Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Gadgets

The best smart glasses 2023


Smart glasses have gone from experimental niche products to mainstream because they offer excellent eye protection and allow you to answer calls, listen to music or take photos without pulling out your iPhone or Android phone. The best smart glasses resemble regular models like wayfarers or wraparounds and include Bluetooth, tiny speakers, and microphones for a safer open-ear listening experience than the best earbuds and headphones. Some high-end models offer a taste of the future with built-in displays to enjoy movies or shows; others have integrated cameras to take pictures and HD videos.


We’ve reviewed countless devices and gadgets all year and find smart glasses fascinating because they’re an evolving technology that surprises us with cutting-edge features and creativity like we’ve never seen before. After evaluating the best new smart glasses, we made a list of the best options for every use and budget, so you can make the right decision when you’re ready to try them out.

Our picks for best smart glasses:

Ray Ban Meta

Ray-Ban / Pocket-lint

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses

1. Best overall smart glasses

Everyday comfort and style

The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses come in iconic styles and include a 12MP camera and great sound and voice quality.

Pros

  • Many colours to choose from
  • IPX4 rating
  • 12MP camera
Cons

  • Requires a Meta account
  • Overwhelming design choices.

The new Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are an evolution of the Stories series with a wider colour range and significant hardware upgrades. Styles are limited to the classic Wayfarer and a newer, more rounded version called Headliner. Over 150 frame and lens combinations are available, like traditional Shiny and Charcoal Black or Shiny Caramel and Blue Jeans if you want to stand out. Finding the perfect fit is easy because the Wayfarer is available in Large and Standard, although the Headliner is only available in Standard for now.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses (1)

It’s on the tech side of things that the Metas become interesting because they’ve been upgraded with a faster Qualcomm chip and a 12MP camera offering up to 1080p video recording. The sound quality has also significantly improved with a five-microphone array and powerful speakers with around 50 per cent more output than the outgoing model. Battery life is around four hours, with an additional eight from the case to keep you going for almost three days.

Ray-Bans Metas are a prime example of how smart glasses have evolved from new tech for early adopters to practical mainstream options for everyday users. Their comprehensive upgrades and useful features make them the best smart glasses despite requiring a Meta account to get the best out of them. The hard part is finding the right one with the overwhelming choice on offer.

Carrera Smart Glasses

Carrera / Pocket-lint

Carrera Smart Glasses

2. Best premium smart glasses

Rock star style

The Carrera Smart Glasses come in the Black and gold Cruiser Style or the more subtle all-black Sprinter and have outstanding Alexa integration.

Pros

  • Amazing looks
  • Excellent Alexa integration
  • Sturdy design
Cons

  • Pricey
  • Charging stand instead of case

Carrera’s been making premium eyewear for celebrities and fashionistas since 1956 and teamed up with Amazon to add smart technology to some of their most iconic styles. The Carrera Smart Glasses come in the Black and Gold Cruiser style with a distinct oversize look to hide from the paparazzi, while the more discrete all-black Sprinter is perfect for blocking out glare on the way home from an afterparty.

Where they differ from regular models is the slightly thicker arms housing dual beamforming microphones and speakers in the temples. There are also volume controls on the left arm and action buttons on the right. Carrera Smart Glasses are perfect for listening to music or making calls on the go and have the best Alexa compatibility for voice commands. Battery life is up to six hours of continuous playback or calls at 80 per cent volume, and it takes around 2.5 hours to charge them up again with the USB-C cable.

Most people buy Carrera sunglasses to make a statement, and they can now add the latest tech and voice assistant compatibility when they’re out on the town. They’re the best premium smart glasses for their sturdy quality and design, but they aren’t cheap and have a bulky stand instead of a slimline case for charging.

Razer Anzu

Razer / Pocket-lint

Razer Anzu Smart Glasses

3. Best value smart glasses

Indoor and outdoor eye protection

$44 $200 Save $156

The Razer Anzu smart glasses are often available at reduced prices and include clear blue light and dark polarised lenses for indoor or outdoor use.

Pros

  • Include two sets of lenses
  • Two styles to choose from
  • Stable connectivity
Cons

  • Average sound quality
  • Switching lenses can be challenging

Anyone working in front of their screen all day can wear Razer’s Anzu smart glasses to filter the blue light to reduce eye fatigue and strain. These smart glasses come in Razer’s signature all-black colour and are available in round or square styles in small and large, to suit most buyers. They’re often available for a reduced price and offer even more value by including clear, 35 per cent blue light-filtering indoor lenses and interchangeable black polarised alternatives for outdoor activities.

