As someone who really enjoyed Snap’s Spectacles 2 (Nico), I was very interested in Meta’s second generation of smart glasses when Meta announced them in late September 2023. Snap’s Spectacles 2 were pretty solid sunglasses that I really enjoyed using for 4+ years, but they always felt a little heavy when I wore them which sometimes caused some headaches when I wore them for too long.
I read that Meta’s glasses had a similar weight, but when I tried them on, the weight distribution was definitely different, even on the larger (and heavier) Wayfarer’s model. I found the weight to be more balanced on these Meta glasses than on my Spectacles and didn’t press against the side of my head as much which helped with the headaches. With that, I ended up buying the Wayfarer Large Transition Glasses in Matte Black for $379.00.
I’ve had these glasses now for a little over a month and I’ve really enjoyed wearing and using them and a big reason I created this Meta smart glasses review was to generate more interest in these Ray-Ban glasses for those in the market thinking about getting a pair.
Meta AI is pretty “meh”
Picture and video quality is great
Some photos can be blurry from movement
Battery life is pretty good
Meta View App is very clunky
Charging is really easy and fast charging
Bass isn’t that great
Great to run with, transition glasses are great
Limited to Meta product and Spotify integration
Quick pro’s/con’s table
What are the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses?
These are the second-generation Meta smart glasses, developed in collaboration with Essilor Luxottica. They are glasses equipped with audio, video, camera and Meta’s AI assistant. The purpose of them is to enable people to capture moments with them easily and to have access to music and AI to help with your day-to-day, much of which is hands-free.
Here’s the Meta announcement of these glasses that highlight some of the features and functionality of the glasses.
What are the features and technical details of the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses?
12 MP camera (3024 x 4032 pixels)
1080P video capture (30 FPS) in 15 second, 30 second or 60 second clips
2 custom-built speaker open air on the side of each temple
Memory 32 GB (500+ photos and 50+ 60 second videos)
Battery length: 4-5 hours with a charging case that gives 36 hours
Live streaming capability
Comes in Standard (50-22) or Large (53-22)
When was the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Released?
The official release date of the 2nd generation of Meta’s smart glasses was October 17th, 2023. The 1st generation of Meta’s smart glasses was the Ray-Ban Stories glasses and this was released on September 9, 2021.
How much are the Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses?
The price of Ray-ban smart glasses starts at $299 (clear blue light glasses or non-polarized sunglasses) and can be as expensive as $379 (for transition lenses). The polarized sunglasses are generally around $329. Given what you get from these smart glasses, I think they are pretty reasonably priced.
What is Meta AI?
As someone who pays for the monthly premium subscription for OpenAI’s chat GPT 4, I use AI nearly everyday to answer questions, or to help with projects. So, when I heard these smart glasses would come with Meta AI, which is basically a conversational assistant, similar to Siri, but a lot smarter, I thought that was pretty interesting.
Meta AI is easy to access on these smart glasses, you simply say “Hey Meta” and a unique sound will play stating that Meta AI is listening for your next command.
I’ll go into some of the discussions I’ve had with Meta AI later, but let’s just say Meta AI’s not as good as Chat GPT at least so far in terms of their ability to talk to you.
Do Meta Smart Glasses come with Prescriptive Lenses?
You can buy these glasses with or without a prescription lens. I believe if you buy them with prescription lens, there is an additional fee for the cost of the lens.
What’s the Battery Life of Meta Smart Glasses?
They are advertised to have about 4 hours of battery life with moderate usage (100 videos or 500 photos per charge). Their charging case provides another 36 hours of charging. I’ll have my own notes on battery life below in my review.
I bought these smart glasses because I wanted to take photos and videos on the fly to document some of my running memories and to document parts of my life, especially when I’m hanging out with the family and watching my kiddos do their thing.
I run quite a bit since I’m a perennial marathoner, so I spend a lot of time on the Chicago lakefront path and just running around Chicago. There have been so many times where it’s a beautiful morning and I wished that I had my phone on me. Also, there have been many mornings where I forgot to bring my sunglasses and these glasses now are able to solve both issues. Acting as sunglasses (transition lenses) and being able to take photos and videos while I’m running.
