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The best smart glasses: Does anything beat Ray-Ban Stories?

The best smart glasses on the market include ones for when you listen to music and watch movies. I looked at research from the University of Bamberg, Széchenyi István University and UEM Jaipur to evaluate these top picks.
Written by Sherin Shibu, Contributor
Reviewed by Min Shin
Nreal Air AR Glasses | The best smart glasses overall
Nreal Air AR Glasses
The best smart glasses overall
View now View at Amazon
Razer Anzu Smart Glasses | The best smart glasses for music
Razer Anzu Smart Glasses
The best smart glasses for music
View now View at Amazon
Rokid Air AR Glasses | The best smart glasses for watching movies
Rokid Air AR Glasses
The best smart glasses for watching movies
View now View at Amazon
Patriot ViewPoint Low Vision Glasses | The best smart glasses for the visually impaired
Patriot ViewPoint Low Vision Glasses
The best smart glasses for the visually impaired
View now View now
Ray-Ban Stories | The best smart glasses for taking pictures and video
Ray-Ban Stories
The best smart glasses for taking pictures and video
View now View at Amazon

Smart glasses can bring your headphones and prescription glasses to one device -- and even allow you to watch your favorite movie. They have a broad range of applications, from assistive technology to augmented reality. 

Researchers caution that the success of smart glasses will depend on their applicability and ethicality. Daniel W.E. Hein, then a researcher at the University of Bamberg, wrote that ethical consumerism, or spending in a way that makes a positive impact, should take the forefront with smart glasses. That way, consumers are aware of the potential consequences of the technology before purchasing it. Assistive technology is promising in this area because of the clear ethical use case. 

Also: The best assistive tech gadgets to create an equitable workforce

In the list below, I've gone through the best smart glasses with the broadest range of applications. You can find the best smart glasses for music, the best smart glasses for gaming, and the best ones for the visually impaired as well. I take the rose-colored glasses off and put the smart glasses on when it comes to this technology, giving you a clear look into the pros and cons of each option.

Pros & Cons
  • 201-inch micro-OLED virtual theater
  • Virtual desktop
  • Low blue light, flicker-free, eye comfort display
  • Not compatible with all devices
  • Uncertain audio quality
  • Data collection
More Details

Nreal Air AR Glasses specs: Weight: 2.79 ounces | Dimensions: 5.83 x 2.36 x 2.05 inches | Battery life: Not based on the glasses, but on the Nreal adapter or phone the glasses are plugged into | Works with: Devices on the compatibility list | Prescriptions lens: Prescription lens compatible | Price: $379

These bestselling AR glasses expand your field of vision to a staggering 201 inches -- the perfect canvas for you to play a game, watch a movie, or extend your laptop screen while working. There are three levels to this: Air casting, virtual desktop, and AR space. You can use each level depending on the compatibility of the device you connect to the glasses.

Air casting takes your phone, PC, or gaming system and gives you a bigger screen with a 130-inch spatial display. The virtual desktop function is a game-changer, taking the smallest computer screen and expanding it to three virtual screens. You can work from anywhere, even on a plane, and leave your bulky monitors behind. The virtual desktop is now available on M1 and M2 Macbooks, and it'll soon be coming to Windows.

AR space works with select Android phones through Nreal's Nebula app, and it expands your browsing capability to a 201-inch virtual screen. You can also play 3D games and have 3D AR app experiences, like walking around 3D models of the real world. 

All of these cool features combine in ultralight smart glasses that fit in your pocket. You can order prescription lenses for the glasses if you need them. 

Pros & Cons
  • Blue light filters
  • Battery life
  • Touch-enabled
  • Water-resistant
  • Cannot take off the glasses mid-call to hand to someone else
  • Reflective lens
  • Have to take your calls on low or mid-volume to avoid being heard by passerby
More Details

Razer Anzu Smart Glasses specs: Weight: 1.6 ounces | Dimensions: 6.42 x 1.87 x 6.07 inches | Battery life: 5 hours | Works with: Smartphones | Prescription lens: You can do this on your own | Price: $200 (currently $88 on Amazon) 

The Razer Anzu smart glasses come with blue light filtering and polarized sunglasses lenses so that you can go about your day without eyestrain. Blue light filtering targets potential strain from devices like your phone and laptop, and the polarized sunglasses lens protect your eyes from the sun. 

The audio aspect of these glasses stands out. The 60ms Bluetooth connection delivers seamless sound without any audio delays or skipping. The built-in omnidirectional mic and speakers let you take calls on the go. You don't have to worry about bringing headphones along with you to the gym anymore. The glasses allow you to manage your calls, change the music you're listening to, pause or play your audio, and activate Siri or another voice assistant. See and hear it all with just these smart glasses -- how cool is that?

Also: The best blue light blocking glasses (plus how they work)

The battery life of these glasses is more than 5 hours on a single charge. They turn off automatically when you're not using them. You can choose between rectangle or round-shaped lenses in a regular or large size. 

