Smart glasses have made their claim to fame in recent years. While they are far from Iron Man’s Edith glasses, real-life smart glasses can let you make phone calls, listen to music, and access your digital assistants without having to pick up your phones. These glasses usually have built-in microphones, Bluetooth control, and AI access to make lives easier. With them, you’ll be able to do your tasks easier or listen to your favorite tunes without using headphones. Some experimental AR glasses can even project screens to your retina.
In this article, we are looking at some of the best smart glasses available in the market.
Best Smart Glasses
|Best Overall: Amazon Echo Frames (2nd Gen)||Best Social: Ray-Ban Stories|
|Luxury: Vuzix Blade Upgraded||Best for Music: Bose Frames Alto|
|Budget: OhO Bluetooth Sunglasses||Best for Video: Spectacles 3 by Snapchat|
|Audio: Lucyd Lyte||Best for Focus: Vufine VUF-110|
|Best AI: Bose Frames||Best Lightweight: Vue Lite 2|
What Are Smart Glasses?
Smart glasses, like Android smartwatches for timepieces, are wearable devices that bring together connectivity and cellphone functions into eyewear. From making phone calls to taking photos, smart glasses allow these tasks to be done hands-free with just a tap or with voice commands.
The concept of smart glasses first came to light in 2013. The Google Glass Explorer was the first smart glasses to become available in the market during a time when wireless wearables reached their popularity. Unfortunately, the Explorer was taken out of the market after 18 months because they were uncomfortable and expensive.
Luckily, there are a lot of brands these days that produce their variation of smart glasses. Not all glasses are the same, but they do have similarities in features such as audio, Bluetooth connectivity, and even control over digital assistants. The concept of smart glasses is still relatively young compared to other wearables, so there is much room for the technology in the glasses to improve over time.
These smart glasses can be worn by everyone; and unlike VR headsets, they are safe to wear outdoors. Most smart glasses in the market are considered accessories rather than prescription lenses. However, there also exist prescription smart glasses, although they just aren’t as widespread. That said, you might want to do a bit of research first to find out which smart glasses also offer options for those who need prescription lenses. Nonetheless, smart glasses are for everyone who wants to try a hands-free alternative to making phone calls and communicating with your digital assistants.
The Amazon Echo Frames is one of the best smart glasses in the market today. Not only does it have support for Alexa but it also allows you to listen to your favorite beats and get notifications directly into your ear from your phone. The smart glasses have tiny speakers embedded into them as a part of their open-ear audio design. Because of this, you’ll be able to hear audio from the glasses, but those around you won’t be able to do so. You can also filter out the notifications that you receive on the glasses. With “VIP Filter,” you’ll only receive alerts from a specific list of people in the smart glasses.
In terms of battery life, the Amazon Echo Frames can last up to 14 hours. Continuous interaction with Alexa and straight hours of playback can easily drain the battery, so you might want to use them in moderation, especially if you’re out of the house. You can also turn off the ambient microphone if you don’t want to have it turned on all the time, as it can also drain the battery.
What we like about Amazon Echo Frames is it looks like ordinary glasses, so you won’t appear geeky wearing them. It also comes in many colors to suit your taste.
If you’re looking for a good pair of smart glasses, the Amazon Echo Frames is a great option to consider because of its overall functionality and aesthetic properties.
- Built-in Alexa control
- VIP Filter for notifications
- Automatic volume adjustments
- Ambient microphone
- Battery draining out quickly
The Vuzix Blade Upgraded showcases advanced features that you won’t find in other smart glasses. It’s fitted with a camera, noise-canceling microphones, and augmented reality (AR) features that are unlikely to be available in other smart glasses in this list.
These smart glasses utilize Waveguide Optics technology for their full-color DLP display that overlays the real world with digital graphics. Further, the glasses allow you to see both because of the device’s head motion tracking that gives an experience similar to augmented reality. The smart glasses come with a companion app that allows you to receive notifications and customize their functionality to fit your needs. Additionally, the glasses also have a built-in 8 MP camera that allows you to record HD videos at 30fps.
Vuzix Blade’s design is giving us a 90’s vibe, something James Bond would have worn. It has thick frames; but because of the specs that it packs, it’s something forgivable.
The Vuzix Blade Upgraded is a pair of smart glasses that you should consider getting if you’re looking for a pair that has a lot of features and supports AR.
- AR features
- Prescription lenses available
- 8 MP camera
- Noise-canceling microphones
The OhO Bluetooth Sunglasses is an alternative to consider if you’re looking for smart glasses on the more affordable side. Despite the price, these glasses provide the same basic functions as other smart glasses. Apart from high-quality sound, this pair also promises a stylish design and protection from UV rays.
They allow you to stream music and make phone calls directly from the glasses. This pair also gives you access to your smart assistant so you can communicate with Siri, Alexa, and other virtual assistants. The sunglasses are also certified for outdoor use, thanks to their waterproof design.
