Starting with Ray-Ban Stories, the first connected glass from Meta

7

After Snapchat, it’s Meta’s turn to enter the world of connected glasses. With its Ray-Ban Stories, the American company offers an interesting pair of glasses in shape, but with very limited uses.

The first pair of connected glasses from Meta will finally be available in France. Developed in conjunction with EssilorLuxottica, it has partnered with one of the group’s most renowned brands, Ray-Ban. More than six months after its launch in the United States, the product has finally crossed the Atlantic. We had a chance to try out a Meteor model for a while, to show you what life is like through our eyes (and the cameras in the temples).

A (almost) classic pair of glasses

It is impossible not to talk about the design of these glasses, because it is above all an aesthetic thing before it can be a connected thing. Obviously Meta is working very well on its product because these Stories are almost like a classic pair of Ray-Bans. In the case of our Meteors, the differences are much more subtle compared to the normal version. The temples are 5mm in length, the width of the bridge varies only by one millimeter and the length of the lens takes up and is not less than 2mm. In terms of weight, the Ray-Ban Stories pair is no heavier than a traditional frame. Thus, we weighed our Meteor pair, which showed a weight of 50.1 g while our daily glass pair weighed 22.4 g. A double weight that though never felt once in our nose.

Apparently the presence of both sensors on the right and left tenons betrays the ability of these glasses to film or photograph what is in front of us. But both modules are rather small and can be watched from a distance, especially in a black colored frame, like the brown model we received in the test. Let’s add that Ray-Ban Stories can be paired with prescription lenses, sunglasses or not.

Even the charging case is very similar to the case usually given with a pair of glasses. A large, leather-covered, pill-shaped box for storing/charging Stories. the interior has a line of felt with a metal hinge: the premium effect is there. The only real difference between this case and a more classic one is the presence of a charging LED and a USB-C port. On the mount, a white LED tells others when you are taking a photo or video.

The white led indicator indicates taking a video or photo.

The white led indicator indicates taking a video or photo.

Let’s talk about autonomy, because compared to a classic pair, Stories has to be recharged every now and then. Autonomy can be easily dissolved if you ask them a little or if you don’t think about cutting the connection by folding the branches. By making all the necessary provisions, the pair can last a day or two before being returned to its box. When the battery is exhausted, the case takes about three hours to fully charge the glasses.

The case includes two connectors that allow charging.

The case includes two connectors that allow charging.

An application, essential companion

To use this pair of Stories, you need to go through the Facebook View application. Needless to say, you need to have a Facebook account to take advantage of the connected features of the glasses. First, the application allows you to import photos and videos captured using Stories. The glasses need to be paired with your smartphone using the pair’s own wi-fi network. You can select the content you want to import into the app. Then everything is stored there, as well as in the photo library on your smartphone.

Within Facebook View, it is possible to edit photos or video clips on the fly, but also create video montages. By selecting up to 10, the application will be responsible for creating a short montage by placing your options afterwards. Then you are free to choose the transition effect you want. Another creation exists and is called “Flashback”. This allows you to animate one of your photos, but not like a gif. It’s more of a camera effect inside the shot, like making a GETTING front or back. It’s fun for five minutes, but it probably won’t appeal to most.

Finally, the application is essential to manage the various parameters of Ray-Ban Stories. This allows you to check the battery condition, trigger software updates or unpair the glasses. Activation of the voice assistant is also done directly in the application. For the French release of the glasses, the latter updates to offer an assistant who speaks the Molière language, two voices can be selected. This helper can be triggered by pressing the only button on the right branch or by saying “Hey Facebook”. A voice confirming its activation can be configured.

Interesting features

Meta glasses can capture photos or videos thanks to two 5-megapixel modules included in the frame. The combination of the two makes it possible to get shots equivalent to the ultra wide-angle module of a smartphone. But once your photos have been imported into the application (we’ll get back to it), you’ll have the impression that only the right sensor can capture the images. The photos taken are not of high quality, except to take advantage of very good light. For video, the pair of glasses allows you to capture brief moments up to 30 seconds. In the foreseeable future, this time will be extended to 60 seconds, which should allow for a bit more advanced usage (TikTok, Insta Stories or even YouTube Shorts in the line of sight).

On the branches there are speakers that focus the sound directly on your ears. At low volume, those around you are unlikely to hear what you are listening to. On the other hand, it exceeds the median threshold and that can easily change. For listening to music, it can be practical in a quiet environment like home or office. But when outdoors, the two speakers don’t rival a good pair of headphones. In fact, this addition can be very practical for making and receiving calls, the audio quality is quite decent, as offered by the three microphones. The right branch also has a touch surface to control the volume as well as your music tracks. A slide allows you to control the volume while a press stops. Double tap will skip to the next track and triple tap to the previous track. A well thought out implementation that allows you to remove your smartphone or use the dedicated voice assistant.

One of two loudspeakers located under the branches.

One of two loudspeakers located under the branches.

Precisely, this helper (“Hey Facebook”) offers a small panel of possibilities. Play/pause music, take a photo or video, increase/decrease the volume and … that’s what it’s all about. It is impossible to receive or hang a voice call with his voice, to launch an application, or even to dictate a message. To try to find out more about the different possibilities, we even tried a: “Hey Facebook, what can you do?”. A question answered by the wizard: “I’m sorry, it’s beyond my ability right now”. It’s a little embarrassing and it really limits the interest of this voice assistant. However, it should be recognized that it is very reactive and can be triggered without having to raise your voice, as long as you are in a calm environment.

A privacy and privacy update

Apparently, Meta starting the world of connected glasses can raise a lot of questions about privacy as well as respect for data. Within the application, it is possible to manage the various information you want to send to the company or even to the application itself. You can also choose whether or not to share eyewear and app usage information to enhance the experience. On the part of the voice assistant, the application can track requests made, again with the aim of improving the experience, he said.

Note that none of the data is shared by Meta about your photos and videos. These content remain on your phone or within the app and are never intended to be recovered by the company. Unless you decide to share it all on one of the Meta social networks …

Leave a Comment