Each arm contains a pair of speakers, omnidirectional microphones, and subtle touch controls to play and pause tracks or access Siri and other voice assistants. The open-ear design allows you to hear the world around you, which can be handy if you’re walking in the street, and the low-latency Bluetooth connection prevents lag and stuttering when you’re on a call.

The Razer Anzus have an IPX4 rating, making them ideal for rain and sweat, and they act as 2-in-1 smart glasses with clear and dark lenses. It can be challenging to swap out the lenses, and the sound quality is better for calls and podcasts than music, but it’s easy to overlook these petty drawbacks considering the Anzu’s affordable price and amazing value.

XREAL Air AR Glasses

Xreal / Pocket-lint

Xreal Air AR Glasses

4. Best augmented reality glasses

A taste of the future

$339 $379 Save $40

The Xreal Air AR Sunglasses are stylish and comfortable and include built-in displays for an immersive experience while watching movies or gaming.

Pros

  • Works as a portable monitor
  • Includes augmented reality tools
  • Comfortable shape
Cons

  • Premium pricing
  • App could be better

Xreal’s Air AR Sunglasses, formerly Nreal, take things to another level by allowing you to watch movies and shows or play games on its built-in display. Unlike many peculiar-looking rivals, they have a stylish black wayfarer-like design with no hint of their advanced functionality. Where they differ from other sunglasses are the dual 1080p screens on the inside, which give the wearer the experience of watching a massive 510cm display with a 60Hz refresh rate.

The huge display combines with the speakers in the arms to provide an immersive viewing experience anywhere, and you can even use it to mirror your PC or smartphone’s display for added convenience. Apart from working as a portable monitor, the Air AR sunglasses provide an augmented reality experience via the Nebula app, so you can have icons for your favourite apps “floating” in front of you for easy access whenever you like.

It’s refreshing to see advanced smart glasses that don’t resemble props from a sci-fi movie, and the Xreal Airs get the basics right with a discrete design that blends in. They still offer incredible practicality as a portable monitor because you can play games or watch content anywhere. On the other hand, they aren’t cheap, and the Nebula app could use some polish to make it more useful.

Bose Frames Tempo

Bose / Pocket-lint

Bose Frames Tempo

5. Best smart glasses for sports

Sound for sports

The Bose Frames Tempos have a lightweight but sturdy wraparound shape, impressive sound quality and long battery life, making them perfect for sports and other outdoor adventures.

Pros

  • Lightweight wraparound shape
  • Great sound
  • Bose quality
Cons

  • One colour only
  • No protective case

Bose is renowned for its outstanding sound quality, and its Frames Tempos are the best options for runners, cyclists or anyone looking for tough polarised smart glasses for outdoor activities. They have a snug fit with three sizes of nose pads included in the box, a wraparound shape to keep the sun out from all directions, and a textured finish on the lightweight nylon frame, so there’s no chance of them falling off on your run.

Most buyers will appreciate the impressive sound and voice quality when they’re making calls or enjoying their music on the road, and there’s no safety issue with the open-ear design, allowing you to listen out for traffic and other potential dangers. The battery has enough power to last the whole day with an eight-hour capacity, and it can be fully charged in just one hour with a USB-C cable.

The Frames Tempos have everything you can ask for in sports sunglasses, like a lightweight wraparound shape with IPX4 sweat and water resistance. Bose makes them irresistible by adding premium audio components for music and calls, and it’s a pity that there’s only one colour and no protective case.

Echo Frames Gen3

Amazon / Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Frames (3rd Gen, 2023)

6. Best voice assistant smart glasses

Styles for everyone

The Amazon Echo Frames 3rd-gens promise the best Alexa integration with four exciting styles and IPX4 water and sweat resistance.

Pros

  • Four styles to choose from
  • Amazing Alexa integration
  • IPX4 rating
Cons

  • Pricing varies depending on the lens options
  • Each style has one size

Amazon’s first and second-generation Echo Frames offered the best Alexa integration, and the forthcoming third-generation promises more of the same but with upgraded features. The lineup has grown, with Round, Cat Eye, Square, and Modern Rectangle styles to suit men and women of all ages. All the designs offer IPX4 sweat and moisture protection and are available as polarised sunglasses or with blue light filtering or prescription lenses.

It’s not just the designs that have been given an overhaul. The sound has improved, with more clarity and bass than before, and the battery life is now a respectable six hours. Amazon claims there’s also better speech-processing technology, making it easier for Alexa to turn on your lights, read phone messages, or receive other commands in windy or rainy conditions.

The third-gen Echo Frames are a logical evolution from the previous models, with more options featuring upgraded tech in lightweight and stylish packages. Their four available designs and three lens choices make them perfect for every buyer, although the pricing varies drastically depending on which one you pick.

