#Trending: Smartglasses mark the second coming of Google Glass

Smartglasses are back, baby
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Smartglasses are back in the conversation.

Not that they ever fully went away since they're easily the most difficult area of wearable tech to get right. Fashion is as important as function in smartwatches, but arguably more vital when it comes to strapping tech to your face.

That's why it's no surprise there's still nothing out there we'd happily wear on a daily basis. But it feels like things might be starting to change, with some new contenders rising up.

Must read: The best smartglasses of 2016

Of course, pour another one out for Google Glass, which kickstarted the smartglass trend. Google's wearable might have been more concept than product but that didn't stop people pinning hopes on it going mainstream. It did not, but we reckon it won't be long before Google's back with a second attempt.

Until then, here's who's doing it right, and who's doing it wrong.

WEAR: Oakley Radar glasses

#Trending: Smartglasses mark the second coming of Google Glass

Oakley's running/cycling Radar glasses don't actually display any information on the glass, but feed all information through the earpieces. What makes them impressive is Intel's Real Audio language processing tech, which lets you converse in a more natural way. We've already taken them out for a couple of runs, and what we love best is that we don't feel extremely silly with them on, or when we're speaking to them.

The Radar glasses are designed on an existing Oakley frame and lens, meaning you don't look like a low-budget cyborg, while chatting with Radar is surprisingly intuitive. What's more, the info it gives you during your workout is specific and useful, taking into account things like your pace, incline and stride, without you needing to ever pull out a phone or raise a wrist.

NEARLY THERE: Snapchat Spectacles

#Trending: Smartglasses mark the second coming of Google Glass

Snapchat's Spectacles might be one of the weirdest announcements of the year, but the more we think about it, the more we see where it's coming from. It's the kind of thing your grandad would use as a perfect example of how the kids of today are too buried in their iTelephones and NintendoStations to savour anything real, but in fact Spectacles could do quite the opposite.

Instead of always having to whip out your phone to capture a noteworthy moment (or just any single moment of the day, if you're like some of the Snapchatters we follow) you'd be able to do it with your glasses. It would be like having a GoPro on you at all times - if you don't mind the way the glasses look.

They're sure to be bugged with the same privacy concerns Google Glass was, but then we're not sure the young'uns care too much about such frivolous concepts. We reckon Snapchat might be onto something here (sorry, Snap Inc, it rebranded), but we're not convinced they'll be for everyone.

SQUARE: A lot of what we've seen so far

#Trending: Smartglasses mark the second coming of Google Glass

Remember these? Sony's Smartglasses Attach still hasn't moved out of concept phase, but if and when it does we hope it looks a hell of a lot better. A lot of the smartglasses we've seen so far have been aimed at business and enterprise, which means fashion matters a lot less, but if you're going to be nipping downtown with your smartgoggles on, you don't want to be attracting weird looks from passers-by.

As seen above, even attaching tech to a nice pair of glasses still ends with a messy result. Yeah, it's a concept, but still: do not want.


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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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