When you think of smart glasses, you probably think about the specs that movie spies don to remotely start up their luxury sports cars or scan people’s credentials. We’re not there yet, folks. However, the product category has evolved since its rough introduction (cough, Google Glass), enticing several fashion and tech companies to release hi-tech eyewear that boasts features similar to those found on the best smartphones and best smartwatches.

So, what makes smart glasses such an appealing purchase? Versatility. According to Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, they can “replace single or multiple devices and do so while making the device more compact and integrated into a pair of glasses that are generally indiscernible from standard glasses.”

The best smart glasses perform a variety of tasks like answering calls, controlling smart devices, playing different media, recording videos, snapping photos and integrating with your social media accounts. Some models also blend fashion and function successfully, allowing for customized looks through different frame designs and interchangeable lenses.

“Smart glasses are still very much the realm of early adopters and technophiles,” says Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC. It might take several more years before they become mainstream like the iPhone, but interest remains high, at least for the moment.

To help you find the perfect pair, we put together this collection of the best smart glasses, based on price, performance, testing and critical response. See where your money is best spent.

The best smart glasses

Best smart glasses overall

Given a boost in audio performance and battery life, the latest collection of Bose Frames delivers superb clarity and warm sound best associated with the brand, along with 5.5 hours of listening time. Multiple styles are available to appease fashion-forward music lovers, including the cat-eyed Soprano, sporty Tempo and square-shaped Tenor.

No one expected the headphone and speaker company to develop sunglasses, let alone a pair that doubles as a wearable sound system, but Bose shocked and surpassed our expectations with its Frames collection. Basic in design, yet highly functional in performance, the Bose Frames are the perfect marriage between open wireless earbuds and stylish specs.

While open-ear smart glasses don’t get you the lively, full-bodied sound present in wireless earbuds, the Bose Frames come the closest. Each arm beams warm, rich audio into your ears that all other rivals fail to match. Bass has been given a noticeable boost from the first-gen Bose Frames, having a stronger presence on low-end-heavy recordings; we recommend listening to classic rock and hip-hop tracks to get the best sound possible. Videos are equally satisfying to hear, with prominent midrange that produces sharp vocals on dialogue-centric content like podcasts. Listening at high volume causes sound to leak, but not at such an incredibly high level that the person next to you might ask you to turn it down.

Besides active noise cancellation, Bose is also known for class-leading call quality, which is well-represented on these frames. Is it up there with the Bose 700 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2? No. However, it’s great for enjoying clear-sounding conversations in rowdy environments, and even better in quiet settings. The new dual-beam-forming mic array is powerful enough to isolate most background noise like pedestrian chatter and wind and demonstrates solid speech recognition during video calls. It’s also great for voice assistance, letting you execute Siri and Google Assistant commands with ease.

Design-wise, these are slightly chunkier than the average pair of Ray-Bans, but the look is still attractive. The bulky arms give them a sporty appearance, specifically the Tempo version. IPX4 water-resistant coating protects the frames from moisture damage. We’re also fans of the all-black colorway and polarized lenses, which reduce brightness exposure and can be swapped out for prescription lenses.

Battery life has been bumped up from 3.5 to 5.5 hours, though this is still considered low by industry standards. Still, that’s plenty of time to keep you entertained on commutes throughout the workweek. The Bose frames are also relatively affordable compared to other smart glasses.

Other smart glasses we recommend

Best smart glasses for gaming

The Nreal Air smart glasses deliver one of the best AR (augmented reality) experiences for the price. Their 130-inch virtual screen creates a vast viewing area for gaming, while also giving users a full view of their desktop when plugged into a Mac or MacBook. Software is buggy, and a $50 adapter is required for use with game consoles and iOS devices, but these are forgivable flaws when factoring in the excellent gaming performance.

Best smart glasses for photos and videos

The Ray-Ban Stories are smart glasses for the influencer who wants to look stylish while capturing content that can be easily shared over Facebook. Speaking of which, these specs were developed with Meta, allowing for platform-friendly voice commands (“Hey, Facebook, take a picture”) to take quality photos and videos via the dual 5MP cameras. They also double as wireless headphones with quality sound and come bundled with a portable charger for extra power on the go.

Best smart glasses for digital assistance

If you’re fully invested in Amazon’s ecosystem of products, then the Echo Frames are a must-own. Alexa voice activation allows you to execute hundreds of commands on Amazon Echo and third-party devices. Other notable features include Auto Volume and “VIP filtering” to hear messages from specific people.

