Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses review

Sleek smart glasses, and a prelude to facebook's real ambitions.

Facebook smart glasses and charging case

TechRadar Verdict

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.

Sleek Ray-Ban stylings

Discreet gadgetry

Great call quality

Open-air speakers are surprisingly good

Need a Facebook account

Easy to take photos by accident

Very basic in-app editing

Might make your friends nervous

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Two minute review

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.

Price and release date

The Ray-Ban Stories launched on September 9, 2021, and retail for $299 / £299 / AU$449 – the same RRP as the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, no less. You can buy them now at the Ray-Ban website or (soon, we're told) at many Luxottica stores.

That’s a cut under what we saw for the last iteration of the Snapchat Spectacles (which cost $380 / £330) but about twice as much as the original Spectacles (which cost $129 / £129 / AU$169).

In Australia, the Ray-Ban Stories are also available at OPSM and Sunglass Hut stores, with the option to upgrade to polarized lenses (starting at AU$489), transitions lenses (AU$539) and prescription lenses.

Design and colors

Ray-Ban Stories certainly are pretty. They come in a variety of Ray-Ban designs from over the ages: Wayfarer (tested), Wayfarer Large, Round, and Meteor. (It’s the Round model that seems the most like Snapchat Spectacles, though we go into more detail on similarities here .)

The collaboration of the 1937-founded lifestyle brand extends further than the frame, though, with lenses coming in clear, sun, transition, and prescription options. There are about 20 distinct models, all in all, with the various colors (black, green, blue, brown) and lenses all accounted for.

The glasses come bundled with a charging carry case, which itself charges via a USB-C port. The glasses and case both feel a bit chunkier and weightier than the average pair of shades – which is to be expected – though they still feel light on the face and compact enough to slip into the average rucksack, purse, or tote bag.

It takes about an hour, if not just over, to fully charge, with about three hours of listed usage through the case. We found that an hour of light on/off usage only drained the glasses’ battery by about half – with a very helpful % indicator in the app – and you should be able to get a full afternoon or day’s usage out of a single case charge.

The Ray-Ban logo is tastefully etched into the right lens, as well as the sides of the frame. The power button sits on the inside of the left eye, with the indicator (white for pairing, blue for 'on') on the inside of the right, so most of the flashing parts are well hidden from view – aside from a red indicator on the front to show those around you that you’re recording.

There are certainly privacy concerns here – while the red light and ‘startup’ sound should alert those nearby, the same problems of having a camera on your face at all times persist from the days of the Google Glass , and it doesn’t seem like it'd be too hard to deface the front indicator for more discreet and even invasive usage. 

You will need a newish smartphone: iPhone 6S and above running iOS 13 or later, or a phone with Android 8.1 or above.

The Facebook View app is a relatively straightforward affair, with clear instructions for pairing with your Ray-Ban Stories for the first time. You’ll need both location data and Bluetooth switched on during use – the former enabling automatic importing of captures through “your glasses’ temporary Wi-Fi network”, though be warned that it’s another thing Facebook has access to.

What's more disconcerting, though, is that the app appears to be permanently active in the background, even after the app has been shut. This is, we're told, "to ensure you're able to connect to your glasses using Bluetooth even when using other apps", utilising the necessary Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and battery life data "required to operate the glasses" and deleting after 90 days of storage. It is, we think, still a bit uncomfortable, given Facebook's track record around user privacy .

The app has a single ‘Captures’ view with a ‘Favorites’ tab to help you narrow down your options when opting to edit, download or share images and videos. When selecting an image, you can bin it, apply some basic edits, crop, apply depth effects, download, or share to other apps. Edited images can be reverted, which is a helpful feature, though the app won’t create a new image after every edit, as some phones’ gallery apps do.

The app can also auto-enhance the image for you, though it’s a slight effect and hard to differentiate on the whole. All of the editing tools baked into the app are quite basic, with simple brightness/sharpen/saturation/warmth sliders, and you’re getting much more to play with in the Facebook or Instagram apps proper.

Features and quality

Walking around with the Ray-Ban Stories is… much like wearing a pair of sunglasses, just a tad heavier. They’re closer in weight and feel to the 3D glasses handed out at the cinema, rather than regular aviators, but they’re still perfectly fine for long sessions.

Picture and video quality through the two 5MP cameras is also acceptable, if underwhelming by modern smartphone camera standards. The latest 12-megapixel iPhone will fare better than this, so do expect to take a dip in image quality if you’re coming from a flagship phone. To Facebook’s credit, though, video stays consistently crisp, limiting blur even when quickly jerking your head from side to side.

The audio is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the best things about the Stories. Speakers are on either side of the frame, right by your ear, enabling music or calls to come through clearly to you and muffled or at least muted to others nearby. You shouldn’t expect your calls to remain private, mind, and others will be able to hear your terrible (fantastic?) music taste in the vicinity, but keeping your ears free and unblocked while streaming from Spotify is a pretty great experience.

The sound lacks some bass – to be expected, given the size of the frame – but middle and high frequencies are aptly handled, other than long, stressed notes gaining some brief distortion at times. The quality is similar to pretty average but acceptable earbuds, which is still an impressive benchmark given the other features that are packed in.

The built-in mics aren’t super close to your mouth, though, so be warned you may come across a little quiet during calls unless you’re specifically speaking loudly. But the Stories’ “background noise suppression algorithm” is also surprisingly good at cutting out environmental sound.

Taking photos and footage is a breeze, though it’s overly easy to do this by accident when handling the glasses or simply taking them on or off. The danger of so many touch controls is that they can be triggered when you don’t intend to do so, and we found our Captures filled with a fair few blurred images from times we took the glasses off our face. The touch-sensitive volume and playback bar can suffer from the same problem, too.

Should I buy the Ray-Ban Stories?

Buy it if….

You love recording on the go. It’s like a Go-Pro for your face! The ease of hands-free recording, especially with the Facebook Assistant, can be a real joy.

You want to hear your surroundings. The open-air speakers are oddly nice to listen to, and have the added benefit of not blocking your ears from hearing other people talk, or cars going by.

You’re an influencer. These are consumer smart glasses, but the biggest market will no doubt be heavy social media creators who want more tools for capturing footage in their lives.

Don't buy it if…

You want AR glasses. There’s no augmented reality baked in here, so you’re better off waiting for a future iteration.

You don’t trust Facebook. This is a hard line for many, and if you feel worried about carrying a Facebook camera on your face, this probably isn’t the right device for you.

You’re clumsy. Inputs can be easily triggered by accident – leading to photos, videos, or playback that you didn’t intend.

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.

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Ray-Ban Stories review: What a spectacle

These smart glasses can take photos and video.

Man wearing Ray-Ban Stories

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Ray-Ban Stories are a pair of Facebook-powered smart glasses that can play music and take photos and video, but doesn’t excel at any of them.

Can capture photos and video

Several styles to choose from

Cameras not obvious enough

Limited voice commands

Why you can trust Tom's Guide? Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Photo resolution: 2592 x 1944 Video resolution: 1184 x 1184 @30fps Storage: 4GB Battery life: up to 3 hours Speakers: 2 Microphones: 3 Wireless: Bluetooth, 802.11ac Weight: 48 grams (1.7 ounces)

What do you get when you combine one of the biggest eyewear brands with one of the biggest social media sites? Ray-Ban Stories. 

The Ray-Ban Stories are part of a nascent but growing category of smart glasses, which look like regular eyewear, but have tiny speakers and microphones embedded in them. At their most basic, like the Bose Frames , these smart glasses can stream music via Bluetooth from your phone and place and answer calls; more advanced models, such as the Amazon Echo Frames , can connect to a smart assistant like Alexa. 

The Ray-Ban Stories take things a step further: These smart glasses are also outfitted with a small camera (like Snap's Spectacles ) that can take photos and videos up to 60 seconds, so you can capture moments on the fly. But should you drop $300 on these smart glasses? Continue reading our Ray-Ban Stories review to find out.

Ray-Ban Stories review: Price and availability

The Ray-Ban stories start at $299, and come in three styles: the traditional Wayfarer shades, the more circular Round, and Meteor (somewhere in the middle). Each of these has multiple color, size, and fit options, as well as tints for the glasses themselves. 

I tested the matte black Wayfarer version with transition lenses, though at the time of this writing, that model was sold out. You can also get prescription lenses fitted to the Ray-Ban Stories, though that costs extra.

Ray-Ban Stories review: Design and comfort

Outwardly, the Ray-Ban Stories look like any other pair of non-smart sunglasses. The only giveaway that something might be different is the two small circles in each corner; these are the camera’s 5MP cameras. They’re not as obvious as those on the Snap Spectacles, but they’re still noticeable.

A small LED next to the right camera lights up when you’re recording, so that others know you’re capturing their image. Similarly, a small LED on the upper right inside of the glasses also turns on when you’re recording, so that you know the camera’s on.

The right arm has a small button on the top; press it quickly, and the Stories will snap a photo. Press and hold, and it will record a video. Along the side of the right arm is a touch-sensitive strip that can be used to increase and decrease the volume, as well as start and stop whatever’s playing. As with other smart glasses I tested, I wish this touch-sensitive area were marked in some way with a raised edge, or something else to know that you’re in the right spot.

And a fully charged Stories will capture and sync up to 30 videos, or up to 500 photos. You can then sync the glasses with the View app (Android, iOS), so you can download the images.

The Ray-Ban Stories come with a large-ish case — it’s a bit more bulgy than your standard eyeglass case — but it has a built-in battery that will recharge the Stories while they’re docked inside. A small LED on the front of the case shows the charging status, and a USB-C port on the back lets you juice up the case itself. Even though the case is bulkier than others, I did like that it can be recharged with a generic USB-C cord, rather than a proprietary cable, like the Amazon Echo Frames — whose charger I have misplaced.

I don’t think the Stories are horrible, but I preferred the look of Amazon’s Echo Frames. Of course, this is highly personal — in general, I’ve leaned more towards glasses that are closer to an aviator-style design.

I wore the Stories for a few weeks, with them on my face for an hour or so at a time, and never had any discomfort.

Ray-Ban Stories review: Audio quality

Like most smart glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories have a pair of tiny speakers that direct sound towards your ears. Like most smart glasses, audio was passable at best. To state the obvious, it’s nowhere near what you’ll get from some of the best earbuds . Bass is practically nonexistent, and you lose a lot of definition, too. And, since they don’t block any surrounding noise, a large truck rolling by will quickly overwhelm anything coming out of the glasses.

The vocals and cymbals in OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” felt smushed together, and, when I increased the volume to near max, everything was incredibly distorted. The guitars in Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” sounded pretty good, but again, degraded the louder the volume of the Stories. 

Bruce Springsteen’s “Rosalita” was disappointing, too. While the Boss’ voice was clear, but like the song’s titular character, I waited in vain for Clarence Clemons’ bellowing tenor sax to kick in.

Because of their lack of definition, I found the Stories were best for listening to podcasts, or if I wanted some noise to fill the void. If I was sitting at my desk doing work, I much preferred the Ray-Bans to wearing headphones for listening to music; it was as if I had a speaker playing tunes in the background, and nothing in my ears. 

Another issue with smart glasses’ speakers, though, is that others can hear what you’re playing, especially in a quiet room. In our home office, my wife — who sits about 12 feet away — could hear what I was playing. However, in my company’s office, which has much higher ceilings and more ambient noise, co-workers an equal distance away had a harder time hearing the music.

I found that the voice commands could be a bit particular, depending on the music app you’re using. As I was listening to a podcast using the Apple Podcast app, I said “Hey Facebook, pause,” but received a response that nothing was playing. However, when I said “Hey Facebook, stop,” it successfully paused the podcast. 

Ray-Ban Stories review: Camera and video quality

On each side of the Stories is a 5MP camera for “stereoscopic photo depth,” according to the company (no, this doesn’t mean it can take 3D photos). It can also record videos up to 60 seconds long, at a resolution of 1184 x 1184 and at up to 30 frames per second. 

Now that we’re treated to such good quality photos from even some of the best smartphones under $300 , the images taken from the Stories are average, at best. 

Under ideal conditions — a still, and well-lit subject — photos look pretty good. Pictures I took of the windows at Macy’s in New York were rich with color, and were suitably sharp. However, the majority of the photos I took had something wrong with them — a section was washed out, or blurry, or overexposed. Sometimes it was all three, as was the case with an image of a stream near me; the sky was completely white as was the bridge in the foreground, and the trees in the background were mottled. 

On a sunny day, the video I recorded — walking in New York — also looked great. Despite my being in motion, it wasn’t shaky at all, and the glasses did a good job of adjusting exposure when I looked up at the sky. Colors, such as the blue of a transit bus and the red in a Macy’s window, were also very saturated. 

The biggest issue, of course, is that the Stories can take photos and video without others knowing. Yes, there’s a small LED, but because the lenses aren’t as prominent as those on the Snap Spectacles, it’s not as obvious to others that you may or may not be recording them. Of all the people I asked who saw me wearing the Stories, none realized that the glasses had built-in cameras.

Ray-Ban Stories review: Voice commands

The Stories have a few voice commands which let you control your music, send a message via Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp and take photos and video. They’re nowhere near as comprehensive as the Echo Frames, which have all the power of Alexa behind them, and let you do everything from play music to control smart home devices. (Here are 10 of the coolest things Alexa can do , if you’re curious.)

It feels a little funny to say “Hey Facebook, take a picture,” but here we are. The Ray-Bans picked up my voice well, and responded quickly to my commands to take photos and videos. However, I was left wanting a bit more.

Ray-Ban Stories review: View app

Rather than linking directly with the Facebook app, the Ray-Ban Stories connect to the View app (Android and iOS), through which you can download media from the glasses, change settings, and more. For example, if you link your Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp accounts, you can place calls and send and receive messages through the Stories.

The app also lets you choose from seven different assistant voices, which vary not just in pitch, but also in tone — as in warm, matter-of-fact, musical, and bright. 

If you have Spotify, you can link your account in the app, so you can start playing music with just a tap; if you tap and hold, it will play something new based on your listening history. It’s a neat little discovery tool, especially while you’re on the go. 

The app also has an extensive privacy settings section, where you can manage how your data is used. Given Facebook’s previous troubles with user privacy, it’s somewhat encouraging to see this. 

For the most part — such as playing music — the Stories are connected to your phone via Bluetooth, but will switch to Wi-Fi to transfer photos and videos. After downloading your photos and videos to the View app, you can edit them with some basic tools (there’s no filters, for example), create a montage, and then share them with the social media network of your choice.

Ray-Ban Stories review: Battery life

Ray-Ban says the Stories’ built-in battery will last for up to three hours. That’s a little more than half the Bose Frames (5.5 hours), and an hour less than the Amazon Echo Frames. In practice, you’ll likely get less; after 40 minutes of listening to podcasts with the glasses at full volume, the Stories’ battery had drained by 30 percent. If you were to extrapolate that number, you’d get a little over two hours before you needed to recharge the specs. Fortunately, the Stories’ case provides up to three additional charges.

If you remove the glasses from your face and close the arms, the Stories go into a sleep/standby mode and disconnect from your phone. Opening the arms back will wake up the Stories, which will then re-pair with your phone.

Ray-Ban Stories review: Bottom line

The Ray-Ban Stories are proof that we’re still in the very early stages of smart glasses; the glasses, like the category, show promise but also plenty of areas where they need work. Like other smart glasses I’ve tried, the audio from the Ray-Ban Stories is a long way from being as good as some of the best wireless earbuds , but it’s nice for when you want a little background noise. Likewise, it’s neat that you can take pictures and video, but you might be disappointed with the results, especially compared to the best camera phones . But, you have to start somewhere, right?

If you are planning on purchasing a set of smart glasses with a camera like the Ray-Ban Stories or Snap Spectacles, I would encourage you to think about how you use them. More than one person did not realize that the glasses I was wearing had cameras in them; my wife thought it was downright creepy. If you’re using them in a public space, you’re not necessarily entitled to the same protections as if you were in your home. However, if someone is pointing a camera or a smartphone at you, it’s much more obvious that they could be recording you than someone who’s merely looking in your direction and who happens to be wearing glasses. 

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

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review of rayban stories

Forget Your Smartphone, Ray-Ban Stories Helps You Capture Your Favorite Concert Moments

By Sage Anderson

Sage Anderson

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.

Ray-Ban glasses have had an enduring pop culture and fashion legacy since the Fifties, from Tom Cruise’s classic Aviators on-screen in Top Gun,  to shading musical artists across the decades. They’re a classic style staple, but now, more than 80 years after they were launched, the glasses have begun their second life as smart companions.

Ray-Ban is continuing to pioneer new collaborations with unexpected brands like Meta, releasing their first pair of smart glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories , late last year. Equipped with dual HD cameras , microphones, and discreet open-ear speakers, they bring 21st-century tech in timeless Ray-Ban style.

smart sunglasses ray ban

Buy Ray-Ban Stories $299+

How Do the Ray-Ban Stories Work?

As far as smart glasses go, the Ray-Ban Stories are as sleek as they come. Despite the promises of many smart spectacles of the past, the Ray-Ban Stories have the ability to take photos and videos on the fly in a way that feels both accessible and fashionable. They also have built-in microphones and open-ear speakers, letting you make calls and listen to music without headphones.

That’s these glasses should be at the top of your festival packing list this summer concert season. Because isn’t it both awkward and uncomfortable to hold up a smartphone for an artist’s entire set to record those precious performances?

