Bottom line: Sony originally planned to release the Reon Pocket with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. And while the latter got postponed until July next year due to Covid-19, the sweltering summer heat is here without delay, right on time for Sony's launch of its quirky, wearable air conditioner. It won't completely isolate you from the heat but should provide a cooling sensation on your back when slid inside a special pocket in Sony's accompanying undershirts.
We learned about Sony's Reon Pocket last year when the wearable air conditioner was being crowdfunded by the company. Using the Peltier effect, the gadget is able to cool or warm any surface upon direct contact.
Similar to using an ice bag or rubbing a chilled soda can across your face, the Reon Pocket can be used handheld to soothe your brow. Sony, however, primarily wants users to place the device just below their neck in a pocket knit inside its special polyester fabric undershirts for the cooling, or warmth, to spread across as much as possible.
The Reon Pocket weighs 80 grams and uses a lithium-ion battery that lasts about 2.5 hours on a single charge. It recharges via USB-C and uses Bluetooth to communicate with Sony's companion app on iOS and Android. The app allows for choosing between three levels of cool/warm temperature and has an auto mode toggle to let users turn the wearable on/off via its physical power button.
Sony claims up to a 23°F (13°C) reduction in body surface temperature with the device, even though most of it will likely be concentrated at just one point. The Reon Pocket went on sale earlier this month exclusively in Japan at Sony's official store and Amazon. The gadget itself costs ¥13,000 ($123), while the accompanying undershirts are ¥1,800 ($17) each.