Best high-end smart glasses

For the AR enthusiast with expensive taste, it doesn’t get any better than the Vuzix Blade 2, which host a marvelous feature set for their high price tag. This includes a full-color HD display using waveguide technology, 8MP camera, 40GB of memory, head tracking for spatial audio, multilingual voice control, third-party app integration (including Alexa, Netflix and Zoom) and even DJI drone support. Content looks gorgeous and runs smoothly over 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi.

Best budget smart glasses

Newcomers that want a taste of smart glasses without splurging can find plenty of value in the Razer Anzu. Their 60ms low-latency Bluetooth connection produces smooth, stutter-free sound, while the omnidirectional mic is great for calls and voice assistance. Blue light filtering reduces eye strain when using your smartphone and laptop, and the polarized lenses do a noteworthy job of shielding your peepers from the sun.

How our picks compare

What we loved Arguably the best-sounding smart glasses, with dynamic sound and stellar call quality in a comfy, attractive design
What we didn't like Battery life is lower than advertised and weak noise isolation
Size 5.81 x 2 x 2 in.
Weight 1.76 oz.
Battery Life 5.5 hours
Prescription lenses compatible Yes
Wireless Yes
Price $249
What we loved Lightweight smart glasses with excellent 3D augmented reality capabilities, fantastic HD visuals and game-changing features
What we didn't like Buggy software and limited compatibility
Size 5.83 x 2.36 x 2.05 in.
Weight 2.79 oz.
Battery Life 3 hours (w/ adapter)
Prescription lenses compatible Yes
Wireless No
Price $379
What we loved A classic look and user-friendly controls that make call management, playback, volume and camera operation seamless
What we didn't like Require logging into a Facebook account and not water-resistant
Size Not stated
Weight 1.7 oz.
Battery Life 3 hours
Prescription lenses compatible Yes
Wireless Yes
Price $210
What we loved The best battery life and voice assistant integration of any smart glasses, plus intuitive smart features that simplify use
What we didn't like A flimsy, plasticky design with audio output that gets drowned out in loud environments
Size 5.7 x 2.1 x 5.0 in.
Weight 1.19 oz.
Battery Life 14 hours
Prescription lenses compatible Yes
Wireless Yes
Price $190
What we loved A water-resistant design (IPX4) with 60ms Bluetooth connection for lag-free sound, as well as with stellar vision protection via blue light filtering and polarized lenses
What we didn't like High sound leakage, sensitive touch controls and calls must be taken at low volume
Size 6.42 x 1.73 x 5.83 in.
Weight 1.5 oz. (small/medium), 1.6 oz. (large)
Battery Life 5 hours
Prescription lenses compatible Yes
Wireless Yes
Price $60

How to choose the right smart glasses

Base your selection on compatibility and purpose

Llamas stresses how important it is to choose smart glasses that are compatible with your mobile device.

“Remember, we’re not at the point where these are completely standalone from your smartphone, and compatibility with your smartphone’s platform is absolutely key,” he says. Something else to consider is multiplatform support, so you can pair them with computers, gaming consoles and other devices.

“Smart glasses can bring a new level of convenience too, depending on the application you’re using,” adds Llamas. Keep this in mind when factoring in the apps and software you use daily.

Furthermore, start thinking about how you want to use smart glasses. Business. Gaming. Home automation. Leisure. Music listening. Photography. Whatever it is, create a checklist and see what pair meets your needs.

Choose the correct type

The two most popular types of smart glasses are bone conduction and open ear. Both carry the traditional look of spectacles and allow listeners to maintain their awareness of surroundings. However, each of them offers a different fit and performance.

Bone-conducting glasses have an external speaker that sends small vibrations through the skull, bypassing the eardrum and relaying sound directly to the inner ear, whereas open-ear glasses have speakers built into the frame that project sound to your ears. Neither are engineered to produce audiophile sound like some of the market’s best true wireless earbuds, but they provide a more unique and discrete way to hear content.

Sag recommends examining the design to determine “how acceptable they might look,” along with the weight since it affects “long-term wearability.”

The right set of features

Not all smart glasses are created equal as not all feature sets are available from one model to the next,” says Llamas. Those wanting the best AR experience must invest in smart glasses that can project a clear and visible display on the lenses. Music lovers will want a pair with stereo speakers, while photographers should look for something with strong megapixel cameras to capture quality photos and videos. Other essentials to consider are Bluetooth, calling capabilities, digital assistance, media controls, onboard storage and swappable lenses (for prescription purposes).

Battery life

Smart glasses offer limited playtimes. The majority last between three and four hours, while a rare few can last up to nine. Certain features drain power more quickly (such as calls, navigation, video recording and volume), so be mindful of how you use them and monitor battery levels as much as possible. Lastly, think about recharging options, be that adapters, charging cables or the best portable chargers.