Ampere Dusk

Ampere / Pocket-lint

Ampere Dusk Smart Glasses

7. Best lenses smart glasses

True innovation

Ampere Dusk smartglasses have innovative app-controlled tint levels, allowing you to adjust the lenses from light to dark and back again in seconds.

Pros

  • App-controlled tint
  • Lightweight
  • Descrete styling considering innovation
Cons

  • Bulky charging case
  • Only one style option

Ampere Dusk smartglasses come in Black and Navy/Teal with polarized lenses and a lightweight 26-gram design. They have a unique trick unmatched by any rivals in the form of adjustable tint levels. You can adjust the lens tint from clear to dark and back again in seconds with a convenient app-controlled slider, making them ideal for indoors and outdoors without needing to change frames or lenses.

Apart from the adjustable tint, they include a pair of speakers and microphones in each arm for taking calls or listening to music and podcasts. Battery life is rated at around a week of tint adjustment and four hours of music playtime. It can be charged up to 80 per cent in 15 minutes or 100 per cent in 45 minutes with the sturdy, but bulky charging case.

It’s not every day that you come across legitimately groundbreaking technology, and the Dusk smart glasses offer exactly that with their instant tint adjustment feature. Best of all, they keep things low-key with a subtle yet elegant design that goes with casual or formal wear. The single style option and bulky charging case are its only drawbacks, and they’re worth trying out as something unique with reasonable pricing.

Soundcore by Anker, Frames Landmark

Anker / Pocket-lint

Soundcore by Anker Landmark Frames

8. Best budget smart glasses

Affordable customization

Pros

  • Low price
  • Detachable arms and swappable frames
  • Great looks
Cons

  • Finicky touch controls
  • Proprietary charging cable

Smart glasses don’t have to be costly, and the Soundcore Landmark frames offer sophisticated looks, UV protection, and more at a budget-friendly price anyone can afford. They include basic features we’ve come to expect from smart glasses, like polarized lenses, nylon construction and four speakers for voice calls or music. Battery life is decent at around 5.5 hours, but there’s no protective case, and it requires a proprietary USB-A.

Despite their affordable pricing, the Soundcore Landmarks go one better than most rivals with quick-release arms that easily detach from the frames at the hinges. This modular design opens up countless customisation opportunities because you can switch between different frame styles depending on the look you’re going for without needing to buy new glasses or pair them again.

The Landmark’s affordable price tag and interchangeable frames make them ideal for anyone wanting to try out smart glasses for the first time. They offer acceptable sound and voice quality for calls and music, but you’ll need to keep the proprietary charging cable safe and be gentle with the finicky touch controls.

The bottom line: Which are the best smart glasses?

The Ray-Ban Metas are the best smart glasses because they have the most style variants in iconic designs and include a 12MP camera and excellent battery life. Carrera’s smart glasses are the best if you’re looking for a premium option because of their designer looks and fantastic Alexa integration. Anyone looking for great value can check out the Razer Anzus because they’re available at unbelievable prices and include two lens sets.

Ray Ban Meta-1

Ray-Ban/Pocket-lint

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses

Editor’s Choice

How did we pick the best smart glasses?

Our Pocket-Lint team tests any new tech they can get their hands on, including some of the models listed here. When we’re testing smart glasses, the three most important factors we consider are their functionality, smart capabilities, and value.

Nobody wants to walk around with massive ugly frames, so we only pick smart glasses with what we think are practical and fashionable to wear without drawing unwanted attention. Our picks are comfortable for all-day wear and offer acceptable eye protection from blue light and UV rays.

Smart capabilities are harder to compare because each pair offers something different. We tested their features to see how usable they are in the real world and whether they’re gimmicky or not. We only picked smart glasses with practical features like built-in cameras and adjustable tints that people will actually enjoy and make their lives easier.

Value is always a critical factor when making any buying decision, and it’s always good to compare products at every tier to see which is best for your requirements. We picked smart glasses with the widest feature ranges and pricing possible, making it easier to see what’s available before spending cash on the one you want.

What smart glasses can you watch movies on?

Numerous smart glasses can play movies, but Xreal’s Air AR Sunglasses are the best thanks to their classic styling and 201-inch display.

Are smart glasses better than VR?

It depends on what you’re using them for. Smart glasses are lightweight, comfortable, and great for hands-free calls, taking pictures, or playing videos, but they can’t display complex 3D images like VR headsets.

Will smart glasses ever be a thing?

Smart glasses have developed over the years since their experimental phase and are now finding mainstream appeal because of their stylish designs and innovative features, they are most certainly a thing for many wearers now.



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