Pros & Cons
  • 120-inch
  • 1080p OLED display
  • 43-inch field of view
  • Myopia-friendly
  • Can be hard to see the edges of the screen
  • Nosepiece can be painful with prolonged use
  • Doesn't come with the wireless adapter
More Details

Rokid Air AR Glasses specs: Weight: 2.93 ounces | Dimensions: ‎7.14 x 6.15 x 2.16 inches | Battery life: 8 hours | Works with: Phones, tablets, computers, and consoles on the compatibility list | Prescription lens: Can adjust each lens to your prescription (0 to -5.00D) | Price: $425 (currently $320 on Amazon)

The Rokid Air AR glasses are currently the best smart glasses out there for watching movies. When you put on the glasses, you tap into a 120-inch cinematic experience wherever you are with an HD 1080p OLED display and 43-inch field of view. The glasses are fairly lightweight, at 83 grams or about 2.93 ounces, and they can be folded up just like any other pair of glasses, making them easy to take on the go. You have access to 3D AR video with the Rokid Air app and access to AR games. 

These glasses are compatible with a variety of devices, provided you have the right adapter. They work with phones, gaming consoles, computers, and tablets on the compatibility list. You can watch videos and shows on a 120-inch screen when you're in the mood for entertainment, or connect the glasses to your phone or laptop for a large, portable workspace. The HD directional speakers ensure that you hear what's being said at meetings. The glasses are certified for low blue light, so they minimize eye strain. 

Rokid's mission is "Leave Nobody Behind" and they fulfill that mission through these glasses by making them usable at home, at work, at the gym, and more. These glasses are myopia-friendly, with adjustable knobs for myopia correction from 0.00 to -5.00D for each eye. 

Pros & Cons
  • 2960x1440 pixel Super AMOLED
  • 12-megapixel camera
  • 101 degree field of view
  • Weight is heavier than other smart glasses
  • Expensive
  • Not for all visual impairments
More Details

Patriot ViewPoint Low Vision Glasses specs: Weight: 1.2 pounds | Dimensions: 7.95 x 4.58 x 3.65 inches | Battery life: Up to 6 hours | Works with: N/A | Prescriptions lens: Not prescription lens compatible | Price: $2,995 

The Patriot ViewPoint Low Vision Glasses are a wearable Samsung virtual reality technology with a 101-degree widescreen. It is designed for those who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration or Stargardt disease, leading to vision impairment that inhibits the ability to see people's faces, read up close, watch television, etc. 

These glasses illustrate the transformative effect of smart glasses on vision impairment. Users can read in full color or on high contrast black on white, or in negative text mode. With the press of a button, the VR smart glasses turn text into speech. The glasses also allow users to zoom in on people, photos, menus, and more. The device can be activated with voice commands: When the user says "Patriot" they then have the next 20 seconds to ask the device to change colors, make something bigger, make something smaller, or take a picture. 

While this technology is promising, it is far from affordable. As smart glasses progress, the hope is that they inexpensively improve the quality of life of those with a broader range of visual impairments. 

Pros & Cons
  • Hyper-responsive touchpad
  • Portable charging case provides three additional days of power
  • Take pictures and video
  • Not water-resistant
  • Requires you to log in to Facebook
  • Some users had issues with the quality of the frames
More Details

Ray-Ban Stories specs: Weight: 1.73 ounces | Dimensions: Wayfarer (size 50mm, and Wayfarer Large size 53mm), Round (48mm), and Meteor (51mm) | Battery life: 3 hours, rechargeable case lasts for three days | Works with: iOS 13, Android 8.1 at a minimum | Prescription lens: You can do this on your own | Price: $230 (currently $209 for select styles on Amazon) 

The Ray-Ban Stories are the glasses to buy if you want to take high-quality photos and videos without holding onto a phone. The built-in camera adjusts to the lighting you're in, and an external-facing LED light tells others when you're taking a photo or video. All of the content you've captured can be shared directly to Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, and you control your privacy settings.

The glasses are controlled through touch -- just touch the side of the frames to take a picture, record a video, pause a song, raise the volume, or skip to a track. The touchpad is hyper-responsive for a seamless user experience. 

The portable charging case is another feature that most smart glasses currently lack. You can charge your frames on the go for 3 days of extra power. 

For people who like to talk on the phone while they walk, putting your phone on speaker can feel too intrusive. Headphones or earbuds may be uncomfortable in or around your ear and holding your phone up to your ear can get sweaty. These glasses are the perfect solution to making sure that you can listen to music and calls while also being aware of your environment. You can't beat the sound and voice quality of these glasses, which have three built-in microphones. 

The downside is that the glasses require you to log in to Facebook to use them. 

What are the best smart glasses?

My top pick is the Nreal Air AR glasses because of their broad compatibility, light weight, and image quality. Here's a comparison table of the specifications of the glasses on this list. 

Smart glasses



Battery life

Works with

Compatible with prescription lens?

