well-lit conditions but during overcast days and other low-light conditions, the quality noticeably drops. The video quality is pretty impressive and even has stabilization features. Sharing is done through the Facebook View app on your phone which also has basic editing features. You can even create a video collage with up to 10 clips and has preset soundtracks as well.
The smart glasses also has streamlined, open-ear built-in speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes or podcasts. It also has a three-microphone audio array for video and voice calling purposes. You get a beamforming technology and background noise audio suppression algorithm so you can get an enhanced calling experience like you’re wearing earphones or headphones. There’s a light inside the glasses to show you battery levels as well as other info like if pairing mode is on or if there is a capture error.
The Facebook Ray-Ban Stories will give you six hours of use time and just an hour to fully charge it again. It is priced at $299 and there are options to get polarized lenses ($329) or transition lenses ($379). There are three frame styles available – Wayfarer, Round, and Meteor. They’re now available in the U.S, Canaada, UK, Italy, Ireland, and Australia.