Still, the included voice commands work quite well and at least go beyond simply controlling the glasses to capture media. You can start a phone call, connect with people on WhatsApp, or dictate messages, all with a “Hey Meta…”, and with surprising accuracy too. This five-mic array picks up audio clearly even when you’re outside and walking on busy streets, or on a windy day, and they always picked up the contact I wanted.
The sound of victory
It’s on the audio front that Ray-Ban Meta glasses find their saving grace. The sound quality is surprisingly, almost shockingly, good, to the point where I had to check if they were using bone conduction. It’s not, but the clarity almost fooled me.
For listening to music or podcasts while walking around, the way these upgraded speakers deliver sound directly to your ears means Ray-Bans can easily replace in-ear headphones. Not only is it more comfortable, but it has the benefit of leaving you with situational awareness, able to hear the sounds around you.
While there is dedicated integration with Spotify, the glasses pair with your phone like any other pair of Bluetooth headphones, allowing you to use your favorite music service or podcast app. The directivity of the speakers means there is virtually no audio leakage, which thankfully reduces that glass hole factor.
The right arm of the frame also serves as a touchpad for media controls. Swiping a finger forward or backward increases or decreases the volume, while a single tap plays or pauses. You can also answer and end calls by double-tapping.
Of course, almost no one calls now, but the quality of the experience is seriously impressive. On a test call with a friend, I was able to hear every word said to me, even outside with traffic, and he heard me perfectly. It was slightly surreal, talking into the ether – and I received a few strange looks from passersby for talking to “myself” who probably wouldn’t have even glanced if I’d had headphones on in-ear.
Long-term audio use drains the battery, however, with the charge dropping from full to around 15 percent during a two-and-a-half hour walk around town. That’s less than the four hours offered per charge and required a return to the charging case.
A pair of very discreet connectors under the bridge of the nose attach to a bracket in the case, and they’re fully charged again in just over an hour. The case itself is charged through a USB-C port (you’ll need your own cable and plug, though) and is probably best left to charge overnight.
Unfortunately, a superb audio experience isn’t enough to make the Ray-Ban Metas an essential purchase (just ask Bose to explain why its sound is impressive. audio images canned in 2022). Viewed as a holistic product, they lack a clear purpose or identity, not practical enough for mindless captures, nor comprehensive enough to be a recording tool for influencers.
Even for those lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, you must already be wearing them to benefit from this instant shooting or recording capability. If not, it will take longer to put the glasses on, wait for them to pair, then take a photo rather than just grabbing your phone. Then consider that the Ray-Ban Metas assume that you aren’t too concerned with the quality of your photos, given the framing issues.
Consider the semi-enclosed garden for sharing, especially when it comes to live streaming, And the risk of being a glass hole and alienating your friends and peers, and it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine who they are really aimed at. Remember, Snap ended up with $40 million worth of unsold smart glasses.
So while these Meta glasses benefit from Ray-Ban’s classic approach to style, making them glasses or sunglasses that you’re more likely to want to wear for an aesthetic statement, as glasses intelligent, they always seem more of a gadget than an essential. to have.