In addition, as noted earlier, I have two young kids and they are very active. If you’re not ready with a camera, you might miss a lot of priceless photo opps and taking your phone out of your pocket, swiping to the camera, aiming and taking the photo simply takes too long, even if we’re just talking mere seconds to do just that.
There was this one time where my son was serenading a girl with a baby shark song rendition and I barely caught the last bit of it with my Spectacles and that video shot by Spectacles is priceless. So having a pair of smart glasses with video and photo capabilities is simply a must-have for me as a parent who likes to document a lot of my kids and family life.
Finally, the music aspect of these glasses is pretty terrific. The sound quality is decent, I’m not a audiophile, but I think it works for me. I had the Amazon Echo Frames when they first came out and their only feature was Alexa and music, but the music capability was pretty great when you’re just walking around and having music subtly playing and now these Meta glasses offer music along with all of that other functionality, which makes a pretty great product.
My Review of the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses
I bought Meta’s smart glasses on October 24, 2023 at a nearby Lenscrafters in Chicago, IL. I was planning on buying them on Amazon since I had a gift card there, but they only had the large model available at the time and I wasn’t sure if I wanted that model. Turns out, when I visited the Lenscrafter store, they only had the large model too and it looked and felt fine, so I ended up paying the $379 + tax (no custom prescription) to purchase these glasses. The exact model I purchased was the Ray-Ban Meta Wayfarer in Matte Black, Clear/Green Transition Lenses. Transition lenses are basically lenses that adapt to the sun’s light. They are clear when you’re inside and they change to a green/dark tint when they are directly exposed to the sun’s light.
Side-by-side comparison: Meta’s Smart Glasses vs. Snap’s Spectacles
In the picture above, Meta’s glasses are on the left, and Snaps’ glasses are on the right. Snap didn’t offer transition lenses from what I recall and just the sunglasses. If you zoom in, you can see that Snap’s camera lens in the frame is noticeably bigger than the camera lens in Meta’s glasses. However despite being noticeably bigger, whenever I wore my Spectacles around no one really noticed the camera lens unless I was recording. In 4+ years, I could only count a handful of times people noticed the sunglasses had a camera lens in the frame. With Meta’s glasses, some people have also noticed them, but only if they looked very closely at my glasses, they would ask something like, “are those cameras in your glasses?” In which I would reply yes, and they would then of course next, “are you recording this conversation?” in which I would reply, “no, of course not” and would proceed to show them what recording would look like.
Anyway, I thought the Spectacles were pretty stylish, albeit slightly bigger than I’d like. Their finish was more polished/glossy than the matte finish of Meta’s glasses and after trying a few models on at Lenscrafters, I’ve decided that I actually prefer the matte look than the more glossy finish.
If you compare the two glasses, you’ll also notice that Meta’s glasses look pretty much like any pair of glasses while the Spectacles were a bit bulkier up front which likely contributed to some of the headaches I got when I wore them for extended periods of times.
Unboxing and Setting Up the Smart Glasses
After purchasing the glasses, I walked quickly to my car and proceeded to open the box and get the glasses set up.
The box that these glasses come in leaves a lot of room for improvement in my opinion. It comes in a very non-descript light tan colored box and really isn’t very exciting to look at. Not that the box really matters, but I do believe that that a box is often part of a product’s branding, and I think I can only say that in this area, “Needs Improvement” is the grade I’d give it. Especially when you compare this box to the Spectacles box which was bright yellow and just a lot more stylish and interesting.
The actual case the smart glasses come in is actually pretty decent. It’s obvious Ray-Ban likely had a say in the design and look of the case since the case speaks “Ray-Ban” immediately upon viewing it. If you open the case, you’ll notice an obvious place to insert your glasses to charge your glasses (the charging is on the bridge of the frame) in which the case supposedly provides 36 hours of battery life charging. The bottom of the case has a USB C port so you can recharge the case when it is charging your glasses.
