Hands on with the Pokémon GO Plus: Is it worth it?
With the launch of the GO Plus finally upon us, a couple questions are on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Is it worth it? What is the little device and what exactly does it do? We’ve gotten ahold of one of the Pokéball meets map-marker shaped contraptions and given it a test run to fill you in on all of the important details.
The first thing we found ourselves wondering after unboxing the wearable gadget was how exactly to get it paired with a mobile device. The process is relatively straightforward, however as no explanatory documentation is included it can be a little confusing.
The Go Plus essentially needs to be paired 3 times by tapping the button on the gadget to make it flash blue and appear visible to your mobile device. First in the system menu(which may vary between iOS or Android devices), then in the Pokémon GO App Settings menu under the newly added Pokémon GO Plus section. Once the GO Plus icon appears under “Available Devices”, it’s time to return to the main screen. You will now notice the GO Plus icon appearing on the left side of this screen. Pair it once more by tapping that icon, and you should be up and running!
At this point, you are okay to lock your phone. If any Pocket Monsters are nearby and they have already been registered in your Pokédex, the gadget will vibrate and flash green. If a Pokéstop is nearby, the gadget will flash blue. Push the button to catch the Pokémon or collect items from the Pokéstop. The gadget will vibrate and flash multiple colors triumphantly in case of success, or red if the operation failed or could not be performed for another reason.
The official Niantic Support page claims that a Pokémon that has not been registered in the Pokédex will cause the gadget to flash yellow, and will still be catchable by tapping the button, contrary to pre-launch speculation. Unfortunately, we were not able to test this as the BlueTooth functionality of our GO Plus broke down 2 hours into gameplay.
While taking the gadget for a spin, I had a 50% catch rate as each attempt to capture a creature uses 1 Pokéball and has one chance to either succeed or fail. In my experience, this is a bit above average compared to my in-app encounters given the usage of only a single Pokéball. However, there is no opportunity to try again if you miss.
Pokémon Buddies and Eggs do accumulate KMs from distance traveled with the GO Plus, and although the battery drain is still substantial, it is noticeably reduced from what it would be if your phone’s screen was active the entire time.
So, at the end of the day, is the Pokémon GO Plus a must-have add-on to the Pokémon GO experience?
The trinket adds some neat functionality, and makes it a bit easier to catch em’ all, but with a big price tag(More than it would cost you to pick up a copy of Pokémon Sun/Moon), frequent enough connection issues, and a cheaply assembled piece of hardware. It might be a safe call to wait it out for a version 2.0
I will be returning my broken device soon and will report back with any new information on the quality of the physical trinket and the capture rate of Pokémon yet to be registered in the Pokédex.