This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first generation of Google Glass. It may be hard to believe, but the limited release “Explorer’s Edition” were admired and felt like the future. However, the last decade of smartglasses has been a mixed bag, with more misses than hits. Google Glass never reached the kind of critical mass needed to launch a commercial product, though the company continues to give things another try every few years. The success of AR has been limited to smartphone screens, with companies like Magic Leap, Microsoft, and Meta releasing AR products with varying degrees of success. Shrinking AR technology down to regular glasses size is a nice goal, but still a ways off. Meta’s recent hardware event saw the release of two head-worn devices: the Quest 3, a VR headset offering an AR experience, and the Ray-Ban Meta, which fits into standard glasses form factor and focuses on content capture.

The Ray-Ban Meta allows wearers to shoot quick videos and livestream, with built-in speakers for music and podcast audio. Amazon’s Echo Frames do not offer video capture, but have a similar audio setup. The speakers are located in the temples, offering good situational awareness, though the audio quality is not great. The Frames feature Echo functionality for a hands-free voice assistant and come in five different styles.

The battery life is stated at 14 hours of “moderate” usage and the charging dock is big and awkward. At $270, the Echo Frames are $30 cheaper than the Meta glasses, but Amazon is currently offering them for a discounted $200. If deciding between the two, it may be worth spending the extra $30 for the Meta glasses.

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