Moving onto to setting up the smart glasses, in order to set up these glasses, you need to download Meta’s “Meta View” app which was a change of pace from Spectacles simply being integrated with the Snapchat app. I personally prefer this since I think having a separate app leaves more room for privacy vs. having all your stuff on Facebook/Instagram. I didn’t mind using Snapchat’s app with the Spectacles, but I always had a little bit of anxiety that some photos or videos I took would accidentally make their way to a Snapchat story or something. So having this separate app makes a lot of sense and I was glad that they did this.
To pair the glasses with the app only took a moment from what I recall and it was only a few minutes to get from unboxing to actually using the glasses. So overall, a pretty seamless experience and fast set up.
Using the Meta View App
The Meta View App is pretty basic and doesn’t have a lot of features yet. The home screen is basically a “how-to” section on how to use the glasses which I’m sure will eventually change but I do find the homescreen kind of annoying now that I’ve used these glasses for awhile and know how to use the different features. I would rather have the homescreen show my recent photos or create some sort of customization widget where I can at least get some value from the app, like the time or reminders or something.
The icons on the bottom are: “Home,” Photos/Videos/Import,” “Meta AI commands” and “Settings.” I personally think there is a lot of opportunity to update basically everything in this app. Each section of the app just screams “I made this app but never really used the glasses.” The UI is pretty atrocious, especially the history log of your “Meta AI commands.” The “Photos/Videos” section is basically as basic as you can get. It shows the date and the pictures/videos you took that day. However there is no easy way to scroll to an older date, no search functionality or anything. So again, there’s a lot of room for improvement here.
Meta View App: Importing Photos and Videos
When you take a photo or video, the Meta View app will notify you that you can import your media. The importing process is pretty simple, you basically navigate to the “Photos/Videos” section and if you have any media that hasn’t been imported yet, it will show an “Import” button at the top and you just tap that, “Join” the smart glasses wi-fi and it will then proceed to upload all of your media. The time it takes to import all your media depends on how much media you’ve taken since your last import, but for the most part, it’ll take under a minute unless you have a lot. One of the more annoying things about the import process is that you have to keep the app open fully to import your media otherwise it won’t do it in the background which I think is kinda crazy. Another annoying thing is that if you are in the process of uploading older photos and then proceed to take new ones, you need to finish uploading your first set of photos and then wait for it to “process” and then your app will eventually show the “import” button again, but this takes a hot minute or so, so you’re sometimes left wondering if it will remember to let you import your second batch of media or you have a mild panic that your media didn’t actually get captured.
Once you fully import your photos/videos, they will be available both on the Meta View app as well as your photo library. I forget if that’s automatic or not or you have to change that in the settings, but either way, you can push that media to your photo library which is basically exactly what you want these smart glasses to do.
The photo/video section of the app also allows you to click on each photo and share them to your various social media platforms or messenger apps (Meta owned only).
To summarize, this whole photos/videos section in the Meta View app is in my opinion pretty clunky, but I think it does what it needs to do. It’s just kinda strange that a company worth hundreds of billions of dollars that is burning hundreds of millions of dollars on their Metaverse business isn’t spending more time on making sure that their early adopters are really happy with the UI of their product. It’s a good thing that the product is way better than the app that supports it.
Going on Runs with the Meta Smart Glasses
I’ve taken my meta smart glasses on 15+ runs now, including two races (10K and the Philadelphia Marathon), and they’ve been pretty fantastic. They serve as a great pair of sunglasses with their transition lens and even when it’s really dark in the morning since it’s currently Fall, they are totally fine with their clear lenses.
In terms of the running conditions I’ve worn them on:
30 degrees fahrenheit. Definitely a cold day and they held up fine and likely shielded my face from some of the wind. The photos/videos looked great too.
On days where it was drizzling, these glasses are water resistant, so they were fine to get a little wet and still could take photos and videos without any issue.
Super windy days. Chicago is afterall the “windy city” and I’ve worn them on some pretty windy days and they did great.
