The competition to secure the top slot in the smartglasses space is now in full swing, with Facebook challenging Snap's Spectacles and Amazon's Echo Frames with its own collaboration with Ray-Ban called Stories.
What makes Facebook's offering so unique is that it is the first Big Tech player to team with a luxury glasses maker to enter into the smartglasses fray. So did the partnership yield a better fit and finish?
Unboxing the device delivers answers to this question. While Facebook's competitors both started out as software-focused companies, both now have years of experience making their own custom hardware for the consumer space.
And while both Amazon and Snap have over time refined their approach to hardware, what happens when they're faced with a challenge from an American classic, Ray-Ban, operating within its core competency?
Well, right off the bat, even the exterior packaging immediately looks and feels like it's from a team that has been shipping luxury eyewear for decades rather than entering new territory.
Founded in 1961 in Milan, Italy, Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica is a global powerhouse in the eyewear space, and the packaging lives up to that pedigree.
In addition to Ray-Ban, Luxottica owns Oakley and has crafted luxury eyewear for the likes of Giorgio Armani, Versace, Chanel, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Coach, and Burberry.
With such a high-end roster of work in its past, it's clear that, beyond the technical features, Facebook aligned itself with perhaps the best eyewear brand on the planet in terms of track record.
That rich history is apparent when opening the packaging and cracking open the incredibly sturdy carrying case which doubles as a charger for the Stories smartglasses. The case is embedded with LED indicator lights that display charging status as facilitated by the included USB-C charging cable.
As you might expect, the package also includes a reference guide, safety and warranty booklet, and an additional cloth carrying case.
One of the interesting things you'll notice upon opening the package is that, although Facebook branding is included on the exterior packaging, there is no Facebook branding on the device or the charging case. Nevertheless, to really get the Stories smartglasses working, you'll need the new Facebook View app.
We'll explore how that works soon, but in terms of presentation and build quality, Facebook's collaboration with Ray-Ban for Stories delivers a top-tier eyewear experience that gives Snap's Spectacles a run for its money, and outclasses Amazon's Echo Frames in many respects.