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Remember when Google announced Google Glass in 2013 to many mixed reactions? Some people were excited about living their futuristic dreams in the present, while others rained criticism upon the product, citing potential privacy violations and more.
Back then, we can say that Google was simply trialing the technology, making the pair available to the public at $1,500 each. That’s an incredible amount to pay to essentially be a product tester, so it is no surprise that Google Glass slowly faded into obscurity before being discontinued for mass consumption in 2015.
But now, more and more companies are getting into the smart glasses game. What gives?
In the past ten years, the tech sector has made rapid strides. Virtual reality headsets are becoming more widely adopted, with some companies like Facebook and Microsoft experimenting with mixed reality. Other technological components that go into smart glasses, such as cameras, microphones, and speakers, have gotten smaller and better overall. Battery technology has also improved. These improvements create an environment where smart glasses can develop into maturity.
And although we can’t exactly live our futuristic dreams (yet!) with most of the currently existing products, a pair of tech-enhanced glasses is no longer outside the realm of feasibility.
If you’re looking for the best smart glasses in 2022, check out our top recommendations, buying tips, and more below!
Tech Glasses: Our Top Picks
We have a few favorites when it comes to smart glasses that are available today. Here are our top picks:
Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses (Wayfarer)
Our Choice for Best Smart Glasses Overall
Soundcore Frames Landmark Smart Glasses
A Versatile Pair with Interchangeable Frames
Nreal Air AR Smart Glasses with Display
Best for Augmented Reality
What are Smart Glasses Used For?
For 95% of users, smart glasses become an extension of their mobile phones. With their techy spectacles, they can take calls, listen to music, take photos and videos, and in some cases, access their favorite voice assistant. And for most users, this is all they want their glasses for.
A few existing smart glasses are capable of Augmented Reality, which allows you to enhance your regular perspective of the real world using HUD glasses. AR is a fantastic way to present helpful information overlaid into your normal view, but unfortunately, the technology isn’t ready for mass consumption yet.
There are still a few more niche use cases for these tech-enhanced frames. For example, camera glasses are useful for making high-quality videos capturing your point of view — an excellent tool for training videos, educational videos, and more.
Smart glasses are also useful accessibility tools that can help enhance the quality of life for the differently-abled.
What to Consider When Buying Smart Glasses
In their current state, smart glasses have connectivity options, cameras, speakers, and microphones. Some others have displays for AR integration. But with such fledgling technology, how do you know which products are good?
Consider the factors below:
Prescription smart glasses (or even non-prescription) usually deliver audio to you in one of two ways: open-ear audio and bone conduction.
Open-ear audio uses speakers directed at your ear. This means you’ll hear whatever you’re listening to without wearing annoying earphones or headphones. However, you may experience some audio bleed into your environment (and some people potentially eavesdropping in on your calls).
Bone conduction delivers audio straight into your inner ear via vibration. It’s 100% discreet — you are guaranteed to be the only one to hear your audio. However, it’s not as clear as open-ear.
Either way, both of these options won’t be able to compete with headphones or earbuds, so it may help to temper your expectations of sound quality.
Smart glasses are small, so there’s not much room for batteries. Consider how long you think you’ll need to use your glasses in a day before needing to recharge. Some glasses will offer longer battery life capabilities than others. Still, you can expect most smart glasses to last about as long as TWS earbuds (anywhere from 4-9 hours of continuous playback).
It probably won’t be surprising that smart glasses have minimal onboard storage. Look for models with adequate storage so you won’t need to constantly sync and offload to your mobile phone.
AR is still in its infancy and isn’t yet in the best state for mass consumption. For this reason, most AR glasses are costly, though a few are within the realm of affordability. Consider whether you need AR at the moment or if you can wait until the technology improves before you buy in.
Smart glasses are like any other delicate electronics — susceptible to dirt and liquid. If you’re worried about your pair getting ruined by either, consider buying a pair with an IP (ingress protection) rating. Most of the pairs we’ve seen below only offer the IPX4 rating, protecting against water splashes coming from any direction. You’ll be safe in the rain as long as you don’t submerge your glasses.
A few offer higher ratings, such as the IPX7-rated Snapchat Spectacles 2. However, genuinely waterproof frames are still hard to find.
Don’t Forget — Your Optical Needs!
Smart eye glasses are still glasses and should cater to your optical needs. Many companies offer smart prescription glasses or sunglasses if you need vision correction. Some brands provide blue light protection, polarization, and more.
The Best Smart Glasses 2022 Has to Offer
1. Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses (Wayfarer) – Our Choice for Best Smart Glasses Overall
- 50 or 53mm lens width
- Multiple colorways and lens tints available
- UV coating
- 41.2mm lens height; 22mm bridge; 150mm arms
- Uses Facebook assistant
- Dual 5MP camera for photos and up to 60-sec video
- Estimated 6 hours moderate use, estimated 3 hours continuous use; comes with charging case
- Open-ear speakers; 3 onboard microphones
- Touch controls
- Unisex designs
Ray-Ban Stories in Wayfarer, Round, and Meteor, were co-developed with Facebook. Unfortunately, that does mean you’ll need a Facebook account to use these frames. That said, Ray-Ban offers you plenty of choices in terms of style and color. You can also select between 50 or 53mm for your lens width.
