After four months with the Ray-Ban Stories, we have to temper some of the praise written in our review. Meta’s early goggles had design issues, making them unsavory.
Marketed in France in April 2022, Ray-Ban Stories glasses are the first of the Meta group. While waiting for augmented reality to be ready, Facebook’s parent company is banking on sunglasses capable of filming and playing music to make itself known to opticians. An intelligent approach that we welcomed during our test since, despite some flaws (especially on privacy), the Ray-Ban Stories are rather convincing. At 329 euros, it was the minimum they could do.
Unfortunately for us (and for those who bought them, we’re sorry), we couldn’t have anticipated more serious problems, but which could not be seen during the first weeks. After 4 months of wearing them every day, including half a summer in the sun, here is the second part of our test.
Why use special screws on glasses?
First problem that time allowed us to discover: the screws. Like all pairs of glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories loosen little by little. The branches become more and more loose and open at the slightest manipulation, as if nothing held them in place. A common situation for sunglasses (particularly at Ray-Ban), which is generally regulated by going through a specialty shop. They can tighten the screws of your glasses free of charge, in order to make your temples more robust.
Over time, the temples of our Ray-Ban Stories have become too loose. After procrastinating for several weeks, we finally stirred up and sought help from an optician. Surprisingly, none of the five we contacted were able to help us. Everyone came back embarrassed, explaining to us that they had never seen screws like this on glasses. Astonished, we went to the official Ray-Ban store in Paris, where this model has been highlighted on the window for several weeks. New surprise, the manager of the store told us that he did not have the screwdriver for the Ray-Ban Stories, and was not himself aware of this choice of Meta and Ray-Ban. He told us that he would arrange to order the correct parts, but we don’t know if he has since received them (or if they exist). In any case, it is very unfortunate that no optician has the right tool.
Asked by Numerama, Meta explained to us that he uses “TORX+” screws, which no other pair of Ray-Bans seem to use. We weren’t told why, but we can imagine that these are more resistant screws to hold the branches, which are heavier because of their electronic components. On our test copy, they clearly did not succeed 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 could not have seen in April. Since the Ray-Ban Stories have electronic components, they are particularly sensitive to heat. They are rarely hot, but they react very badly to slightly higher temperatures. In July, as soon as we used them by the pool or in a garden, they overheated. A small voice asked us to put them in the shade to cool them, while the connected functions were deactivated. A bit silly for sunglasses.
In terms of waterproofing, Meta does not promise anything. We took them on a boat, they took a few splashes, but they seemed to work normally (at least at first, we had problems afterwards. We’ll cover them in the next paragraph).
Questioned by Numerama, Meta indicates that his glasses are not designed to withstand splashes or high heat. Did she invent the first sunglasses that didn’t like the sun or the water? Did she understand how her customers were going to use this accessory? One can reasonably ask the question.
Temperamental glasses on refill
A bit like AirPods, Ray-Ban Stories glasses recharge in their carrying case. Thanks to a magnet, they receive electricity. The case, for its part, is recharged using a USB-C cable.
Over time, we noticed that this recharge was capricious:
- First, the case doesn’t seem to accept all USB-C chargers. Sometimes its LED indicator lights up, but it does not take 1%. We have noticed that it is especially the most powerful chargers that bother him. Those of smartphones work.
- The Ray-Ban Stories magnet occasionally misaligns, preventing the charge from working. Of course, we discover it by putting the glasses on his head and trying to turn them on.
- When the glasses do not turn on, it is impossible to know why. We went from time to time for several days without managing to recharge them, then it worked.
- Since the end of July (a week after the boat, but it may be a coincidence): the glasses no longer start. Their LED indicator lights up in the box, but it’s impossible to wake them up afterwards (the color code given to us by Meta indicates that everything is working). At the time of writing this article, everything suggests that our Ray-Ban Stories are dead. Four months after their release.
In short, the Ray-Ban Stories are connected glasses only when everything works well, which is quite random. Often, we have only used them to protect ourselves from the sun, against our will.
Conclusion: revision of our note
Despite our remarks, we liked the Ray-Ban Stories. In view of all these new problems, which are critical enough to render the glasses unusable in four months, we are obliged to review our rating. We remain convinced that the concept of Meta is good, but we will have to do much better with the second generation in terms of robustness. In the meantime, unless 329 euros means nothing to you and you live in the cold and do not like water, we do not 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
- A cool design for smart glasses
- Listening to music works well
- The quality of photos and videos
We liked less
- Privacy issues
- The “Hey Facebook” assistant does nothing in French
- We quickly get tired of cameras
- Screws are proprietary, 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 look similar to normal glasses, they are super practical for listening to music, quickly answering a call or taking videos during special activities. Some things are quite anecdotal (we don’t use the cameras much, just like the “Hey Facebook” assistant), but the product is pretty cool.
Unfortunately, the Ray-Ban Stories are also very flawed. Their indicator light is easy to hide, which makes spying on people too easy. Their screws are very particular, which makes their repair almost impossible. Finally, their non-resistance to water and the sun (yes, we are talking about sunglasses), borders on the ridiculous. This first generation is too messy, but we can’t wait to discover the next one.