Ray-Ban Meta sunglasses have ‘influencer’ written all over them


Ray-Ban Meta sunglasses have ‘influencer’ written all over them -Gudstory

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This is a review in progress. more soon!

An ideal mixed-reality headset sits somewhere between the Ray-Ban Meta and the Meta Quest 3. It’s thin, light, features hand tracking and passthrough, and live streams video when needed. It is designed to be worn outside until it is time to capture content.

The Meta Quest Ray-Ban is a fantasy at this point – albeit one that points towards where its creators think this is all headed. Currently, the Ray-Ban Meta and Meta Quest 3 are very different devices, with little in the way of overlap, other than being head-worn products with built-in sensors.

The Meta Quest 3 is a mixed-reality headset specifically designed to be worn indoors. It is, perhaps, lighter than other headsets of its ilk, but it feels a bit frustrating to wear while out and about. The Ray-Ban Meta was designed for exactly this use: freedom of movement outside the home designed to go (mostly) unnoticed.

Just before writing this, I wore a pair before the JFK Airport mobility cart took my sciatica-stricken ass to the gate. I’d say this pair was incongruous but for the fact that I was wearing a pair of sunglasses indoors. Well, that and the much-needed recording lighting that flashes so you can’t shoot people without them knowing. Here’s some of that video:

Image Credit: brian heater

We recently got our first look at the Ray-Ban Meta at a briefing right before the Connect conference. I was really impressed with the industrial design that the Join team came up with. Most people will have difficulty separating the charger from the standard Ray-Ban Classic eyeglass case. It’s definitely a little thicker than some. little heavy. More harsh. But the team surprisingly managed to make some concessions.

Lots of clever touches here. There is a ring in place of the snap. Open the case and it glows green when fully charged and orange when not. Blinks orange when the battery is low. Space inside has been maximized. The battery sits directly under the curved temples of the glasses. On its front is a dock with two charging pins located flush with a pair of contact pads hidden beneath the bridge of the glasses, held in place with magnets and a small tab.

The USB-C port is located on the outer bottom of the case, allowing it to sit on its back while it’s charging. There’s a Bluetooth pairing button right above it on the back of the case. This case is thinner than the previous generation and can be kept comfortably in the pocket.

Meta says the glasses take up to four hours to charge, while the case gets a total of eight charging cycles, for a total of 36 hours. As the company notes, “Battery life varies according to usage, configuration, settings, and many other factors.” Of course, this is the case with all technologies, but I’ve noticed that video is a power drainer.

Image Credit: meta

The companies really leaned into the style side of things here (not a bad decision when designing technology meant to be worn on the body). There are two main designs for glasses. There’s the classic Wayfarer (this is probably what you think of when you think of sunglasses) and the new Headliner (not that different from the Wayfarer, but significantly more rounded at the top and bottom).

According to Meta, there are 150 design combos possible when you take into account all the different design options, including frame color, style, and lenses (including sunglasses, clear, prescription, transition, and polarized).

The temples are thicker than most sunglasses — to be expected, seeing as how they house speakers and other components (there’s a transparent option if you want to see for yourself) — but again, the designers Did a good job keeping the size down, all things considered. And again, while slightly heavier than a standard pair of Wayfarers (50.8 grams vs. 44 grams), you can wear them comfortably all day if you want (or at least get less than four hours of battery life).

The second generation of Meta Ray-Ban Stories is matte black with transparent lenses

Image Credit: Darrell Etherington

There is a touchpad on the outside of the left temple. Swiping back and forth will adjust the volume (other features can be customized in the app). It also serves as a control panel for live streaming, since you probably won’t want to be messing with your phone or using the wake word. One tap can check Instagram or Facebook comments and audience in real time. The capture button is located next to the hinge on the left temple

There are a pair of small circular modules on the end pieces. To the point of symmetry they look similar, but are very different even while performing related functions. On the top right (when facing the glasses) is a 12-megapixel camera. There’s an LED in the top left that turns on to alert people around you that you’re recording.

When covered, the glasses send an audio alert that they have stopped recording. This is so people can’t stick a piece of electrical tape to hide the light. Meta says they haven’t heard of any specific examples of this happening, but they’ve almost certainly received that reaction. Again, privacy is paramount for a device like this, especially since it’s something that most people around you don’t know about. When the battery is low, you will get a spoken alert and the light will flash orange and turn red just before it turns off. The light will blink white when receiving a call, do a flash when taking a photo and will flash continuously while recording.

When connecting, it glows blue, turns solid when connected. The pairing process is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to download the Meta View app, choose between Meta Ray-Ban and Ray-Ban Stories, and allow Bluetooth to connect. Images and videos will be saved to the glasses’ 32GB internal storage (ie a maximum of about 500 photos or 100 videos in 30 seconds). You need to tap “Import” inside the app to connect via WiFi and download the content to your phone. You can also set it to auto import through Settings.

Once everything is paired, put on the glasses and open Facebook or Instagram for the livestream. Tap on the plus icon and it will bring you to the livestream screen. Your phone’s camera is, obviously, the default, but pressing the capture button twice will switch it to the glasses. Livestreaming was probably the single biggest killer app Ray-Ban Stories was missing.

The firing speakers at the bottom of the temple tips are barely visible. When I first tried the speakers in a quiet room, their sound was surprisingly loud and clear. They are open-ear speakers rather than bone conduction, which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Bone conduction is quite quiet, but works well with ambient noise, because it is reaching your eardrum through a different method.

Ray-Ban Stories Meta 2nd Generation in Matte Black with Brown Lenses

Image Credit: Darrell Etherington

As expected, I had to turn up the volume a bit amidst the noise at the airport. Where possible, I would recommend them for quieter environments, but obviously this is not always an option. Beyond listening to music, sound is an integral part of headphones. For example, there is an audible shutter click when you take a photo.

There are also on-board microphones, which listen for the “Hey Meta” wake word. Sound definitely matters on an instrument like this. It can be used to take a picture, stop and start the video, and adjust the volume (sound is an annoying way to do the latter). You can also ask the glasses to tell you the time, weather, and how much battery is left. You can also ask Alexa style-questions and the Meta AI will try to answer. It is currently only available in the US via open beta.

Pricing starts at $299 for the standard lens. Polarized runs $329 and Transition $379. Prescription lenses are on a sliding scale. The price will almost certainly be a barrier for many people – and understandably so. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how much value a face-worn camera will bring to your life. If you do live livestreaming, this might make sense. However, innovation comes at a high price.

It’s worth noting that future updates will bring more value to the device, including sign translation (via voice) and the ability to identify landmarks in front of you. Anyone can see the future of computing clearly in front of your face – although it will still take some time for us to get there.


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