There are plenty of ways to use the Ray-Ban Stories glasses, from capturing sports to documenting family get-togethers to upgrading your commute, but we immediately thought of concerts as one of the best uses for the Ray-Ban Stories glasses.

The shades’ hands-free video-capturing and picture-taking features make them a game-changer for live recording. The best part: you won’t be blocking anyone’s view behind you.

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So whether you want the best first-person pics possible from your favorite performance or you’re just looking to beat those pesky festival camera restrictions, read on for tips and hacks on how to use the Ray-Ban Stories to get the best concert footage possible.

Why Ray-Ban Stories Are Great for Concerts

Unlike some ultra-compact cameras, the Ray-Ban Stories’ video and photo quality is up to snuff for capturing concerts. The glasses have dual 5-megapixel cameras that can capture up to 2592 x 1984-pixel images and 1184 x 1184 videos at 30 fps. Even if it takes a couple of tries to get that perfect shot, the Ray-Ban Stories have plenty of storage packed into one compact frame.

The Ray-Ban Stories have 4GB of storage, which is enough for 30, 30-second clips, or about 500 photos before the memory hits capacity. That’s plenty for a full day at a festival or even an entire festival weekend.

The sleek frames solve a few problems that concert-goers often encounter when it comes to capturing their experience. Firstly, there’s the ease of use provided by the Ray-Ban Stories. You don’t have to hold your phone or remember to take it out when something happens on stage, and you don’t need to constantly watch the performance through your phone’s screen for framing. With the Ray-Ban Stories, what you see is what you capture. Also, touch controls on the side of the frames let you quickly take a photo or video when something important happens — no fumbling to get your phone out of your pocket or bag.

ray ban facebook sunglasses

Secondly, there’s the connectivity you get with Ray-Ban Stories. As a collaboration with Meta, all pictures and videos are immediately available on the dedicated Facebook View app. Here, you can quickly view, edit, and share your content while you’re still at the festival, instead of waiting to get home to transfer files from your camera to your laptop and then to your phone for sharing.

The discrete open-ear speakers and three built-in microphones also come in very handy for festivals, allowing us to make hands-free calls while roaming the grounds. This is super convenient when it comes time for the (always difficult) task of re-grouping with friends.

Where to Buy Ray-Ban Stories Online

Looking to pick up some Ray-Ban Stories before your next music festival ? Head to Ray-Ban.com .

ray ban stories glasses review

The frames are available in three different shapes, including the classic Wayfarer , the Meteor , and the Round . All frames can be ordered in different colorways too, including sunglasses and clear lens glasses. Pricing starts at $299 at varies based on lens style.

Buy Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer $299+

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Ray-Ban Stories Review

A stylish but underwhelming pair of smartglasses

A look at the Ray-Ban Stories


Key features, introduction, design and build, features and performance, app and battery life, latest deals, should you buy it, final thoughts, how we test.


The Ray-Ban Stories are camera-toting smartglasses that really do look like a lovely pair of shades and are capable of capturing your adventures in a more memorable way. Ultimately though, they don’t have the hardware to deliver the standout performance to match that attractive, designer look and also doesn’t always make it obvious to those around you that you’re in recording or shooting mode.

The Ray-Ban Stories are smartglasses built in collaboration with Meta, letting you take photos, record video and listen to your music without reaching for your phone or a pair of headphones.

Like the Snapchat Spectacles, Meta and Ray-Ban’s parent group Essilor Luxottica has set its sights on making connected specs that feel just like wearing a normal pair of sunglasses. They’re modelled on existing designs to give it that more familiar and stylish look.

Those extra smarts make picking up a pair of connected Ray-Bans an even pricier investment, so do they perform well enough to justify that extra spend? I decided to put my phone and headphones to one side to see if these smartglasses could help me forget about them.

Glasses packed with cameras, speakers and microphones aren’t a new phenomenon, but the pairs that work best are the ones where you don’t feel the presence of that extra hardware. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with these smart sunglasses.

The Ray-Ban logo proudly displayed on the Ray-Ban Stories

These feel like a pretty regular pair of Ray-Bans. The weight difference between a smart and non-smart pair is around 5g and typically, that added hardware means bulking up the frames but that isn’t the case with the Stories.

That’s helped by the fact that they’re offered in three distinct looks, all with multiple colour options that are closely modelled on existing designs. There’s the iconic Wayfarer, a Round version and the Meteor look that I had to live with and, slight added weight aside, I never felt like I was wearing a bulky, tech-filled pair of specs.

All of the designs come in a large size option, which didn’t feel too big to me with all of them also offering a high bridge fit to make sure that your eyes sit in the proper position behind the lenses. Speaking of lenses, you do have the option to add in prescription ones in here as well, just in case you’re hoping they can replace your regular glasses or give you a contact lens break when conditions get sunnier.

The key feature here are the dual, five-megapixel cameras that sit in the corner of each lens, with a small white LED light just beside each of them to let people know around you that recording or snapping is in progress. Unlike Snap’s Specs, those cameras do seem to sit a little less prominently here, while that indicator light isn’t hugely visible when using them in bright outdoor light either, which does raise some questions on just how obvious they make it to others that you’re recording and shooting.

The Ray-Ban Stories have a small camera on either side

There’s a solitary, long physical button on the top of the right arm to act as your camera shutter with an on/off slider switch positioned on the inside of the glasses with an LED light on the opposite side to tell you when they’re ready to snap away and whether they’re connected to your phone to do things like stream music or take calls.

Unlike a normal pair of glasses, you won’t want to dunk them in water. They don’t carry any sort of water resistance rating and while I did try to get creative with them in some water and they did survive, we don’t recommend trying this yourself.

When they’re not in use there’s quite a big charging case to make use of, where the glasses have to be placed precisely in-line with the charging port hidden away inside of the hinge of the glasses frame. That case does hold its own charge too, with a charging status indicator light at the front and a USB-C charging port around back when you need to power the case and glasses back up. Like the glasses, it doesn’t carry any sort of waterproofing, but it does feel like it offers up good protection for the specs.

What these glasses are primarily designed to do is to replace pulling out your phone to take photos and record video. Yes, they can let you listen to music and handle calls as well, but the true appeal is in having a readily available camera on your face.

So how good a job does it do on that front? I’d say that it does a good job, but performance certainly doesn’t blow you away and you really need to master the best way to shoot, as well as find the best lighting conditions to get the most rewarding results.

A human subject captured with the Ray-Ban Stories

Once you’ve gone through a pretty painless set-up process with the Facebook View companion smartphone app, which does require a Facebook account, you can open up the glasses and you’ll hear a voice prompt telling you the battery level in percentage, before needing to wait for a beeping sound to tell you that you’re ready to shoot.

Then it’s a simple case of pressing the physical shutter button to record video or holding it down to take a photo. There are also voice controls, letting you say, ‘Hey Facebook’ to tell them to take a photo, record a video or alternatively take control of music playback and handle a call.

A human subject and landscape shot captured with the Ray-Ban Stories

When you’re recording video, you’re capturing 1184 x 1184 resolution video at 30fps with a maximum duration of 60 seconds. For pictures, those are snapped at a 2592 x 1984 pixel resolution. So on paper, not quite the same level of video quality promised by Snap on its latest Spectacles, but something potentially a little better on the image front. The camera on the left side of the glasses is used for something called stereo depth estimation. It combines with the images taken with the right camera to add effects and filters to leverage photo depth and create a sort of 3D-style effect.

Ultimately, the video and photo capturing abilities of the Stories are good, particularly with imagery in the right kind of natural lighting conditions, but it’s definitely been a tad hit and miss with the video quality. A lot of the video I shot wasn’t always particularly sharp or vivid, and the colours at times felt saturated. When you add movement into the equation, it handles things relatively well but it can result in juddering if you move quickly whilst wearing them.

A still life subject taken with the Ray-Ban Stories

Something that did stand out was the audio capture, with the Stories packing in three microphones that do a very good job of grabbing exterior sound and voices, and also make them useful for calls too. They were very sensitive to picking up the sound of wind however, which didn’t sound great on videos. 

As audio glasses, they aren’t particularly great or better than what you will get from dedicated audio glasses already out there. They have a great deal of sound leakage too, so people will be able to hear what you’re listening to. The touch controls also built into the frames do take a bit of time to get used to, particularly in finding the sweet spot to quickly play and pause audio.

There’s also the challenge of shooting from glasses and thinking differently about how you’ll get the most rewarding pics and videos. Trying to take photos or video of someone walking alongside you isn’t very easy to do unless they’re standing a little further away than usual. You don’t want to wear them with a cap either as I found that you’ll end up with footage that’s partially obstructed by your cap’s brim, which isn’t exactly ideal. It’s the same situation with hair. It can be all too easy to accidentally take photos and videos as well, which will eat into your storage with no way to delete them directly from the glasses.

There’s no doubt that the Ray-Ban Stories can offer a refreshingly different perspective and an alternative means to pointing and shooting with a camera or a phone, but it takes some playing around to get the best footage or shots in the optimal scenarios and conditions. By the end of a day’s shooting I ended up with a mixed bag of photos and videos and that’s really the problem here. You have to shoot a lot to increase your chances of getting something that really beats what you’re getting from your phone.

The Ray-Ban Stories when worn

When you record or shoot photos with the Stories, those files are stored on the built-in 4GB of storage which should give you room for over 500 photos or over 15, 60-second videos. The glasses will fire out a voice prompt when you’re closing in on that storage capacity and when you’ve maxed it out as well.

For a day of testing, I took a mixture of 73 images and videos and managed to fill up that promised 4GB of storage. You can’t view any of those captured stills or footage on the glasses themselves so you need to sync them all over to the Facebook View app which can be a little slow going if you’re syncing over a lot of stuff at once. Once it’s all synced over, it’s wiped from the glasses to give you more room to shoot again.

The Facebook View app gives you a sort of thumbnail-style grid to look over captured footage and images, and will create highlight montages which don’t exactly rival how Apple or Google’s own photo apps manage to blend imagery and videos into one.

There’s a Flashback mode to create 3D videos and also scope to tinker with features like video length capture, setting up Spotify integration for music playback and setting up calling and messaging support as well. There’s some pretty basic editing tools here too like the ability to trim videos and adjust image brightness, saturation, sharpness and warmth, and it’s these features that will help you get the most of the raw images.

On the battery front, up to three-hours is quoted but that really depends on whether you’re shooting more video than images and you’re using the glasses for music streaming as well. I think that if you want to use them for an entire day, then you’ll need to do so sparingly. After around three hours of pretty regular use, with a focus on video over photo capture, the battery dropped by 50%. The best way to keep that battery going is to switch them off when you’re not using them for a period as they don’t automatically turn themselves off when not in use.

The Ray-Ban Stories on the beach

You want a really nice-looking pair of camera sunglasses : If you’re sold on the idea of having cameras in your glasses, these are arguably the best-looking pair that do just look like a nice pair of Ray-Ban glasses.

You want smartphone camera-rivalling video and pics : While it might be more convenient to take pictures from your glasses, the image and video quality simply doesn’t match what your camera phone can already do.

The Ray-Ban Stories really feel like a bit of a missed opportunity for both Ray-Ban and Meta. They got one part right, which was to make the tech mostly disappear inside of a very stylish pair of sunglasses. I did manage to capture some memorable videos from a unique perspective that I would’ve struggled to get from a phone, but if you’re hoping for smartphone-rivalling quality overall, these glasses aren’t quite there yet. To see what other products you can pair with your smartphone, you can check out our round-up of the best iPhone accessories .

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No, the Ray-Ban Stories sunglasses or charging case are not waterproof and not suitable for being submerged in water for activities like swimming.

Yes, you can share images to your phone’s camera app or camera roll and to some supported third party apps as well.

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Ray-Ban Stories review

Are ray-ban stories the ultimate wearable camera we take these facebook-developed sunglasses out for a spin.

Ray-Ban Stories review

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Ray-Ban Stories are hard to fault. They offer capable, if basic, image and video capture capabilities as well as built-in audio that’ll have you humming a happy tune as you walk the streets around your home. They also look great, thanks to the Ray-Ban collaboration, and the option to pack in prescription lenses overcomes a common problem for those with vision problems – namely, you can’t easily wear smart glasses over your regular glasses.

Built-in 5MP cameras

Stylish sunglass design

Wide choice of frame and color options

Available with prescription lenses

More expensive than regular sunglasses

Privacy issues may worry some

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses are just the start for Meta (previously Facebook), whose ambitions in the world of augmented and mixed reality are well known. The Ray-Ban Stories may not be AR glasses in the truest sense, instead offering built-in audio, dual-lens camera recording, and a sleek Ray-Ban frame available in a medley of shapes and colors – with more ambitious AR features likely coming in future models.

There’s more than a touch of the Snap Spectacles about them (sorry Snap), but the fashion credibility granted by this Ray-Ban collaboration could mean we see a lot more Stories out on the go. 

Some may balk at the idea of having a Meta-made camera on their face at all times, and any users need to be wary of privacy concerns – though we can’t fault these glasses when it comes to the quality or usability of the hardware.

Ray-Ban Stories: specifications

Pricing: $299 / £299 / AU$449 Battery: 3 hours Memory: 4GB flash storage Speakers: x2 speaker open air Camera: Dual 5MP cameras Photo resolution: 2592x1944 pixels Video resolution: 1184x1184 pixels at 30 frames per second Dimensions in mm: 41.2 (height), 50 (width), 22 (bridge width), 150 (temple length)

Key features

At first glance, the Ray-Ban Stories are like any aviators you might find sold by the lifestyle brand. Look closer, though, and you’ll see a full suite of modern smart features that elevate them above and beyond your average pair of sunglasses.

First, the camera. There are two 5MP lenses, built into opposing ends of the glasses to get a sense of depth in your images. They’re not stunning quality compared to the cameras packed into some modern smartphones, but the ease of taking photos on the go is the real draw here. Photos are captured at 2592x1944 pixel resolution, whereas more taxing video capture drops to 1184x1184 pixels (30 frames per second) instead.

There is a color indicator on the front of the glasses, which lights up when camera recording is in use. That’s a handy feature when it comes to letting those around you know you’re recording, but it’s important to respect the privacy of others at the same time, given these smart glasses aren’t ubiquitous or readily-recognizable hardware just yet.

Next, the speakers. There are two open-air drivers that are placed near where your ears will be, allowing you to listen to music without having to stick headphones in, on, or over your ears.

Design and usability

The Ray-Ban Stories are, unsurprisingly, a bit heavier than standard glasses, given the technology that needs to be packed into the Stories’ frame: speakers, camera lenses, and a rechargeable battery.

However, they’re still relatively light, and fine to wear for long periods of time. When not in use, they function like any pair of Ray-Ban glasses, whether that’s solely as a fashion accessory or something more urgent, with options for prescription lenses, transition lenses, or straightforward sunglasses to protect your eyes in sunny weather. The 20 combinations of lenses, colors and styles (Wayfarer, Wayfarer Large, Round, and Meteor) mean there’s plenty to differentiate yourself, too.

The charging case for the Stories is, again, just a bulkier version of a standard spectacles case, with a built-in battery that charges via a USB-C port, and which offers a total three hours of usage – so don’t expect these smart glasses to keep recording into the long hours.

These glasses connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone, and you’ll need Android 8.1 – or iOS 13 on an iPhone 6S and above – at a minimum. The required Facebook View app is pretty bare for the company behind Facebook and Instagram, with hardly any image editing capabilities, to the point where we wouldn’t really bother using them. It’s far simpler to share those images directly with a social media app, which will have better in-app editing software.


Walking around our neighborhood with the Ray-Ban Stories on a summer’s day offers no immediate problems. 

Taking photos or videos is as simple as pressing a button, though the Stories’ touch slider can be easily activated by accident when taking the glasses on and off – you know, with your hands? So expect the odd blurred photo in your phone’s image library, which the Stories will connect to over Bluetooth to maintain a steady stream of content as you go about your day.

Image capture is largely a breeze, though, while blur reduction during video recording is impressive, ensuring movement stays at a smooth 30 frames per second – a good thing, too, as the Stories would be destined for the dustbin otherwise.

The built-in audio can have some distortion, and doesn’t pack in a huge amount of detail – likely a mix of average driver detail and sound being lost to the air. But it feels like an appropriate tradeoff given how pleasurable it is to walk around with hands-free, and ears-free audio, keeping you aware of your surroundings.

Ray-Ban Stories: Verdict

We’d hope to see an improved app experience down the line, given the bare launch software, though issues are easily sidestepped by doing the bulk of image or video editing in other apps on your phone.

One important thing to consider, though, isn’t just the quality of the glasses, but privacy around the device. They could, in the wrong hands, act as discreet surveillance, and the indicator and startup sound activated during recording will be less noticeable in busy or loud environments. 

Privacy concerns run both ways too. The Facebook View app is, for some reason, permanently active on your phone, even after closing it; the company says it’s to monitor necessary Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and battery life data, though it’s worth asking whether you’re comfortable with that state of affairs.

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Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years on TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and theater enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. 

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Ray-Ban Stories Review: Get These Off My Face

review of rayban stories

Cameron Summerson is Review Geek's former Editor in Cheif and first started writing for LifeSavvy Media in 2016. Cam's been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. In 2021, Cam stepped away from Review Geek to join Esper as a managing Editor. Read more...

Ray-Ban Stories on a desk, books in the background

The Ray-Ban Stories, or “Facebook Glasses,” as many people will come to know them, are an interesting product: a pair of glasses that can play audio, take pictures, and shoot videos. It sounds cool in theory, but they’re of questionable usefulness, and Facebook’s involvement with them muddies the waters even more.

