Wearable technology has been the rage for quite some time now, from smart watches and glasses to fitness trackers and even digital jewelry. Having access to digital controls on your person can be liberating, especially if you travel a lot. Smart glasses are a fun new way to make hands-free calls, play music intuitively, click pictures, and even share content on social media.
In their most basic avatar, smart glasses fit cameras and speakers into otherwise regular-looking sunglasses. So, you will enjoy all the standard benefits – UV protection, blue-light filtering – along with impressive add-ons like hands-free calling and augmented reality.
Is it Worth Investing in Smart Glasses?
Since they are a relatively new invention, many smart glasses available now are somewhat dicey. But carefully picking a set suited to your needs can add convenience and comfort to your everyday life. Most companies designing smart glasses prioritize style, comfort, and a smooth user experience.
Externally, you will come across as someone sporting a stylish pair of sunglasses; the ‘smart’ features hide from view. Let us take a look at everything you can expect to achieve from this accessory:
With the use of open-ear audio technology, many of these gadgets can deliver audio directly to your ears without covering them like your classic set of headphones. The speakers are next to your ear canal, which means you will enjoy the audio without affecting anyone next to you. Many low-budget smart glasses also provide open-ear audio, permitting you to play music, pause or shuffle tracks using touchpad controls, etc.
Some glasses use Bluetooth connections to pair with your devices. Look for a gadget compatible with Android and iOS platforms, depending on your needs. It should be able to access your digital assistant. Using Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri is a prime bonus of standard wearable tech.
Camera and microphone
If you intend on clicking high-res pictures, inspecting the camera quality is a must. Some options offer 8MP cameras with auto-focus. A high-quality mic is also salient for making calls and issuing instructions. Both these additions will come in handy if your glasses link with your social media accounts – something that products like Ray-Ban Stories provide.
Smart or otherwise, all sunglasses should shield your eyes from strain and sunshine. It is imperative to look for UV protection. If you have needs for vision correction, you should also be able to get prescription inserts from an eye-care professional.
While purchasing a pair of smart glasses, assessing the build and design will help you make an informed decision. Look for weatherproof products that are also resistant to splashes, water, sweat, etc. At the same time, they should not be too bulky or uncomfortable to wear.
If you can find a gadget with some battery backup, consider yourself fortunate. Not many options offer much by way of unplugged usage, but this scenario should change as time passes and the technology becomes more commonplace.
Best Smart Glasses 2022
In the market today, you will find smart glasses in different budgets. Established sunglasses brands like Ray-Ban have ventured into this space, as have tech manufacturers like Razer. Some options cost as little as $149, while you may end up paying $999 or more for premium smart glasses with features like augmented reality and social media connectivity.
Many early adopters of such sunglasses are eager to explore features like location guidance. Others may primarily covet hands-free calling, blue-light filtering, and access to music controls. We have collected the five best options you can explore today, whatever your priority.
Best Overall: Ray-Ban Stories
For anyone looking for smart glasses with an excellent camera, good sound, and content sharing options, Ray-Ban Stories at $299.00 is a fabulous choice. These wayfarer glasses use a plastic frame and non-polarized lenses (50mm) with UV protection.
- Dual 5MP camera
- Three mics for better sound
- Handy content editing and sharing
- Portable charging case
- Requires a Facebook account
- Not water- or dust-resistant
- Short video time limit
- Too expensive
Why we chose it:
The stylish Ray-Ban Stories lets you capture hands-free pictures, audio, and video and share them on chosen social platforms. A dual 5MP camera adjusts to the ambient light to generate high-res content, while open-ear speakers enable smooth switching between actions. These glasses have three inbuilt mics to enhance the audio standards for videos and phone calls. It also has a highly responsive touchpad to facilitate pausing music or issuing commands to Facebook Assistant.
With this accessory, you can use Bluetooth and Facebook to connect to the world. It is compatible with both iOS and Android, which limits pairing issues. If you wish to share your content on social media, you need a Facebook account and the View app. That is something to consider if you aren’t keen on Facebook.
The View app simplifies the ease of using these glasses. It works as a handy and excellent system to view, edit, and share your multimedia content. You can ace the content game on platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and, of course, Facebook.
Best Audio: Bose Frames
If you are primarily hunting for audio excellence via your sunglasses, then there’s little that competes with Bose Frames. It will cost you $159.00 to experience this seamless sound experience.
- High-quality audio
- Resistant to shattering and scratches
- Smooth connectivity
- High UV protection
- Poor battery life
- AR is missing
- Not protected from external noise
Why we chose it:
Bose Frames offer open-ear headphones and employ Bluetooth to connect you to personalized audio enjoyment. The open-ear design enables you to stay attuned to the world while still relishing your sound and keeping others closed to the experience. Bose speakers are renowned for rich and engaging sound, which you get here.
These shatter- and scratch-proof glasses include an integrated microphone. You can make calls and issue commands to your virtual assistant. A 3.5-hour battery life with up to 12 hours on standby makes it a good option for free, unplugged usage during your travels.
Bose uses a plastic, non-polarized lens for these glasses with a high degree of UV protection. (You get as much as 99% safety from UVA/UVB.) The stylish angular shape and two available sizes let you choose glasses that suit your head shape and lifestyle.
