After four months with the Ray-Ban stories, we need to mitigate some of the praise written in our review. Meta’s early glasses had design problems, which made them unsightly.
Marketed in France in April 2022, Ray-Ban Stories eyewear are the first of the Meta group. While waiting for augmented reality to be ready, the parent company of Facebook is focusing on sunglasses that can film and play music to make themselves known by opticians. A clever approach that we welcomed during our test as, despite some flaws (especially privacy), the Ray-Ban Stories are quite convincing. At 329 euros, it was the least they could do.
Unfortunately for us (and for those who bought them, we are sorry), we could not foresee more serious problems, but which did not occur during the first weeks. After 4 months of wearing them every day, including midsummer in the sun, here is the second part of our test.
Why use special screws on glass?
The first problem that time has allowed us to discover: the vines. Like all glasses, Ray-Ban’s stories gradually loosen up. The branches become looser and looser and open at the slightest manipulation, as if nothing is holding them in place – a common situation for sunglasses (especially from Ray-Ban), which is generally regulated by going through a specialty store. They can tighten the screws of your glasses for free, so as to make your temples more sturdy.
Over time, the temples of our Ray-Ban stories have gotten too wide. After procrastinating for several weeks, we finally got agitated and asked an optician for help. Surprisingly, none of the five we contacted were able to help us. Everyone came back embarrassed, explaining that they had never seen screws like this on their glasses. Amazed, we went to the official Ray-Ban store in Paris, where this model was featured in the window for several weeks. New surprise, the store manager told us that he does not have the screwdriver for the Ray-Ban Stories, and that he himself is not aware of this choice of Meta and Ray-Ban. He told us that he would arrange for the correct parts, but we don’t know if he has since received them (or if they exist). In any case, it is a real shame that no optician has the right tool.
Questioned by Numerama, Meta explained that it uses “TORX +” screws, which no other pair of Ray-Bans seem to use. We have not been told why, but we can imagine that these are more resistant vines to hold the branches, which are heavier due to their electronic components. On our test copy, they clearly failed in their mission. The branches no longer hold anything. Meta told us to contact Ray-Ban support for help.
Sunglasses that don’t like the sun
Again, this is an issue that we might not have seen in April. Since Ray-Ban Stories have electronic components, they are particularly sensitive to heat. They are rarely hot, but react very badly at slightly higher temperatures. In July, as soon as we used them by the pool or in the garden, they would overheat. A little voice asked us to put them in the shade to refresh them, while the connected functions were deactivated. A little silly for sunglasses.
In terms of waterproofing, Meta promises nothing. We took them on a boat, they took some sketches, but they seemed to work normally (at least at first, we had problems later. We will cover them in the next paragraph).
When questioned by Numerama, Meta indicates that his glasses are not designed to withstand splashes or high heat. Did you invent the first sunglasses that didn’t like sun or water? Did you understand how her customers would use this accessory? The question can reasonably be asked.
Temperamental glasses in refill
Much like the AirPods, Ray-Ban Stories glasses charge in their case. Thanks to a magnet, they receive electricity. The case, for its part, is recharged via a USB-C cable.
Over time, we noticed that this refill was capricious:
- First, the case doesn’t seem to accept all USB-C chargers. Sometimes its LED indicator lights up, but it doesn’t take 1%. We have noticed that it is mainly the more powerful chargers that are bothering him. Those of smartphones work.
- The Ray-Ban Stories magnet occasionally misaligns, preventing the charge from functioning. Of course, we find out by putting glasses on our heads and trying to turn them on.
- When the glasses don’t turn on, it’s impossible to know why. We occasionally chained several days without being able to recharge them, then it worked.
- From the end of July (a week after the boat, but it can be a coincidence): the glasses no longer start. Their LED indicator lights up in the box, but it is impossible to wake them up afterwards (the color code given to us by Meta indicates that everything is working). At the time of writing, everything suggests our Ray-Ban stories are dead. Four months after their release.
In short, Ray-Ban Stories are glasses that are only connected when everything is working well, which is quite coincidental. We have often used them only to protect ourselves from the sun, against our will.
Conclusion: revision of our note
Despite our observations, we liked Ray-Ban’s stories. In light of all these new problems, so critical that they render the glasses unusable in four months, we are obliged to review our assessment. We remain convinced that the Meta concept is good, but we will have to do much better with the second generation in terms of robustness. In the meantime, unless 329 euros mean nothing to you and you live in the cold and don’t like water, we don’t recommend them.
For information, we are also updating our first test, with a link to this article, the new note and the new conclusion.
The (new) verdict of the test
We liked it
- An attractive design for smart glasses
- Listening to music works well
- The quality of photos and videos
We liked it less
- Privacy issues
- The “Hey Facebook” assistant does nothing in French
- We soon get tired of cameras
- The screws are proprietary, the opticians don’t know how to fix them
- No resistance to water or high temperatures
- The price
During our first use, we really liked the Ray-Ban stories. Thanks to their appearance similar to regular glasses, they are super practical for listening to music, quickly answering a call or taking videos during special activities. Some things are pretty anecdotal (we don’t use cameras a lot, just like the “Hey Facebook” assistant), but the product is pretty cool.
Unfortunately, Ray-Ban’s stories are also very flawed. Their spy is easy to hide, which makes it too easy to spy on people. Their screws are very distinctive, which makes their repair almost impossible. Finally, their non-resistance to water and sun (yes, we’re talking about sunglasses), borders on the ridiculous. This first generation is too messy, but we can’t wait to discover the next one.