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Sony Wena: The strap that makes any watch smart

Pete Clark
13 Feb 2019
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The Japanese tech giant is hoping to bring old-school timekeeping into the modern world

Sony has pledged to “bring traditional watchmaking into the 21st century” with its latest product, Wena, a strap that adds smart features to traditional watches.

It’s a rather unfortunate name, but Wena stands for “wear electronics naturally”. The device is a product of Sony’s Seed Acceleration Programme (SAP), which encourages staff to propose new ideas outside of Sony’s traditional areas of expertise. Think of it as Sony’s own version of the TV show Dragon’s Den, if you like.

In short, the strap will introduce modern features such as fitness tracking, contactless payments and smartphone notifications to the world of traditional timepieces. Can it deliver on such lofty ambitions and give consumers the best of both worlds? Read on to find out.

Pre-order Wena Wrist Pro from Sony now

Pre-order Wena Wrist Active from Sony now

Sony Wena: Everything you need to know

Sony has made two styles of Wena strap: Wena Wrist Pro and Wena Wrist Active. The former is a metal strap, available in silver and black, and is aimed at the traditional watch wearer. The latter was designed with sporty types in mind, and is formed from silicone.

Although you can use both straps on any watch with 18mm, 20mm or 22mm lugs, Sony has made its own Wena watch faces too. There are three designs available – Mechanical, Solar and Quartz – each of which looks broadly similar, albeit with subtle aesthetic differences.

(Above: Wena Wrist Active)

Both Wena straps incorporate the kind of features found on any decent smartwatch such as step and calorie counting and NFC, and there’s also GPS and heart-rate tracking on the sporty model. For more detailed info regarding features and specs, read on.

Sony Wena price: How much will it cost?

The Active strap costs £349, while the Pro strap will set you back £399. Meanwhile, the watch faces start at £100 for a basic Quartz model, going all the way up to £450 for the premium Mechanical option. To bundle a Wena strap and face together, then, you’re looking at forking out anywhere between £449 and £849, depending on your selection. Even in the world of smartwatches, that’s a lot of money.

READ NEXT: The best smartwatches you can buy right now

Sony Wena features: What will it do?

Contactless payments

Both watch straps support contactless payments via NFC, meaning you’ll be able to buy thing with a tap of your wrist. And although this functionality is already possible with many wearables these days, the beauty of Wena is that the chip is underneath your wrist, so you don’t have to make the unnatural movement of twisting your arm to bring the watch face close to the terminal.

In the UK and Ireland, payments will be powered by Wirecard. Sony has promised that everyone will be able to add a virtual card to the Wena app via Wirecard’s Boon app for iOS and Android no matter who they bank with.

Phone notifications

Wena pairs with your smartphone to deliver phone call, email and app notifications via a basic two-line OLED display on the underside of the strap. These can be customised via 7-coloured LED lighting and vibration support, helping you to easily differentiate between different types of notification. For example, you can programme a red LED light to flash when you receive an email, and a blue one for when you receive a phone call.

(Above: Wena Wrist Pro)

Fitness tracking

The strap can log your steps and calories burned, and this data is sent to your smartphone where you can further pore over it. However, the fitness-oriented Active strap goes one step further, offering GPS tracking and a heart-rate sensor, as well as Apple Health and Google Fit app integration. Considering very few fitness bands have built-in GPS, it’s very impressive that Sony has managed to squeeze so much functionality into a mere watch strap.

Sony Wena release date: When can I buy one?

Wena is available to pre-order in the UK from 13 February. It’s currently unclear when shipping will begin, but we’ve been assured that an official product launch is on the way at some point in March, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

Pre-order Wena Wrist Pro from Sony now

Pre-order Wena Wrist Active from Sony now

The product is already available in Japan, but we don’t have any information as to when it will be rolled out globally. We’ll keep this page updated as and when we receive more info, so be sure to keep checking back.

Sony Wena specs: What’s inside?

Wena Wrist Pro

  • Battery life (stated): 1 week
  • Battery charge time (stated): 1.5hrs
  • Settlement: Wena pay
  • Supported OS: iOS 8.0 and above, Android 5.0 and above
  • Water resistance: 5 bar
  • Materials: SUS316L
  • Display: OLED
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth Ver.4.2 Low Energy complied
  • Bluetooth effective range: Approx 10m
  • Sensors: Acceleration sensor, IR sensor
  • Band width: Display part 20mm, head part 22mm
  • Weight: 84.9g (LL size)

Wena Wrist Active

  • Battery: Lithium ion
  • Battery life (stated): 1 week
  • Battery charge time (stated): 1.5hrs
  • Settlement: Wena pay
  • Supported OS: iOS 8.0 and above, Android 5.0 and above
  • Water resistance: 3 bar
  • Materials: Silicone rubber
  • Display: OLED
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth Ver.4.2 Low Energy complied
  • Bluetooth effective range: Approx 10m
  • Sensors: Acceleration sensor, GPS sensor, heart rate sensor
  • Band width: Display part 20mm, head part 22mm
  • Weight: 40.5g

Sony Wena: Early verdict

Wena is a terrible name, but arguably a very clever concept. Although smartwatches featuring an analog clock face are nothing new, the versatility that Sony’s new product offers has adds a certain appeal for those who want to be able to pick out their own mechanical timepiece.

Pre-order Wena Wrist Pro from Sony now

Pre-order Wena Wrist Active from Sony now

However, with a £350 price tag for the strap alone, it remains to be seen whether Wena will be worth the money. We’ll have a full-length review of Wena once Sony’s latest product has arrived at our offices, so stay tuned to Expert Reviews to find out what we make of it.

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