At the beginning of September Facebook and Ray-Ban announced a pair of sunglasses with an integrated camera, the Ray-Ban Stories. I have been using them during the last month and this is the main problem: when I use them, nobody realizes that they are being recorded.
The glasses have a philosophy similar to Snapchat spectacles. At first glance they are conventional sunglasses but at the top, at the ends of the lenses, there are two cameras.
The model I have tried is inspired by Ray-Ban's well-known Wayfarer. They are a bit thicker than a conventional Ray-Ban Wayfarer but nothing to be noticed at first glance. The pins are larger because they include loudspeakers (and batteries), but in general, it is a classic design that feels good. And, yes, they can be purchased with graduated crystals.
Glasses can record small videos or take pictures. Facebook uses the two cameras to offer some 3D filters in photographs but the video is always 2D. The Ray-Ban Stories connect to the smartphone to download the videos that, as you would expect, are intended above all to quickly share on social networks, specifically the Facebook (it is necessary to have an account on Facebook to use them). The app to do it is quite basic, but it fulfills its function.
To record video, simply press a button at the top of the pin. A long press takes a photo. The quality is ... acceptable. Far from what a phone offers today but enough to climb in an Instagram video. The videos are recorded with a resolution of 1,184 × 1,184 pixels, which gives quite flexibility when cutting them horizontally or vertically.
A detail to keep in mind is that if you have long hair you are likely to burn yourself in the scenes on a day of wind if you do not take it collected. At night the quality of the video remains, but as I said before, to use in social networks, it is sufficient.
The speakers on the pin are not very powerful and outdoors do not have enough volume so that a song or a podcast can be heard well, especially in very noisy environments. But if the stars are aligned and there is not much traffic, it is possible to answer a call or listen to something. Of course, the people around you will also be able to listen to it.
Maybe the most shocking of these glasses is that their discreet design makes it not easy to realize when they are recording. There is a small white LED in the right corner of the glasses that light up when recording video, but by day it is practically impossible to see it, especially at a distance of one or two meters.
The cameras can be seen if the light faces them but you have to look good and most people will confuse them with an ornament or simply will not realize that they are there.
Again, this is perhaps the main problem of an idea that, for the rest, seems well executed. The designs of Snapchat spectacles always make the cameras highlight more but here it seems that you have tried to hide them as much as possible without reaching the level of a hidden camera.
The battery of the Ray-Ban Stories is large enough to take them all day for sporadic use, about two or three hours of recording or playback in total. The glasses case is also the charger, and adds some additional battery when they are saved in it. You can recharge them up to twice without having to plug the case to the computer or the current (loaded by USB-C).
In general, as smart glasses, they are better than Snapchat spectacles in design and more useful than other intelligent glasses focusing only on audio. Videos have enough instagram quality or facebook, especially if it makes a good day and there is a lot of light.
But for most users, the mobile is not only more versatile but it is also more evident and minimizes the privacy problems that this alternative poses.
The Ray-Ban Stories are already available in several countries in Europe, although at the moment not officially in Spain. The basic model, without graduate crystals, is sold by 329 euros in Italy, for example, and there are three different designs to choose, each with several colors.Updated Date: 07 November 2021, 12:06