45-55 degree fahrenheit nice days. No issue here, probably the ideal situation and the best running weather since Fall is the best!
So, these glasses have been through all different kinds of running conditions and had no issue with their media functionality and they felt fine to wear. The only condition that I haven’t had a chance to wear them in yet is on a really humid day which we’ll just have to wait until the summer for that. That and maybe when it’s snowing or really hard, both conditions that I’m unlikely to run unless my training schedule really demands it.
I’ve worn them on workouts where I was running as fast as 5:30/mile paces for brief bits of time and the glasses didn’t move and didn’t impact the run. As I said earlier, I actually wore them in a 10K race where I was averaging 6:30 miles and they felt perfectly fine to wear.
In fact, here’s a video of me winning the race (humble brag):
As you can see the video isn’t too bumpy from the running and is decently smooth enough to see what’s going on. During the race, I obviously sweat a lot and the lenses didn’t get too wet with sweat since I had a hand towel that I carry with me that could wipe sweat from my head before it started dripping down my face. Sometimes I didn’t always wipe the sweat all away and the lens didn’t really get hit too bad where I needed to take the glasses off or anything. It was actually pretty fun wearing the glasses during the race since I knew I could take photos and videos which made the race more interesting. I will note the photos that I took while running weren’t that great since I was definitely not trying to stay still or anything. The videos though were all great, even at the pace that I was running.
I also took these glasses with me on an 18-mile run on the Chicago lakefront, where I wore them when it was dark at night for the first 1.5 hours before the sun started rising. I took a bunch of photos while I was on the southside of Chicago running up and down some bridges for some hill workouts. The videos turned out great, the photos were hit or miss. Some photos were unfortunately blurry due to me moving my head while running, but there were some other photos where if I just kept my head still, the photos turned out great. I would say that 50% of the photos I took were pretty blurry and not usable.
Here’s a few shots from that run:
These are just a few shots, but as you can see there was one blurry one that I wanted to include to show you how blurry they can get when running and taking an action shot. However, you can see that you can also get some really nice shots too. To be fair, I think both of the clear ones, I was mostly steady to really get a nice pic.
So during the 18-mile run, it took me nearly 3 hours to run it and by the end I was definitely feeling a little pressure of wearing the glasses a little too long on the side of my temples. It was overall fine and the battery life of the glasses was great, with no issues with a low battery or anything. I think I had 30-40% of battery life left after the run.
When I took these glasses with me on a run in Central Park in NYC, I was able to get a lot of nice photos of the reservoir and a video of the blue lines that serve as the tangents for the NYC marathon course. As I said earlier, not all the photos were usable since I’m running and taking photos, but the videos were all very high quality.
Just this past weekend, I decided to try wearing these Meta smart glasses for the 2023 Philadelphia Marathon and the results were mixed. From a comfort perspective, they were mostly fine for the 26.2 miles and the pre and post race festivities. Towards the end of the marathon, I decided to hold the glasses in my hand for the last mile or so since I didn’t want to deal with any potential issues in my finish. Weather-wise, it was 40-45 degrees and sunny during the race, so they were served as great sunglasses and going around a 7:20-7:30/mile pace, I didn’t have any issues with them besides having to clean the lenses from sweat here and there. From a battery perspective, the glasses died around mile 10 after taking about 15 15-second videos and a dozen or so photos. Granted, I was listening to music for an hour or so before the race, so I started the race likely with only 60-70% battery. I think the overall battery lasted from around 5:30 AM to about 8:30 AM with a lot of use.
Here’s a few videos I took during the race while running the streets of Philadelphia. As you can see the video quality is pretty solid even with my head moving around to take in the views.
One side anecdote about wearing smart glasses is that a few years ago, I was running the BQ2 Marathon in Spring 2021 and my wife was wearing my Spectacles to document some action shots. When I was finishing the race, in the last 100 meters, she tried to take a shot with her phone and use the Spectacles, and fortunately she had the Spectacles since the phone video ended up not being useable since it didn’t start recording correctly or something and so we have only the Spectacles video documentation which was totally fine and pretty awesome to see the final footage.
