The 9 Best Smart Glasses of 2021

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The Rundown
Best Overall:
Vuzix Blade at Vuzix.com
"This newly-upgraded version of the Vuzix Blade offers tons of advanced features in a surprisingly compact set of glasses."
"If you’re looking for something more affordable, you may want to check out these futuristic-looking sunglasses from TechKen."
"These Enterprise Edition 2 smart glasses represent the latest business-focused offering from Glass."
Best for Music:
Bose Frames at Amazon
"The Bose Frames are another entry in the combined-sunglasses-and-headphones category."
"If you mainly want to listen to music with your smart glasses, the Flows are a stylish mid-range option that look like regular sunglasses"
Best for Video:
Snap Spectacles 3 at Amazon
"Snapchat’s Snap Spectacles 3 are as fun and fashionable as you’d expect."
"These smart glasses pair with headphones and an app to use your brain activity level and breath to help retrain your mind."
Best Digital Assistant Integration:
Amazon Echo Frames at Amazon
"The new Amazon Echo Frames bring the convenience of Alexa to your glasses."
Best Glasses Attachment:
JLab Audio JBuds Frames at Jlabaudio.com
"the JLab Audio JBuds Frames attach to any glasses frames for instant wireless sound."

Smart glasses are still largely considered novelty devices, but they also reflect the most fun and futuristic parts of the wearable gadget world. Whether you’re looking for stylish sunglasses that double as a pair of headphones, or a high-tech wearable that supports augmented reality experiences, the smart glasses market is diverse and interesting. 

The definition of “smart glasses” is broad, so we’ve considered anything with a Bluetooth connection at a minimum. All of the glasses on this list support wireless audio and many more have integrated cameras and microphones for capturing video or answering phone calls. The most advanced can measure brain activity or overlay digital information onto the real world using tiny displays on the lenses. 

Smart glasses continue to be made, and they only become more advanced as high-tech hardware becomes smaller and lighter. If this tech is still a little too strange for you, then you may prefer traditional wireless headphones. But at this rate, who knows: smart glasses may still have their most popular days ahead of them. 

Best Overall: Vuzix Blade

Vuzix Blade
What We Like
  • AR features

  • 8MP camera

  • Available with prescription lenses

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Clunky aesthetic

This newly-upgraded version of the Vuzix Blade offers tons of advanced features in a surprisingly compact set of glasses. Its augmented reality (AR) capabilities put the Blade at the top of our list along with its integrated speakers, noise-canceling microphones, and a surprisingly good camera. 

The Blade features a full-color DLP display on the right lens that uses Waveguide optics technology to overlay digital graphics onto the real world. The transparent display allows you to see both at once, with head motion tracking that responds to your movement for an immersive augmented reality experience. It’s powered by a quad-core ARM CPU and Android OS. You can also pair the Blade with your smartphone using the companion app to further customize its functionality and receive phone notifications right on your glasses. 

These glasses also have some great hardware features, the most notable being a built-in 8MP camera that can record HD video at 30fps. Noise-canceling microphones also allow you to take calls and use the voice control features. These glasses have Z87.1 safety certifications, full UV protection, and are available with prescription lenses for an additional cost.

Best Budget: TechKen Sunglasses

TechKen Sunglasses
What We Like
  • Bluetooth compatible

  • Built-in earbuds

  • Microphone for phone calls

What We Don't Like
  • No other smart features

  • Inexpensive build

Super high-tech features often come with a high price tag, so if you’re looking for something more affordable, you may want to check out these futuristic-looking sunglasses from TechKen. They have built-in Bluetooth headphones that extend down from the arms of the glasses, making them a great option for exercising and other outdoor activities. While regular wireless earbuds can run the risk of falling out, these are attached directly to the sunglasses so you can keep the music playing without fear of losing an expensive earbud. 

The headphone parts of the glasses are adjustable and can be moved forward and back for a comfortable fit. They also have a built-in microphone so you can effortlessly take calls when the glasses are connected to your phone. Button controls on the frame allow you to adjust the volume, play and pause music, and answer calls. 

Best for Companies: Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

Google Glass Enterprise Edition
What We Like
  • Streamlined design

  • 8MP camera

  • Qualcomm processor

What We Don't Like
  • Not intended as a consumer device

  • Expensive

Google Glass made a splash when it first came to market, and these Enterprise Edition 2 smart glasses represent the latest business-focused offering from Glass. These glasses are not currently available for direct consumer purchase — you need to contact Glass directly to order them. But if you’re looking for high-tech smart glasses for your company, the Enterprise Edition 2 provides a wearable platform that’s designed to be developed for individual use cases. It features a speedy Qualcomm processor and runs Android Open Source Platform, a developer-friendly operating system that allows companies to create custom software for their employees.

