Are Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses Worth It?

by freshlycharged

Who will love Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses?

The Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses are good sunglasses with fun cameras and surprisingly good audio for music and calls.

If you are shopping for yourself or a techie friend or family member who love to capture and share the moment through video and photo, these smart glasses by Ray-Ban will allow them to do so, while looking stylish and discrete… just don’t expect great video quality.

Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses Pros

  • Looks great, like classic Ray-Ban Sunglasses
  • Takes photos and videos easily
  • Easy to use and control
  • Audio and microphone quality is surprisingly good
  • My favorite way to listen to podcasts while on walks
  • Case feels solid and doubles as a charger for the glasses

Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses Cons:

  • Poor video quality
  • Photos are decent in good lighting, poor in low lighting
  • Control delays for capturing photos and video
  • Too easy to accidentally activate photos/video capture
  • I don’t like saying “Hey Facebook” for the voice commands

Let’s get the most common questions out of the way:

Can you live stream with Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses? No.

How do you know when it’s recording? There’s a small discrete light in the front that turns on and for the person wearing the glasses there’s an audible alert and a small light inside the frame for you to see whenever it’s recording.

Why are there two cameras on the Ray-Ban Stories Glasses? I believe one camera is for video recording and the other is for photos. No, it does not record 3D video.

How long do the Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses battery last? Ray-Ban says 6 hours with moderate use. When I wore them and used them often for photos, music, and video recording, I ran out of batteries in less than two hours.

Do you have to have a Facebook Account to use Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses? Yes. I needed to link my Facebook account to register the glasses through a separate app called View to use the glasses which I use to transfer photos and videos as well as for updating the glasses.

What I think about the Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses

I’ve been using these Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses for about a month now and I’m left with mixed feelings. While there are some impressive features to like about them, these Ray-Ban smart glasses definitely have room for improvement which I’ll discuss in detail in a bit.

My sister gifted me a pair of these Ray-Ban Smart Glasses which I was excited to receive but I became quite skeptical about after reading and watching some other reviews. 

I’ll be honest, I seriously thought about returning them after watching a few reviews online, but I decided to keep them and give them a try.

I test these glasses to see if I like them enough to get them fitted with prescription lenses. If I love them, I’ll keep them and get prescription lenses in them. If I don’t love them, I’ll find someone who does and give them away.

While these Ray-Ban smart glasses are far from perfect, I think I’ve found the perfect way to use them.

I’ve been wearing glasses all of my adult life and for the last 5 years I’ve been wearing Ray-Bans. I love the frames, I love the feel, and I love the quality of my current Ray-Bans.

I’m intrigued to see what a giant in the glasses industry teamed up with the leader in portable virtual reality can do in the world of smart glasses. 

Many have tried to make smart glasses including the tech behemoth Google and social media star Snapchat, yet no one has been able to find success. I’m not going to crown these glasses by Ray-Ban a success, but there are definite wins with the Ray-Ban Stories glasses.

I’ll be reviewing this product in two parts: as sunglasses and then as a piece of wearable tech so let’s get started with these RayBans as sunglasses: are they good sunglasses? Without the tech, would I wear these as sunglasses? 

Are Ray-Ban Stories any good as sunglasses? 

I have to say that these are the best looking smart sunglasses on the market. Why do they look so good? Because they look like normal sunglasses. 

The looks: These smart sunglasses don’t look like something from an episode of Star Trek or some dystopian movie or like they’ve been designed by a bunch of silicon valley tech nerds. The Ray-Ban Stories look like good looking sunglasses.

The feel and function: The glasses do feel good on my face although they are a little tight and there’s no way to really adjust them. The glasses are not too heavy and if you didn’t tell me, just by wearing them I would never have known that these glasses are packed with a bunch of tech including, batteries, two cameras, a microphone, and speakers.

As sunglasses, the performance is what you expect from a company that is a leader in specializing in sunglasses.

The build quality: The feel of the materials of the Ray-Ban Stories however is a little bit of a letdown, but not a deal breaker. In order to fit all that tech to make these glasses smart, the frames on the Ray-Ban Stories are on the thicker side and they feel  a little hollow. I’m accustomed to my glasses being solid, slim, dense, and sturdy, not thick and plasticy.

The sunglass frame doesn’t feel like the high Ray-Ban quality I’ve come to expect over the last five years of wearing their frames. 

So what do I think of these as sunglasses, not even looking at the tech?

I wore the Ray-Ban Stories to a football game, to the beach, to the park, riding my personal electric vehicles, to family gatherings and for walks with our dog.

As sunglasses, I think these are good sunglasses. On a 5 star scale, I give the glasses 4 stars, losing points for the lower quality feel.

Let’s talk about the tech

Ray-Ban, a top of the line glasses company that’s been doing glasses since the 1930’s did a good job with the glasses part, but what about the tech?

Rayban partnered with Facebook to make these smart glasses smart. And while it may seem like a good idea to join up with the industry leader in portable virtual reality sets, some may question getting cozy with a company known for exploiting personal information for profit. 

Does it seem like a good idea to give Facebook a way to physically live on your face, fully equipped with cameras and a microphone? 

Please know that these glasses are not for virtual reality or augmented reality. There’s no heads up display that will show text or graphics overlaid on your field of view.