Nreal Air AR Glasses


2.79 ounces

Not based on the glasses but on the device the glasses are plugged into

Devices on the compatibility list


Razer Anzu Smart Glasses


1.6 ounces

5 hours



Rokid Air AR Glasses


2.93 ounces

8 hours

Phones, tablets, computers, and consoles on the compatibility list 

Can adjust each lens to your prescription

Patriot ViewPoint Low Vision Glasses


1.2 pounds

Up to 6 hours



Ray-Ban Stories


1.73 ounces

3 hours, rechargeable case lasts for three days

iOS 13, Android 8.1 at a minimum


Which are the right smart glasses for you?

The smart glasses below have many different use cases. Here are just a few to consider when making your purchase. 

Choose these smart glasses…

If you want…

Nreal Air AR Glasses

A wired pair of AR glasses that work with gaming consoles like the PS5. They can also enhance your work productivity and entertainment options to a 201-inch virtual screen.

Razer Anzu Smart Glasses

Blue light and polarized smart glasses that are also water-resistant. The built-in omnidirectional mic and speakers allow for calls on the go. 

Rokid Air AR Glasses

A 120-inch cinematic experience wherever you are with an HD 1080p OLED display and 43-inch field of view. These glasses are myopia-friendly, with adjustable knobs for myopia correction from 0.00 to -5.00D for each eye. 

Patriot ViewPoint Low Vision Glasses

Smart glasses designed for those with Macular Degeneration or Stargardt disease who want to alleviate their symptoms. It can be activated with voice commands.

Ray-Ban Stories

To take pictures and video on the go and listen to music too. These stylish glasses have up to three days of extra power with the charging case. 

How did I choose these smart glasses?

Each of these smart glasses stands out from the rest. I chose them based on use case, price point, and functionality. Someone who wants an augmented reality kind of experience would like the Nreal Air glasses or the Rokid Air glasses, which are both about the same weight (3 ounces rounded up) and work with many devices. However, I tried to find unique aspects of both AR glasses. For example, the Nreal Air has a bigger screen and has to be plugged in, while the Rokid Air can be used wirelessly for up to 8 hours. 

Other smart glasses on this list, like the Razer Anzu or the Ray-Ban Stories, fall into a different category of smart glasses in that they have built-in mics and speakers so that you can play music and take calls hands-free. These kinds of glasses supplement your workday or workouts, but they can't take the place of a monitor or two like the Nreal Air or the Rokid Air. 

I wanted to make sure to include smart glasses for the visually impaired as well because there is immense potential for smart glasses in that field. 

All of those considerations went into these selections.

Why did smart glasses fail?

Smart glasses are still being developed and perfected for a variety of use cases. The problem is that they can be seen as an inadequate in-between technology. The high price of smart glasses and the uncertain privacy they bring to both the user and the people around them are all cons. Smart glasses with built-in cameras can be used to take pictures without the subject being aware of it, and calls or audio are usually audible to the people around the user. 

Abderahman Rejeb, a doctoral student at Széchenyi István University in Hungary, and his research partners analyzed 82 publications to look at the applications of augmented reality (AR) in one field: Logistics and supply chain management. They found that there were four areas that could benefit from AR glasses: Visualization, interaction, user convenience, and navigation. AR glasses could help employees visualize their tasks, for instance. Smart glasses still had technical, organizational, and ergonomic drawbacks though, which made them difficult to adopt.

So while "fail" is a strong term for a nascent market, it is true that smart glasses have a way to go for widespread adoption.

What can smart glasses do?

Smart glasses can use augmented reality (AR) to expand your gaming experience or your workday. There are limits to their capabilities at this point in time, but there are also cool possibilities to explore. Some smart glasses allow you to take calls on the go or take pictures or videos hands-free. Others can expand your workstation or enhance your gaming experience. Other options can take things a step further and help with visual impairments. That last use case is a promising one for researchers around the world. 

Rohit Agarwal of the University of Engineering and Management (UEM) Jaipur in Rajasthan, India wrote about low-cost smart glasses for the visually impaired. Through a prototype, Agarwal demonstrated how ultrasonic sensors in smart glasses can help the visually impaired detect obstacles in front of them and avoid accidents. Smart glasses can build on existing technology to help those with impairments. 

A pair of smart glasses in the alternatives section below can be used as a hearing aid. The Vue Lite 2 connects to a corresponding free app that expands its features and allows it to be used as a hearing aid. 

How much do smart glasses cost?

As demonstrated by the table above, smart glasses can range in price. The cheapest one on this list would be the Razer Anzu smart glasses, although the other options could go on sale at any time. In the alternatives section below, you'll find smart glasses within the same $199 to $399 price range, with one pair under $100. As with any technology, you get what you pay for, so make sure to prioritize the select features that matter to you more than others. Technology for visual impairments tends to be pricier, although that could change as the technology becomes more commonplace and more researchers prioritize development.

Are there alternative smart glasses worth considering?

Yes there are! Here are a few options available on the market right now.

View at AmazonView at VueView at Amazon
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