Overall, wearing Meta’s smart glasses while running has been a great experience. The ability to take photos/videos while running is so helpful, I’ve been able to take a lot of sunrise photos which are incredibly nice and beautiful to review after you import the photos to your phone. I do think wearing them too long might cause some issues for some wearers, like they definitely started bothering me towards the end of my 18-mile run. However, when I did wear them on a 13-mile run, they were perfectly fine, and I had no issues with the glasses and they were comfortable. I definitely like these glasses more than Spectacles when taking them for a run given the weight and feel of the glasses, plus these glasses work both as normal glasses AND sunglasses, which the Spectacles were only sunglasses. The fact that I could wear them successfully during a race was very impressive and shows that instead of using a GoPro or some handheld video recording device, these glasses might just do for at least a first person view of everything. I could see a lot more running influencers using these glasses. Curious if Kofuzi would entertain trying these out.
Going Biking with these Meta Smart Glasses
I love wearing smart glasses for biking. I remember during the start of the pandemic, I would bike everywhere with my Snap Spectacles since there was virtually no traffic in Chicago, and it was easy to get to Wrigleyville from my neighborhood and you could get these great shots of Wrigleyville and the Cubs Stadium.
I haven’t ridden my bike too many times yet with these Ray-ban glasses but on the few times that I have, I think the picture and video quality is pretty great. Super stable video that you can see below and it’s just super easy to take shots versus trying to take your phone out. I know a lot of people use GoPro’s and other mounted cameras when they bike, but I personally think these glasses are more natural in your day-to-day use.
My bike isn’t a carbon road bike, it’s just a basic Trek hybrid, so I’m going barely 12-13 MPH versus some people going 20 MPH.
Wearing these Smart Glasses when you’re with your Kids
I think the greatest value that I’ve gotten from wearing camera/video smart glasses was from taking photos/videos when my family was out and about. I’ve only had these glasses for a short time, but I know from my experiences with Spectacles, I’ve had some priceless shots.
Here are some activities / places where I was able to use smart glasses:
With the Meta smart glasses, here’s a few activities that I’ve been able to use the smart glasses to capture footage:
Trick or Treating
When I went fishing with the kiddos, it was really fun to capture videos at “surprise moments” such as right when my daughter caught a fish after waiting around awhile. If I had my camera out, I would have been filming for awhile, but with the Meta glasses, I just pressed the button and was able to capture all the video of that fun moment with my daughter. The sound and video quality are just top notch and it allows you to relive the moment from your perspective vs. your phone’s perspective which isn’t always one in the same.
I think one thing that Meta could do to improve their photo taking is to incorporate “live photos” like what Apple does. I think this would resolve some of the blur issues and sometimes you miss the actual photo you’re wanting to take just by a second or it might be too blurry because it happened so quickly. This is why I generally take videos which allows you to capture the full moment.
When I took my kids trick or treating this Halloween, that was a lot of fun too since it had just snowed in Chicago, so there were some really nice beautiful snow background shots with the kids in costumes. Not to mention, holding your phone, plus the kids extra candy and it being really cold are not a great recipe. Enter Meta glasses to the rescue to solve this issue!
In summary, using these Meta smart glasses so far while out and about with my family has been really great. The transition lens are also really convenient for taking photos indoors or out on a sunny day. I recommend any parent with kids to buy a pair, you’re bound to thank yourself later when you capture a moment with your glasses that your darn phone was too slow to capture.
Going skateboarding with these Meta Smart Glasses
I’m by no means a trick skater, so when I say “going skateboarding,” I just mean cruising around the city with a skateboard with long board wheels. In the few times I’ve gone skateboarding with these glasses, just like running and biking, I think they work well and can take great first-person action shots. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing some good trick skaters using these glasses to document their tricks and what not. Totally worth getting just for that and giving your audience a first-person perspective.
My own day-to-day use of these Smart Glasses
I wear these glasses nearly everyday since when working they serve as blue light glasses which can help with eye strain when you’re working on your laptop all day and you can also play music in the background. Also, these glasses can turn up and down the volume on Spotify songs and pause when necessary.