In all, the OhO Bluetooth Sunglasses is a pair that is easy to use and functional despite their price point. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about getting the smart glasses wet or dirty because it doesn’t have a hefty price tag attached to it.
- Open-ear speakers
- Control of digital assistants
- Built-in microphone
- Receive and make phone calls
- Polarized lenses for UV protection
- Subpar battery performance
- No wireless charging
The Lucyd Lyte smart glasses are great for outdoor activities because they still allow you to hear what is going on around you. With these glasses, you can use your digital assistant (Alexa, Siri, and others), make phone calls, and receive notifications. What’s more, you can connect it to different devices such as phones, laptops, and smartwatches.
An interesting fact about these glasses is that they are sunglasses instead of normal glasses. These make them more fit to be worn for outdoor activities. They are fitted with UV protection to protect your eyes. However, take note that the glasses can be too snug on the face, and prolonged use isn’t recommended.
The Lucyd Lyte Round is a great pair of smart glasses for calls as it is fitted with a noise-canceling microphone. But you might want to keep your volume to a minimum because noise can leak from the sunglasses if your volume is too loud. Nonetheless, it’s a great pair to consider if you’re looking for smart glasses that you can wear out of the house. It comes in different frame types and cool lens tints that Gen Z will especially love.
- Support for digital assistants
- Great audio for calls
- Good microphone quality
- Can be too snug on the face
- No wireless charging
- Sound leakage at loud volumes
- Slightly heavier than most sunglasses
The Bose Frames is yet another pair of smart sunglasses that’s great if you’re looking for a pair that has AI support. The glasses have an open-ear design where you can listen to music and make phone calls. The smart glasses also support Bluetooth with a reliable range of up to 30 feet. It also has an advanced mic system designed to focus on your voice.
With the sunglasses, you can communicate easily with your phone’s virtual assistant through the glasses. Regardless of which assistant you have, the Bose Frames Soprano promises that you can communicate with them clearly and assign tasks to them through the sunglasses.
In all, the Bose Frames is a great pair of smart glasses to consider if you’re looking for one that has great AI support. It’s also a great pair to use if you want to listen to your favorite tunes and if you’re out of the house because of its polarized lenses.
- Great AI support
- Clear audio
- Fast charging
- A bit pricey
- Audio leakage at loud volumes
Ray-Ban Stories is a collaborative product between the eyewear company and social media titan, Facebook, that aims to provide a new way of capturing and sharing adventures. This pair of smart glasses have the timeless frames we have all loved throughout the years mixed in with lots of social features.
Ray-Ban Stories has the basic features you would normally see from smart glasses. It allows you to play, pause, and control songs. It also allows you to answers calls, thanks to open-ear speakers and built-in microphones. However, the real deal of this pair of smart glasses is the ability to take and share photos and videos, fitting its tagline “Capture, Share, and Listen”.
Ray-Ban Stories has two auto-adjusting 5MP cameras for capturing photos and videos, hands-free. Its memory capacity will allow you to take approximately 500 photos as well as several 15-seconds videos, which you can share on Facebook. However, you need to download Facebook View, Ray-Ban Stories’ content sharing companion, to do that.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Prescription lenses available
- Brain-sensing technology
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Social Integration
- Privacy concerns
The Bose Frames Alto features a sleek open-ear design that you can pair well with almost any outfit. It comes with Bluetooth control that allows you to listen to your favorite tunes. The glasses also let you make phone calls without having to take out your phone. These sunglasses also block up to 99% of UV rays from harming your eyes.
As these glasses are from Bose, you can expect the best audio quality for streaming. You can hear phone conversations clearly, but do expect ambient noise because of the open-ear speakers.
The Bose Frames Alto is a great pair of smart glasses to consider if you’re an audiophile. It delivers great audio quality and allows you access to your virtual assistant and phone calls whenever and wherever.
- UV protection
- Bluetooth control
- Built-in microphone
- Only comes in two styles
- Subpar battery life
- One-color option
Snapchat is well-loved by many as a social media platform and so, it’s no surprise that many tech lovers are also in love with the Spectacles 3 — Snapchat’s rendition of smart glasses. Not only are these glasses fashionable but they are also high-tech.
The glasses feature four microphones and two HD cameras that can capture photos and videos. The smart glasses allow the user to capture 60fps videos with high-fidelity audio and 3D photos without even taking out their phones. To create 3D photos, the glasses snap photos simultaneously from different angles and combine them to create a 3D effect. Further, you can transfer or upload your photos with a few taps as you can connect them to your phone through Bluetooth.
The Spectacles 3 comes with a charging case and is capable of quick charging to 50% in a matter of 15 minutes. It’s a pair of smart glasses to consider if you’re looking for one that can take hands-free photos and videos.
- 3D photos
- Great audio quality
- Fashionable design
- Quick charging
- Photos and videos take a while to upload
The Vufine VUF-110 might not look fashionable at first, but there is more than meets the eye with these smart glasses. They are great for the outdoors and offer a little more than just the usual audio and Bluetooth control.
