Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses review: The best AI-powered AR glasses to buy right now
12 mins read

Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses review: The best AI-powered AR glasses to buy right now

Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses

Pros and cons


  • accessible form factor
  • Full-bodied, natural-sounding speakers
  • Multimodal, AI-powered voice and camera features
  • flexible lens options

  • Meta AI performs inconsistently (for now)
  • Camera sensor is not reliable in low light environments

More Buying Choices

This review was originally published on October 17, 2023 and updated on March 29, 2024.

ZDNET's shopping advice

of meta $299 smart glassesCreated in partnership with Ray-Ban, it's exactly that: a premium wearable device that can do “smart” things from capturing photos and videos when given a voice prompt; To play music and podcasts through your phone; With built-in Meta AI to answer your most curious questions.

For many people, myself included, this makes the Meta Ray-Bans suitable for a casual lifestyle — one that's less awkward than the company's other on-your-face gadget, the Quest 3. Instead of putting a digital overlay on the real thing like the infamously tragic Google Glass, the Meta Ray-Ban focuses on essential features that should appeal to a more mainstream audience, including those who may already be familiar with prescriptions and shades. Have become accustomed to paying $200 and more for.

If you are considering purchasing a pair, I suggest you visit a local Ray-Ban, Best Buy or optical store and test the glasses yourself. They're available in two styles (Wayfarer and Headliner), three lens types (Clear, Shades, and Transitions), and two sizes (Small and Large), so there's a good chance you'll love them as much as I do. to do.

Out of all the smart glasses I've tested, these are easily the best for content capturing and audio listening. And with more time, practice, and user insight, Meta Ray-Ban could also become the best for AI.



Wayfarer and Headliner, in clear, shades or transitions


12MP ultra-wide (1080p at 30fps)


Five-mic setup with immersive audio recording


133 grams with charging case


32 GB


Up to 36 hours of usage with a fully charged case


Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C

How I tested the Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses

Since my initial review of the Meta Ray-Bans, I've been wearing a pair with fixed lenses, taking advantage of the built-in camera, speaker, and voice assistant for work and play. My original glasses were also a pair of Ray-Bans that looked similar to the Meta but devoid of all the tech smarts. This made my transition to Meta Options much easier. People who normally wear sunglasses should expect to feel the same.

I've worn Meta Ray-Bans at both CES and MWC (read: I've been through that awkward situation of having to go through TSA security with a “spy camera”) and have been using the hands-free, video-recording functionality of the product. Glasses for capturing video, reliving experiences, and more. I even used them to document my demoing experience Picking up the Apple Vision Pro On launch day.

Finally, I'm enrolled in Meta's Early Access program, which has allowed me to preview and test features that are still in development, such as multimodal AI to translate and differentiate animal species and monuments.

What are the best features of Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses?

A form factor that won't scare people off: Even with the cameras, speakers, and various modules mounted on the bottom of the frame – all of which are visible if you sport the transparent finish offered by the Meta – the smart glasses are surprisingly light, compared to other high-end glasses. They don't cause as much fatigue compared to high-tech wearables, and, dare I say it, feel normal to wear.

Also: Meta Quest 3 will also get a 'lying down mode' – this is why it's taking longer

As I mentioned in my buying advice, size is everything for these glasses, so I'd sample both the small and large frames before committing any money. I will note that both options come with the same charging case and approximate battery life, so you won't be compromising performance or portability by choosing one over the other.

Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses

The side frames of the glasses contain a speaker, microphone, and a touchpad for gesture navigation.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The easiest “action camera” you will ever use: Other major improvements with the Meta Ray-Ban include a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera that is capable of capturing sharp photos at 3024 x 4032 pixels and 1080p video at 1440 x 1920 resolution. The output won't put your GoPro or other action camera into retirement – ​​the dynamic range is low for me – but the ease of recording relatively smooth video without the need to hold or mount anything could spoil anyone.

When capturing any content with the glasses, I would recommend tilting your head down slightly, as the actual camera sensor is higher than your eyes. When recording from my height (6 feet), subjects can often appear off-center or close to the bottom half of the video, so that's something to keep in mind.

Both photo and video formats are scaled for portrait capturing, as the ideal use case for the glasses is vertical content sharing on Meta's social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. That content-sharing capability includes live streaming, which you can now initiate with a few taps on the wearable.

