Updated on  January 4, 2023
5 min read

How Smart Glasses Work & The Best Brands

7 sources cited
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What are Smart Glasses?

Smart glasses are normal glasses embedded with internal and external sensors. These sensors add special functionality similar to what you find on a smartphone. They are also called connected glasses.

Depending on the brand, you can purchase smart glasses with and without prescription lenses.

Smart glasses use wireless and Bluetooth technology to provide an enhanced user experience that includes:

  • Listening to music
  • Camera and video functionality
  • Making phone calls
  • Connection to the internet and smartphone
  • Augmented reality (virtual objects overlaid in real-world environments)

Connected glasses are becoming more mainstream. Experts estimate that 14 million people will use smart glasses in the workforce by 2025.3

Everything We Recommend

1. Best Overall: Ray-Ban Stories: Wayfarer Smart Glasses

2. Best For Music: Bose Frames - Audio Sunglasses

3. Best For Augmented Reality: Vuzix Blade Upgraded Smart Glasses
4. Best For Video: Spectacles 3 - by Snapchat

Where to Buy Glasses + Contacts

Best Overall: Warby Parker

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Also Great: Liingo

Best Place to Buy Contacts: 1800 Contacts

How Do Smart Glasses Work?

Smart glasses utilize sensors, processors, and internet connectivity to bring smartphone technology to a pair of eyeglasses. 

Each model of smart glasses works a bit differently. However, people typically interact with connected glasses through a touch interface, voice command, or head gestures. 

Other smart glasses features include:

  • Voice command to text
  • Report generation
  • Virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (MR)
  • Location identification
  • Voice controls
  • Increased battery life
  • Eye tracking

Types of Smart Glasses

Smart glasses come in different shapes and sizes depending on the design and desired functionality. 

The different types of smart glasses include:

Monocular smart glasses

Monocular smart glasses contain an optical engine or device on one of the lenses. This allows your line of sight to be undisturbed by the visual interface. 

Examples of smart monocular glasses include:

  • Google Glass (one of the first smart glasses developed for the general population)
  • Vuzix M300
  • Lumus Sleek
  • Optivent Ora-2

Binocular smart glasses 

Binocular smart glasses have an optical engine on both lenses. This provides stereoscopic (three-dimensional effects) vision. Binocular vision also augments a more significant part of the field of vision. 

Most binocular smart glasses need to be connected to a smartphone.

Examples of smart binocular glasses include:

  • Epson Moverio
  • ODG R-9
  • Sony SED-E1

Audio augmented reality glasses 

Audio augmented reality glasses use motion sensors and GPS information to determine spatial orientation. They also have speakers that enable users to take phone calls and listen to music.

Bose Open Ear Audio technology is the most famous example of audio-augmented reality smart glasses.

4 Best Smart Glasses of 2023

Based on our research, the four best smart glasses of 2023 include:

1. Best Overall: Ray-Ban Stories: Wayfarer Smart Glasses with Photo, Video & Audio

Ray Ban Stories Wayfarer Smart Glasses

Ray-Ban Stories are developed by Meta with the classic Ray-Ban style. They have access to Meta technology, including social media. It offers a new way to communicate with your social community. 

Frames come in a variety of colors and designs.

Price: $299 on Amazon

Pros 

  • Audio, photo, and video capability
  • Voice control
  • Ability to take phone calls
  • Polarized lenses 
  • Can charge on the go
  • Share your Facebook stories

Cons

  • Need a Facebook account
  • No augmented reality display

2. Best For Music: Bose Frames - Audio Sunglasses

Bose Frames Audio Sunglasses

Bose Frames are sunglasses with built-in directional speakers that connect to Bluetooth. The sound control allows you to enjoy high-quality music without disturbing the people around you. 

They come in several different styles and designs. 

Price: $99 on Amazon 

Pros 

  • Integrated microphone
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Ability to purchase with a prescription
  • Good sound quality

Cons

  • No volume control
  • Difficult to hear in loud environments

3. Best For Augmented Reality: Vuzix Blade Upgraded Smart Glasses for Enterprise Applications

Vuzix Blade Upgraded Smart Glasses

The Vuzix Blade Upgraded smart glasses connect the digital world to the real world using both augmented and mixed reality. It is popular in the workforce environment.

Advanced features include stereo speakers, color display, and data collection capabilities. 

Price: $1,299 on the company website. Not available on Amazon.

Pros 

  • Advanced AR technology
  • High-quality camera
  • It can be customized with prescription lenses

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No variety in styles

4. Best For Video: Spectacles 3 — 3D Camera Glasses, Made by Snapchat

Spectacles 3 — 3D Camera Glasses

Spectacles 3, made by Snapchat, is designed for taking high-tech videos and photos. These smart glasses come equipped with 3D effects and two HD cameras. 

Multiple microphones make these smart glasses perfect for creating high-quality social media content. 

Price: $349 on Amazon

Pros 

  • 3D video and photo
  • Can charge on the go
  • Can instantly upload images to the internet

Cons

  • Only one design
  • Limited features

How Much Do Smart Glasses Cost?

Smart glasses vary in price depending on brand and features. Smart glasses designed for industry and the workforce are more expensive than those designed for the general population.

The price of smart glasses typically ranges from $99 to $1300 and are widely available online.

Some manufacturers can add a prescription to correct vision refractive errors.

Are Smart Glasses Worth It? 

While smart glasses and wearable devices are the technology of the future, many wonder if they are worth it. Below we highlight the advantages, disadvantages, and where the future of smart glasses is headed.

Advantages

  • Ability to see phone apps from a binocular viewing angle
  • Hands-free phone usage
  • Watch movies and consume online content
  • Listen to music and audio 
  • Perform daily tasks while on the go
  • Take high-quality pictures and videos

Disadvantages

  • Prone to breaking
  • Not all smart glasses come with a prescription
  • Still need to be connected to a smartphone 
  • Need wireless connectivity 
  • They are expensive

Future of Smart Glasses 

Today, smart glasses lack the computing power to offer various high-tech experiences. However, time and innovation will enable smart glasses to perform several on-demand tasks, including:

  • Using them in the classroom
  • Linking with workplace protocols 
  • Providing a seamless gaming experience
  • Capturing fully augmented reality visuals 
  • Displaying real-time data
  • Having computer-like functionality

Why Trust Our Review?

We considered many factors when deciding which smart glasses fit best for each category. 

Our decision criteria included the following:

  • Research. Each product and brand came highly recommended by leading experts.
  • Price and availability. Each product is affordable and easy to purchase online. 
  • Advanced features. Each product contained advanced features that proved safe and effective for daily use.

Summary

Smart glasses are wearable devices that provide basic smartphone tasks through eyewear. Typical functionality includes camera, video, augmented reality, and audio capabilities. They connect to your phone via wireless and Bluetooth and offer a hands-free experience.

Smart glasses are not currently a staple technology. However, they will become valuable to our daily lives with time and innovation.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

Updated on  January 4, 2023
7 sources cited
Updated on  January 4, 2023
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