When Sony launched its first-generation personal air conditioner last summer, it seemed like an unnecessary gimmick that would do little to ease your suffering during the summer heat. There’s already AC in most places you’d br going — not that you could go anywhere with the coronavirus pandemic raging. But the device makes more sense than ever as we’re getting ready to embrace another scorching summer season. Spring has been far colder than expected this year, delivering frustrating temperature swings from day to day. Soon enough, summer will be setting in along with those unbearable temperatures that will make one miss the colder months of the year.
The good news is that Sony already has a second portable AC unit that costs just around $140. The bad news is that it’s only selling the Reon Pocket 2 in Japan.
The smartphone-connected personal AC device can be worn on your back with the help of an accessory placed around the neck. That’s if you want to use it with your regular clothes that have not been adapted for personal AC units. But if you buy clothes that have been designed to house the Reon Pocket 2, like the ones above, then you won’t need the neckpiece to keep the gadget in place in the upper part of your back.
Sony explains in its announcement that the Reon Pocket 2 features enhanced cooling and warming thanks to a newly design circuit that allows for more power to be delivered to the thermo module. The gadget has about twice the endothermic performance of conventional products, Sony says. The part in direct contact with your skin is made of stainless steel instead of the Reon Pocket’s silicon.
The Reon Pocket 2 is sweat and drip-resistant and can be used for various outdoor activities, including light exercise like walking and golfing. The pandemic isn’t quite over, so many people will want to spend as much time as possible outdoors during the summer, so individual AC units like the Reon Pocket 2 might come in handy.
As with the previous version, the new Reon Pocket connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The software can interpret contextual data, including temperature and activity type, and adjust the appropriate temperature level.
The Reon Pocket 2 comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that’s good for up to 4 hours of use on Level 1 in cool and warm modes. Go to the highest intensity mode (Level 4), and you’ll get up to 1.5 hours and 2 hours, respectively. The product page also offers estimates for pairing the AC unit with a portable 3,350 mAh battery. You’ll get up to 3 hours of Level 4 cooling or up to 10 hours of warm mode. But continuous use will be suspended after one hour. The real problem here is having a charging cable run down your back to an external battery.
Unfortunately, Sony did not express any plans to make the gadget available anywhere outside of Japan. Its press materials and product page cater to the Japanese market, where the Reon Pocket 2 is already available for purchase. The AC unit retails for 14,850 yen ($140), and that doesn’t include any of the specialized undergarments that can house it. Sony says on its website that Reon Pocket buyers can find compatible clothing from several apparel brands, including Descente, Le Coq Sportif, Munsingwear, and others.