It’s happened. Smart glasses are officially a thing. The Ray-Ban Meta and Meta Quest 3 sits as an ideal mixed-reality headset. It’s slim, light, offers hand tracking and passthrough and livestreams video when the moment calls for it. It’s designed to be worn inconspicuously outdoors, until the time comes for content capture.
Presently, the Ray-Ban Meta and Meta Quest 3 are very different devices, with little in the way of overlap, beyond being head-worn products with built-in sensors.
The Meta Quest 3 is a mixed-reality headset designed to be worn exclusively indoors. It’s light, perhaps, compared to other headsets of its ilk, but wearing the thing while walking around outside frankly sounds a bit miserable. That’s precisely the use case the Ray-Ban Meta was designed for: freedom of movement outside the house that’s designed to go (mostly) unnoticed.
Meta says the glasses get “up to” four hours on a charge, while the case gets a total of eight charging cycles, for a grand total of 36 hours. As the company notes, “Battery life varies by use, configuration, settings and many other factors.”
The companies really leaned into the style side of things here (not a bad decision when designing tech meant to be worn on the body). There are two main designs for the glasses. There’s the classic Wayfarer (which is probably what you think of when you think of sunglasses) and the new Headliner (not dissimilar from Wayfarer, but significantly more rounded on the top and bottom).
According to Meta, there are 150 design combos possible, when you factor in all of the different design options, including frame color, style and lenses (including sunglasses, clear, prescription, transitions and polarized).
There are on-board microphones as well, which listen for the “hey Meta” wake word. Voice certainly makes sense on a device like this. It can be used to take a picture, stop and start video and adjust volume (turns out voice is kind of an annoying way to do the latter). You can also ask the glasses for the time, weather and how much battery is left. You can also ask Alexa-style questions, and Meta AI will attempt to answer. That’s currently only available here in the U.S. through an open beta.
The price starts at $299 for standard lenses. Polarized run $329 and transitions $379. Prescription lenses are on a sliding scale. The price will almost certainly be a deterrent for many — and understandably so. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how much value a face-worn camera will bring to your life. If you make a living live streaming, it may make sense. It’s a lot to pay, however, for sheer novelty.
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