Meta has wild plans for camera-equipped headphones, but I'd rather it focus on the Quest 4 and the Ray-Ban smart glasses 2

The Meta Quest 3 on a notebook surrounded by pens and school supplies on a desk
(Image credit: Meta)

Meta seemingly won't rest until your whole head is covered in its tech. It’s given us VR headsets like the Meta Quest 3 and smart specs like the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, teased Meta AR glasses, and now a leak suggests it’s looking into headphones (or earbuds) with AI features and cameras. Weird, right? I’ll believe it when I see it.

This comes via a new report from The Information (it’s behind a paywall). The project is known as the “Camerabuds” because they’re an audio-camera fusion, and they’ll either be a pair of cans or earbuds – Meta is apparently investigating both options for now.

While not much is known about the project, I’ll admit it sounds at least mildly plausible. Meta AI’s standout feature on the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses is its Look and Ask function – that’s where you look at something, ask a question about it, and then the specs’ camera snaps a picture to inform its answer. It’s neat even if not entirely reliable (just like any other AI), and it makes sense Meta would want to bring it to different devices.

Headphones/earbuds are also a somewhat sensible head wearable choice. Chiefly, because you can wear headphones even if you wear prescription glasses – with smart glasses you have to buy prescription lenses, making them even pricier for people who need their vision corrected.

Orange RayBan Meta Smart Glasses in front of a wall of colorful lenses including green, blue, yellow and pink

(Image credit: Meta)

Trouble hearing me?

But the Meta headphones have some potential flaws, a few of which the leaked report says Meta is aware of.

First, there’s a concern that long hair could obstruct the view of the Meta Camerbud’s cameras – limiting their usefulness drastically for anyone with hair that covers their ears. Additionally, there are concerns over battery life and heat, which are to be expected when you try and cram lots of features into a small-ish gadget like headphones or earbuds.

There’s also my biggest concern: audio quality. The Meta Quest 3’s audio quality is fine, while the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses have speakers that I can’t love – the open-ear design causes sound to leak, and they lack any kind of oomph. They’re okay for calls, but music-wise they’re never my go-to.

Dedicated Meta audio hardware could overcome these shortcomings but I’d rather Meta stick to its AI and XR hardware niche and improve the audio performance of its existing lines rather than introducing something completely new.

It also just seems like a bad move to stretch its hardware budget further with all-new tech when Meta's Reality Labs division (the team likely to be behind the Camerabuds) hasn't got the most stellar financial performance right now.

As with all leaks, we here at TechRadar recommend taking these details with a pinch of salt. I for one am skeptical the Meta Camerabuds will ever see the light of day, but if they do you can be sure I’ll be ready to put them through their paces.

You might also like

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.