If you’re looking for the meat and potatoes on whether or not you should buy these, here it is: probably not. They’re not an awful product, but they also don’t make sense in most cases. The battery life is pretty bad, the charging situation is questionable, and capturing good images or videos is difficult. They’re also really tight on my absolutely normal human being sized head, yet they still tend to slide down my nose. Oh! And they’re not water resistant in any way.

In short: There’s a lot to dislike about these glasses and very little to appreciate.

Let’s talk about it.

What Are Ray-Ban Stories? The Cameras Aren't Great, and Framing Is Even Harder The Audio Is Good, but It Has Its Drawbacks But They're Good Sunglasses at Least, Right? Conclusion: Not Worth the Money

What Are Ray-Ban Stories?

The LED light beside the camera to indicate record or a photo

On the Surface, Stories look mostly like regular sunglasses. There are three styles available: Round, Meteor, and Ray-Ban’s most popular design, the Wayfarer. You can also get each pair in three different colors (olive, black, and blue), with clear or dark lenses.

There are a pair of 5MP cameras flanking each side, which can capture 2592×1944 images and 1184×1184 30fps video. Video is not only cropped to a square (with no option to change) but also limited to 30 seconds at a time.

Ray-Ban doesn’t explicitly state how much storage the Stories have, only that there’s enough for “up to 30 videos and 500 photos.” However, considering the crummy battery life, you’ll probably never be able to hit that in a single session anyway. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

There’s a small button on the right arm to activate the cameras—a single-press starts a video recording, while a three-second long-press will grab a picture. There’s also the option of setting up voice controls on the Stories in the companion smartphone app. Once enabled, you can say “Hey Facebook, take a picture” or “Hey Facebook, take a video,” and they’ll do the thing you said.

A small LED beside the right camera will light up under either circumstance as a visual indicator to people around, which is an attempt at “privacy.” It’s laughable how easy this would be to cover up, so it’s a half-assed attempt at best in my eyes.

There are down-firing speakers on the underside of each arm, too, so you can stream music from your phone. I was shocked at how good these sound, though it’s also weird because everyone around you can hear your tunes, too. Despite how good they sound (considering what they are, of course), I think bone conduction tech would’ve been a better choice here because it’s far more discreet.

To control music, there’s a touch panel on the right arm. You can play/pause, control tracks, and adjust the volume using taps, touches, and swipes. As you might expect, it’s finicky and a pain to use. Imagine that.

The glasses connect to your phone over Bluetooth and are managed using the Facebook View app (for Android and iOS ). The app is pretty limited, but it serves its purpose. This is where you can see the images and videos taken with the Stories, import them to your phone’s gallery, and set up voice recognition. Also, in case it’s not clear, a Facebook account is required to use Stories. They’re useless without it.

The Ray-Ban Stories case next to a regular glasses case

To charge the glasses, line up the pogo pins under the right arm and drop them in the case. Ray-Ban claims the glasses get around eight hours of battery life with mixed photo/video usage and three hours with music playing. The case will provide three full charges to the Stories. Because of that, it’s also huge—much bigger than most “normal” glasses cases.

While that all seems pretty straightforward, using Stories is a different experience altogether.

The Cameras Aren’t Great, and Framing Is Even Harder

Ray-Ban Stories on a desk in front of some books

Slapping a pair of cameras on your face seems like a cool idea for grabbing images and videos without using your hands, right? In theory, yes. In practice … nah. Because the cameras don’t see exactly what your eyes do, it’s nearly impossible to frame a good shot with the Stories—without any sort of viewfinder associated with the cameras, you have no way of really knowing what the cameras see.

I’m sure you could mentally adjust with enough time and motivation, but who wants to deal with that? Not this guy.

You end up with images and videos that are off-center, crooked, too low or high, or some combination of the above. In other words, these might be okay for grabbing images and videos in the moment, but don’t expect to get anything that you’d consider “good” from these.

A stone walkway in the woods

Even if you could get the framing right, the image quality also leaves a lot to be desired. The cameras are only 5MP, so you shouldn’t expect high-quality shots in the first place, but sometimes the results are just downright bad. Ray-Ban and Facebook advertise this is very active environments—skateboarding, riding bikes and motorcycling, doing backflips, and all other sorts of movement are all over the ads—but if you’re not totally still when taking a picture, you’ll end up with all sorts of ghosting and other artifacts. It sucks.

I also don’t understand the cropping choice here. Images use a typical landscape crop, while videos are limited to a square crop. Considering that the Stories are literally named after a feature found on Facebook and Instagram designed to be viewed in portrait mode, I don’t understand the landscape crop for images. Having both limited to a square crop would’ve made more sense to me, but whatever.

Speaking of videos, it’s more of the same issue here. The quality is decent, but again, it’s tough to get good framing. Take this video, for example. I was on my bike, riding in the drops. Using my magnificent human eyeballs, I could see the road, the landscape ahead, and the horizon. I thought it would make a great video clip … and this is what the Stories captured:

That’s just hot trash. There’s a chance it could’ve been because of my riding position, but this only furthers the point: The Stories don’t see what your eyes see, which leads to a mental disconnect when capturing images and videos.

The Audio Is Good, but It Has Its Drawbacks

One of the things I was looking forward to most with the Stories was an isolated audio experience. I wear bone conduction headphones and sunglasses almost everywhere I go, so the thought of bridging the gap into one product is exciting to me.

The speaker on the Stories

Unfortunately, that excitement was short-lived after I slapped the Stories on my head. The audio is good—much better than I expected—but unless you keep it turned very low, anyone near you can hear it. That’s just obnoxious. I love the music I listen to, but I don’t expect the dude beside me at Old Navy to want to listen to Lorna Shore while he’s shopping for new pants.

How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work, and Are They Right for You?

But they’re probably great on the bike, right? Kind of. They remind me a lot of my bone conduction headphones in use, and because I’m on the bike, it doesn’t matter how loud I turn them because the odds of someone else having to hear my music is low to non-existent.

I recently took them out on a 40-mile ride, which I expected to take a bit over two hours of moving time. Ray-Ban says the Stories should get three hours of music playback, so I expected to have plenty of juice. They died an hour and forty-five minutes into the ride. I’m glad I also wore my bone conduction headphones—you know, just in case.

But They’re Good Sunglasses at Least, Right?

Ray-Ban makes some of the most popular sunglasses on the market, so there’s no question that the company knows what it’s doing. Pair that with the fact that the Wayfarers are iconic, and at the very least, you should expect good sunglasses, right?

Kind of. Because they’re packed with tech, these are using a different design than normal sunglasses. One thing I found interesting, however, is that they’re only 5 grams heavier than regular Wayfarers. I imagine keeping the weight penalty to a minimum was paramount here, so kudos to Ray-Ban for delivering on that.

The arms on the Stories compared to similar, non-smart glasses

That said, they’re nowhere near as comfortable as other sunglasses that use this style. To be completely clear here, I’ve never owned or even worn regular Wayfarers. I have about eight pairs of similar sunglasses, though (made by Tifosi and Goodr), so I at least have something to compare to.

And compared to my Tifosi Swank and Goodr glasses, the Stories are dramatically less comfortable. The arms on the Stories are thick and very rigid, so they’re pretty tight on my head. I don’t have a large head by any measurement, but after about an hour, I have to take the Stories off to give my head and ears a “break.” Considering I sometimes wear sunglasses for four (or more) hours at a time, that’s no good.

Despite being tight on my head, they also don’t stay in place very well—especially if I’m sweating. They constantly slide down, and it drives me nuts. Again, this isn’t an issue I deal with from any of my other sunglasses.

Speaking of sweating, that’s another huge peeve I have with the Stories: They’re not water-resistant. Usually, people don’t wear sunglasses in the rain, which I get, but the appeal here is audio and pictures, which you might want if you get caught in the rain. If I’m out on the bike, for example, I don’t take my sunglasses off in the rain—nay, they serve as crucial eye protection. But if I get caught in the rain with the Stories on, I risk ruining them.

Just such a huge oversight, in my opinion.

Conclusion: Not Worth the Money

The Ray-Ban Stories on top of a stack of books

I wanted to find some redeeming qualities with the Stories, but honestly, I’m struggling. The cameras aren’t great, and it’s hard to get a well-framed shot—I’d rather pull my phone out to capture exactly what I want. The same goes for video.

The audio experience is okay, but it’s not discreet enough, and it absolutely crushes the battery. The touch controls also suck. The glasses are overly tight yet somehow still don’t stay in place.

And that goes without even taking into consideration the Facebook tie-in. When I first got these glasses and starting wearing them, I had a realization: I didn’t realize how much I don’t trust Facebook until I let it put a camera and microphone on my face. With the recent news highlighted how bad Facebook really is, it’s even more unsettling.

My advice? Avoid the Stories. For less money, you can get some regular Wayfarers and a set of bone conduction headphones . Sure, you won’t have cameras strapped to your face, but they’re borderline worthless anyway, so consider that a bonus. Just use your phone, you’ll be happier.

Here’s What We Like

And What We Don't

Cameron Summerson

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Ray-Ban Stories review

Lewis Painter

Expert's Rating

Our Verdict

Ray-Ban Stories won’t replace your camera or headphones, but they’re a great first step into the world of smart glasses; combining audio and camera tech into a single pair of stylish frames. They’re expensive and not for everyone, but the convenience (and the brand) will no doubt tempt some. 

Ray-Ban Stories are the result of a collaboration between the luxury sunglasses brand and social media giant Facebook, fusing that signature Ray-Ban look and feel with smart features, including dual cameras, headphone-free music playback and access to Facebook’s branded virtual assistant.

The question is, are they worth the £299/US$299 price tag, or is the tech yet to mature? I’ve been donning the Ray-Ban Stories for the past few weeks and here’s what I think. 

Design and features

Ray-Ban Stories are, essentially, a pair of Ray-Bans with slightly thicker arms than you might be used to and that’s pretty impressive considering the tech packed into the frames.

These smart glasses sport all the hallmarks of a pair of Ray-Bans, including the Ray-Ban signature and initialling on the arms and lenses, and it’s available in three distinct Ray-Ban designs too; Wayfarer, Round and Meteor. Combined with six colour options, as well as the option to select either clear or transition lenses (the latter at an additional £80/US$80), you can essentially style Ray-Ban Stories to your tastes and needs. 

Those who need glasses on a daily basis can opt to get prescription lenses fitted, but this has to be done via Ray-Ban, and it’ll cost you an additional £219/US$209 on top of the already-expensive £299/US$299 base price for the Stories. 

review of rayban stories

Where you’ll begin to notice differences in design is when it comes to the smarts, with Ray-Ban Stories sporting two 5Mp cameras on the left and right edges, along with a single button on the top of the right arm used for activating the camera. When you’re taking a photo or video, you’ll see a small white LED on the inside of the frames, just on the periphery of your vision, and there’s a second next to the camera to indicate recording status to those nearby too. 

Look more closely at those thick arms and you’ll likely notice micro speakers embedded into the bottom which play music, as well as various chimes indicating different actions, without the need for earbuds or headphones. 

You can control volume and playback via a series of taps and swipes via a touch-sensitive surface on the right arm of the Stories. The sensitivity of swipes to adjust volume can take some getting used to, but it’s a handy feature to have when listening to music on the go.

I just wish there was a sensor that detects when the glasses have been taken off and disables the touch panel; I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve accidentally started playing music, or adjusted the volume when the Stories have been in my hands and not on my face. 

review of rayban stories

Though practically unnoticeable, there’s also a three-microphone array that lets you take calls via the Stories and allows you to perform certain actions  – like taking a photo or recording a video – via Facebook Assistant. With a simple ‘Hey Facebook’ wake word, the Stories will chime and begin listening for your request.

The glasses pick up on the phrase most of the time, though it does struggle in loud environments, and it’ll action your request impressively quickly, even without an active internet connection.

There are only a handful of camera-related actions available right now, and it’s only available in English but that could expand in future. The only disappointment is that you can’t also access your phone’s virtual assistant via Ray-Ban Stories.

Ray-Ban Stories come in a leather-clad, Ray-Ban-branded hard carry case, that doubles up as a charging case, holding additional charges to keep the glasses powered for extended amounts of time; there’s also a soft pouch to store them in too. 

The tech inside Ray-Ban Stories – the dual 5Mp camera setup, in particular – is subtle and only really noticeable if you’re actively looking it. While that’ll be appreciated by those that want connected glasses that don’t look like wearable tech, this approach clearly raises privacy concerns.

review of rayban stories

Ray-Ban Stories feature a single white LED on the front – next to the lens – to indicate that you’re taking a photo or recording a video, but it’s easily missed, especially in bright environments. It relies on people understanding what the light means beforehand for a start and it’s so small that it’s easy to cover up if you were so inclined.

I’d prefer something more akin to Snapchat Spectacles, with a flashing LED ring that circles the camera when recording, making it unquestionably obvious that the camera is active. It’d not only make me feel more comfortable wearing them in public areas, but it’d help give those around me peace of mind that I’m not sneakily recording them.

Camera performance

Taking pictures and recording videos using Ray-Ban Stories is easy, though the slightly counterintuitive setup might take a bit of getting used to. Pressing the capture button on the right arm begins a 30-second video, while pressing and holding the button for a second or so will trigger a photo. Many would assume it’d be the other way around but it’s something you get used to within a few days of use.

You’ve also got the option to activate the camera using the Facebook Assistant. Just say “Hey Facebook, take a picture” or “Hey Facebook, record a video” and it’ll action that request almost immediately. 

review of rayban stories

Before I delve any deeper, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t expect the same quality of images as a high-end smartphone or digital camera. The dual cameras are only 5Mp, offering photo capture at a maximum 2592 x 1944, with a 105-degree field of view and video capture caps out at a square 1184 x 1184, at 30fps. There isn’t a way to adjust exposure settings or anything else either; it’s all handled on the fly by the glasses.  

With that being said, the camera performance on offer from Ray-Ban Stories is actually quite impressive. 

In ideal conditions (outdoor, in well-lit environments) the Stories take impressively sharp, crisp photos, with well-balanced colour and plenty of detail, for close enough objects, anyway. That’s where the limitation of the 5Mp sensors come into play, with far-away objects – like a city skyline – becoming difficult to make out, especially once zoomed in. Still, it’s good enough for posting on the likes of Facebook and Instagram; arguably the main environments the specs were designed for. 

Ray-Ban Stories camera test

Video is equally impressive in well-lit conditions – with decent exposure and colour balance – though there is a bit of a reduction in overall detail compared to still photos, likely due to the reduced resolution on offer. The electronic image stabilisation works hard too, steadying the shudder from steps as you walk, producing something relatively smooth and stable at out the other side. 

It has to be said that low-light performance isn’t quite as impressive, with noticeable levels of noise (especially in videos) but that’s to be expected with such small cameras. We’re only now getting to the point where smartphone cameras take decent night photos and we’ve had camera phones for 15+ years. 

So, how do you get the videos and photos captured on Ray-Ban Stories from the glasses and onto social media? It’s all handled by the dedicated Facebook View app for iOS and Android. Completely separate from the main Facebook app, Facebook View allows you to import recent captures via Wi-Fi Direct. You’ll get a preview thumbnail of all your new shots quickly but depending on how much there is to transfer, the process can take a few minutes.

From there, you can edit your content  – including cool parallax-esque effects made possible from the dual-camera setup – and save it to your phone’s photo library or simply upload it directly to social media. It’s worth pointing out that the content stays locally on your smartphone, with no data sent to Facebook’s servers in the process. 

Audio performance

The concept of smart glasses that play audio streamed from your smartphone isn’t new. There are already connected specs like Bose Frames and Fauna Audio Glasses , that focus on audio playback, though Ray-Ban Stories are one of few pairs of smart glasses that combine audio and camera tech into a single package.

And while these smart glasses suffer from many of the same issues as others in the same product category, the Stories actually sound pretty impressive. 

review of rayban stories

They sport stereo speakers set into the arms, designed to direct music downwards towards your ears; allowing you to listen to your favourite tunes or podcasts while still remaining fully aware of your environment. That means you can bop your head to a bit of Billie Eilish while chatting to a mate, or simply stay aware of your surroundings while getting directions when riding a bike. 

It’s an interesting experience hearing music without the need for headphones, especially if music is already playing on the Stories when you put them on. Going from no sound to the sound of music within a split second is quite impressive, especially without the traditional feel of headphones over your head or buds in your ears. The downside, of course, is that the outside world can be distracting at times, particularly on a busy city street during rush hour. 

It should go without saying that you’re not going to get the same audio quality as if you were donning the AirPods Max or Sony WH-1000XM4 but sound quality is more than enough for a casual listening experience. It’s crisp and surprisingly detailed in the mids and highs, though the severe lack of bass means it’s better suited to acoustic tracks and vocals than bass-heavy Dubstep tracks.

That’s not necessarily an issue specific to the Stories though; it’s a complaint of most audio glasses available right now. 

Another issue prevalent on most smart glasses is sound leakage – a given considering the micro-speaker nature of Ray-Ban Stories and co – though it’ll depend on your volume output. When at around 50% volume, you can listen to music or podcasts without those around you picking up on the sound but the open-ear nature of the glasses means you’ll often want to crank the volume up beyond the halfway point.