These glasses have two discrete cameras on the front, a single button on the side to manually capture pictures and videos, a touch pad on the right arm/temple, speakers, and a microphone.

Let’s start with what I loved best followed by what I hated most about the tech.

What I love about the Ray-Ban Stories

I love the charging case. Similar to how your AirPods charge while they are in the case, these sunglasses do the same and there’s no fumbling with chords, just place the glasses in the case and the magnets will guide you to the correct charging position.

Convenience: Did someone say hands free capturing of photos and videos. Forget point and shoot, it is now just look and shoot. Want to capture the moment without ruining the moment? No more fumbling for phones, just look and say the voice command or press the button and voila.

Convenient, hands free, and discrete! Too bad the picture quality is lacking, but we’ll talk about that below.

Here are some real world photos taken from the Ray-Ban camera:

photo 102 singular display fullPicture
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I love the microphone and speakers. Music and podcasts are surprisingly clear and crisp. Of course, the bass isn’t booming, but the sound quality is full and it definitely impressed me.

Does the Ray-Ban Stories Glasses use bone conduction audio? No. It uses small speakers near your ears that are surprisingly good.

Because the sound is emitted from tiny speakers near your ears and not bone conduction, if you have the volume loud enough, people around may be able to hear what you are listening to.

The microphone is fantastic and everyone I called was shocked to find out that I was speaking to them through my sunglasses.

Functionality and controls were also surprisingly easy. The touchpad on the side was very responsive to tap gestures. The manual button and voice commands to take pictures or capture video worked really well. 

What I hate about Ray-Ban Stories

Too easy to accidentally activate: The button to take photos and videos is located on the right temple which is where I normally grab my glasses to take them off and I often found myself activating the video or photo feature inadvertently early on. This also happened to many people that I let try the glasses. 

Camera delay: There’s a noticeable delay from when you push the button or ask the camera to capture a photo which is annoying. I expect to take pictures instantaneously after pushing a button but with the Ray-Ban Stories I you will have to wait a second or two. This delay is real but it is forgiveable.

Poor video quality: What isn’t forgivable is the video quality. First off, pictures are captured in a square format and not in the universal landscape view or ever popular portrait or vertical mode. This renders the images and videos pretty useless if you want high quality content for YouTube, which is how I wanted to use these glasses.

The guys who designed these glasses should have been focused on TikTok, Facebook Stories, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts; first person vertical videos are huge and it is rapidly growing.

photo 557 singular display fullPicture

This was a missed opportunity. Ray-Ban could have engaged a generation for TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts content creators with high quality vertical videos captured from an icon glasses brand. 

But instead the square shaped photos and videos are useless for the hottest segments of mainstream social media and even for old school horizonal video guys like myself, I find the square shaped footage mostly unuseable for my YouTube channel.

Speaking of quality, the image quality is pretty poor by today’s standards with the dual 5 megapixel cameras, especially when comparing it to my Iphone 13’s 12 megapixel cameras.

In good lighting, the pictures are good enough for social media, especially when you factor in the convenience.

photo 1813 singular display fullPicture

So if I’m going to take pictures and record video with these sunglasses rather than my iphone and sacrifice nearly 60% of the megapixels, there better be a big benefit… and there is one, the convenience we discussed earlier.

The quality of the photos is decent for most social media users in good lighting. The video quality is pretty poor.

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Battery Life: It’s tough to gauge how much real world battery life I was getting. I could wear it for hours on my face no problem, but if I was actively recording and taking photos, I felt like the batteries ran low faster than I would have liked.

Facebook partnership: Another con is the partnership with Facebook. I will say, there is very little Facebook branding or advertising the packaging of these glasses and Facebook is nowhere to be seen on the glasses themselves or on the case, but the voice commands require you to say, “Hey Facebook take a photo” or “Hey Facebook take a video.”

I have never felt quite comfortable saying the “F” word in public and would have much rather said “Hey Ray-Ban take a photo” instead.

While the square recording format and the low image quality are big bummers, it’s the ease of use and quality sound helps to raise the score and I’m giving the tech inside these sunglasses a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

The View App: You will need to use the Facebook View app to register, activate, and use your glasses. You download the photos or post to social media through the app.

The app is simple and lean but bulk downloading is tedious as you can’t select all or multiple photos and videos at a time.

Bulk uploading the pictures to the cloud was also a pain. It seems if the phone screen turns off, the connection is lost and those photos and videos don’t get transferred.

Are the Ray-Ban Stories Worth it?

Yes and no. I will be keeping them because I love the audio feature and the ability to take quick photos and videos quickly and easily. But I got them as a gift.

The sunglasses are good BUT the camera needs improvement. If you are looking for a handsfree way to capture the moment, like taking a photo of your kids playing or a video of a fleeting moment, these sunglasses will let you do that without disruption.

Just be ready for square shaped photos and videos. The photo quality is okay but the video is low quality. For most casual social media, the photos will work perfectly.

My favorite thing about these glasses is the audio which is pretty darn good, so I’ll be keeping them and I’ll be looking forward to a much improved camera tech in version 2.

Check out pricing and availability of these Ray-Ban Smart Glasses on Amazon.

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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