Montblanc, Cartier, Tag Heuer... Sony? Not quite yet - despite a foray into pricey watches with the clever Fes Watch U, Sony has never claimed to be a luxury watch maker, until now - well, ish.
The granddaddy of Japanese tech has turned its successfully crowdfunded product into a collection of smart straps and watch heads, going by the name - Wena.
The straps are a great idea - they supplement watch heads to add smart functionality including mobile payments. Launching in two flavors - the Wena Wrist Pro and the Wena Wrist Active, the Pro is all about style and the Active is all about sensors.
If you’re after a complete package - a smart band and a matching watch - Sony has also introduced a suite of premium watch heads (the actual timepiece) designed to complement the straps perfectly.
Sony Wena Wrist straps release date and price
The new Wena Wrist range is available to pre-order in the UK from February 13. The Active strap is priced at £349 and the Pro strap is priced at £399, while watch head prices vary from £100 to £400.
We haven’t had pricing or availability for the US or Australia as of yet, but watch this space and we’ll update this hands-on when we have more info.
The pricier Pro version may look fancy, but its functionality is limited to notifications, step counting and contactless payment. It definitely won't compete on a functionality front with the likes of the Apple Watch 4 or Samsung’s Galaxy Watch.
What's more, the Pro also falls behind the functionality of the cheaper Wena Wrist Active.
Available in both silver and black, with a the 20mm band coupled with 18, 20 and 22mm lug attachments included. As with the Active, a tiny OLED screens delivers a two line ticker of teeny text, displaying a range of information dependent on your Wena model.
The Pro's design definitely looks the part though, feeling every bit as premium as its high price suggests it should. Anyone looking to supplement their luxury watch head, this could be just the ticket.
We’re guessing luxury watch wearers is the market Sony was going for with the higher end Wena Wrist - it’s definitely too expensive for casual users, while lacking the functionality to make tech enthusiasts swoon.
Active and versatile
Despite sporting a lower price, the Wena Active is the more fully featured of the two straps, packing both a GPS and a heart rate monitor, displaying heart rate information on the dinky display, and GPS data on the companion app available for Android and iOS.
Like the Pro, the Active band has a width of 20mm, and comes with all the same lug attachments. Unique to the Active is a “quick release system” so you can remove the head during intense workouts or for comfort while sleeping, using it exclusively as a fitness tracker.
The strap is, understandably bulkier and has a more durable design than the Wena Wrist Pro given the fact it's waterproof. It also has a rubber finish, but despite a bit of extra heft, it still feels, well, just like a watch strap when down by your side.
Sony has done a great job of ensuring neither the Pro nor the Active are uncomfortable additions to the watch wearing experience, and when you factor in the fact the Active can work completely independently of a watch head as a standalone fitness tracker, its functionality is pretty cool.
Everything else Wena
The watch heads are being launched alongside the two straps and range in price from £100 to £400. There's a fair bit of variety and they look handsome in the flesh, as you can see from the image below.
Ranging from simple three hand styles to chronograph faces, Sony hasn’t been too adventurous with the design, making all ten nice and accessible - at least from a style point of view.
As for the app, you can expect compatibility with iOS and Android and the UI is incredibly easy to get your head around, with attractive visual illustrations of the activity, sleep and heart rate data captured on Wena wearing wrists.
If the Wena Wrist series was priced more affordably, it could have had mass appeal. If it had full Apple Watch 4 functionality - Sony could have charged more and really got in on the luxury market/appealed to tech enthusiasts.
As it stands, it feels like a bit of an inbetweener - but watch this space, we’ll give you our declarative verdict Wena we get one in for review.
Image Credit: TechRadar