It’s when you do this that the sound leakage becomes apparent, especially at 100%, at which point output is clearly audible to everyone nearby. This essentially means you can’t use Ray-Ban Stories in quiet, enclosed spaces, without risk of annoying those around you. This shouldn’t be so much of a problem in larger outdoor spaces.  

review of rayban stories

Using the speakers in combination with the built-in mics, you can also use Ray-Ban Stories to take calls. With a double-tap of the right arm, you can answer calls via these smart specs, though I wouldn’t recommend it for anything longer than a brief chat.

The built-in microphones pick up a lot of environmental noise, which quickly becomes a problem in louder environments, not to mention incoming audio can intermittently cut out too. The latter is a particular surprise, considering there’s no such stutter when playing music, and it became so frustrating in testing that I simply gave up answering calls via the glasses, reverting back to either AirPods or holding the phone up to my ear.

So while the concept is great, the execution isn’t quite there yet. 

Battery life and charging

When it comes to battery life, Facebook claims that Ray-Ban Stories can last around six hours before needing a top-up via the carry case – which doubles as its charger. That’s not six hours of continuous use though; rather, that six hours is a combination of taking the occasional photo or video, and listening to music intermittently.

If you were to constantly record or listen to music, that quoted longevity can drop down quite substantially – the glasses dropped by around 50% after 90 minutes of music playback in my experience  – and the annoying part is that there’s no quick way to check current battery life. It’s only available in the top-right of the Facebook View app.  

review of rayban stories

The hard case features a contact charging point on the left, which when aligned with the contact charging point on the glasses, will begin charging. There are built-in magnets in both the case and glasses that make this process almost foolproof, and the flashing LED on the glasses lets you know once they’re being charged.

Facebook claims that the case has enough juice for three full charges of the glasses, but that’s a bit optimistic in my experience, with the LED on the front of the case flashing red (to indicate a dead battery) after two charges. The case charges fairly quickly via USB-C though, with a discreet port on the rear to receive charge. 

Here’s the hard part to swallow; Ray-Ban Stories start at £299/US$299, the price jumps up to £379/US$379 if you want transition lenses and a whopping £519/US$509 if you need prescription lenses.

That’s undoubtedly expensive for a tech product that won’t effectively replace your headphones or camera, but given the fact that Ray-Ban sunglasses come at a premium anyway, half the price is likely down to the branding. If you like Ray-Bans in general and want to experience the extra functionality of connected glasses like these, then Stories might be a great addition to your collection, but they’re certainly not for everyone.

If you are tempted, you can buy the Ray-Ban Stories via the Ray-Ban Store in the UK and the US right now, along with retailers including John Lewis and Sunglass Hut in the UK, and Best Buy in the US. 

Ray-Ban Stories aren’t the perfect smart glasses but given that we’re so early into the development of connected specs in general, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the first to combine audio and camera functionality into a single pair of glasses, making them among the most capable connected eyewear available right now, and I imagine that progression will only continue over the next few years. 

Stories look like a pair of traditional Ray-Bans – rather than some experimental tech crossover product – with a lightweight form factor and comfortable feel on the face. The dual 5Mp cameras take great photos and videos – given the hardware on offer – and although there’s a lack of bass on the audio front, these are still great for listening to podcasts or acoustic-focused tunes on the go, without the need for headphones. 

The quality on offer isn’t quite good enough to ditch your dedicated camera and headphones, but if you like the idea of having easy access to those features, and you like sunglasses with that iconic Ray-Ban style, the Stories are a great step into the world of smart glasses. 

Ray-Ban Stories: Specs

Author: Lewis Painter , Senior Staff Writer

review of rayban stories

Lewis Painter is a Senior Staff Writer at Tech Advisor. Our resident Apple expert, Lewis covers everything from iPhone to AirPods, plus a range of smartphones, tablets, laptops and gaming hardware. You'll also find him on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.

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Ray-Ban Stories: Features, pros and cons

By Autumn Sprabary

Key points:

A Facebook account is required to set up your Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses . Other than that, the social media platform seems to have little influence on the smart glasses.

You have the ability to take pictures and videos by clicking a button on the side of the frames. You can also manage audio and phone calls by tapping or sliding along the frame arms.

Ray-Ban Stories are a stylish and cool gadget to own, but are not a practical replacement for your daily prescription glasses.

First impressions

Packaging for Ray-Ban Stories is what you’d expect for any Ray-Ban product: Classic, sleek and high-quality. The shrink-wrapped outer box indicates which product you ordered — I got the Round frames in Olive. 

Ray-Ban Stories packaging

Once you open that box, you have another box that holds the Ray-Ban Stories case, pouch and charging cord. The inside of the case is molded to hold the frames snuggly, and doubles as a charging base for the glasses. So, rather than plugging the glasses into a charger, you plug in the case, which charges the glasses when they’re inside.

Ray-Ban Stories case with charging capabilities

To set up your Ray-Ban Stories, you must first download the View app, which is where the photos and videos you take with the glasses are stored. In the app, you’re required to log in to a Facebook account. I wasn’t too thrilled about this, as I’m not very active on Facebook. I didn’t want every picture or update I had with the glasses to be broadcast on my Facebook page.

Fortunately, logging in to Facebook once during the initial setup was the only time I saw anything related to the social media platform. They don’t pressure you to post things or send unwanted notifications, which was a welcomed surprise.

Once you’re logged in to Facebook, the app provides a helpful step-by-step guide for connecting the glasses to your phone. 


Stylish, durable packaging

Step-by-step setup instructions

Minimal involvement from Facebook

As far as I could tell, none of the excessive packaging used was sustainably made . I would really love to see a push from Ray-Ban to have the shrinkwrap, boxes, pouches and inserts made from recycled goods. Otherwise, the excess seems wasteful.

A Facebook account is required to use the product.

SEE RELATED: Guide to purchasing Ray-Ban prescription glasses

Lens and frame design and fit

Ray-ban stories frames.

One of the great features of Ray-Ban Stories is that their tech features are very discreet. Though there are cameras at the top corners of the frames, they’re small enough to go unnoticed unless someone is looking for them. 

The audio speakers are sneakily built into the arms of the frames, which makes it easy to listen to music without having earbuds in. On the right temple of the frames is a small button that is used to take pictures or videos. It’s all very sleek and well-hidden, which is nice for people who don’t want their tech glasses to be obvious.

They have the same design as your average pair of Ray-Ban acetate frames, which Ray-Ban enthusiasts will enjoy. I found the frames a little too thick and heavy for my taste, and felt they were awfully narrow for being a gender-neutral product. 

Me trying on Ray-Ban Stories with clear lenses

To be fair, genetics gave me a larger-than-average head (thanks, Dad!) but I’m also a fairly small human. I can’t imagine these frames fitting comfortably on a 6-foot-4-inch man who weighs 270 pounds. Normally Ray-Ban allows you to choose your size of frames, but for Ray-Ban Stories, “standard” was the only size available.

Before purchasing Ray-Ban Stories, compare the frame dimensions with a pair of frames that fit you comfortably. Dimensions for the pair I got are 48-21-150 with a lens height of 45.4 millimeters.

I opted for Transitions lenses because I wanted to be able to use the Ray-Ban Stories technology inside and out. Transitions lenses get a bad rap because in the early days, lenses took a long time to clear up, so you’d be stuck with an awkward tint on your lenses after getting back inside.

I didn’t experience that with these. In fact, I was impressed with how quickly they cleared. Now, don’t get me wrong; the change is not immediate, but it’s pretty darn quick. 

I wore these on the golf course with my boyfriend. Halfway through the round, we stopped at the pro shop to get drinks and use the restroom. By the time I walked into the pro shop and got to the restrooms (approximately 45 seconds), the lenses were almost completely clear.

Though it is an additional cost to have Transitions lenses, I believe it’s worth it if you’re going to invest in Ray-Ban Stories anyway. Doing so allows you to use the perks of the glasses both indoors and outdoors.

Ray-Ban Stories when lenses are tinted for UV protection

I didn’t have my prescription added to the lenses, as my prescription isn’t very strong and I didn’t intend to wear these glasses all the time. The Ray-Ban website lists the lenses as Class 3, which means they’re fit for strong sunlight and offer UV protection , due to the Transitions ability.

When the lenses are clear, the reflective glare is … not great. It took forever to get a picture of me wearing the clear lenses because it was nearly impossible to avoid severe glare. You can see there’s still light reflecting off the lenses, though I was able to minimize it.

Perhaps if you have a prescription added, Ray-Ban will throw in an anti-reflective lens coating , but I was unable to find confirmation of this on the website. 

Sleek, stylish frames with discrete functions

Three frame styles with several lens and color options

Transitions lenses make the product more versatile

Frame size limited to “standard” only

Serious glare when lenses are clear

SEE RELATED: Ray-Ban Aviator, Clubmaster and Wayfarer sunglasses

Picture and video abilities

Taking pictures with ray-ban stories.

Photograph taken with Ray-Ban Stories in daylight

Photograph taken with Ray-Ban Stories in low light

Ray-Ban Stories have a 5-million-pixel camera located at each corner of the frames, making a total of two cameras. This gives the images taken a panorama-like view that mimics what the eyes naturally see. To take pictures, press a small button on the right-side frame arm and hold it there for a couple seconds. You will hear the shutter of a camera, which lets you know the image has been captured.

Photo resolution is 2592x1944 pixels. This is actually higher than the resolution offered by the iPhone 12 (2532x1170 pixels).

While the image resolution is better on paper, the Ray-Ban Stories cameras don’t perform as well in low-light conditions as an iPhone camera does. On the golf course, where lighting is optimal, the pictures and videos taken look great. 

However, if you look further down, you’ll see a picture I took in my office with dim lighting. The shelves in the picture were less than 10 feet from me, but it’s difficult to make out any of the signage or book titles that are on them.

Along with capturing images, Ray-Ban Stories allow you to record videos up to 30 seconds long. To do this, click the same button you would to take a picture, except without holding it down. You’ll hear a beep noise that indicates the video recording has started. When you’re done recording, press the button again and you’ll hear three beeps to let you know recording has stopped. If you don’t press the button to end the recording, it will automatically stop after 30 seconds.

The video quality for Ray-Ban Stories is 1184 pixels at 30 frames per second. The iPhone 12 offers 1080 pixels at 25, 30 or 60 frames per second.

Wearing Ray-Ban Stories to tee off during a round of golf.

The video feature can come in handy, especially when playing sports. It can help athletes look back and relive a particular moment, so they know what went wrong or right. I had my boyfriend wear the glasses to hit a few golf balls (mainly because I was too embarrassed to submit a video of my horrible golf skills to my employer). 

In the video, you can see if he keeps his head still in his back swing, or if he picks his head up too early on the down swing. These small things can have a big effect on a golfer’s game. If the golfer can go back and review where they went wrong, it can help them improve in the future. I imagine this could be applied to other sports as well.

Just as with still images, video quality in bright daylight has better resolution than when recording in low-light conditions. 

All pictures and videos taken with the glasses are automatically stored in the View app. You have to manually go in and save selected items to your phone’s photo library.

Voice commands

If you enable voice commands on your Ray-Ban Stories, you can say, “Hey Facebook, take a picture” or “record a video” rather than using the button to trigger the camera. I personally find the voice command feature to be pretty useless; I can’t imagine a situation where saying, “Hey Facebook, take a picture” is faster or more discreet than simply pressing a button next to your face.

The only benefit I can see from the voice command options is to allow accessibility for those who are physically (or situationally) unable to click the button on the frames. If this is the case, I applaud Ray-Ban for their inclusivity; however, I personally have no use for the feature.

High-quality pictures and videos in daylight

Hands-free recording allows you to capture an event through your eyes

Easy-to-use function

Allows quick capture of fleeting moments

Photo resolution isn’t great in low-light conditions

SEE RELATED: Spy glasses: All you need to know

The audio feature is probably my favorite part of these smart glasses. Ray-Ban built little open-ear speakers into the arms of the glasses, positioned right above your ears. The speakers are definitely loud enough for you to hear without totally blocking outside sound. Better yet, the design ensures that you can enjoy what you’re listening to without bothering the people around you.

Audio is nearly silent at a distance, and at regular volume when worn.

All audio functions can be controlled from the arm of your frames. Tap once to pause or play, double-tap to skip forward, and triple-tap to skip backward. You can also control volume by sliding your finger along the frame arm.

For phone calls, double-tap to accept and end a call. To reject a call, hold your finger against the frame arm.

Discreet speaker placement 

Speakers produce high-quality audio

Ability to control music and phone calls without digging your phone from your handbag or pocket

Final thoughts

Going into this, I was worried that testing and reviewing these glasses would be a chore. I’m not the most tech-savvy gal, and I don’t have much patience when dealing with new gadgets. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy these smart glasses were to navigate.

When using Ray-Ban Stories, make sure they’re connected to the View app and your phone’s bluetooth. There were several times where it would show that the glasses were connected to bluetooth and would play music from my phone, but would not store photos or videos in the View app, because it wasn’t connected to it at the same time.

I came across another snag when trying to switch users. Ray-Ban Stories are extremely “loyal” to the first phone they’re hooked up to, and do not like switching. To connect to a different phone, you basically have to restore the glasses to their factory settings, removing all traces of the first phone so you can start over with the new one. Frankly, it’s more pain than it’s worth.

Overall, I think Ray-Ban Stories are a good product and believe they would be really valuable to the right person. However, if taking photos and videos isn’t an integral part of your everyday life, you may not get as much use out of these glasses as you hope or expect.

While you have the option to get your prescription added to the lenses, I don’t know if it’s worth the additional cost. Ray-Ban Stories are handy for when you attend a concert or sporting event, but I would not recommend them to replace regular prescription glasses .

READ MORE: Smart glasses: How they work and what’s next

US: iPhone® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

Outside US: iPhone® is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions.

Page published on Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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review of rayban stories

Ray-Ban Stories Review: Fashionable First-Person Storytelling — But Are They Worth the Price?

By John Velasco

John Velasco

Tech Editor

Ray Ban Stories Review Featured

Table of Contents

Ask anyone what smart sunglasses are and I can guarantee you that you’ll hear a broad set of answers. Likewise, it seems that every brand has its own interpretation. However, If there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that few brands manage to combine smart functions with a design that doesn’t make it look like you’re wearing a piece of tech on your face.

That’s where the Ray-Ban Stories chime in at just the right moment. They’re the result of a collaboration between social media stalwart Facebook and longtime sunglasses maker Ray-Ban. Strapped with a pair of cameras, a couple of speakers, and a few microphones wrapped into Ray-Ban’s iconic design, these smart glasses are prime for summer weather.

More importantly, though, are we ready for them? Below, you’ll find our Ray-Ban Stories review so you can decide whether or not this pair of smart glasses is worth your change ahead of what is sure to be a fun summer.

Ray-Ban Stories

$299.00 $299.00, specifications.

Included in the box

Setup and Installation

Out of the box, the Ray-Ban Stories had enough of a charge to connect to my phone for setup. There’s a switch on the inside of the left arm used to put it into Bluetooth pairing mode, after pressing, the glasses quickly connected to my iPhone SE (2020) .

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After a few prompts, adding my Facebook account details and more on-screen instructions, the Ray-Ban Stories were finally ready for action. Besides getting my Facebook account, I would say that the process is almost similar to any Bluetooth device I’ve used.

Finally, I’ve come across a pair of smart sunglasses that look and feel like an ordinary pair of the best men’s sunglasses . Sure, the arms may be a bit thicker than your traditional pair of Wayfarers, but this pair still remains as fashionable as ever.

Ray-Ban does offer the Stories in three styles: Round, Meteor and your traditional Wayfarer. They come in two sizes with the Wayfarer, but only one for the other two styles. I will say that it would probably be a good idea to try them out in person before buying because the last thing you need is a pair that doesn’t fit right on your face if you choose to buy it online.

While it captures the iconic style that I’m familiar with, it only draws attention upon closer inspection because of the dual cameras on the ends of the arms. For the most part, people don’t notice it unless they get close to me, but there’s one particular characteristic I’ll touch on later that’s impossible to overlook. The only concern I have about the design is that the hinge doesn’t have springs to hyperextend the arms a bit, so I’m curious to see how it holds up long term.

There’s no denying that I love the design, but there are three other important things to remember. One, these do not have a water-resistant design, which means recording video in the rain or your splish-splash activities is totally out of the question. Secondly, I really wish they had an automatic turn-off feature because having to remember to switch it off manually is a pain. And lastly, you’ll need to pay extra for a pair with polarized lenses .

Camera Performance

The dual 5-megapixel cameras can take photos in 2592 x 1944 resolution, or video in 1184 x 1184 resolution at 30 fps. I was a bit surprised by the wide-angle coverage with snapshots, which is done by pressing and holding down the button on the arm. However, I was hoping for a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio with video recording. Instead, it’s at the narrower 1:1 aspect ratio.

In terms of quality, Ray-Ban Stories definitely can’t replace my smartphone, especially when they struggle under low light. There are a lot of artifacting elements in the shadows. When the conditions are ideal, however, the results are passable for a pair of sunglasses.

Even though it’s not my first preference for capturing memories, I appreciate their ability to come in handy for those candid moments when I don’t have the time to whip out my phone. The first-person perspective does add a storytelling quality, even though recordings max out at 30 seconds.

Audio Quality

Much like other smart sunglasses I’ve tested, the Ray-Ban Stories connect to your mobile device and effectively act as yet another pair of headphones . The open-air design allowed me to listen to music, while still having enough awareness around me — which is the beauty of open-air designs in general.

The quality surprised me because there was a fair amount of depth with the audio, complemented nicely by enough bass to accompany the mids and highs. Its quality is better than most other sunglasses I’ve tested, but I would say the Soundcore Frames still reign supreme in this area. Navigation is all done through the touch-sensitive area on the right arm, so in that regard, I was happy to keep my phone in my pocket.