These Ray-Ban sunglasses with camera functionality are our bet for the best option overall as of writing. They aren’t perfect, but offer bluetooth headphone functionality and allow you to sync photos and videos to your phone using an app.
Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer is one out of three in the product line. You may also want to consider:
- Simple enough to use
- Classic designs from Ray-Ban
- Plenty of great styles and colorways to choose from
- Requires a Facebook account
- Cannot take prescription lenses
- So-so battery life
2. TechKen Smart Sunglasses – Best Affordable Smart Glasses
- Black, brown, or transparent lens colors
- Polarized lenses
- Built-in earbuds are easily adjustable and telescopic
- Button controls
- Bluetooth 4.1
If you’re looking for a really cheap, basic smart glass experience, the TechKens are a great way to get a taste. These cheap frames aren’t the most stylish and look a bit bulky, but offer the capability to take phone calls and listen to music. Unfortunately, these aren’t your best choice for smart eyeglass if you want a camera.
- Extremely affordable
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Take phone calls with the built-in microphone
- Clunky, bulky, and may feel annoying to wear
- Earbuds are built-in
- Its design/style is not for everyone
- Looks and feels cheap
3. Bose Frames (Soprano) – Best Smart Glasses for Music Lovers
- Luxurious design expected from Bose
- 55mm lens width; 17mm bridge width; 136mm temple length; 142mm temple width
- Open ear audio
- Polarized lenses
- Configurable to your prescription lenses
- 5.5 hours of continuous playback; full recharge within an hour
Bose Frames come in three styles, with this particular one being the Soprano. These glasses are a pair of sunglasses and headphones combined, and the best part is you can use your eyeglass prescription. Quality is as you might expect from Bose — sound quality is good, with minimal sound bleed (so others won’t be able to hear your audio around you). However, there’s no noise isolation at all.
These frames come with Bose’s AR platform, a promising peek into AR audio. We can’t wait to see where AR audio can go.
Bose Frames Soprano is one out of five in the product line. You may also want to consider:
- Stylish options
- Decent sound quality as you may come to expect from Bose
- Offers some AR features
- Rx lens capable
- Decent battery life
- Bad noise isolation (expected from open-ear audio)
- No way to control volume on the glasses
4. Amazon Echo Frames 2 – Best for Voice Assistant Integration
- Plenty of colorways to choose from
- Buy in sunglasses, Rx, or bluelight filtering only configuration
- Alexa in your glasses — full access to anything Alexa can do
- Get all notifications from your phone or enable VIP Filtering, which only allows alerts from specific people (you get the rest on your phone)
Ever wanted Alexa with you wherever you went? The Amazon Echo Frames 2 offer you a way to always have your favorite voice assistant by your side, ready to perform the best productivity skills for Alexa at a moment’s notice.
Amazon’s battery life claims for the Amazon Echo Frames 2 are two hours of continuous playback and Alexa interaction (with Alexa listening for you to talk). That’s not a lot. But if you turn off the mic, you can get that to four hours of continuous listening.
- Control Alexa right from the glasses
- You can turn off the microphone for privacy
- Volume adjustments (automatic)
- Battery life is so-so
5. Soundcore Frames Landmark Smart Glasses – A Versatile Pair with Interchangeable Frames
- Has interchangeable frames so you can use whichever style strikes your fancy (frames sold separately)
- Polarized lenses
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 4 open-ear speakers and 2 mics
- Up to 5.5 hours of continuous listening
- Bluelight filtering available
Soundcore Frames are unique in the sense that you can buy one pair and style of smart glasses then add more frame styles later on. You can purchase other frames separately and interchange them to wear whichever style you like when you want. Despite this flexibility, the Soundcore Frames are built durably enough to survive daily wear and tear.
- Comfortable open-ear audio
- Lenses can be detached so you can get Rx lenses made at your optometrist (except for festival style)
- Quick charging — 10 minutes for 1.5 hours of playtime
- Audio still isn’t loud enough to hear over really loud environments
6. Razer Anzu Smart Glasses – Best Value for Money Technology Glasses
- Fantastic option for gamers
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Bluelight filtering; claims to reduce eye strain
- Speakers and microphone
- Touch and voice controls
The Razer Anzu is available in small or large, and in rectangle or round. These aren’t the right ones for you if you’re looking for smart glasses with camera capabilities. However, if you’re just looking for eye protection and an easy, more comfortable way to listen to music or take calls or do in-game comms, the Anzus are a good bet. That said, they still do use Bluetooth to connect to audio sources, so beware any latency (even though Razer advertises these as low latency).
