we tested Meta’s connected glasses, surprising but perfect

After Google glassesthem Shows from Snapchat, Meta (the Facebook group) in collaboration with Ray-Ban enters the world of connected glasses with Stories. A range of smart sunglasses that includes three emblematic models of the brand: Wayfarer, round and Meteor. The accessory is intended as a means of taking videos and photos in a single gesture, with the idea of ​​being able to capture what the user “sees” on a daily basis. The height of chic, each pair is available in several different colors and lens colors. If aesthetics are there, what about technological prowess?

First observation, the electronic equipment is discreet, only two small 5 megapixel cameras fixed on the mount suggest the additional functions. The one on the right captures and records, while the one on the left captures the depth of the image. The electronic system is hidden in the branches, which are slightly thicker than the classic models, without weighing down the frame.

Each model is equipped with two 5 megapixel cameras for immersive photos and videos.  (Ray Ban)

When activated using the power button hidden inside the right temple, it will Stories must be paired with a mobile phone using the app Facebook view. The smartphone must be at least Android version 8.1 or newer. On the side of Apple devices, the application is compatible from the 6S model and the iOS 13 version. Each sync step is explained step by step by a tutorial and takes on average a handful of minutes. For our part, the test conducted with an iPhone required us to take it twice before establishing the connection. Be careful, although it may seem obvious, it is necessary to have a Facebook or Instagram account in advance to connect the glasses.

Once the connection is established, the recording can begin. Glasses on the nose, just press the button at the top of the right temple to start the video. A light sound warns of the start of the recording. Originally limited to 30 seconds, the duration has been extended to 60 seconds thanks to the latest update. To take a photo, it’s the same gesture, but holding down the controller. Last possible, activate the assistant with the phrase “Hey Facebook, take a video/picture”, to start hands-free recording.

From the outside, a white diode lights up above the right camera, to show people around that they are being filmed or photographed. A way according to the manufacturer to avoid Stories is to be used to film people without their knowledge, but it is clear that in reality the light remains difficult to spot from a distance.

The Facebook View application makes it possible to save the videos recorded by the glasses and to share them on the Meta networks.  (Ray-Ban/Meta)

But to share your most beautiful photos, transferring data stored in the glasses to the application Facebook view is a mandatory step. Not much rocket science, the application recognizes the number of files available for download in the 4GB memory of the pair of sunglasses. The user validates the import and in a few moments the files can be consulted on the smartphone. The software offers a few options to create small montages automatically or by hand, to brighten up with a handful of filters, which should be multiplied in a future update. Finally, your content can be shared on the Meta group networks (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) or downloaded to the phone’s internal memory.

The glasses’ 6-hour autonomy with moderate use means that you are not dependent on the battery all day. If necessary, they can be recharged using the included case, like wireless headphones. That Stories also allows you to enjoy audio content thanks to two speakers on the back of the bars. An option to reserve to listen to messages received on Messenger and WhatsApp (function available in English) or even answer short calls. Unfortunately, the sound lacks bass, and ambient noise is not as muted as with in-ear headphones. To control the volume and controls, the bowl in the right branch is tactile and responds by pressing or sliding according to the desired target.

Ray-Ban/Meta

If it must be acknowledged that the use of the glasses is quite fluid as a whole, some defects must be highlighted in the quality of the images. The first, the absence of an integrated stabilizer, be careful to keep your head steady to avoid a shaky video and be careful with long hair, which very easily ends up in the frame. The second, the sound quality of the videos. It’s satisfactory, but lower than the latest phones on the market. Another bad point for connected glasses is that they are not splash-proof, which reduces their use as everyday sunglasses considerably. Too bad for a pair whose prices still start at 329 euros and go up to 409 euros for transition lenses.

Music video by artist Burna Boy made with Ray-Ban Stories

Overall Stories remain a fun gadget that combines aesthetics and technology. The Meta Group warns: These glasses are only the “first step” towards the Metaverse, an ultra-immersive virtual universe that the group intends to continue developing. Perhaps we should expect to see the release of new generations of connected glasses in the coming years, including a space towards this new, still mysterious world.

Connected glasses Ray-Ban storiesfrom 329 to 409 euros.

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