I was also equally impressed by how well the Ray-Ban Stories work for phone calls, producing clear voices that made it easy to conduct conversations. You’ll definitely draw some attention doing this, though.

Battery Life

Ray-Ban rates the battery life at about six hours with moderate use, with an additional three charges using the included charging case. I spent an entire afternoon with them on shooting video every now and then, so I was satisfied that it still held a charge throughout it. I just wish there was a separate travel-friendly charging adapter besides throwing it into the case to charge it.

Privacy Features

Facebook’s reputation around privacy may not be the best, but aside from requiring a Facebook account to set up the Ray-Ban Stories, there wasn’t much to tie it to the social media network. Videos and photos captured aren’t automatically shared on your Facebook but are instead saved to its internal memory — which then can be downloaded wirelessly to your mobile device for sharing.

There’s also the integrated Facebook Assistant for a hands-free experience, like being able to start and end recordings. I honestly didn’t have much use for it, but it’s there if you really need it.

Depending on how you feel about cameras in general, you’ll either appreciate or be annoyed by the LED light perched near the cameras. It’s there obviously to notify myself and others that a recording is happening. It’s really tough to see in the daylight, but it’s more than visible at night. There’s no way of turning them off either, which is more related to respecting the privacy of others.

Our Verdict

So how did we feel after our Ray-Ban Stories review? I love storytelling, and even though the Ray-Ban Stories don’t have the best video or image quality, it’s hard to overlook the convenience and unique first-person perspective they offer. They’re a pricer pair of ‘smart’ sunglasses, but they’re one of the few on the market right now with a camera and charming design wrapped into one.

So Should You Buy it?

Yes, mainly for the iconic design and the fact that they’re one of the few that offer on-the-spot convenience of capturing memories.

Score : 8/10

How Long Will They Last?

There’s certainly more substance to their design, so I’m confident they’ll hold up for a good while. Included with the purchase is a one-year limited warranty that covers defects.

What Are Some of the Alternatives?

If you do your research, you’ll find a handful of smart sunglasses with built-in cameras, but the vast majority lack approachable designs that are as good as the Ray-Ban Stories. If you don’t need a camera, here are some of the best alternatives.

Soundcore Frames

With its interchangeable design and incredible audio quality, the Soundcore Frames offer users plenty of variety.

Read more : Soundcore Frames Review

Ampere Dusk

When you need the right amount of shade, the Ampere Dusk are the only ones that offer users adjustability in how much light to let in because they’re the world’s first electrochromic smart sunglasses.

Ampere Disk

$295.00 $295.00, bose frames.

Bose’s audio expertise is highlighted by its pair of smart sunglasses, the Bose Frames, which also have an IPX2 rating for water resistance.

Wave Goodbye to Monthly Fees — Here Are the Top Security Cameras That Don’t Require a Subscription


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Ray-Ban Stories Smart Sunglasses Review: All-Seeing Eyes

Ray-Ban style, Facebook tech

By Mike Epstein | Updated Oct 29, 2021 12:36 PM EDT

Ray-Ban Stories Review

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If you’ve ever wondered whether you really care about digital privacy, try wearing a Facebook camera on your face. Ray-Ban Stories , a design collaboration between Facebook and Ray-Ban parent company EssilorLuxottica, are smart sunglasses with speakers and cameras, which can serve as a casual substitute for your headphones or a phone camera. They take fun, casual first-person photos and 30 second video clips with quick tap of a button or vocal command. Aside from some battery life issues, they’re a fun, casual gadget: It can’t replace your phone’s camera or a great pair of Bluetooth headphones , but if your expectations for sound and visual quality are in check, it’s a neat little toy.

But Facebook’s presence looms large over the Stories and how you use them. The social media giant doesn’t use the glasses to funnel you onto its platform, but you do need a Facebook account to use them, and Facebook collects data from the glasses. Depending on your point of view, you can interpret this as a reluctant acceptance that photographers don’t take photos exclusively for Facebook or Instagram… Or an insidious attempt to get more data from its users by giving them ways to interact with Facebook outside the app.

That dynamic will almost certainly color (or shade) the experience, making an item that’s supposed to be effortless and care-free into a philosophical puzzle box. Once you get past that, if you get past it, Stories do start to feel like what they’re intended to be–a well-made tech trifle.

A man wearing Ray-Ban stories sunglasses in a garden

Mike Epstein

What are smart glasses?

The phrase “smart glasses” means a lot of different things right now. To many people it seems like the phrase still evokes AR-enabled glasses that allow you to access the internet without looking at a screen a la Google Glass . In practice, I’ve seen the phrase attached to devices like Razer’s Anzu glasses and Bose Frames , which are basically just sunglasses with speakers in them. Ray-Ban Stories falls somewhere in the middle, most closely aligned with the once-viral Snapchat Spectacles. 

In this case, the word “smart” translates to a convenient quick shot camera and personal audio. The Stories have two 5-megapixel cameras, one on each side of the frame, which allow you to take photos and short video clips, up to 30 seconds. Like the Razer and Bose glasses, they also have “micro” speakers in the temples, which line up right in front of your ears, through which you can listen to music and take phone calls. There’s more to it, which we’ll get into, but the Stories have a fairly narrow, convenience-first mandate. Effectively, they exist to offload some key features from your phone into a less distracting form factor.

Do they look like normal sunglasses?

Ray-Ban Stories look and feel almost identical to a normal pair of sunglasses. For the sake of style, my smartened pair of black Wayfarers look just like my classic pair of black Wayfarers. The only differences people may notice are the circular camera lenses in the corners of the frames, which replace the Wayfarers’ distinctive studs.

Ray-Ban Stories next to Ray-Ban Wayfarer glasses.

It’s worth pointing out that, while we were sent this one style, Ray-Bans makes Stories versions of three of its frames, Wayfarer , Round , and Meteor , each of which costs $299, and comes in multiple colors. Ray-Ban also offers more expensive versions with specialty lenses, including polarized, transitions, and prescription options.

How do Ray-Ban Stories work?

On closer inspection, there are a few other differences, which primarily affect the wearer. Like other smart glasses, the temples – the sides of the glasses that rest on your ears – are larger and thicker than a normal pair of glasses. (For people with big heads, like me, they can feel tight the first few times you put them on, but that subsides over time). They’re bigger to accommodate all the tech inside, like the speakers, which you can see if you look closely at the back of the stems, where they curve to fit your ears.

The temples are also thicker because they house gesture-based touch controls. You can play or pause music by tapping the side of the frame, raise/lower volume by sliding your finger along them, or answer your phone by double-tapping the side of the frame when you have someone calling. The touch controls aren’t perfect–you need to hit a fairly specific spot on your temple to activate them–but they’re far less finicky than similar controls on other glasses.

Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses

You have two choices for operating the camera. First, there’s a button on top of the right temple, which you can tap to start a video or hold to take a photo. The button is both perfectly and problematically placed, because it’s exactly where I put my finger when I go to adjust or remove my glasses. When I go to record, it feels very natural to raise my hand and press the button. When I go to put the glasses on or take them off, though, there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll accidentally start recording a video. (Pro tip: If you’re listening to a podcast, and it stops playing, you may be recording a video!)

What is the “Facebook Assistant”?

You can also take photos and record video clips using vocal commands through Facebook Assistant by saying “Hey Facebook,” then a command. The “Facebook Assistant” feels somewhat forced here: It is only used to record photos and videos and feels like an attempt to prevent people from completely forgetting that this is, in part, a Facebook device. 

Walking around in my suburban home town, New York City, and an apple orchard in upstate New York, the only time anyone noticed or cared that I was recording photos was when I said, “hey Facebook.” I’d say it was because I drew their attention to the fact that I was taking a photo, but in a couple of cases I said, “I’m going to take a photo” out loud before using the wake word. Something about the word “Facebook” makes people prick up and pay attention.

Their concern isn’t entirely unwarranted, either. Facebook records and collects audio recordings every time you use Facebook Assistant. You can, however, tell Facebook View not to send the recordings and delete the local files, though. Other people have less to worry about from this particular aspect of Stories: The three microphone array focuses primarily on the user’s voice. Some ambient noise comes through, but it isn’t exactly enough to turn you into an inadvertent spy. The fact that it gives people pause, though, is reason enough to be mindful of where and how you use it.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about privacy

Though Facebook Assistant listening in isn’t something to worry about, Ray-Ban Stories has a lot of people concerned about privacy. Once the purview of spy stories like James Bond and Mission Impossible, glasses with cameras on them are inherently discrete. That makes them look stylish, but it also means that the people around you when you take photos and video may not be aware that they’re being recorded.

Ray-Ban Stories have some measures to ensure that you cannot record people secretly. When you take a photo or record footage, a bright white LED light turns on next to the camera lens on the subject’s left. As many people (and multiple European privacy watchdogs ) have pointed out, you can theoretically cover that light, making it possible to record in relative secrecy. More importantly, in my own testing, I found that you can very easily take photos without people noticing. People rarely noticed the light that I was taking a picture with them in, unless I was staring directly at them or getting close to line up a shot.

A camera lens and light embedded in the Ray-Ban Stories sunglasses.

Facebook and EssilorLuxottica have released privacy guidelines for how to use Ray-Ban Stories, making it clear that they should not be used to infringe on privacy or otherwise offend, though it is ultimately left up to the user to be a responsible photographer. As the MIT Technology Review points out, that kind of trust is naive at best, and insidious at worst.

In my mind, the issues around ethics and public photography are, frankly, not any different here than they are with any personal camera. There is a larger conversation to be had about smart cameras and privacy, but Ray-Ban Stories are a minor point in that debate until they achieve wide adoption compared to smart doorbell cameras, drones, and surveillance equipment that is more popular, more invasive , and more consequential . That said, people don’t like to “discover” they’re being recorded, so you need to be more careful about who and where and what you shoot when using Ray-Ban Stories. As such, I wouldn’t recommend buying them for kids, especially teens.

What’s it like taking photos?

A car of empty seats inside a commuter train.

Shooting photos and videos with Facebook Stories feels very different from taking photos with your phone or a DSLR camera. The glasses are meant for taking quick snapshots of what you’re looking at. There’s no viewfinder or way to preview your shots, so you need to “frame” your shots with your head and keep in mind that the camera’s field of view is different from yours. What the camera sees and what you see aren’t identical, though, so it does take a little practice to take good photos.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the 5MP cameras on Stories are far less precise than the camera in your pocket, especially if you have an iPhone, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy phone. The photos look sharp, but don’t have the same incredible detail of modern phone cameras, and are very susceptible to color balance issues from indoor lighting.It is not a tool for artistic or technical photography, it’s a means of catching something when you want a photo, but don’t want to spend time “taking a photo.” 

A woman apple picking, wearing Ray-Ban smart glasses.

With time and effort, you can get better at taking photos with the Stories, of course. In general, I found that I had to get much closer than I usually would, even with a standard camera, and keep in mind that the camera will not include anything in my peripheral vision. After a week of fairly determined trial and error, I found that I could compose a solid photo without thinking about it too much. Again, though, expectations are a big factor here. Stories can absolutely handle taking commemorative photos of a person next to a sign or in front of a thing. They’re great if you just want a photo of a person in the moment. But if you care about anything more than getting your friends and family in the center of the photo, Stories (and, frankly, all smart glasses) will disappoint.

Tell me more about the Facebook View app

Facebook View is the simple dedicated app for downloading, storing, and editing photos and videos from Ray-Ban Stories. When you take photos and videos using the glasses, the image and video files are stored in its internal storage. To get them on your phone so you can see and share them, you have to use the transfer button in View, which creates a private network to send over the data. The drive isn’t huge, it can store up to 50 30-second video clips or upwards of 500 photos, but that’s more than enough room to handle a day’s worth of photos and videos without a transfer.

A selection of photos taken by the Facebook and Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Technically, that’s all you have to do in View. You can set the app so it automatically copies all of your photos and videos to your phone’s photo library. That said, you can’t transfer the data without the app or avoid sending your photos there, so Facebook has access to everything you take with Ray-Ban Stories, whether you post it or not. However, the company says it will not access the actual photos and videos without your permission, or use the data obtained from Stories for personalized ads.

If you choose, you can use the app like a secondary camera roll. You can edit photos, create video “montages” by splicing together multiple clips, and add animated effects to static photos. Montages and “flashback photos,” as Facebook calls them, are interesting alternatives to the usual visual effects in photos and other apps, though they require a certain amount of effort that runs counter to the casual nature of the device. If I wanted to record video clips and make a montage, I’d rather use my phone.

Is there a way to cut Facebook out of the process? Can’t I just use my Photos app?

You have to be logged into Facebook View with a Facebook account to use Ray-Ban Stories’ cameras. When you take photos and videos using Ray-Ban Stories, the image and video files are stored in onboard storage in the glasses. Facebook View’s transfer button, which creates a private network, is the only way to transfer your photos. To use Facebook View, you must have a Facebook account.

Technically you can use the audio functionality of Ray-Ban Stories without Facebook View. The speakers and microphone connect to your phone via Bluetooth, not the app, so you can pair the glasses using your phone’s Bluetooth settings. Stories teaches you how to pair the glasses through the app, though, so you’d be hard-pressed to do it without connecting to Facebook at least once. (And, frankly, if you’re going to go to these lengths to avoid Facebook, you should just buy a different pair of smart glasses).

Ultimately, the best way to use Ray-Ban Stories without connecting to Facebook is to turn them off and wear them as simple sunglasses.

What’s it like listening to music?

Despite the fact that I can be a snob about audio quality, I genuinely love the experience of listening to music with smart glasses. The little speakers give you a decent personal listening experience without putting anything on or in your ears that generally doesn’t seem to bother strangers when you use them in public. There is something freeing about just walking around, listening to whatever you’re listening to, without isolating yourself from the world with headphones.

From a quality perspective, I would describe Ray-Ban Stories as “fine.” Listening to podcasts and on call, voices are clean and clear. With music, I found that music that was supposed to be playing softly or in the background was often inaudible, so you aren’t getting the full experience. 

Man in green hoodie wearing Ray-Ban  Stories sunglasses.

This is doubly true when you factor in that you should not be listening to Stories at full volume: Aside from the fact that they can disturb nearby people at full blast, I found the pounding of the speakers directly into your ears is more likely to give me a headache. 

How do you pair Ray-Ban Stories?

If you look inside the glasses, behind the lenses, you will find a small power switch near the left hinge. You can pair the glasses via Bluetooth by holding the power switch in the on position until a small light on the inside of the right frame starts flashing, then releasing it. To fully pair the glasses, you will need to follow and complete the process in the app.

How do Ray-Ban Stories charge? How long does the battery last?

According to Ray-Ban, Facebook Stories lasts through up to six hours of “moderate” use. That bore out in my camera testing, but when I used them instead of headphones on a day-long work trip, they only managed about four hours of near-continuous audio use. It’s not a lot of time, especially if you use them in place of headphones, but I only found it to be a problem when I was out of the house all day. 

There is a silver lining, though. You charge the glasses through a hard-shell sunglasses case, which also serves as a wireless charging dock and an extended battery. When fully charged, the case can store enough juice to recharge the glasses three times over. That doesn’t fully make up for the short battery life, as you’ll need to take them off to charge, but it gives you the option to stretch the glasses’ power out over the span of a day if you remember to keep the case handy.

Final thoughts on Ray-Ban Stories

Ray-Ban Stories folded in a hard case

A lot of times when i review “fun” tech, it can be difficult to account for the casual nature with which these devices are meant to be used. Ray-Ban Stories cannot compete with your camera or your headphones, so any technical breakdown of their capabilities has to come with a lot of caveats. At the same time, it is completely unreasonable to compare them to gear that’s made for a more specific purpose. Ray-Ban Stories are plain ol’ casual fun. They work well when that’s the purpose. That means they cannot replace other devices. They can only do their own thing. I think they handle the audio side of things as well as the other smart glasses that I’ve tried, though the battery life feels somewhat weak, even by smart glasses standards.

The cameras, and the privacy concerns that come with them, are another story. Let’s not sugarcoat it: Ray-Ban Stories would be a better product if they weren’t directly tied to Facebook, or any other content platform. Even indirectly, it raises privacy concerns about who can see what photos and videos you’ve taken. Then there are the privacy concerns of the people around you, and the troubled water around when it is and isn’t appropriate to a camera people may not be aware of.

Despite all that, I do think it is possible to enjoy Ray-Ban Stories easily and responsibly. Its limited use-case as a camera steers you toward content that you’d likely share: Photos of friends and family, and landscapes, and other quick, storable memories. If the erosion of digital privacy doesn’t already scare you, I find it hard to say that this should be the thing to make you change your mind.

Mike Epstein

As Reviews Editor, Mike Epstein helps shape Popular Science’s gear-focused coverage, including product reviews and roundups. He’s covered the consumer technology and video games industry for over ten years, writing reviews and service-focused articles for sites like IGN, Gamespot, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, PCMag, LaptopMag, Variety, and more.

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Ray-Ban Stories review: Now this is how you make smart glasses

Even if you hate Meta, you have to give it credit for making the most stylish and feature-packed smart glasses currently available.

Ian Carlos Campbell wearing the Ray-Ban Stories in black

Meta did it: Ray-Ban Stories are the best smart glasses you can buy in 2022.

