The brand new Pokemon Go wearable device, Pokemon Go Plus, hits store shelves on September 16th. Considering it costs $34.99, will the purchase be worth it for most players?
One of the first questions you’ll likely ask about Nintendo’s new product is whether it can measure your distance traveled. After all, among the most annoying aspects of Niantic’s game is that you must have the app open at all times in order to track how far you walk, which counts towards catching eggs and getting buddy Pokemon candies.
Luckily, Pokemon Go Plus tracks your distance even without the app opened in the foreground, at least according to users at The Silph Road who received it early. Weirdly, the device was not originally expected to have this feature; IGN’s wiki page for it still says that Plus can’t measure distance, for instance. But the final product does indeed count how far you walk, even with the phone locked and in your pocket.
Pretty much all of Pokemon Go Plus’ other functions will work with the app running in the background, too. That means that you can finally lock your screen, tuck your phone away in your pocket and forget about the app for a while, using the Plus device to play and to track your movement. When you encounter a Pokemon, that icon on the device will light up and vibrate. You press the button to throw a Poke Ball, and the light indicator will tell you if you were successful.
You can also use the Plus device to get items from Poke Stops. When you’re within the vicinity of one of these Stops, you will be notified by the device, and all you have to do is click the button to collect your items. That way, you won’t have to worry about obsessively checking the app to see if you’re about to pass a Poke Stop, and you’ll never miss one again. However, to see what Pokemon you caught and what items you received, you’ll obviously have to take out your phone and check the journal, since there are no graphics involved with the Pokemon Go Plus device.
A few other limitations are that Plus can only throw regular Poke Balls, you can only use it to catch Pokemon you have previously caught, and it won’t notify you of any Pokemon that have been attracted to the area by incense.
Niantic recently announced that Pokemon Go Plus will be available on September 16th, although you might run into some trouble finding one, as the device is currently sold out on virtually every online store. In addition to this product, a Pokemon Go app is coming to Apple Watch, and it will possibly also be coming to Android Wear in the future. The Apple Watch app doesn’t yet have a release date, but CEO John Hanke said at the recent Apple keynote that it will be available before the end of 2016.