The Glass Enterprise Edition’s advanced hardware and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity open the door for all kinds of possibilities. There is a cube at the top of the right lens with a tiny digital screen that displays information directly in front of the wearer’s eye. It also has a tiny speaker that rests right behind the ear, and the camera on the front of the glasses has an 8MP lens that can capture and stream HD video.

Best for Music: Bose Frames

Bose Smart Glasses
What We Like
  • Stylish design options

  • Good sound quality

  • Some AR features available

What We Don't Like
  • No volume controls

  • Poor noise isolation

The Bose Frames are another entry in the combined-sunglasses-and-headphones category, and they boast the best audio quality of any of the devices on this list. They also look the most like regular sunglasses. If style is a top priority, Bose offers five different audio sunglasses designs: the rectangular Alto, the round Rondo, the sporty Tempo, the square Tenor, and the cat-eyed Soprano. Choosing your look is half the fun.

The Frames have the speakers built into arms and tucked right behind the wearer’s ears. Even though there is no in-ear headphone, the design of the glasses prevents the sound from leaking to the people around you. This lets you enjoy your music while remaining fully aware of your surroundings (and without disturbing your neighbors). Our reviewer who tested these glasses noted that the audio does have the wonderful warm quality that the Bose brand is known for. The only downside: it can get drowned out by the noise in your environment. So if you’re commuting or planning to listen somewhere loud, you might find your music is hard to hear. 

The Bose Frames also come with the Bose AR platform, which is still in its early stages but shows some promise for interesting AR audio experiences. The glasses already have built in gyroscopes and motion tracking that makes them well-suited to augmented reality app integration.

 “While the Bose AR functionality is a sort of hidden perk of these frames, it still feels like it's very much in the early stages.”Emmeline Kaser, Product Tester

Best for Audio: Flows Bandwidth

Flows Bandwith
What We Like
  • Stylish design options

  • Good sound quality

  • Bone conduction speakers

What We Don't Like
  • No other smart features

If you mainly want to listen to music with your smart glasses, the Flows are a stylish mid-range option that look like regular sunglasses and have all the perks of a pair of Bluetooth headphones. They have an open-ear design that uses tiny bone conduction speakers on the arms of the glasses. They channel audio directly to your inner ear so you can hear your music and also hear your surroundings. Like other audio sunglasses on the market, the Flows also have a built-in microphone so you can answer calls when your smartphone is connected. The Bluetooth 5.0 technology makes for a steadier and stronger connection as well.

These glasses are available in two styles: the round Taylor’s and more rectangular Bruno’s. Choose from three different lens colors for an extra cost. Both styles have a five-hour battery life and can fully charge in one to two hours.

Best for Video: Snap Spectacles 3

Snap Spectacles 3
What We Like
  • Unique design

  • 3D photography

  • High-fidelity audio recording

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • 3D photos are fun but not easy to view

For a pair of smart glasses made by a social media company, Snapchat’s Snap Spectacles 3 are as fun and fashionable as you’d expect. They’re also surprisingly high-tech. Featuring two HD cameras and four microphones, these glasses are capable of capturing 3D photos and 60 fps video with high-fidelity audio. The lenses are situated on the two top corners of the frames. When they snap simultaneous photos from these slightly different angles, the images are combined to create a striking three-dimensional effect. The Spectacles connect to your phone via Bluetooth so you can instantly upload your media to the Snapchat app or anywhere else. Snapchat offers a suite of fun AR filters that integrate seamlessly with Spectacles video for another layer of interesting effects. 

The Spectacles come with a charging case and can quick-charge to 50% in just 15 minutes. Their eye-catching design is available in two colors: black and a muted rose gold tone.

Best for Focus: Smith Lowdown Focus

Smith Lowdown Glasses
What We Like
  • Comfortable frames

  • Intuitive app design

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Niche functionality

  • Reported charging issues

Can smart glasses help you relax and focus your mind? That’s the premise behind the Smith Lowdown Focus. These smart glasses pair with headphones and an app to use your brain activity level and breath to help retrain your mind to slow down and improve concentration. Although it sounds pretty wild, the glasses are a great new tool when it comes to practicing mindfulness.