Also: I streamed with Logitech's Mevo Core camera and it outperformed my $3,600 Canon by nearly

When you're on a favorite live-streaming Meta platform, a camera button magically appears to switch from your phone's camera to your smart glasses. While the capability is geared more toward influencers and content creators, I've found the general focus on vertical video beneficial when I'm recording hands-on product demos and other short-form content for ZDNET's social pages.

Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses

When your phone detects that the Meta Ray-Ban is damaged (or its sensors are covered) a unique icon appears on your phone.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Audio is the secret weapon: To help focus on video, Meta equipped the glasses with five microphones, one of which is cleverly placed in the bridge of the nose for the most optimal voice recording. Based on audio samples, which included several indoor and outdoor conversations with ZDNET's Jason Heiner, who was also testing a pair, it's safe to say that the Meta Ray-Ban will replace your smartphone's microphone for calls. Could, but ambient noise and wind will reduce clarity by noticeable amounts.

Other mics on the glasses are scattered around the front and sides and can now be used to record 360 audio. It's almost as if Meta is preparing our senses for a future where spatial videos are more prevalent than they probably will be.

Also: How to Capture Spatial Video with iPhone 15 Pro (There's a Trick)

As for playback, these glasses sound better than their predecessor, the Meta Ray-Ban Stories, which I tested two years ago, using higher frequencies to produce clearer sounds and instruments than bass and lower pitches. Were more dependent on. This makes the successor ideal for listening to podcasts and pop music over electronic and hip-hop.

Meta told me that a major area of ​​improvement is the new directional output that significantly reduces sound leakage. But I can't lie when I say I still feel guilty when I hear it loud in public. Critical eyes have made it clear that noise isolation is not perfect.

Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses

The glasses have a flashing LED when capturing any type of content.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Privacy Features: It's worth pointing out that for the sake of people's privacy, Meta made the flashing animation of the LED indicator more noticeable during glasses' recording. If the glasses detect anything covering the LED indicator it will not record at all, which everyone can appreciate.

While a Meta account is required to use Glasses, it is optional for you to share your usage data and information with the company.

A better charging case: I would like to approve of the new charging/carrying case for smart glasses. It still functions as a wireless charger when the Glass is slotted in, but it's noticeably thinner than the previous version, with a leather booklet style instead of a hard-cushioned, snap-on capsule. Meta says it's 32% lighter than the previous model, I believe, and gives the glasses up to eight full charges or an additional 32 hours of battery life.

What would I like to see in the next model

Meta AI, but better: Meta AI, the glasses' built-in chatbot, is what actually makes these smart wearables “smart.” While the Llama 2-powered assistant does the essentials like forecasting the weather, playing a specific song or episode of a podcast, and capturing photos and videos when asked, there's room for improvement.

Also: Following the success of the Quest 3, Meta's first true AR glasses will come out this year

Interacting with Meta AI is a lot like the early stages of ChatGPT. You are encouraged to ask more descriptive questions, have longer conversations, and even occasionally follow up, but I'm not sure yet if the AI ​​is capable of going into more details. For example, when asking for a dinner recipe, the “detailed” answer provided by the chatbot was nothing more than a “brief” answer; The only difference was my preference for adding masala.

There's also a problem with response playback – specifically, how the AI ​​will read a long reply without pausing, leaving you in the dust while you try to rush through steps one and two for a recipe. If there had been the ability to pause reactions, whether through the gesture pad or by telling the Meta AI to “wait”, it would have made the experience flow more naturally. (For something more ambitious, I would love for the glasses to be able to livestream my actions as it prompts me as I go, harmoniously moving toward the next steps.)

Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses

With frequent audio streaming and video recording, I averaged two and a half hours of work before putting the glasses back in the charging case.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

More flexible video recording: From increasing the recording limit beyond 60 seconds to editing software in the Meta View app that allows you to straighten the field of view, there are a number of ways to improve the Meta Ray-Bans without changing the hardware. While the existing recording limits may be in place to prevent overheating and preserve battery life, I often found myself clicking the record button repeatedly in hopes of capturing every part of the experience. It's almost like there's a feeling of FOMO.

final thoughts

Meta recently announced that its multimodal AI features will soon be released publicly meta ray-ban, and I'm cautiously optimistic about it. The text translation feature should be useful for travelers – as long as you're dealing with English, Spanish, Italian, French and German – and the object, animal and monument recognition capabilities will be equally useful for the curious-minded.

From what I've seen in the beta, such AI features are mostly Reliable, being able to tell with the glasses the name of the Verrazano Bridge that I was going to drive over this weekend and successfully identifying the “pet orange tabby cat” that wanders into my backyard every morning, so that's a promising It is the beginning.

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