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Ray-Ban and Meta launch next-generation smart glasses

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Fashion |In Pictures

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica

Eyewear brand Ray-Ban and US company Meta, which includes Instagram and WhatsApp, have unveiled a new collection of smart glasses in partnership with EssilorLuxottica on October 17.

Describes as the “next generation,” the new Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses offer the first-ever eyewear with live streaming and Meta AI built-in, which it hopes will replace not only the mobile phone camera but also separate headphones as they have an improved camera and audio and microphone system.

At a press preview in London, the EssilorLuxottica and Meta revealed that the original, first-generation iteration of its Ray-Ban smart glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories, have been redesigned “from the ground up,” improving all core features following feedback from its wearers who love the hands-free convenience of the technology.

This includes a higher quality camera, going from a 5-megapixel in the first iteration to an ultra-wide 12-megapixel camera, powered by the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon AR1 Gen1 Platform, which enables higher quality photo and video processing. This translates into improved quality for photos and 1080p videos up to 60 seconds in portrait mode. With 32GB of storage, you can store up to 500 photos and 100 videos up to 30 seconds without needing to import to the app.

FashionUnited editor Danielle Wightman-Stone trying on the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica

The new look Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses also have all-new custom-designed open-ear audio in the arm of the glasses, with extended bass, higher maximum volume, and improved directional audio that provides reduced audio leakage for improved calls, music and podcasts, even in noisy or windy environments.

The improved audio also means that when recording a video or livestreaming, the newly designed five-microphone array captures sound exactly how the wearer originally experienced them, from the front, sides, rear and above.

EssilorLuxottica has also redesigned the charging case, making it slimmer and smaller, and it holds up to eight additional charges for a total of 36 hours of use. While Meta has improved the companion app, Meta View to be more intuitive, allowing a seamless way to import content, as well as easily share with friends via WhatsApp or any social media platform.

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses - charging case Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica

Ray-Ban and Meta redesign smart glasses with new specs and AI built-in

One of the biggest new developments for the new Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses is the Meta AI built-in capabilities, the company's advanced conversational assistant, which optimises the glasses for a hands-free experience. All the wearer needs to do is say ‘Hey Meta’ to engage with Meta AI to control taking videos, photos and audio, as well as send content to share on WhatsApp. Voice-activated Meta AI features will be available in the US in beta only at launch.

In addition, the new smart glasses have a livestreaming function allowing wearers to broadcast their experiences and point-of-view in real-time, hands-free to Facebook and Instagram. The wearer can toggle between the glasses and phone camera to Instagram Live or Facebook Live for up to 30 minutes.

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica

Rocco Basilico, chief wearables officer for EssilorLuxottica, said in a statement: "We are extremely proud to collaborate with Meta on the birth of a new category of eyewear. The new Ray-Ban Meta collection is unique, with features that have never before been integrated into a pair of glasses. “The world sees you in a pair or your favourite Wayfarer, perhaps with your own prescription and Transitions lenses that go from day to night, but you know you have this powerful universe of tech inside. Meta AI, live streaming, and insanely crisp audio and calling capabilities – all hands-free.

“This is what we imagined when we first decided to enter this space. Truly wearable, life-enhancing technology. And it will only get better.”

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are also built with a commitment to privacy, and the design has been reworked to make the privacy LED light bigger and more noticeable. So when wearers are capturing photos, videos or livestreaming, the LED light will blink on the outside of the glasses to make people aware.

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica

Ray-Ban and Meta smart glasses launch on October 17

The Ray-Ban Meta collection features 21 new styles, lens variations, and colours, including matte, shiny and transparent styles, available in the timeless ‘Wayfarer’ and ‘Wayfarer Large’, one of the brand’s most recognisable frames, alongside the new Ray-Ban ‘Headliner,’ which aims to offer a more inclusive and universal fitting design.

EssilorLuxottica and Meta have also reduced the weight of the glasses and slimmed down the profile in every direction, making them lighter and more comfortable. In addition, the glasses are now water-resistant (IPX4) and have an improved touchpad and added interaction earcons so the glasses respond much faster and more reliably to commands.

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses - Ray-Ban 'Remix' Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica

Launching on October 17, the collection offers even more customisation, as they are available in a full suite of prescription, sun, clear, polarised or Transitions lenses. Customers also have the option to ‘Remix’ the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, choosing frame colour, lens variety and finish and more to create over 130 colour and style combinations, available only on Ray-Ban.com.

The Ray-Ban Meta collection will be available in the UK, US, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Canada, France, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Prices start at 299 pounds / 299 US dollars / 329 euros and will be available from Ray-Ban stores, at Ray-Ban.com and Meta.com, as well as in select EssilorLuxottica stores, including LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Salmoiraghi and Viganò.

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses - 'Headliner' Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica
Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses Credits: Meta / EssilorLuxottica
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