Sony's FES Watch U is now available for purchase in Japan through the company's First Flight website. The product was initially announced last year as a crowdfunded project and as a successor to the original E Ink FES Watch, and prospective buyers in Japan can now finally acquire the new FES Watch U for the starting price of 49,680 Yen, or the equivalent of around $447 at today's conversion rate.
The FES Watch U is a wearable device that puts design and uniqueness above anything else. It may resemble a regular smartwatch at first glance, but in actuality, the FES Watch U is more of a conventional or hybrid watch with a twist. It carries a circular E Ink display as well as a wristband covered by an E Ink panel, which means that the graphics shown on both the watch face and the wristband can be changed and customized through a dedicated smartphone application called FES Closet. Additionally, Sony claims that notable designers will create new E Ink watch face designs for the FES Watch U every month until the end of the year, and furthermore, users can create their own FES Watch U designs from favorite images using the aforementioned FES Closed application. As for the wearable's specifications, the case is manufactured from stainless steel grade 316, whereas the band is made from silicon. The entry-level FES Watch U carries a mineral glass cover for the display, however the Premium Black variant available for the price of 64,800 Yen (around $584) sports a sapphire glass panel instead. Furthermore, the Premium Black FES Watch U takes advantage of Ion plating whereas the standard White and Silver variants do not.
The FES Watch U is waterproof with an IPX5/IPX7 rating, it features Bluetooth 4.1 LE (Low Energy) connectivity, and it can connect to smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, and iPhones running iOS 9 or above. The device is powered by an on-board Li-Ion battery promising 2-3 weeks of battery life, and the unit can be fully recharged wirelessly using the official cradle in around 2.5 hours. At the moment the FES Watch U is available for purchase only in Japan and only time will tell if Sony has any plans for launching the product outside of its home country.