After four months with the Ray-Ban Stories, we have to temper some of the praise written in our review. Meta’s early glasses had design issues that made them unpalatable.
The Ray-Ban Stories glasses, launched in France in April 2022, are the first of the Meta group. While it waits for augmented reality to be ready, Facebook’s parent company is counting on sunglasses that can film and play music to make itself known to opticians. An intelligent approach that we welcomed during our test because, despite some shortcomings (especially on privacy), the Ray-Ban Stories are quite convincing. At 329 euros that was the minimum they could do.
Unfortunately for us (and for those who bought them, we’re sorry), we couldn’t have foreseen bigger problems, but they didn’t show up for the first few weeks. After wearing it every day for 4 months, including half a summer in the sun, here’s the second part of our test.
Why use special screws on glasses?
The first problem we discovered at that time: the screws. Like all glasses, Ray-Ban Stories loosen up little by little. The branches become more and more loose and open with the slightest manipulation, as if nothing is holding them in place. A common situation for sunglasses (especially with Ray-Ban), which is generally sorted by going through a specialty store. They can tighten the screws of your glasses for free, to make your temples more firm.
Over time, the temples of our Ray-Ban Stories have become too loose. After several weeks of procrastination, we finally woke up and sought help from an optician. Surprisingly, none of the five we interacted with could help us. Everyone came back ashamed and explained to us that they had never seen such screws on glasses. Surprised, we went to the official Ray-Ban store in Paris, where this model has been on display for several weeks. New surprise, the store manager told us that he didn’t have the screwdriver for the Ray-Ban Stories and was not aware of this choice for Meta and Ray-Ban himself. He told us he would arrange to order the correct parts, but we don’t know if he has received them (or if they exist). In any case, it is very unfortunate that no optician has the right tools.
Asked by Numerama, Meta explained to us that he uses “TORX+” screws, which no other pair of Ray-Ban seem to use. We weren’t told why, but we can imagine these are sturdier screws to hold the branches, which are heavier due to their electronic components. On our test sample, they clearly failed in their mission. The branches don’t hold anything anymore. Meta said we should contact Ray-Ban support for help.
Sunglasses that don’t like the sun
Again, this is an issue we couldn’t have seen in April. Because the Ray-Ban Stories have electronic components, they are particularly sensitive to heat. They are rarely hot, but react very poorly 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 down while the connected functions were disabled. A little crazy for sunglasses.
When it comes to waterproofing, Meta doesn’t 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 after that. We’ll discuss them in the next section).
Questioned by Numerama, Meta indicates that his goggles are not designed to withstand splashes or high temperatures. 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 with filling
A bit like AirPods, Ray-Ban Stories glasses charge in their carrying case. They are powered by a magnet. For its part, the case is charged with a USB-C cable.
Over time, we noticed this charging was erratic:
- First, the case doesn’t seem to accept all USB-C chargers. Sometimes the LED indicator lights up, but it doesn’t take 1%. We’ve found that it’s mostly the most powerful chargers that bother him. Those of smartphones work.
- The Ray-Ban Stories magnet is occasionally misaligned causing the charge to fail. Of course we find out by putting the glasses on his head and trying to put them on.
- When the glasses don’t turn on, it’s impossible to know why. We chained from time to time for several days without charging them, then it worked.
- Since the end of July (a week after the boat, but it could be a coincidence): the glasses no longer start. Their LED indicator lights up in the box, but it’s impossible to wake them up after that (the color code Meta gave us indicates that everything works). 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 only connected glasses when everything is working properly, which is quite arbitrary. Often we have only used them to protect ourselves, against our will, from the sun.
Conclusion: review of our note
Despite our comments, we liked the Ray-Ban Stories. Given all these new issues, which are critical enough to render the glasses useless within four months, we are forced to reconsider our rating. We remain convinced that the concept of Meta is good, but with the second generation we will have to do much better in terms of robustness. In the meantime, unless 329 euros means nothing to you and you live in the cold and don’t like water, we don’t recommend them.
For your information, we also update 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
- Personal problems
- The assistant “Hey Facebook” does nothing in French
- We get tired of cameras quickly
- Screws are property, opticians don’t know how to fix them
- No resistance to water or high temperatures
- The price
During our first use, we were very enamored with the Ray-Ban Stories. Thanks to their appearance that resembles normal glasses, they are super practical for listening to music, answering a call quickly or making videos during special activities. Some things are kind of anecdotal (we don’t use the cameras much, 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 special, which makes their repair almost impossible. Finally, their non-resistance to water and the sun (yes, we’re talking sunglasses) borders on the ridiculous. This first generation is too messy, but we can’t wait to discover the next one.