I expected the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses to be lame. I was …

If you chose Ray-Bans with dark lenses, it gets a little dim in the evening.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses

MSRP $300.00

“Despite not having a screen, the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses are one of the most practical wearables I’ve tested.”

Pros

  • Lightweight and stylish glasses
  • Hands-free photo and video capture
  • Good 12MP photos
  • HD+ videos
  • Live-streaming capability
  • Good speaker quality
  • Impressive five-mic array
  • Meta AI chatbot

Cons

  • No display
  • 1-second shutter lag

The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses surprised me by being much more useful than I expected. I’ve tested several types of smart glasses, but these are the first that are comfortable enough to wear all day. They feature an integrated camera and mics to capture first-person perspective photos and videos.

I assumed the novelty would wear off in a hurry, and I doubted the quality would be sufficient to satisfy my preference for high-resolution photos and video with good dynamic range. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Meta’s computational photography is good enough to deliver nice pictures despite the small size of the camera in the upper-left corner of the glasses frame.

For smart glasses, the new Ray-Ban Meta wearable I tested is lightweight, just 48 grams (1.7 oz), and has an IPX4 water -resistance rating. That means you can wear them comfortably all day without worrying about light rain or splashes. I popped out into a mild autumn rain with no worries — and if I may say, looked pretty stylish doing so.

Camera quality

I can take photos with a voice command or by pressing a button.
I can take photos with a voice command or by pressing a button. Tracey Truly /

Obviously, a significant appeal of these frames is in the design. Being partnered with one of the most iconic glasses brands in the world goes a long way toward making these feel like an ordinary pair of shades. Then again, that was true of the first-generation Ray Ban Stories too. The outer appearance hasn’t changed all that much, aside from being a bit slimmer all-around. The big upgrade in this second generation is what you experience with them on your face: the cameras.

The first-generation Ray-Ban Stories had two 5MP cameras in each corner of the glasses, allowing stereo 3D capture, but with a lower resolution than modern phones. That meant a trade-off in quality when using the smart glasses’ cameras.

The latest Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses match the 12MP sharpness of your phone and even add some AI magic to improve contrast and color. Most outdoor photos look great with no adjustments. Check out the beautiful harbor pictures I captured with these smart glasses.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses photos are crisp and colorful.
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses photos are crisp and colorful. Alan Truly /

Meta’s algorithm is very good, but it made a few exposure mistakes in challenging lighting conditions. I wore a dark jacket against a bright waterfront. My face showed too much contrast in one photo and not enough in the next.

But overall, the picture quality is very good. If you happen upon a glitch, you can report it to Meta from the companion app to help identify problems to fix in software updates. Be aware that a stray hair might appear in a few photos. That’s not Meta’s fault.

A couple of photos had exposure errors.
A couple of photos from Meta’s smart glasses had exposure errors. Tracey Truly /

The 12MP images have enough resolution to allow cropping without losing detail. Below is a 3:2 crop of a Meta Smart Glasses photo that normal