Regardless of how you feel about Meta and its goal of building “the metaverse,” the company has proven itself to be deeply committed to making augmented reality and virtual reality hardware accessible. Mark Zuckerberg has opined on many occasions that the Quest 2 , new $1,500 Quest Pro , and Ray-Ban Stories form factors are merely stepping stones to a pair of AR/VR smart glasses that converge mixed reality technology with the compactness of glasses.

Ray-Ban Stories are the best smart glasses, not because of their price ($299 is on the pricey side compared to regular $163 Wayfarer sunglasses) and not because they do any XR (they don't). The two cameras also open up privacy questions that the average glasses wearer never has to think about. No, Ray-Ban Stories are the best smart glasses because they're easy to understand (there are buttons); they look familiar, thanks to a partnership with EssilorLuxottica; and they are actually fun to use throughout the day.

If you can set aside the price and the camera privacy concerns, the Ray-Ban Stories are the most polished take on a stylish and tech-packed gadget for your face, and maybe what your first (or next) pair of smart glasses could look like.

Inverse may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

The Ray-Ban Stories

Co-developed with Meta, the Stories smart glasses have two-cameras for shooting photos and videos, and speakers for open-ear audio.

A side profile of Ian Carlos Campbell wearing the Ray-Ban Stories in black

The Ray-Ban Stories look just like their namesake.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ray-Ban made a pair of Ray-Ban smart glasses. EssilorLuxottica, the owner of Ray-Ban, is a gigantic eyewear and eyecare company but the Ray-Ban brand is probably its most iconic, thanks in part to their distinct frame shapes and ever-growing list of celebrities that wear them.

By making the Ray-Ban Stories look like a pair of Ray-Ban glasses (in Wayfarer, Round, or Meteor frames) Meta doesn't need to sell anybody on fashion — they're already cool from the jump. I can't overstate how advantageous it is that Ray-Ban Stories look and feel like normal glasses.

The Ray-Ban Stories from the front.

The Ray-Ban Stories have the same frame shape as a normal pair of Ray-Bans.

The button on the Ray-Ban Stories.

The top button is used for taking photos or videos.

In terms of hardware, the hinges on the Ray-Ban Stories are less flexible than other smart glasses like the Echo Frames or the Razer Anzu . They’re also ever so slightly heavier, though not enough to be annoying. The temples are also thicker to house the high-tech internals and touchpads on either side, but not so chunky that they'll make anyone think twice. The two 5-megapixel cameras on the front can pass as decorative elements unless you’re really looking; it's a stark contrast to Snap’s Spectacles, which “celebrate” the camera. The Spectacles 3 draw attention to the camera with raised rims and circular flashing lights.

There’s a switch on the left that easily blends in with the inner hinge, speakers along the bottom that are colored-matched with the frame (I chose green), an LED on the right side (also near the hinge) to tell you if the Ray-Ban Stories are connected or if the battery is low, and a shutter button on the top-right temple for taking photos or videos. Even the charging connector that magnetically docks into pogo pins in the case is hidden when the smart glasses are unfolded.

The Ray-Ban Stories case.

The case is chunky, but it also fits in three extra charges for the Ray-Ban Stories.

The battery lasts about 5 hours with casual use throughout the day (Meta estimates six) but what’s great is the charging case has three additional charges. That extra battery life in the case does mean it’s too thick to fit in your pants, but jacket pockets can probably accommodate it. The added battery can extend the Ray-Ban Stories longer than you think, though capturing photos and videos draw more power than listening to music or a podcast.

Meta really has thought of all of the important details. It seems on some level the company knew it would have to avoid the “glasshole” problem and it’s done an admirable job avoiding that while also making the Ray-Ban Stories easy to use. The smart glasses connect to an iPhone or Android phone via the Facebook View app (oddly it hasn’t been rebranded to Meta) which connects and updates them over Bluetooth.

Any audio on your phone will play through the Ray-Ban Stories speakers; you can use swipes to control the volume, taps to answer or hang up calls, press the top button to capture photos and videos, or talk to the built-in Facebook Assistant to do all of these things hands-free. While shooting photos or videos, there’s an accompanying LED light (and brief audible capture sound) on the outside of the glasses so people know that you’re recording. After you’re done, you just open up the Facebook View app, add whatever photos or videos you want to download from the smart glasses, and everything gets transferred via a local Wi-Fi network the View app makes for just the Ray-Ban Stories and your phone. It really works well.

Audio & Cameras

The Ray-Ban Stories' speakers

The speakers on the Ray-Ban Stories are designed to blend in.

Meta is clearly more interested in the potential of its cameras than its speakers, but to the Ray-Ban Stories' credit, they sound really good. Audio is full and clear, not distorted at high volumes (these get loud), but also not as rich and layered as the Soundcore Frames . There are only two “open air” speakers and a three-mic array for calls or talking to Facebook Assistant, so the Ray-Ban Stories aren’t packed with audio equipment, but they work well. Audiophiles will still want real headphones; everyone else might be pleasantly surprised.

The cameras on the Ray-Ban Stories.

The cameras are small, and almost seem decorative unless you’re really looking for them.

The two cameras on the Ray-Ban Stories are similarly good, but I wouldn’t expect to shoot a billboard ad with them. The camera quality is probably similar to the iPhone 4 (yes, the 4, not the iPhone 14 ); they perform great in good light, poorly in low light, but otherwise reproduce colors in a natural way.

A photo of two hands holding a phone taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

Photos taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

A photo of a person in a mirror taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

A “selfie” taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

A photo of a plant taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

A photo taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

At five megapixels each, captured media seems designed for social media, and Meta’s made it very easy to share them from the View app directly into Facebook or Instagram. Photos (2,592 x 1,944) and videos (1,814 x 1,814 at 30 fps) resolutions leave a lot to be desired, but the smart glasses make up for this deficiency with spontaneity. I’m not convinced that first-person video is the way of the future, but it is convenient to capture a picture easily with just my voice or a long press on the shutter button. Ditto for recording a 30-second video with a single press on the same button.

A video taken with the Ray-Ban Stories.

The Facebook View app's settings pages.

The Facebook View app is very straightforward.

The Facebook View app is as straightforward as the smart glasses it’s paired with. Besides the usual ability to sync, update firmware, and adjust settings like device sounds and notifications, the View app is mostly a tool for processing footage you capture on the Ray-Ban Stories.

The main page is a library of every photo or video you’ve captured on the device (you can sort it by images you’ve favorited as well) with a button in the corner for syncing photos between the Ray-ban Stories and your phone. Tapping on a photo or video opens up a bunch of editing features, including the ability to view what it'd look like in an Instagram or Facebook Stories vertical video aspect ratio. There are also other common tools for trimming and cropping, adjusting brightness and saturation, and the ability to build a montage from photos and videos.

The Facebook View app's editing options.

Editing isn’t as robust as Instagram, but that’s how Meta likes it.

The editing features aren’t as in-depth as what you’d find in the Instagram app, but that’s sort of the point. You touch up what you want here and save it to your personal library or tap a button and immediately switch to the Instagram Stories editor for more complicated changes. The Facebook View app is really more of an intermediary.

On the topic of software, the ugly duckling of the bunch has to be Facebook Assistant. With a quick “Hey Facebook” you can access basically all of the Ray-Ban Stories' functionality, but you’re not getting the full Alexa or Siri experience here. The Facebook Assistant is much more like Samsung’s Bixby was originally designed to be, a tool for using your device hands-free, not necessarily a do-everything AI with access to web search or any meaningful intelligence. It’s definitely the area where the Ray-Ban Stories have the most room to grow (I also really don’t like saying “Hey Facebook”) but as it exists now, it works well.

“Dork Factor”

The Ray-Ban Stories gets closest to passing with flying colors compared to the Amazon Echo Frames, Soundcore Frames, and Razer Anzu smart glasses I tested. I felt cool wearing them — I generally feel cool wearing Ray-Ban glasses — and rarely self-conscious of what I was using them for. And unlike its competitors, it’s also fairly easy to wander into a glasses shop in a mall and actually try the Ray-Ban Stories for yourself.

Other than the latent discomfort of carrying around a camera on your face which is no small thing, they feel as comfortable and as helpful as I imagine smart glasses should. Ray-Ban Stories are a real taste of the future.

Should you buy it?

The Ray-Ban Stories charging in their case.

The Ray-Ban Stories are polished. A complete smart glasses thought.

The difficulty with liking the Ray-Ban Stories so much is that I’m not sure I can recommend them. They cost $299, and that’s before you add a prescription. Now, buying glasses from Ray-Ban is rarely a small purchase, but when a typical pair of glasses costs over $100, it’s hard to completely justify the jump to nearly $300. Meta has supported these smart glasses well and seems committed to the space and form factor, but buying in now might not make the most sense considering they came out in September 2021.

And since the Ray-Ban Stories have cameras and they’re made by Meta — a company that doesn’t have the greatest privacy track record — it’s natural to worry about privacy and security. Thankfully, Meta has no access to any of your Ray-Ban Stories media without your consent and doesn’t use anything you capture to create personalized ads. You can choose whether or not you want to share additional data about how often you use the Facebook View app in settings and you control whether or not Meta can save recordings made for Facebook Assistant voice processing. Once anything is shared from the app to another social network, those different privacy rules apply. Nut in the View app, your information is secure. Whether you trust Meta is really a personal matter, though.

However polished, this is a first-generation product, one that will likely improve in features and price in newer models. After all, EssilorLuxottica and Meta have committed to making more smart glasses together . If you have the money, you can buy them now and get a pretty great experience, but if you’re willing to wait, it might get even better next year.

Nearly a decade after Google Glass flopped, Inverse takes a deep dive into the augmented reality we have right now. Check out our Smart Glasses Week hub page for more stories about the state of smart glasses as they exist in 2022.

review of rayban stories

Ray-Ban Stories

Pros & cons, price: $299.

Ray-Ban Stories

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Ray-Ban Stories won't replace your camera or headphones, but they're a great first step into the world of smart glasses; combining audio and camera tech into a single pair of stylish frames. They're expensive and not for everyone, but the convenience (and the brand) will no doubt tempt some.

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.

Facebook's debut wearable is far too pricey to do as little as it does, and you shouldn't give it the time of day.

The Ray-Ban Stories glasses from Facebook snap social media-worthy imagery and double as headphones. They can't replace a good camera phone or pair of earbuds, but they work well as a stylish all-in-one package.

Ray-Ban Stories delivers those trademark good looks with a few added smarts. They've got open ear audio with Bluetooth phone call support and music playback, hands-free picture and video taking, tons of frame shape, size, and color options, and even quality Luxxotica lenses for any scenario you need.

The glasses lack AR features and are more like a point-and-shoot camera with speakers and lenses attached instead of real smart glasses. The pictures aren’t as good as what you’d get from a smartphone while the speakers don’t match what you’d expect from a set of AirPods. That’s a lot of sacrifices to get a camera on your face.

The glasses are smartly designed and can be worn discreetly. That said, it’s clear Facebook made plenty of sacrifices to achieve such an aggressive form factor; the glasses honestly don’t do anything particularly well — photo and video quality is pretty lackluster, the in-frame speakers perform poorly outdoors and calls aren’t the most pleasant experience. For $299, that might make the first-generation a tough sell for some, but all that said, I think Facebook mostly made the right compromises for a product that they’ve repeatedly indicated is meant to be a stepping stone on the road towards an augmented reality future.

Their smart features are limited for now. Maybe that comforts you or disappoints you. Or both. But Facebook's true AR visions are going to take a while longer. If you're really interested in mixed reality for a few hundred dollars, the Oculus Quest 2 is already dabbling in it. These Ray-Bans may eventually evolve to meet the Quest someday, too.

While the company says the glasses will only collect basic information to be functional — things like the battery level, your Facebook login and Wi-Fi details — who knows how that'll change as its future smart glasses become more fully featured. Perhaps that's why there's no Facebook branding on the Ray-Ban Stories case and frames: It's probably better if people forget these are also Facebook-powered products.

They’ve kept the distinctive style of Ray-Ban while adding the type of technology that people are expecting. The effort the development team put in to making the cameras blend in with the design of the glasses was time well spent. The directed audio was also an elegant solution. Overall, I really liked Ray-Ban Stories and would definitely consider buying a pair.

So many impossible-to-predict developments could trip up this long-term plan. But consumer reaction to Ray-Ban Stories—good, bad, or indifferent—may tell us at least as much about its prospects as any prediction Mark Zuckerberg could make.

Hands on: While it’s operating at a trust deficit, Facebook hopes that products like Ray-Ban Stories can avoid past mishaps and show that it’s keeping privacy in mind. “Getting products into market that start that dialogue with consumers around wearable glasses, it’s so important to us,” said Bosworth. “It’s important to do it in advance of the things to come.”

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Facebook just announced its new Ray-Ban glasses — I’ve been using them for a couple of days, here’s what they’re like


In this article

Facebook on Thursday unveiled its long-awaited collaboration with Luxottica : Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. 

The glasses, which start at $299, let users take photos and record videos with voice commands or by pressing a button on the right temple of the glasses. They also have small speakers that turn the smart glasses into headphones for listening to music and podcasts via Bluetooth from the smartphone they're paired with. And they include microphones, so you can talk on the phone through them.

It's the latest example of Facebook building new hardware, and they represent another step into a future where Facebook envisions people wearing computers on their faces, whether they're Oculus virtual reality headsets or something more normal looking like sunglasses.

The glasses were first reported by CNBC in 2019 , but Facebook is hardly the first company to roll out a pair of smart glasses. Social-media rival Snap launched its first Spectacles devices in 2016, and the ill-fated Google Glass devices launched way back in 2013 . 

The Ray-Ban Stories go on sale Thursday and are available at Ray-Ban stores and on Ray-Ban.com in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Australia, Ireland and Canada. The device will launch through more retailers, including Amazon , Best Buy , Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters, on Monday. 

I got to try out Ray-Ban Stories for a few days prior to their launch. Here's what you need to know.

What's good

Facebook's glasses look fashionable, not dorky, and aren't obviously equipped with technology. That's a big achievement for pair of smart glasses sold by a tech company. Just look at Snap's latest version of the Spectacles . Good luck not getting laughed at with those on.

Facebook's glasses are available in three of Ray-Ban's popular glasses: the Wayfarer, Round and Meteor models. You can customize the glasses by choosing different colors and different types of lenses, including sun, prescription, polarized, gradient, transition and clear. I tested the black Wayfarer model with clear lenses.

Facebook picked the right partner. The glasses look exactly like what you'd expect from Ray-Ban. You won't realize they're special Ray-Bans unless you're looking specifically for the two cameras on the corner of the device's frames.

Facebook's logo isn't anywhere on the device or its case. The only trace of the Facebook brand is on the product box. It's smart when you consider how much mistrust people have in Facebook these days and if you recall just how negatively people reacted to the Google Glass devices, which also had a camera.

Facebook and Ray-Ban told CNBC their goal was to build glasses that allow users to capture what they see while staying present in the moment. You're faced with a conundrum when you use your phone to take pictures. You either witness something awesome and live in the moment, or you pull out your phone and try to focus on photographing or recording the event. The Ray-Ban Stories solve that problem.

As someone who doesn't normally wear glasses, the clear lens Ray-Ban Stories felt a bit awkward for me during everyday moments, like walking through San Francisco to a coffee meeting or wearing them at dinner with friends. But they were perfect for sightseeing.

I took the glasses for a spin on a nine-mile bike ride in Yosemite National Park where I found them useful for snapping pictures. Riding through the valley, there were moments where the trees would open up and reveal incredible views of the granite cliffs. Without the glasses, trying to shoot photos or videos of the views with my phone would have required that I ride dangerously while pulling out my phone, or that I slow down my entire group and stop to take pics. The Ray-Ban Stories made it possible to capture the views while continuing to ride and looking up at the cliffs.

The photos and videos show up in a square format within an app called View that Facebook developed for the glasses. Users can download pictures into their phones' camera roll or share the media directly to other apps, including Facebook rivals TikTok and Snap. 

You can take photos and videos one of two ways. I was able to say "Hey Facebook, take a photo" or "Hey Facebook, take a video" and the glasses understood me. You can also short press a button on the top of the right temple of the glasses to shoot a video or press and hold the button for a photo. 

I found myself using the button more than the voice commands. I didn't want to draw attention to the glasses by saying the voice commands out loud, and I felt awkward doing so. The button was much quicker than saying a voice command and waiting for the Ray-Ban Stories to register the command and act on it. 

Facebook says the glasses have six-hour battery life. They charge when you set them in the carrying case, which Facebook says gives three full charges. I never got close to running out of battery.

What's bad

Augmented reality features, which let you overlay digital content on top of the real world, are notably absent. You don't see anything different when you look through them. Facebook had previously warned that AR capabilities would be missing from the Ray-Ban glasses, but the lack of AR feels like a disappointment, especially after Snap added AR to the latest iteration of its Spectacles in May .

The two 5-megapixel cameras don't take the best pictures or videos. Modern smartphones come with multiple lenses that offer zoom or wide-angle capabilities for fitting more into a picture, and most have a sharper 12-megapixel resolution. But the glasses were good for quickly capturing moments on the go.

A white LED lights up on the top right of the glasses when users take a photo or video to indicate the glasses are shooting a photo or video. It's good that Facebook took steps to make it clear when the glasses are in action, and the company sought feedback on how to best do this from several organizations, including the Future of Privacy Forum and National Consumers League. Despite the focus on privacy, most people might not even understand the light means the glasses are recording.

Facebook and Ray-Ban are also playing up the Stories' audio features. The glasses include two speakers at the bottom of each temple, but they're not great.

