Facebook has teamed up with Ray-Ban to make a pair of glasses called the Ray-Ban Stories. They look and feel like regular sunglasses, but there’s a camera, mic and speakers so you can capture what you see.
I wore the sunglasses for a long weekend with my kids and they are certainly the best camera glasses ever made. Still, they do have some downsides.
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The first is the privacy factor. Sometimes, I felt guilty wearing them, like I was doing something wrong or surreptitious. Once you get over that, they’re kind of fun.
The $300 sunglasses are surprisingly similar in look and feel to my regular Ray-Bans. The stems are a bit thicker, and they come in an oversized charging case.
There’s a camera on each lens, along with a light inside and out to let you and others know you’re recording. There’s a power switch, capture button and speakers to hear audio.
You pair the glasses to your smartphone using a Facebook app called View. Once they’re paired you can take calls and listen to music on them. The audio quality is excellent.
To capture video, you press the button once and the glasses record for 30 seconds. To capture a photo, you press and hold the button. You’ll hear a snapshot sound.
Images and videos look great in bright light, but the quality drops down quite a bit in lower light. Still, I found it fun to capture little moments with my kids. Even everyday tasks, like grabbing a coffee, felt special when you have the glasses on.
Just beware this video isn’t professional by any means. It’s shaky if you’re walking and tends to wander all over the place since I realized we look around. A lot.
Also, what I was looking at and what the camera captured seemed to be a bit off. The camera captures a slightly higher vantage point then your natural point of view. I found myself aiming my head down more than usual to compensate. As far as I could tell, there is no way to “live preview” what the glasses are seeing in real time.
Transferring clips to your phone is simple, although the process can take longer than you expect. I found it much easier on Android, where the app can load the clips in the background, versus iOS where you must manually open the app to start the process and leave it open to finish the process.
The video captured is always square, but you can crop it to landscape or vertical. The View app also has basic editing functionality built in. It can make a montage of your day for you or you can manually edit clips together yourself.
You can also share clips to any social media app, not just Facebook or Instagram.
Overall, Ray-Ban Stories are the best camera glasses I’ve tested. Battery life seems to be fine and there’s room for improvement in stabilization and image quality, but they accomplish their goal by removing one more barrier to social sharing, which may or may not be a good thing.
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