Ray-Ban Stories might not be the first sunglasses with cameras built-in, but they were the first that I actually thought would be fun to travel with. As I was heading out on a beach vacation, I tossed the smart sunglasses in my carry-on to see whether they're a viable content capture accessory or simply a gimmick.
As a collaboration between Meta and renowned sunglass company Ray-Ban, the Ray-Ban Stories ($299 on Amazon) are made for Facebook and Instagram users looking to share videos and photos to their stories. Even though I’m not an avid Facebook user, the companion Facebook View app can be a hub for managing content to share on other social media platforms, too.
I like to vlog for TikTok, but have never tried taking video from the perspective of my line of sight. So here’s what it was like using Ray-Ban Stories instead of my iPhone to capture content during vacation.
Convenient content capture
While part of vacation certainly includes disconnecting, wearing connected glasses actually presented some well-needed phone separation. Instead of holding my phone in my hand the entire trip, I could discreetly capture moments by pressing a small button on the frames of the Ray-Ban Stories. I didn’t need to stop moving every 10 seconds to take pictures and videos, which my family appreciated.
I used the Ray-Ban Stories primarily during scenic walks on the beach. I was able to capture candid moments, like my mom handing me a pretty seashell and a seagull soaring above my head. While my iPhone could record these moments as well, it doesn’t leave my hands free and it puts an interface between me and what I’m recording. The Ray-Ban Stories are comparably frictionless, in that sense.
They're great-looking sunglasses
When I wasn’t recording bits of my vacation, the Ray-Ban Stories acted as normal sunglasses. Besides the small cameras and buttons in the frames, they don’t necessarily look like smart glasses. I have a hard time believing that other resort-goers would know I was wearing a camera on my face (though I also made a conscious effort not to record others' faces or infringe on their privacy.)
I have the sunglass style Meteor in black, though there are a few different frame and color styles to choose from. They even come in clear lenses, with the option to add a vision prescription. I kind of like the clear lenses for recording indoors or at night, but the sunglass style was definitely the right move for a beach vacation.
An epic vacation reel
Thanks to Ray-Ban stories, I left the trip with plenty of video and photo memories to look back on. Family vacations are rare, so it's special to have these moments save on my phone to share easily.
I edited some footage within the Facebook View app, as well as in my third-party video editing app of choice. In a quick pinch, the View app makes a fun edit. But for longer projects, I prefer a more sophisticated editing suite. It's no problem to export the Ray-Ban Stories footage to my camera roll in individual clips.
Can the Ray-Ban Stories replace my phone for taking photos and videos on vacation? Not entirely — I still needed my phone for indoor and nighttime content capture. But will I take them on my next vacation? Definitely.