The Pokémon Go Plus is, at last, available to purchase now, and despite some anecdotally waning interest in the mobile phenomenon, Pokémon Go itself still boasts a vast amount of players - so much so that, outside of Nintendo's official store, the Pokémon Go Plus is selling for as much as two to three times it's standard Ł34.99 price.
What you're probably wondering, though, is what the Pokémon Go Plus actually does. Can you activate Pokéstops with it? Does it count your steps towards hatching Pokémon Eggs? Does it drain your battery even more than Pokémon Go (even after our own battery saving tips...) and is it really worth thirty five quid?! Tom Phillips looks at that last question in particular in his three-day hands on with the Pokémon Go Plus, but for the rest, you're already in the right place.
What is the Pokémon Go Plus?
The Pokémon Go Plus is a peripheral for Pokémon Go which can be worn either on the provided bracelet band, or as a pin on your clothes. Shaped like a combination of a Poké Ball and the Google Maps pin - because, you know, Pokémon Go is essentially Poké Balls plus maps - it's around the size of a large smartwatch, although of course only provides functionality when used with the Pokémon Go app.
The main point of the Pokémon Go Plus is to enable you to enjoy the game - or if you're anything like us at times, compulsively obsess over the game - without having to use your phone. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and will notify you of a nearby PokéStop or wild Pokémon with a vibration and blinking LED.
The greatest benefit, really, is the fact that you can do these things without draining your phone's battery life at quite the same rate as doing so normally - helpful since battery drain in Pokémon Go is a recognised issue. That is, unfortunately, mitigated somewhat by the fact that it'll be using your phone's Bluetooth however.
Pokémon Go Plus - LED colour meanings, how to pair Bluetooth, attach wristband, and more
Nintendo being Nintendo, things aren't always completely obvious when using the Pokémon Go Plus, and as such we've put together a few simple tips for getting the best out of the device:
- How to pair Bluetooth - to connect the Pokémon Go Plus with Bluetooth and start using it, first make sure Bluetooth is, of course, switched on on your mobile. Then pull the plastic tab out the side of the Pokémon Go Plus and head to the Pokémon Go app, select Settings in the top-right of the menu page, and select Pokémon Go Plus from there.
- How to switch the Pokémon Go Plus to a new phone - To switch devices, you'll need to unpair the Plus from the current one, before pairing again (as per the steps above) with the new one. Head to your device's settings first, and unpair the Plus from there. Then, on the Pokémon Go Plus, hold down the central function button for five seconds, until the LED itself turns blue. If it flashes, instead of being a solid blue, let go of the button and try again. Then, within 10 seconds of the LED turning a solid blue, hold the button down again for another five seconds. The Pokémon Go Plus will vibrate when it's been successfully unpaired.
- How to replace the Pokémon Go Plus battery - you'll need a small, cross-head screwdriver to replace the battery. Remove the single screw on the back, place it somewhere safe, and remove the battery. The new battery can then be slid in fairly easily, but make sure the positive side (with the + symbol) is facing up.
- How to attach the Pokémon Go Plus to the wristband - Surprisingly, you'll need that screwdriver again if you want to attach the Plus to the wristband, or remove it to reattach the clip. That's because you have to physically unscrew the battery cover (as per the advice above) and then attach it to the case which is already stuck to the wristband, screwing it back on from there.
- Catching Pokémon - Sadly, the Pokémon Go Plus will only use standard Pokéballs, will fail if you're out of them (even if you have Great or Ultra Balls in stock) and won't let you throw a Razz Berry.
- Does the Pokémon Go Plus track steps? - There's been a little confusion over this, but after some testing it appears the Pokémon Go Plus does in fact track your steps, meaning that both hatching eggs and the new Buddy system are supported.
- You only get one shot at catching a Pokémon - if your thrown Pokéball fails, that's it, the Pokémon will flee instantly and you won't get another chance to catch it. We recommend keeping your phone to hand to check what's actually appeared, so you can insta-chuck balls at Pidgeys for the XP levelling trick, whilst rarer Pokémon you want the Candy for can be caught the manual way.
Pokémon Go Plus LED colour and vibration meanings
There are a few different LED and vibration functions for the Pokémon Go Plus - and for some reason they aren't featured in the packed-in insutrctions - so we've rounded them up for you below:
- LED turns red and vibrates quickly - The Pokémon Go Plus has been disconnected from your device, so try re-pairing it with the steps above, and make sure your device is connected to both the internet and Bluetooth.
- LED flashes blue with three pairs of vibrations - You've encountered a Pokéstop: press the button to collect items and XP.
- LED flashes green and vibrates three long times - A wild Pokémon (which you may or may not have caught before) has been encountered: press the button to throw a Pokéball if you haven't caught one before.
- LED flashes 'rainbow' colours and a long vibration - You've successfully caught the Pokémon or gathered the Pokéstop loot! (It vibrates three times briefly to simulate the Pokéball wobbling when catching Pokémon, too).
- LED flashes red and vibrates - The Pokémon escaped and has fled.
Want more help with Pokémon Go's Gen 2 update? Our list of new Gen 2 Johto Pokémon can teach you where to find each one, what you need to know about new Pokémon Go Berries, Special Items to evolve Pokémon such as King's Rock, Sun Stone, Up-Grade, Dragon Scale and Metal Coat, and how to get Eevee evolutions Umbreon, Espeon, and updated Egg distances and best Pokémon charts, as well as other Pokémon Go tips, tricks, cheats and guides.
Pokémon Go Plus Android, iPhone support and compatibility - what does it work with?
The Pokémon Go Plus is compatible with iPhone 5/5C/5S/SE/6/6S/6 Plus/6S Plus and operating systems iOS 8 - 9, following an update to the Pokémon Go app.
Fortunately for Android users, Adroid OS versions 4.4-6.0 are supported from launch, and you'll also need Bluetooth Smart capability - (Bluetooth version 4.0 or higher) and 2GB of RAM for the Pokémon Go Plus to work. If in doubt, we can also recommend a particularly cheap phone for Pokémon Go that costs less than Ł60 / $99.
Finally, it's worth noting that Nintendo has placed a one-per-customer restriction on the Pokémon Go Plus at launch, likely due to their anticipation of high demand, and as an attempt to counter reselling at crazy prices through auction sites. If you're keen, be sure to get an order in soon to avoid any disappointment!