The new connected glasses from Ray-Ban and Facebook are as stylish as they are user-friendly
Smart glasses are not a new concept. I remember when Google first released theirs. I was at a fashion show and designer Diane von Furstenberg took her final runway arc with futuristic mounts with a goofy camera on the side. Those Google glasses never really took off in part because they weren’t fancy and you can’t fit them seamlessly into your wardrobe. Imagine wearing a Chanel ensemble or a Savile Row suit with robotic-looking glasses. They just stood out. The same can be said for Snap Spectacles. The shape of the frames is too prominent to suit a wider audience.
Ray-Ban hopes to solve all of these design issues with its new smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories launched in partnership with Facebook. Classic Wayfarers get a technology upgrade with a discreet camera that can take photos and videos by voice command or with a touch button on the temples. When paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth and using an app called Facebook View, photos and videos are almost instantly transferred to your phone, making them easier to share via email, SMS or social networks. Ray-Ban Stories glasses also have speakers that let you listen to music instead of headphones. A built-in microphone allows you to make calls. All of these features are carefully packaged in Ray-Ban’s best-selling shapes like the Wayfarer, Round and Meteor and in various colors and lens combinations. They start at $ 299.
I love to take photos and videos while playing the sports I love. So I asked Ray-Ban if I could take the Ray-Ban Stories black Wayfarer sunglasses for a test.
First, I wore them when I rode a horse. They didn’t interfere with my helmet which was a plus. When hiking, I would normally use my iPhone to take videos and photos of the landscape. At the faster speeds of the trot and canter, I’m not able to pull out my phone to take a video and never had the time to attach a GoPro to my helmet. With the Ray-Ban Stories, as soon as my horse and I started to gallop, I gave the command “Facebook is taking a video” and the camera started recording. I know this because there is a sound that tells you the recording has started and ended. There is also a small indicator light on the inner part of the frame.
The video of the horseback ride was clear and watching it kind of transports you to the moment. You see the movement and the action. You see my horse’s neck and ears and you can feel the effort he puts in with each stride. I love that I was able to capture it hands-free. However, I wish the video could be longer than 30 seconds, especially when I am doing jumps on a course that takes about two minutes. But it’s something that could be in the works if these smart glasses take off.
Then I took the Ray-Ban Stories with me to the tennis court. On sunny days I wear sunglasses when playing tennis so it was an added bonus that I could take videos while hitting groundstrokes and volleys. The glasses were light enough that they didn’t interfere with my playing, so much so that I forgot I was wearing them. However, when I started to sweat, they started to slip, which happens with most glasses anyway. Watching the captured video it was awesome to see how the ball spins when it hits me from my coach’s racquet (Lahcen Boujadi) and how it moves from the moment I hit it back. Because the video is directly from everyone’s point of view, it puts the video viewer at the heart of the action.
Do I recommend these sunglasses? If price isn’t an issue, then an absolute yes. And if you’re a content creator, they would be a great addition to your visual arsenal.