When I was in NYC to cheer for the NYC Marathon, I absolutely loved being able to use them to capture footage since holding your phone and clapping don’t work too well together. Not to mention, when you’re taking videos with your phone, you’re focused on what’s on your phone’s screen vs. what’s around you, which may cause you to miss moments as well.
Here’s just a few shots that I took during the 2023 NYC marathon:
A note about battery life when you’re just wearing them throughout the day, they can last for most of the day if you’re just wearing them occasionally taking videos/photos. If you’re using them a lot, like I did during the NYC marathon where I was cheering from basically 11 AM to 4:30 PM, they lasted for a good chunk of that session. I think I charged them for a few minutes during a break when they hit 40%, but I never really was annoyed with the lack of battery life. The case charges the glasses rather quickly too. As I noted above during the Philly marathon, if you’re using them all the time for example playing music, the battery dies a lot faster than taking the occasional photo/video.
Besides cheering for the NYC marathon, I used them to take photos at the bars, while running in Central Park or just taking a walk and seeing something interesting. Walking around with them and having music playing is nice since you don’t have AirPods in your ears, so if someone talks to you, you can easily hear them and pause your music vs. AirPods you’re a bit more closed off from the world and people around you may hesitate when talking to you vs. they would have no idea you had music playing in your frames.
I’ve also used Meta AI a number of times on random tasks. For example once, I went to a doctor and they prescribed me something and I was curious about dosage and the difference between viruses and bacterial infections, so Meta AI was able to help me understand the differences. It’s also been helpful to word check when I play Boggle with my wife or do some math for me. It isn’t very good at taking in long questions, as it seems to timeout after just 20-30 seconds of talking, which is frustrating since Chat GPT is a lot better, but it’s not as convenient, since again, you have to take out your phone vs. just doing something on the go.
I’ll also note that Meta AI is pretty slow relative to Siri or Chat GPT in terms of processing voice commands. Still a lot to improve, but at the very least it has been able to understand and do/answer most of the tasks/questions that I give it.
Meta AI’s notifications are similar to Siri when you get a phone call or text message. When I try to make calls though, I think Siri was more responsive than using Meta. However, I haven’t tried making a lot of calls using these smart glasses yet.
What I’m Looking Forward To and Suggestions
I’ve been an early adopter of smart glasses for many years now and I’ve really appreciated their functionality and these new Meta glasses now enable people to use them in just everyday living since these glasses are not just limited as sunglasses. It’ll be exciting what other features Meta comes out with the app and glasses since the hardware is there, it’s just the software that likely needs some tuning for iterative improvements.
I’m sure in the next 10 years (hopefully sooner), I can see a contact lens that can be worn and that has basically the same functionality as these smart glasses.
I would love it if these glasses had more integrations with different apps or devices. It would be so helpful to be able to pair these glasses with my Apple Watch, so I don’t need to wear AirPods anymore on my runs for music.
It would also be nice if these glasses could integrate with email or Slack where you can create custom notification scripts on when you should be notified about something.
Should You Buy Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses and are the Ray Ban Smart Glasses Worth It?
Without a doubt, YES! They are absolutely worth it. I’ve reviewed a lot of my own personal use cases for taking media with these glasses, as a runner, as a parent of young kids, as someone that’s just doing regular stuff such as going to the bars or walking around a park. However, I’m sure there are plenty of other use cases and I bet influencers will likely purchase these glasses to help with content creation.
Another note is that even if you aren’t going to use the smart glasses functionality much, these glasses are a nice accessory to change up your style with the clear lens and these glasses can be your default sunglasses when you’re just going out. Obviously, definitely a bit pricey to just use these glasses as an accessory or just as a pair of sunglasses, but having the option to use the smart glasses functionality is really nice.
If you found this review helpful, please support this site by purchasing meta glasses through the affiliate links on this site.
Ari is a digital marketing professional who loves to travel and play recreational sports. He is an avid runner and has completed a number of long-distance races, from 5ks to marathons.