You can easily attach and detach the extended display of the glasses if you just want to wear them as normal glasses. They are HDMI compatible and are capable of delivering 720p of content. These smart glasses can also be used with laptops, phones, and even drones. They deliver a crisp virtual display that’s bright and won’t obscure your view of the real world.
The Vufine VUF-110 is not your typical pair of smart glasses because they offer so much more in terms of videos. However, this might not be for everyone. The ones who will benefit the most from the glasses are those who intend to use them for drones and the like.
- Compatible with various devices
- Short battery life
- One design only
- Long charging time
- HDMI connection only
In terms of design, Vue Lite takes the cake for keeping it simple yet functional. Of all the others on this list, these are the ones that most closely resemble standard glasses. Orion, in particular, boasts a selection of frames that add a dash of personality and sophistication to the glasses.
Above its design are its many features that make these smart glasses a great pair for anyone looking to upgrade their lenses. The Vue Lite 2 allows you to listen to your favorite tunes, take phones, make phone calls, and control your voice assistants. It’s also rain and sweat-resistant, which makes it a great pair to wear every day. You also won’t need to download any apps to use the glasses because you just have to pair them to your phone via Bluetooth and you’re good to go.
Ultimately, the Vue Lite 2 is a great pair of smart glasses to consider as it combines function, comfort, and design into one. Just take note that prolonged wear of these glasses might cause discomfort so you might want to take them off every once in a while.
- Great design
- Long battery life
- Has a lot of features
- Comes with prescription lenses
- Snug fit
- Discomfort on extended wear
- Subpar audio quality
- Sound leakage
Smart Glasses Work: How Do They Work?
Since the Google Glass Explorer release, other brands have also released their versions of smart glasses. The technology for the glasses still isn’t perfect but many brands are continuously developing their technology. This is to make sure that their users are getting the best experiences out of their smart glasses.
But how do smart glasses work exactly? Here is a quick rundown of how these wearables work:
Most smart glasses will have a built-in CPU in them that allows everything else to function. This is also why most smart glasses have a bit of weight on them, as the CPU is usually on one arm of the glasses’ ear rest. The speakers for audio and cellphone reception are also on the ear rest. Bone conduction technology allows audio to be transferred to the ear.
Smart glasses with microphones will have them under one of the hinges. Micro speakers for notifications and music are usually paired with the microphone for most pairs.
Depending on the model, some glasses will have cameras and others will have projectors that show digital displays. While these two features aren’t as widespread as others, a few smart glasses allow users to take photos and videos as well as project displays without obscuring the real-world view.
Users can control their glasses by touch or through voice requests. Glasses without access to digital assistants like Siri or Alexa will only have touch controls that can be activated by tapping or swiping the controls that are built into the frame. Some glasses are sensitive to the touch so it’s best to be wary of the glasses as you might end up triggering the controls.
How to Buy Smart Glasses
There are a couple of factors to consider before purchasing a pair of smart glasses. To find the best pair for you, here are a few factors to consider:
Weight and Comfort
Smart glasses come in various weights. Not all of them are light because of the features that they have. Like standard glasses, some smart glasses have a bit of weight to them so it’s best to do a bit of research especially if you’re purchasing a pair online.
Much like the weight, it’s best to consider comfort since the smart glasses will be worn for long hours. In that case, it’s best to test them out personally before deciding on a pair to purchase. In terms of online purchases, you might want to read the material they’re made from as well as reviews to determine if the pair you’re looking to purchase is comfortable for extended wear.
These devices are meant to be used for long hours. As such, it’s important to choose glasses that can last long hours. Typically, most smart glasses last for about eight hours on moderate use. If you’re looking for smart glasses that you can use for audio streaming or AI support, you’ll want to look for a pair that will go beyond the usual eight hours. There are smart glasses that can last for up to 14 hours. Depending on what you intend to use it for, it’s best to look for smart glasses that will last for as long as you need them to.
Whether you’re looking for glasses that have AI support or one that has good playback for streaming music, the features are also important to consider when purchasing smart glasses. It’s best to remember that not every pair will have support for digital assistants and not all of them will allow you to make phone calls. Always review the features before settling for a pair to see if they fit your needs.
Lastly, always consider the price. Smart glasses tend to be expensive depending on the number of features that they have. Some glasses can cost up to $250 and some glasses cost less. It’s best to find a pair that will suit your needs but still stay within your budget.
Smart glasses are great wearables to have. Not only do they protect your eyes, but they also provide you with hands-free alternatives to using your phone or interacting with your digital assistant. However, it’s best to consider your options to find the ideal pair for you. When purchasing smart glasses, it’s important to assess your needs and your budget first. In all, these glasses are wearables that are great to have but they aren’t a necessity and most people can go on without them. Still, if you want to have hands-free controls, smart glasses might be your next favorite gadget.