You want to be the very best, like no one ever was. But you don’t want to be nose-deep in your phone instead of interacting with the world.
That’s why Nintendo devised another way to play the uber-popular Pokemon Go: a $35, £35 or AU$50 wearable gadget that can quietly alert you to nearby Pokemon.
The Pokemon Go Plus released on September 16, and so far, it’s exactly what we thought: a dead-simple way of catching Pokemon.
You wear it like a wristband, or pin it to your pocket, purse, lapel or sleeve. It easily pairs with your compatible iPhone or Android phone over a Bluetooth Low Energy connection, and connects to the Pokemon Go app.
Then, instead of constantly pulling out your phone to scan for Pokemon, you just walk around town like a normal human being. Whenever you’d normally stumble across a Pokemon, the Go Plus lights up and vibrates instead.
Press that green light-up button, and — without needing to pull out your phone — the game will automatically throw a Pokeball to try to catch it for you. (Just so long as you’ve caught a Pokemon of that type before.) Nice, strong, distinct patterns of vibrations let you know whether you’ve caught or missed the Pokemon, even if you’re keeping the Go Plus in a pocket.
It works for PokeStops, too: if you walk past one, the device lights up blue. Press it, and you can harvest the same items (balls, potions, berries) that would have been waiting for you if you’d activated it from within the game.
The Plus should also keep track of your steps (which count towards hatching eggs), though we haven’t tested that yet.
You can even use the Pokemon Go Plus as a memory aid: if you walk out of range of your smartphone (roughly 30 feet, or 10 meters), it’ll vibrate and light up red to let you know you left your phone behind. Nintendo says the included button battery (a standard CR2032 cell) should last about 100 days on average.
Sound good? Just know that you may have some trouble actually finding one.
Even though Nintendo pushed back the device’s release to September — it was originally supposed to ship in July — there still doesn’t seem to be enough of the devices to satisfy demand. In the United States, Amazon and GameStop sold out of the devices within a few hours of them going on sale on September 16 — though you might still try try your local GameStop to be sure.
It’s not like you need a Pokemon Go Plus to play the game, though.
Especially when later this year, there’ll be an even more convenient way to catch Pokemon: with an Apple Watch. The developers say a version of Pokemon Go for Android Wear watches is pretty likely as well.
We’ll bring you our full, rated review of the Pokemon Go Plus in the days to come.