Ray-Ban has launched its first line of smart glasses in collaboration with Facebook - and you can order them right now.
The Ray-Ban Stories range is the first of a new generation of smart glasses that offer a 'new way to capture, share & listen'. Aimed firmly at the wearable tech sphere the glasses provide people with the chance to seamlessly share and capture whatever they're looking at with their social media friends and followers.
Cutting to the chase, the quick-fire tech list looks like this: dual 5MP cameras, touch controls, open speakers, a charging case (with USB-C port), integration with the Facebook app, and a blue light filter - which will help with looking at screens or gaming for sessions. Thus, these glasses have a strong feature set.
Smart and gaming glasses have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, and the combination of tech giants Facebook and specialist sunglass designers and makers Ray-Ban seems like it could be a great combination to ride, but also extend, that wave.
The 5-megapixel cameras aren't going to melt your eyeballs with quality but for something integrated into the frame of a pair of sunglasses, they'll be excellent - and positioned close to your actual eyes means you'll be getting an accurate picture of what you're looking at. And any pictures you take with them, you'll be able to edit on the go too, with the Facebook View app, allowing you to tweak your pics before you send them out into the wild.
The open speakers will ensure good sound quality and the way that audio experts are cramming consistently high-end drivers into earbuds and the like, means that they'll be sufficient for podcasts, music, and calls - however, sound leaking will remain a concern. Personally, however, I would love to see if any other makers of smart glasses can design something similar to AfterShokz's discreet bone conductivity audio-provision; this is exceptionally good for keeping things private, and avoiding sound leaking - although you do compromise on some sound quality.
Touch controls are getting neater and neater too - just look at the best wireless gaming headsets - though being on glasses, and the frequency that one touches them, means it might be easy to accidentally engage with them. And while the hands-free commands can help you out for taking pictures and certain commands, this does mean this alternative is talking out loud a lot - to your sunglasses.
We love smart tech as much as anyone here at GamesRadar+, and these glasses are welcome in terms of gaming glasses and eye protection, but we think there are some slight eyebrow raisers with the Ray-Ban Stories. First, you'll need a Facebook account which will irk some people. Secondly, walking around with two relatively obvious cameras on the front of your glasses might be a little frowned upon socially now, and make folks - friends or other world citizens - a little uneasy, given how easy it would now be to capture and record everything you look at. It's also a bit of a shame to be launching smart sunglasses at the end of the northern hemisphere's summer...
But should the glasses get all this tech right, and manage to drop the usage seamlessly into folks' everyday life, then these might just be the most stylish smart glasses going right now. You can't deny that Ray-Ban sleekness.
Ray-Ban Stories will be available for both those who do and don't require prescription lenses and will come in three styles and six color/lens combos. The styles are familiar-looking, chic Ray-Ban looks: Warfarer, Meteor, and Round.
Ray-Ban Stories will be available from the Ray-Ban store, and retail for $299/£299 - though this can fluctuate a bit if you're after prescription lenses.
Our friends at TechRadar have the full lowdown in their review if you want some more in-depth information.