It’s really hot out. That’s the refrain heard all over the world — well, in the northern hemisphere at least — as climate change blasts us with UV rays and threatens our entire species. Thankfully Sony is on the case and ready to solve the crisis — or at least to cool us down a little while we watch the world burn.
Sony is coming in hot with the cooldown accessory of the new decade: a portable, personal air conditioner. The Reon Pocket is a slim, pocketable solution for those humid days when you just can’t drink enough cold brew to lower your body temperature.
Portable cooling solutions — like mini-fans and personal air coolers — aren’t exactly hard to come by in 2020. Sony’s solution is different, though (because, of course it is) in that the device works by making skin contact and getting all kinds of cool, rather than just blowing cold air in your face. It tucks into the back of a specially designed undershirt, sits at the top of the wearer's back, and can run for up to two and a half hours on a single charge. It can also do the reverse in winter and act as a personal heater.
Slip it in and cool the hell down — The Reon Pocket is made with simplicity in mind. All you have to do is connect it to your phone, slip it in the pocket of your specialized V-neck undershirt, and get chilly. There's no word on how effective it is under a suit jacket or with a backpack on, though.
Oh yeah, that’s the other innovation here. Sony’s created a special thermal undershirt with a pocket just below the collar line. That’s the “pocket” in Reon Pocket. Putting the device in there allows it to make skin contact and cool you down.
All the modern fixings — This isn’t just an air conditioner in a T-shirt; it’s also a smart device. The Reon Pocket comes equipped with a USB-C port for charging and full Bluetooth compatibility for controls, which are handled via a smartphone app. You can set the device to auto mode, too, which adjusts its output based on the temperature of your surroundings, or you can adjust it manually to the temperature of your choice.
Mixed reviews so far — If there's anything stopping us from buying one of these right now, it's the mixed consumer reviews we've seen. Some early users love their Reon Pocket and say it cools them down in an instant. Others have noted the device is pretty loud and liken it to walking around with a fan behind your ears, while others say it's no good if you're already sweaty.
If you're ready to make the jump, though, the Reon Pocket is available for 18,000 yen plus taxes (about $170). A cold-water soaked buff is definitely cheaper, though, and you don't have to remember to charge it.