The audio quality is nowhere near that of earbuds or headphones. If you're someone who needs audio quality to be top-notch, you'll be bothered by how poor the Ray-Ban Stories sound. And although the speakers aren't very loud for the user, they're loud enough that others around you will be able to hear what you're listening to, whether it's a private phone call or your most embarrassing Spotify playlist. That means wearing the glasses and listening to music on the bus or at the grocery store is out of the question, at least for me. 

Still, the speakers came in handy while I was riding my bike. The sound was fine for the bike ride when no one was around me. As I cruised through Yosemite Valley, I got to listen to music and some podcasts while keeping my ears uncovered. This made it possible to hear my friends and any cars passing around me. 

The glasses also aren't water-resistant, so you'll need to be careful if you're wearing them on the beach or by the pool.

Final thoughts

The Ray-Ban Stories are a fine first attempt at smart glasses by Facebook. It's great that the company teamed up with a brand people will actually want to wear.

But the glasses lack AR features and are more like a point-and-shoot camera with speakers and lenses attached instead of real smart glasses. The pictures aren't as good as what you'd get from a smartphone while the speakers don't match what you'd expect from a set of AirPods. That's a lot of sacrifices to get a camera on your face.

The Ray-Ban Stories might make for a cool birthday or holiday present for a loved one, but for now, they aren't much more than a fashionable toy.

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Ray Ban’s Stories Smart Glasses Are The Most Refined Wearable Technology Yet

The partnership with Meta blends the brand’s iconic good looks with modern connectivity.

Headshot of Hunter Fenollol

The Takeaway: Ray-Ban’s partnership with Meta has resulted in Stories Smart Glasses, sturdy eyewear with a classic look that’s packed with audio and camera technology. The Stories are the ideal fit if you want a comfortable yet discrete wearable for listening to music and capturing video.

ray bans stories glasses

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I’ve spent the past few months testing the Stories smart glasses in rain, snow, and sunshine. In that time, they virtually replaced my phone and BeatsFit Pro headphones thanks to how they function as wireless headphones, a camera, and a smart assistant. Unlike previous smart glasses attempts from Snap and Bose , the Stories feel like a normal pair of sunglasses without obnoxiously cheap frames or giant plastic arms. Taking a picture or video in the moment or bring up a song feels natural, with intuitive controls. If you’re down with all the info Meta (formerly Facebook) collects, then the lightweight View app makes transferring what you capture and controlling your shades seamless.

To use the glasses, remove them from their protective leather case (which also doubles as a portable charger), put them on, open up the View app on your phone, and pair the two devices with the flick of a slider button on the glasses. I found the glasses’ open-ear audio design to be surprisingly enveloping among the ambient traffic and chatter of Manhattan. Though at normal to high listening volume, some sound did leak through from the speakers on the arms—but barely enough for someone sitting across from me aboard a bus to hear it. And I still got clear backing bass and instruments and vocals, though at the cost of some mild rumbling.

Taking calls with the Story was easy, as I could answer with a tap of my finger on the touch sensor on the right arm. Pressing the button above that same sensor recorded video, while holding it snapped a photo. The 30-second video clips come out at 1184 x 1184 pixels at 30 frames per second. The camera automatically adjusts to the light around you so that you don’t end up with an overexposed image, and still images shoot at a higher 2592 x 1944 resolution.

In the end, these sturdy glasses look great and wear well, living up to the Ray-Ban name. As the first true multi-functional smart glasses, focused neither solely on audio nor visual, they’re a good fit for prolific creators and consumers of media who want that classic styling and a foot in the door of the next phase in wearable tech’s evolution.

ray bans stories glasses

Hunter Fenollol, our resident expert of all things consumer tech, from smart home to VR gaming headsets, has years of knowledge creating product explainers, in-depth reviews, and buying guides to help you get the most from the latest electronics. Throughout college, he covered and reviewed the latest gadget releases for sites like Tom’s Guide, Laptop Magazine, and CNN Underscored. If he’s not elbow-deep in the latest hardware, you can find Hunter at one of Long Island’s many beaches, in Manhattan, or gambling away his paycheck. 

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Ray-Ban Stories Update Finally Turns Them Into Smart Glasses

Ray-Ban Stories glasses frames

Smart glasses have been struggling to be seen as anything more than a quirky novelty since the troubled launch of Google Glass in 2013. Without a killer app or features that make it both distinguishable from a smartphone and just as irreplaceable as one, the jury is still out on whether the wearable tech will finally go mainstream and become commercially successful. With companies like Apple and Meta still investing in mixed reality, smart glasses still very much have a chance to become the next big gadget.

While Meta's virtual reality headset, the Quest , has made headway in the VR market, its brand of smart glasses, Ray-Ban Stories, hasn't been quite as attention-grabbing. By collaborating with the popular sunglasses and eyeglasses brand, Meta's Ray-Ban Stories at least look stylish, especially when compared to Google Glass and other older attempts at the technology; three options for frames and several color choices are currently available for first-generation Stories.

While Meta is continually updating the software to fine-tune them and make them more useful, the feature set for the smart glasses is still fairly limited. A pair of Ray-Ban Stories currently comes with dual 5-megapixel cameras that can capture photos and videos with a voice command or tap of a button. It also includes open-ear audio and uses the "Hey Facebook" smart assistant for basic controls to help you operate the glasses and use them for communication and social media (Meta owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.) The glasses can be charged in a compact case. However, it's the latest update, announced on May 23, that may finally put the "smart" in "smart glasses" for Meta's product.

Ray-Ban Stories' latest update detailed

Meta announced a handful of new changes in the latest update for Ray-Ban Stories, including expanding current features to a larger number of users. That includes Spotify Tap, which previously only allowed iOS users to stream music from their Spotify account with a single tap, being extended to Android users as well. Additionally, French and Italian-language users of WhatsApp will now have hands-free messaging and calling capabilities, as well as having their WhatsApp communications encrypted , just as English-language users have previously enjoyed.

The biggest change with this update, however, is the enhancement of voice control, which is important for the hands-free device to become a more useful peripheral. Ray-Ban Stories will now allow all wearers to use their voice to reply directly to messages, create new ones, and answer calls or ignore them and send them straight to voicemail. These voice controls will also be more intuitive and conversational with the new update. Meta uses the examples "Ask Martha if she wants to come to the party" and "Tell David I love him" to showcase how Stories can send messages for you rather than needing more direct phrasing like "Send a message." These more-seamless voice commands will be available for calls, texts, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Meta also announced, beginning in June, that it will be requiring Meta accounts to use Ray-Ban Stories and its Facebook View companion app. Previously, a Facebook account was needed. If you don't already have one from using products like Quest, a Meta account can be created with email or with your preexisting Facebook or Instagram login. Through your Meta account, you'll be able to link your Facebook or Instagram to your Ray-Ban Stories, which Meta hopes you'll use to share the content you're capturing hands-free with your eyes and voice.

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Facebook's smart Ray-Ban glasses are disappointingly familiar

The Ray-Ban Stories are a fusion of Bose Frames and Snap Spectacles, with a big question mark for what comes after this first-gen attempt.


Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses: the most normal-looking yet.

Advertiser Disclosure

Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories sunglasses feel almost normal at times. And, of course, utterly abnormal. And also very familiar. I've used products like this, off and on, for years. Welcome to Facebook's first smart glasses. 

After promising smart glasses for years, Facebook's first glasses are disappointingly familiar. These aren't AR glasses at all. They don't have displays in them. Instead, they're a blend of technologies that have already been in other glasses: they have cameras in them, and microphones, and speakers. They're headphones and camera-glasses in one, and that's about it. That's what I expected based on Mark Zuckerberg's recent expectation-setting comments this year, but I'm still surprised these don't push the envelope a bit more.


The partnership with the massive glasses manufacturer EssilorLuxottica, and the design, are the interesting parts. Ray-Ban Stories is an odd name for the $299 (£299, AU$449) glasses, which are available now at Ray-Ban stores and will be arriving at retailers such as LensCrafters next week. But the glasses don't mention Facebook in the branding very much. Also, they're a clear attempt to take the torch from Snapchat's similarly featured camera-enabled Spectacles , as well as audio-enabled glasses such as the Bose Frames and Amazon Echo Frames . Really, they're a fusion of the two ideas. And at the moment, they're not much more than that, even if Facebook promises to go much further in future products.

But first, Facebook is going to have to bridge the territory of privacy -- not just for those who might have photos taken of them, but for the wearers of these microphone and camera-equipped glasses. VR headsets are one thing (and they come off your face after a session). Glasses you wear around every day are the start of  Facebook's much larger ambition to be an always-connected maker of wearables, and that's a lot harder for most people to get comfortable with.


A sleek design, and a familiar one.

Walking down my quiet suburban street, I'm looking up at the sky. Recording the sky. Around my ears, I hear ABBA's new song,  I Still Have Faith In You . It's a melancholic end to the summer. I'm taking my new Ray Ban smart glasses for a walk.

The Ray-Ban Stories feel like a conservative start. They lack some features that have been in similar products already. The glasses, which act as earbud-free headphones, don't have 3D spatial audio like the Bose Frames and Apple's AirPods Pro do. The stereo cameras, on either side of the lenses, don't work with AR effects, either. Facebook has a few sort-of-AR tricks in a brand-new companion app called View that pairs with these glasses on your phone, but they're mostly ways of using depth data for a few quick social effects.

And yes, these glasses need your phone. They're basically phone peripherals. I tested the Ray-Ban Stories paired with an iPhone 12 Pro . And while my Ray-Ban glasses have sunglass lenses, they can be outfitted with polarized and prescription lenses. These could be my everyday glasses. But right now, my review units didn't come prescription-equipped, so I used contacts when I wore them around. Here's what my first week with them has been like.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

My old Ray-Bans, and the Ray-Ban Stories glasses. Can you see the difference?

Glasses design: Very nearly normal 

The glasses, which come in several different designs and lens colors, are impressive because they seem so nearly normal, even more so than the Amazon and Bose versions. The Ray-Ban Stories look innocuous at first, but they're still not everyday normal -- the arms are thick, and the charging case they come in is particularly shaped just for these glasses. And there are camera lenses in the corners of the frames. At a distance, they seem invisible. But up close, the lenses are clearly there. Staring.


That light goes on when it's recording, right near one of the camera lenses in the corners.

The Ray-Bans I tried were the Wayfarers model, but there are two other models to choose from: Round and Meteor. These glossy black Ray-Bans totally look like my years-old, falling-apart Ray-Ban sunglasses, even up close. They feel less like tech, and more like glasses. There are several colors (shiny black, black matte, shiny blue, shiny olive and shiny brown), and six lenses (G-15 green, photochromatic G-15 green, dark gray, polar dark blue, brown gradient and clear). There are polarized and transition options, and they should be compatible with standard prescriptions, too. 

In a lot of ways, the normal look of these glasses feels like their greatest achievement. I had friends and family who were surprised that these were smart glasses, even when they were standing next to me up close.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

There's a light inside the glasses, too, for battery status and as a recording indicator.

An always-on feel (even if it's not)

Unfolding the glasses and putting them on, I hear a little chime sound. They're connected. If I say, "Hey Facebook," a little gentle chirp sounds near my ears letting me know it's listening. Also, there's an LED light that appears in the upper corner of my peripheral vision of my right eye that I can just barely see. The glasses don't talk to me when I say, "Hey, Facebook." They just make little approving beeps or confused beeps to indicate understanding. It sounds a bit like Wall-E.

Facebook's glasses pair via Bluetooth using the new Facebook View app, like a smartwatch. When on my face they default as Bluetooth audio for my phone. The glasses' right arm is a touch surface, so I can tap, double-tap and triple-tap to accept or end calls, play and pause, and skip tracks. Swiping back and forth increases and lowers volume.

Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories glasses look nearly normal


There's a physical camera button on the top of the right arm, so I can tap once to start a video recording, or press and hold to snap a photo. But there's a delay between the press and the photo snap, while video recording is nearly instantaneous.

Saying, "Hey Facebook" only enables two features: taking a photo and taking a video. I can't request music, place a call, change volume or do anything else Assistant- or Alexa-like. That's clearly by design. I'm not sure how much I'd trust Facebook with voice commands on the go. But I'd also like more than two commands.

Facebook records voice commands by default in a log in the app, which can be deleted. These voice commands are analyzed by Facebook, but there's a setting to opt out of storing transcripts (and the voice assistant can be disabled, too). Facebook says these recordings help improve the AI, much like Alexa and Assistant and other voice products do. It doesn't record logs of anything else I say (at least I don't think so). 


A shutter button is on one arm, right above a touchpad that controls volume and can be tapped to answer calls and play/pause.

Audio and camera quality: Merely OK

The Ray-Ban Stories work like Bluetooth headphones, pumping music to my ears from nearby speaker-holes in a similar way that the Oculus Quest 2 does with speakers in its headband. This means I can wear them easily, and take my mask on and off without popping out earbuds when I'm going to stores, but the audio levels and quality aren't nearly as good as headphones. Or even Bose Frames, which sound richer and louder. They're good enough for casual podcast listening or some music, or taking a phone call. The embedded microphones seemed to work well for call quality as far as other people's experience, from what my mom and a friend told me. The glasses have three beam-forming microphones, which worked pretty well for outdoor calls. But sometimes nearby sounds like lawn mowers ended up getting in the way.

Technically, you could hear what I'm listening to or who I was talking to if you got close enough to my ears, or if I was standing in a quiet place. It's similar to how the Oculus Quest pipes in sound that can still be heard faintly from a distance. 

I'm surprised these glasses lack 3D spatial audio, a technology that's heated up lately . Facebook is bullish on spatial audio as a way to bring people together virtually , but that element is missing on these glasses right now.


Ray-Ban Stories self-portrait, bathroom mirror.

As cameras, these glasses are suitable in a pinch, but they're no phone replacement. The 5-megapixel cameras were never designed to rival phone cameras, and some photos seemed less rich and detailed than I'm used to. But some park shots looked good, and much like the recent Apple Watch wristband camera I tried out this summer, having some ability to snap a pic in phone-free situations is better than none. Familiar memories of memory-surrogate camera devices , including Google Glass , reemerged. But these glasses don't have displays in them -- you have to look forward and just hope you've framed things right. Generally, things turned out kind of OK.


Recording a photo of myself as I shoot b-roll for my video.

Video, recorded in 30-second bursts, looks better than expected... but watch my video review and the clips and judge for yourself. Again, this is no GoPro, and the 30-second recording limit means these will never be real camera tools for serious hands-free sports, cooking, art or other possible uses.

The camera shoots videos in square format at 1,184x1,184 pixels at 30 frames per second (or vertical portrait mode in a long rectangle), and photos in a normal 4:3 ratio, at 2,592x1,944 resolution. No circular videos like Snapchat Spectacles took (thankfully).


Shot on Ray-Ban Stories: a nearby park. One of the better photos.

The glasses have onboard storage that's enough for 35 30-second videos or 500 photos, according to Facebook. I never filled it up in one of my outings, but I also kept my phone nearby. The glasses connect back to the phone app, Facebook View, to dump off photos and clear up the glasses storage. These are meant to be used with a phone nearby, but they could be stand-alone camera-glasses for a few hours, too. The glasses recharge using the included case, using a clever magnetic contact hidden in one of the glasses' arm hinges. But that also means you need the case to use the glasses.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

The included charge case, the only way to charge up the glasses.

The case has a USB-C port to recharge and holds enough battery to charge the glasses several times (three according to Facebook). Battery life for the glasses and the case appear in the View app on the phone. The case half-charges the glasses in 30 minutes, or takes 70 minutes for a full charge.

They're also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled; the glasses use Bluetooth 5 to connect to phones for audio and have 802.11ac Wi-Fi to download photos and video faster.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

I feel kind of self-conscious taking photos with these on.

Privacy or spy glasses?

Welcome (back) to the ongoing question of smart glasses and public acceptance. Ever since the rise and fall of Google Glassholes in 2013/14, we never really solved the idea of how to handle camera-equipped face wearables. Facebook has lots of privacy guidelines in its Ray-Ban Stories reviewer's guide and on the Facebook View app's onboarding tutorial, mainly suggesting to respect local laws, not to use while driving or using heavy equipment, and to turn off when in certain public places. There's an on-off switch inside the glasses along one arm, but the glasses usually don't do anything automatically unless you specifically ask Facebook to take a photo or video, or use the camera shutter button.

A white LED light built into the front corner of the frames pops on to alert people when you're recording (also, there's a shutter-snap sound when taking photos), but these alerts are pretty subtle. In fact, my kids standing next to me in bright daylight didn't really notice it. That, combined with the unexpectedly subtle darkened camera lenses on the glasses, make these a lot more stealthy than I was expecting. Great for being able to wear them without standing out, and most people aren't likely to think there are cameras built in.

Then again, we're already in a world where our phones take photos all the time. Life is already a state of semisurveillance. But that doesn't mean that camera glasses are an acceptable social norm, either.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

The Facebook View app, where the glasses pair with your phone and photos and videos are stored. There are some applied after-effects, too.

But what about concerns about Facebook's privacy intrusions for you, the glasses-wearer? Facebook's new View app promises to be a safe space where photos are collected and not shared to other apps, or uploaded or analyzed by Facebook for ad targeting. Upload to Facebook or Instagram, however, and then you're in Facebook's standard social media privacy rules. Facebook also says all camera usage data isn't used for ad-targeting either (or what the glasses see or hear), but there are settings where you could allow Facebook to analyze how you use the glasses (number of photos taken, length of use), using this to "improve and personalize your product experience." I kept that turned off. 