- Not too expensive
- Has size and shape options (though few)
- Protects against blue light and UVA/UVB exposure
- Low latency speakers/mic
- Not the best sound quality
7. Nreal Air AR Smart Glasses with Display – Best for Augmented Reality
- Huge 201″ Micro-OLED theater in AR (Android only)
- 130” FHD display via Air Casting mode
- Has a 60Hz display that works whether you’re near or farsighted
- Some of the best AR features available today: spatial browser, cycling app, teleport travel around the world, YouTube in AR, and more
- Works with your phone — double check compatibility before you purchase
- Requires Nreal adapter to work with iOS and Nintendo Switch
- Comes with a template for your prescription lenses so you can get some made
If you’ve ever wondered what Google Glasses in 2022 might have looked like, we’d say the Nreal Air AR smart glasses are close. These glasses are expensive and incredibly reliant on an external device like your smartphone, but they offer features you won’t find on many other glasses available today.
The Nreal Air AR is not for you if you’re looking for glasses with a camera and Bluetooth. You read that right — these expensive glasses do not have Bluetooth. You can, however, use Bluetooth earbuds paired with your phone if you’d like wireless audio while enjoying your virtual theater.
- One of the only “true” AR experiences available to the masses within affordable cost range
- Templates allow you to get your prescription lenses made for these frames
- Has a display
- Okay battery life
- Requires an external device to function (i.e. your smartphone)
- Technology is still in the early stages, and you can tell
Are Smart Glasses Worth It?
Now that you’ve learned more about smart glasses as they currently exist, you may wonder — are they worth it?
Only you can truly decide whether something is worth your money. It’s worth keeping in mind that smart glasses are still a product in their infancy. They’re excellent for staying connected, listening to music, and fulfilling niche use cases. In some rare situations, you may even be able to enjoy augmented reality with a pair.
But long story short, do we recommend getting yourself a pair of smart glasses? Yes, if you understand the current limitations of the technology and its current stage of development. We’d say smart glasses are worth a look if you’re into the features offered. However, if you’re looking for augmented reality and advanced technology, we’d say wait a couple of years to see if things get better and cheaper.
Why Should You Trust Us?
We aim to help improve our readers’ productivity and quality of life when it comes to work-related matters (and more). Thus, we aim to be as honest as possible when discussing products like smart glasses, which we acknowledge are somewhat of a novelty as of writing.
Nevertheless, we understand that many enjoy being early adopters, so we worked hard to find the best pairs available in the current state of smart glasses tech.
How We Selected the Best Smart Glasses for this List
As we put together this list of the best high tech glasses, we considered a few things:
- Value offered
- Build quality
- Battery life
- Manufacturer reputation
- Features and functionality
We also pored through countless reviews to consider every aspect of each product on this list and got in touch with a few early adopters to find out their thoughts on their smart glasses thus far.
Finally, we drew from our past experiences with open-air audio, bone conduction audio, and VR headsets (which, although they aren’t 100% the same, are relatively close in tech).
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Apple smart glasses real?
Unfortunately, as of now, all mentions of Apple Smart Glasses are nothing but speculation. There have been quite a few rumors of Apple working on VR headsets or AR glasses in 2022, but the Cupertino-based company has yet to confirm any. Some good news, though — MacRumors states in their recent November update that Apple’s AR/VR headsets may enter production in 2023. However, there’s no real answer as to whether the product will be more like a VR headset or technology-enhanced eyeglass frames.
Can you watch Netflix on smart glasses?
No. Not for most smart glasses, anyway. The vast majority of smart glasses 2022 has to offer only have cameras, microphones, and speakers — no display. Fortunately, there are glasses with displays and HUDs, but you’ll have to pay a premium to explore the technology. For example, the Nreal glasses mentioned above are the only pair with AR/display functionality on this list. They are easily the most expensive from our recommendations.
How long do smart glasses last?
Smart glasses will generally last as long as you take care of them — or at the very least, as long as their batteries can hold a charge. Most smart glasses only have speakers, microphones, and cameras, which are components that tend to have a known life span. We’d imagine that for most models available now, a pair of glasses would last 2-3 years (or more with extra care). It’s difficult to determine the lifespan of smart glasses with AR/displays as the technology is too new to tell.
What is open-ear audio?
Open-ear audio refers to speakers that sit outside your ear. You aren’t wearing headphones or earphones, and nothing goes on or in your ear. Instead, speakers are angled toward your ear, projecting audio only to you. The advantage is that open-ear audio doesn’t obstruct your ears, so you can hear the environment around you. The downsides include lower sound quality, sound bleeding into your environment, and difficulty hearing your audio in loud environments.
What is the battery life of smart glasses?
Currently, smart glasses have a battery life lasting anywhere from a couple of hours to maybe 5 to 8 hours of continuous playback. Because of the small footprint of these products, it’s hard to get better battery life as there’s simply not enough room for bigger batteries. Thus, you can expect a battery life similar to that of TWS earbuds.
Right now, it’s honestly too early to tell whether smart glasses are a technology that will take off into mainstream adoption. Most of the products available today are less true “smart” glasses and more glasses with cameras and speakers, barring a select few, which can be prohibitively expensive.
The best smart glasses of 2022 come in a wide range of price ranges and styles. If you’d like to be one of the few early adopters, check out one of our recommendations above!
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