You are unlikely to face connectivity issues as these sunglasses are compatible with iOS and Android. The Bluetooth range is about 30 feet which is a good ballpark for flexible use. You can choose to use the Bose Connect app to access more settings, get updates, etc.
With Alexa: Echo Frames (2nd Gen)
Anyone who aspires to own sunglasses that work wonderfully with Alexa and can be adapted per prescription – rejoice! Echo Frames (2nd Gen) at $249.99 are an excellent, if a little pricey, choice to up the convenience factor in everyday life.
- Excellent support for Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri
- Auto volume regulation
- Secure microphone access
- Low battery backup
Why we chose it:
With Echo Frames (2nd Gen), you can experience Alexa at a whole new level, making calls hands-free, listening to music, and controlling a smart home. The provision of open-ear audio enables you to enjoy your music without disturbing others. The volume gets automatically adjusted according to real-world noise levels.
Innovative features like a VIP filter and a voice-secure microphone further up the usability of this gadget. These lightweight glasses are prescription-ready. You can get customized lenses from your eye-care professional. They also boast an IPX4 rating for water and sweat and offer UV400 protection.
The list of things that Alexa, and by extension, these glasses, can do for you is immense. Several daily errands get simplified, from tuning in to a podcast to adding to your grocery list. You can access Google Assistant and Siri if you have a compatible device.
The VIP filter is a unique addition, letting you choose the notifications you want to see. Calling is straightforward, too, with options to call selected contacts with a single press and voice–based security for the microphone.
On the flip side, the battery life is low at just two hours of mixed usage or four hours of only listening.
Blue Light Filtering: Razer Anzu Smart Glasses
Anyone who prioritizes eye care will benefit from the Razer Anzu smart glasses, equipped with brilliant blue-light filtering and superior audio for $149.99.
- Top-notch blue-light filter and eye protection
- Distortion-free sound quality
- Long battery life
- Audio can leak outside
- Touch controls could be more intuitive
- Sound isolation is a little inadequate
Why we chose it:
These sunglasses offer excellent blue-light filtering (35%) and polarized lenses with 99% UVA/UVB protection. Eye strain from working and being in the sunshine gets significantly lowered. You can enjoy low-latency sound output for music and phone calls. An inbuilt mic, speakers, and a stellar 60ms Bluetooth connection pleasantly limit distortion. These glasses work well with voice assistants and last for five hours unplugged – longer than many contemporaries.
The sound quality of this accessory is incredibly charming. The stutter is minimal, minus the irritation that comes from delays. Plus, the battery backup is more than you commonly find in this space. The glasses turn off when you are not using them. It saves battery for your long walks and nature hikes. The IPX 4 design for splash resistance lets you wear it in different weather conditions is comfortable.
You can choose the size and shape as per your liking. Razer Anzu offers rectangular and round shapes in regular and large designs to cater to different users.
Best AR: Vuzix Blade Upgraded Smart Glasses
If you are keen to leap into the world of AR, Vuzix Blade upgraded smart glasses are your best bet. They don’t come cheap at $999.99 but bundle fantastic features like stereo-quality audio, Waveguide optics, and immersive AR technology.
- Good AR support
- Decent audio
- Auto focus
- Secure ANSI Z87.1 certification
- Very expensive
- Rather bulky
- Limited app selection at present
Why we chose it:
These AR glasses come fitted with an 8-megapixel camera, stereo speakers, and Waveguide optics to provide you with an engaging user experience. The world of possibilities is immense: staying attuned to the digital realm, accessing location data, remote support communications with audio and video, and more. Vuzix Blade has ANSI Z87.1 certification for additional security and prescription inserts for standard vision correction.
If you have used regular Blade glasses before, you will find that the upgraded version offers auto-focus and enhanced voice controls.
Waveguide optics ups the utility by several notches. You can easily blend digital commands onto physical tasks – all with little scope for error. The glasses work perfectly as an AV communications tool for remote support. Since this is an expensive gadget, it makes sense to invest if your needs really justify it. Users who frequently need road directions, use digital assistants, or appreciate augmented reality, in general, will find it a cherished accessory, never mind some glitches.
Smart glasses are a futuristic technology and work well for users willing to experiment. You may not find a product without glitches, but the options on this list operate more smoothly than most. You can use them to capture photos and videos, play your favorite songs, or sync with your social media accounts. They coordinate well with virtual assistants and incorporate new-age technologies like bone conduction for audio and augmented reality projection for unparalleled immersion.
An option like the Bose Frames makes sense if you want an all-around wearable tech for phone calls and music. For users who desire blue-light filtering and excellent audio via Bluetooth, picks like the Razer Anzu are worth considering. AR smart glasses are still not easy to find, but the Vuzix Blade Upgraded is an intelligent choice that works hard to simplify location access and digital immersion.
If you have been meaning to experiment with wearable tech and fancy the idea of connecting to the world through your sunglasses, nothing could be closer home. We daresay they are worth a try for the neat manner in which they encompass functions like calling, capturing content, and playing multimedia – cornerstones of the modern lifestyle.