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Looking just at Ray-Ban Stories as a consumer product, minus the social questions, there is a lot to like, starting with the fact that they look just like regular Ray-Bans.

Between the lines: There are other glasses that are more capable, but Ray-Ban Stories are comfortable, stylish and work with prescription lenses while offering a few useful features. For me, the key selling point is the ability to take pictures without having to take out my phone.

How they work: The new specs take the traditional Ray-Ban design and add dual five-megapixel cameras, three microphones and speakers to allow for capturing photos and video, listening to music and taking calls from a nearby smartphone.

  • You will need an iPhone or Android device to view the pictures you take as well as supply the audio or phone call you want to take on the device.
  • These aren't the augmented reality glasses of tomorrow. There is no display, nor does the current model support facial recognition or other futures being eyed by Facebook and others.
  • The glasses' batteries last for 6 hours of "intermittent" use and charge via an included case that stores an extra three charges and plugs to an outlet or computer via USB-C cable.

The bottom line: You can take better pictures from your smartphone and experience better sound from a good pair of earbuds.

  • But Ray-Ban Stories let you do those things without losing touch with the world. You can listen to music or an audiobook and still hear the sounds of nature or an approaching car. You can take a picture or video without having to watch the moment through your phone.

Who it's good for: People who want to capture every moment but who also bemoan the fact that they are staring at their phones.

Who it's not for: Ray-Ban Stories won't replace any existing device, so it's definitely a luxury purchase. Nor will its image quality please those looking for pictures suitable for framing.

The practicalities: The specs went on sale Thursday for $299 in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Australia, Ireland and Canada. They will also show up soon at Ray-Ban retailers, including Sunglass Hut.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 10, 2021 - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Facebook's eyebrow-raising Ray-Bans

Image: Facebook

Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth says a key goal of the company's new $299 smart glasses is to kickstart a societal conversation on the norms around such products. On that front, the company has already succeeded.

State of play: Coverage of the launch of the Ray-Ban Stories focused as much on privacy issues as on the product themselves.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.