Does all this feel concerning? Sure. Facebook's bound to keep blurring the lines between privacy and your data as the hardware gets more complex, and so are other manufacturers of AR devices.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

The Ray-Ban Stories next to the Oculus Quest 2. When will these two begin to dovetail?

Hey Facebook, what next?

As a connected pair of sunglasses, these Ray-Ban Stories show that getting normal glasses to have tech inside really is possible. But these are absolutely not AR glasses, and Facebook's ambitious road ahead includes a lot more than speakers and cameras. Facebook is currently testing sensor arrays in prototype glasses to see how future devices could see and map the world: This is what Facebook wants its future AR headsets to be. Also, at some point, neural input wristbands and watches will act as ways to gesture and touch invisible things shown through heads-up displays.

Where Facebook goes next with glasses is the interesting part. The multiyear partnership with EssilorLuxottica that Facebook has announced, which starts with these more basic glasses, clearly strives towards far more advanced stuff. Blending of virtual and real with embedded displays, spatial audio. None of that is here, though.

For the moment, the most interesting part of the Ray-Ban Stories is that they're Ray-Bans. And there is something futuristic about putting these on and suddenly hearing them chirp to life, at the ready, seemingly alive. But their smart features are limited for now. Maybe that comforts you or disappoints you. Or both. But Facebook's true AR visions are going to take a while longer. If you're really interested in mixed reality for a few hundred dollars, the Oculus Quest 2 is already dabbling in it. These Ray-Bans may eventually evolve to meet the Quest someday, too.

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Review: They stole her dog. So Lulu Wilson unleashes ‘The Wrath of Becky’

A woman emerges from fog holding a bat.

“The Wrath of Becky” is a sequel to 2020’s semicomic revenge thriller “Becky,” with Lulu Wilson reprising her role as a cursed teenage orphan who somehow keeps finding herself pitted against neo-Nazi militias. In this equally arch and blood-spattered installment, Seann William Scott plays the icily charismatic leader of a Proud Boys-like organization who tries to get his band of hot-headed doofuses to defend their lair against an angry, armed Becky after the goons make the fatal mistake of killing her guardian and stealing her dog.

The writer-director team of Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote — new to the series — bring perhaps too light of a touch to material that could be heavier, given that this is a story about a long-suffering kid battling fascist revolutionaries. As the wry title suggests, Becky here is often played for laughs, with her superheroic skill at guerrilla warfare and her “over it all” adolescent sass; and that joke does wear a little thin by the closing credits. For the most part though, “The Wrath of Becky” delivers satisfying action, as this underestimated heroine — well-played by Wilson — makes some terrible people look like absolute fools.

'The Wrath of Becky'

Rating: R, for strong bloody violence and gore, pervasive language and some sexual references Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes Playing: In general release

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Heads Exploding and ‘Bright Scarlet Ribbons Fountaining’

If your idea of a good summer read involves abject terror, we’ve got some recommendations for you.

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This brightly colored illustration shows a group of people reading on the beach, arrayed on towels and beneath umbrellas. In the middle sits a pale, fanged vampire.

By Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni, who reviews Gothic and horror fiction for The Times, is the author of six books. Her new novel is “The Puzzle Master.”

Buried artifacts, lost treasures, ancient puzzles — archaeological excavations make for frightening fiction, especially when their unearthings wreak havoc on those living in the present. It’s easy to forget that Pazuzu — the demon who caused so much mischief in “The Exorcist” — emerged from an archaeological dig in Iraq.

Eric LaRocca’s debut novel, EVERYTHING THE DARKNESS EATS (Clash, 224 pp., paperback, $16.95), opens with a similar cursed discovery. It’s 1944 in Wales, and a primitive drawing surrounded by ancient hieroglyphics has been found in a cave. When asked about its meaning, Heart Crowley, the treasure-seeker behind the excavation, replies that it is an “invocation,” then promptly proceeds to make everyone’s head explode, “bright scarlet ribbons fountaining.” Indiana Jones meets “Hellraiser,” anyone?

Crowley’s sinister path continues in the village of Henley’s Edge, where he draws the locals into his dark scheme: Ghost Everling, a man mourning his dead wife; Nadeem Malik, a Muslim cop whose family has been threatened; Gemma, whose daughter, Piper, is blind. LaRocca’s characters embody a broad spectrum of human desire, from the old woman attracted to Crowley to Everling, who is bisexual, to Malik, who is gay.

LaRocca’s writing is as lush as a baroque painting. A strawberry rhubarb pie is “a human artery in full bloom,” and a woman under Crowley’s spell feels her body “hardening like cooling beeswax.” But LaRocca’s true talent lies in his ability to bring his readers into the lives of his characters — a mother’s desperation to help her blind child; a widower’s mourning; a gay couple’s fight against discrimination. It’s through such explorations that readers can enter other lives, and feel empathy for those who are like us, and those who are not. That, LaRocca’s novel seems to argue, is the point of fiction — to crack open the shell of otherness and explore all that’s inside.

LaRocca’s talent is even more pronounced in his story collection, THE TREES GREW BECAUSE I BLED THERE (Titan, 204 pp., $19.95). The short-story form, by definition an act of compression, distills LaRocca’s vision to its essence. The stories collected here are by turns confident, brutal and breathtaking.

In “You’re Not Supposed to Be Here,” a gay couple are tricked into playing a sadistic game, one that brings to light their most hidden secrets and undermines everything they love. In the brilliant “I’ll Be Gone by Then,” a woman must contend with caring for her aging mother, “an affliction” she “wouldn’t wish on anyone,” a situation that reveals the depths of fear and repulsion we all feel when confronted with the body’s decadent decline. “She’s smaller than I remember from when I saw her last … I can hardly recall such a loathsome scent shadowing her — a stench as vile as rotted flowers.” And yet, by the end of the story, this daughter longs for her mother. The contradictory feelings that LaRocca evokes, and the internal tensions of his characters, make “The Trees Grew Because I Bled There” must-read horror.

Cynthia Pelayo’s THE SHOEMAKER’S MAGICIAN (Agora, 306 pp., $27.99) is an homage to the supernatural, to horror films and — perhaps most of all — to Chicago, a dark, cold place of “cursed and haunted things.”

“Chicago isn’t the home to that one creepy unkempt cemetery where people claim to see spirits rise,” Pelayo writes. “Chicago, the entire city, itself is the heinous and menacing thing that sprung from a swamp.”

It’s perhaps no surprise that the crime at the center of the novel occurs at a historic Chicago theater. And the murder is, as one says in the Midwest, a doozy. “This is deviant,” a detective notes as he surveys the scene, where a woman has been killed with a stainless steel popcorn scoop and candy from the concession stand — Reese’s Pieces, Skittles, Twizzlers — lies scattered about her body. “This is disturbed.”

A vintage horror film poster has been pinned to the woman like a calling card. A clue left by the killer, it is “the star of the show, and the body on display and everything to come is just a side character.” The novel keeps this promise. The narrative weaves through various characters’ perspectives — a detective on the case, his horror influencer wife, their son with autism spectrum disorder — but ultimately focuses on “the possibility of a cursed film, the idea that images flitting across the screen can compel us into some wicked action.”

Pelayo’s collision of magic and history is so smart and sophisticated that you’ll find yourself Googling the nonfiction that forms the bedrock of her tale. While a few moments seem forced — a deadly car accident comes out of nowhere, creating a tone and texture so different that it feels tacked on as an afterthought — “The Shoemaker’s Magician” is a delicious foray into the occult.

Riley Sager is in high form in his latest horror-inflected thriller, THE ONLY ONE LEFT (Dutton, 382 pp., $28) , a dizzying Gothic whodunit that revolves around the Lizzie Borden-esque massacre of the Hope family in 1929. Fifty years later, in the 1980s of Walkmans and Duran Duran, Kit McDeere is hired to care for the only surviving member of the Hope clan.

Kit arrives at Hope’s End — a Gilded Age mansion “wide as a cruise ship” that’s perched precariously atop a Maine cliff — to find a world frozen in time, with the carpets still stained by the blood of the murder victims. When she discovers that the elderly Miss Hope is ready to reveal what really happened all those years ago, and had, in fact, already written a “tell all” for a previous caregiver, all of the elements are in place for a propulsive mystery.

The story, which cuts between Miss Hope’s typed first-person account and Kit’s overly chatty perspective, rests on a high-wire act of deceptions, camouflaged identities and (sometimes convenient) forgetfulness. Sager’s signature breakneck pace, with twists that stretch believability just to the snapping point, will please his many fans.

Zoje Stage’s latest novel, MOTHERED (Thomas & Mercer, 301 pp., $28.99) , opens with Silas, a psychotherapist at a state hospital, pondering his latest patient. Grace has murdered her mother in an incomprehensibly coldblooded fashion, stabbing her 91 times: “The details of her case made it all the more confounding as to how someone so frail had committed an act of such brutality.”

Grace, an out-of-work hairdresser, spends her time online catfishing “young women who would take her advice,” a hobby that gives her a sense of power. When the pandemic strikes, her mother, Jackie, moves into Grace’s Philadelphia home, piercing her daughter’s self-imposed isolation. When Jackie hangs up a photo of Hope, Grace’s dead twin sister, it becomes apparent that a past tragedy is at the heart of their acrimonious mother-daughter relationship.

While the setup is intriguing, and the pandemic-era setting brings a rush of vertiginous PTSD, Stage leaves too much unexplored. Who is Grace? What motivates her? When the police ask why she has murdered her mother, she says, “I had to kill her! She was contagious!” It’s a confession that says everything and nothing at once. Grace remains unfathomable — to the psychotherapist puzzling over her case, and to us.

Danielle Trussoni is the author of five books. Her new novel, “The Puzzle Master,” will be published later this month.

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

Martin Amis: Our critic assesses the achievement  of Britain’s most famous literary son, who died on May 19  at age 73.

Neil Gaiman: In his stories of horror, humanity and uncomfortable truths, the author is never afraid to go into dark places looking for the light. Here’s where to get started .

A Withering Depiction: The author   R.F. Kuang’s novel “Yellowface” is a blistering satire about publishing. The publishing industry loves it .

The Future of Novels?: The novelist Stephen Marche is trying to teach artificial intelligence to write with him, not for him. Here is how it is working out .

How to Be a Better Reader: Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Listen to Our Podcast:  Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review Podcast  to talk about the latest news in the literary world.

Nina Allan.

Conquest by Nina Allan review – alien invasion, coding and Bach

A science fiction story from the 50s propels this brilliantly digressive exploration into art, ecology and the psychology of conspiracy theories

I n the future, Earth has won a gruelling war against an extraterrestrial civilisation. As a monument to human resilience and his own awesomeness, an egotistical billionaire plans to build an enormous residential tower out of a unique kind of rock mined from the alien homeworld. The rock is black and gives off a curious warmth. But what if it is also alive?

So goes the story of The Tower, the central chapter of Nina Allan’s brilliantly ludic novel, which is presented as an extract of a novel of the same name, written by a fictional and near-forgotten novelist of the mid-20th century. The main line of Conquest, though, happens in the present, where a group of online conspiracy theorists take The Tower to be an accurate prophecy of an actual forthcoming war among the stars. This is, of course, known to terrestrial governments, who have a secret supersoldier programme and are probably whacking people who find out too much.

Robin, an ex-police officer and now private detective, is drawn into this febrile atmosphere for a missing persons case. A man named Frank, a mathematical and coding genius prone to mental illness, was invited by mysterious others on the conspiracy forum to meet in person in Paris, and he never came back. His girlfriend, Rachel, hires Robin to track him down. This involves travelling to a dreary hotel in Scarborough, site of the recent suspicious expiration of a journalist, and to a small town in Scotland where something strange may have landed in the woods.

While all this is going on, everyone also practises music criticism. Frank and Robin both listen to a lot of Bach and explain – sometimes in slightly unbelievable dialogue with third parties – why they prefer one recording over another and Bach to other composers. Compared with the unruly genius of Johann Sebastian, one says, “The whole of Haydn is a kind of politeness, like watered-down beer”. The Goldberg Variations, the Violin Partita No 2 and other pieces form the imagined soundtrack to the novel, which is at length woven in a surprising and satisfying way into its thematic concerns.

Those who think that novels have no business including pages of musicology will no doubt also recoil from a chapter that takes the form of an essay written by one of the alien-conspiracy characters, a lecturer in film, who rehearses the entire plot of the 2013 film Upstream Color, or another one, ostensibly by a photographer, which discusses the music of Hans Werner Henze and the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann. These, too, turn out to be relevant, as do other references to classic science fiction such as The Day of the Triffids, Solaris and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s 1972 novel Roadside Picnic (adapted as Tarkovsky’s film Stalker).

Highly cerebral and metatextual though it is, Conquest is also poetic – hymning “the saffron light of the late afternoon” in suburban London – as well as playful and often funny. Allan evidently enjoys inventing hostile reviews for her own made-up novel. She is perceptive and amusing, too, on the psychology of conspiracy theories. “Our secret enthusiasm for esoteric knowledge and occult drama is as old as time,” one character observes; meanwhile the plotting forumites mention the eminent US cosmologist Carl Sagan, “who everyone … agreed had been an FBI stooge”.

But might these too-online freaks be on to something? Might there be some arcane truth in their overanalysis of disparate signs? For her part, Robin can’t help coming to half believe in the truth of the interstellar war, and the possibility that Earth has already been silently infected by an inscrutable alien growth. Her detective story, as she tries to track down Frank, furnishes the propulsion of a straight-up sci-fi thriller, while thoughts of ecological collapse, astrobiology and artistic revolution swirl around the characters’ minds. Perhaps most impressively, Allan deftly manages to hold open all possible readings of events as plausible – until, perhaps, the very end.

In its themes of misinformation, potential microbiological Trojan horses and conspiracy, Conquest can also be read in total as a joyously fantastical and elaborate Covid-19 allegory; if so, it is surely the best book yet to emerge from the pandemic.

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Review: Arnold Schwarzenegger's Netflix series 'Fubar' is an embarrassment

review of rayban stories

Mr. Schwarzenegger , I think it's best to address you directly.

You're the "Terminator." You're "Conan the Barbarian." You're a cop stuck with a classroom full of kindergartners, Danny DeVito's twin and the former governor of California (and that last one isn't even fictional). You're a grown man, 75 years old. You've had a long career in Hollywood and politics. People don't need your last name to know who you are − there's just one "Arnold."

So knowing all that, I have to ask: What were you thinking with your atrocious Netflix series? "Fubar" (now streaming, ★ out of four) is what would happen if we asked artificial intelligence to write an Arnold Schwarzenegger show, but in the worst way possible. The series is all cliché, followed by painful cringe and then rounded out by dumbfounded confusion. There are humans talking, but I don't believe humans wrote the dialogue.

Arnold interview 'Fubar': Arnold Schwarzenegger, 75, is still in the action, even if he's 'sore the next day'

However much Netflix paid you for this, it wasn't worth it.

Created by Nick Santora ("Reacher"), the excruciating "Fubar" follows an about-to-retire CIA agent, Luke Brunner (Schwarzenegger), who's lured back into service to help a fellow agent. The catch? That other agent is Luke's daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro), and he doesn't know it until he runs into her in the field − while they're both working undercover.

Something that's meant to pass for humor transpires after this as Luke and Emma attempt to work together, despite Emma's deep resentment of her father's absenteeism during her childhood and Luke's complete misunderstanding of his daughter. But don't worry, the CIA has figured out how to fix this: Luke and Emma are forced into therapy sessions together. With puppets.

A few other characters/walking stereotypes populate the series. There's a tech guy (Milan Carter), other agents (Travis Van Winkle and Fortune Feimster), Luke's ex-wife and Emma's mother (Fabiana Udenio) and Emma's nervous and soft-spoken boyfriend (Jay Baruchel, and I'd also like to ask what he's doing in this).

Let's just say for a second that I could get over the intuitive leaps required to believe that the CIA would allow a father and daughter to go on a mission together, let alone force them to attend therapy sessions. What is even remotely appealing about that story? Is it the jokes they make about Luke pretending to want to sleep with his own daughter as a cover story while on a mission? Is it watching a former screen titan fight over a malfunctioning office chair? Is it for the "comedy" that Feimster and Van Winkle are trying to inject with their slapstick roles? Is it to watch the yawn-worthy action sequences that are bad, but not so bad that they're good?

Strip back the worst parts of "Fubar" and all you'll find are more bad parts. Barbaro, a scene-stealer in "Top Gun: Maverick," is reduced to a whining punchline. Schwarzenegger (or rather, his stunt double) limps through his heists and fights and offers line readings that verge on self-parody. And each 45-minute episode feels like it's never going to end.

It didn't have to be this way. Other icons of 20th-century cinema have gone on to make great television in recent years, from Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin ("Grace and Frankie" on Netflix) to Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren ("1923" on Paramount+). But for every gem, such as Steve Martin and Martin Short in Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building," we also get a dud like Sylvester Stallone's Paramount+ series, "Tulsa King." (At least "Tulsa" had a few good jokes.)

The series' title is a profane acronym suggesting something is broken without hope of repair. It is all too apt in this case. "Fubar" seems like Schwarzenegger messed up far beyond all recognition.


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    May 26, 2023 2:23 PM PT. "The Wrath of Becky" is a sequel to 2020's semicomic revenge thriller "Becky," with Lulu Wilson reprising her role as a cursed teenage orphan who somehow keeps ...

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