Regular sessions can help users be more focused, manage anxiety, and block out distractions. Brain-sensing technology, which works via sensors in the frame’s earpieces, provides real-time feedback on your brain’s activity level, helping the user know when they need focus to beat stress or complete complex tasks. While this method of mindfulness might not suit everyone, it’s an evidence-based system that has helped many. The frames themselves are unobtrusive and aren’t likely to attract notice.

If you’re struggling with mental focus, consider giving the Lowdown Focus a try, if they’re within your budget.

Best Digital Assistant Integration: Amazon Echo Frames

What We Like
  • Alexa voice control

  • Automatic volume adjustments

  • Microphone can be turned off

What We Don't Like
  • Middling battery life

The new Amazon Echo Frames bring the convenience of Alexa to your glasses. Just connect them to your smartphone via Bluetooth and get all-day access to your virtual assistant. Say “Alexa” and the built-in microphones will immediately start listening. Ask it questions, queue up your favorite music and podcasts, and get notifications from your phone directly in your ear. Like other smart glasses on this list, the Echo Frames use an open-ear audio design with tiny speakers embedded in the frames. You can hear what’s coming out of them, but the people around you can’t. 

If notifications in your ear sounds like too much, these glasses have the option for “VIP filtering” that only alerts you to notifications from a specific list of people (and the rest wait for you on your phone). You can also turn off Alexa with the touch of a button if you don’t want the ambient microphone on all the time. It can be a bit of a drain on the battery. Amazon claims you can get about two hours of playback and Alexa interaction if the glasses are on for a full 14-hour day, or four straight hours of playback if you’re listening to music. The main takeaway here: these are designed as an Alexa device rather than a set of headphones. 

The Echo Frames are available in three colors: all black, black with a blue edge, and tortoiseshell print.

Best Glasses Attachment: JLab Audio JBuds Frames

JLab Audio JBuds Frames
What We Like
  • Attaches to your existing glasses

  • Affordable

  • Built-in playback controls

What We Don't Like
  • A bit bulky

If you have prescription frames or a go-to pair of sunglasses you could never replace, the JLab Audio JBuds Frames attach to any glasses frames for instant wireless sound. They also include a microphone for phone calls. The open audio design plays music that only you can hear while leaving your ears open and uncovered — a great option for those who want to stay aware of their surroundings or who find traditional headphones uncomfortable to wear. Use both attachments for a more immersive audio experience, or switch to just one.

The design is a little bit bulky, but the JBuds Frames make up for it with over eight hours of playback per charge. It also uses the latest Bluetooth 5.1 technology to pair to your smartphone with a stable, lag-free connection.

Final Verdict

For the most advanced smart glasses experience, we recommend the Vuzix Blade Upgraded, which features a see-through display on the lens with augmented reality capabilities. If you’re looking for something significantly less expensive, sunglasses with Bluetooth audio abound: check out our budget pick from TechKen or Bose Frames for superior sound.

About Our Trusted Experts

Emmeline Kaser is a former editor of Lifewire’s product round-ups and reviews. She has several years of experience researching and writing about consumer tech.

FAQs

What are smart glasses used for?
Smart glasses have a wide range of applications in a wide range of situations. Many are fitted with cameras and microphones that allow for high-quality point-of-view video that can be an invaluable training tool in many industries. Glasses with displays on the lenses allow for digital information to overlay the real world, augmenting real-world activity with directions or other helpful information right in front of the wearer’s eyes. Many of the less-expensive models on this list are simply fun gadgets that let you listen to music or get phone notifications from a stylish pair of sunglasses.

What is open-ear audio?
Many of the smart glasses on this list use open-ear audio technology, meaning they deliver sound to your ears without blocking or covering them like traditional headphones. This can be achieved through strategically placed speakers that rest right next to the ear canal rather than in it, making the sound audible to you but not to the people next to you. Some also use bone conduction, which sends the audio vibrations directly to the inner ear through the bones in your skull.

How much do smart glasses cost?
The price of smart glasses can vary pretty widely. A basic pair of smart glasses that only provides you with Bluetooth audio shouldn't cost you more than the standard pair of Bluetooth headphones or wireless earbuds. The TechKen Sunglasses for instance cost a mere $18 to $30 depending on if they're on sale or not. On the other hand, more sophisticated smart glasses like the Bose Frames have serious audio features like directional audio, an AR platform, gyroscope, motion tracking, and more. And at the very high-end, glasses like the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 aren't intended for consumers and come with a built-in processor, camera, screen, and Wi-Fi for a full sci-fi experience. With that, you won't find it priced within the consumer range.

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