The best way to use your Pokémon Go Plus

You can explore the world of Pokémon Go for free if you have a smartphone, but if you really want to take this game to the next level you can buy a $35 wrist button. At least, that's what Niantic and Nintendo want you to think when you see Pokémon Go Plus on the shelf. This inexpensive little gadget is all about keeping you in the game even when your phone isn't in your hand, by buzzing your wrist when there's something nearby for you to do in the game.

If being tethered to Pokémon Go without looking at your screen is an appealing idea for you, there's a lot to like about this simple little accessory. Here's how to get the most out of the experience.

Walking with Pokémon Go Plus

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Pokemon Go

The biggest benefit to having Pokémon Go Plus on your wrist is not needing to have your phone in your hand or carefully positioned in a pocket while you walk around. Walking in Pokémon Go powers incubators for hatching eggs, and encourages your designated Pokémon Buddy to give you extra Pokémon Candy the more you walk. It's a huge part of the game, and keeping your screen on while you do so is kind of tedious. Pokémon Go Plus lets you walk with your screen completely off and in your pocket. As long as that wristband is connected to your phone, every step you take is recorded in the game. This means you get those kilometers in much faster than you normally would, because it's always paying attention to how far you've walked.

You can really take advantage of Pokémon Go Plus by being just a little more active every day. Anything from a casual walk through a grocery store to a sprint down the street in hopes of catching your bus across town gets counted by Pokémon Go Plus. It's fantastic encouragement to go for a walk during your lunch break or even just park further away the next time you're at the store. It all adds up quick when you don't have to fire up the Pokémon Go app to capture those steps, which means more eggs hatched and more candy received!

Checking in at Pokéstops

Pokemon Go Plus

You'll get a small vibration on your wrist and a flashing blue light in the center of the wristband every time you're near a Pokéstop that's ready to be spun. Instead of pulling your phone out and checking the app, you just tap the button on your wrist and it will check in for you. This works whether you're walking down the street or stopped at an intersection with a Pokéstop nearby, and every time the Pokéstop recharges you're notified to check in again. When you finally do check your phone, you'll see all of the items you received in your Journal and in your Inventory.

One weird note with Pokéstops through Pokémon Go Plus: checking in with the button doesn't always turn the stop purple. This doesn't mean you can check in twice — we tried repeatedly — but it is something worth keeping in mind as you switch between playing with just the wristband and playing on your phone.

Catching all the Pokémon

A green or yellow light flash on your wrist means there's a Pokémon nearby for you to catch. Green flashes mean it's a Pokémon you've encountered before, and yellow means it's a Pokémon not currently in your Pokédex. Before you tap that button and try to catch yourself a Pokémon using nothing but your wrist, there are a few things to consider.

Pokémon Go Plus will only ever throw a single standard red and white Pokéball on your behalf. If the Pokémon breaks free of that single standard Pokéball, it breaks free immediately and flees. You don't get another shot to catch that Pokémon, it's gone. This is particularly troubling when you can't actually see what you're going to be catching, so your best bet is to only use Pokémon Go Plus to catch something if you have absolutely no plans of otherwise stopping to catch it. You should probably always avoid trying to capture something that flashes yellow on your Pokémon Go Plus, especially once you reach level 20 or higher in the game.

Overall having Pokémon Go Plus on you can be handy, and it's hard to argue with the price, but it's important to figure out how to fit it into your particular style of gameplay before you go for a jog with it on.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

26 Comments
  • Just sad....Our world is just sad these days.
  • I hate people like you your just going to say the old days were better right?
  • More than likely. The old days are however, better. :)
  • I'm 33, that's old enough to talk about "the old days" in my opinion. The old days involved playing Pokémon...
  • By what metric?
  • The world is sad these days, but not because of Pokemon. Come on.
  • Agree completely. That's why I'm glad small distractions like this exist to brighten our day. A few days ago I caught an Omanyte, and the day after an Aerodactyl. Meaningless as it is to you, they were tiny spikes of awesome in a mediocre day.
  • Please, do expand on this thoughtful comment. I'd love to hear specifics on why our fun is so sad to you.
  • To me the sad part is how hideously ugly that thing is. I won't even go on about the game itself. Whatever floats yer boat.
  • Weird. Looks super cute to me, and perfectly in line with the game. Maybe a little smaller might be nice, but that's about the only complaint I can think of about its appearance.
  • Where can I get that stranger things wallpaper?
  • So do you even have to launch the app or does it work as a pedometer? As in, if one were to wear it all day at a job in which they walk a lot, would it record the distance without first launching Pokemon Go (once paired together obviously)? It seems using it as if it were a Fitbit would be a strong selling point.
  • You'd need to first launch the app to pair the two. The accessory isn't logging information on its own.
  • If it did work on its own, at least for distance logging, that would be awesome. Some kind of pairing with other fitness trackers would be a cool feature as well.
  • The nice thing about this little wrist accessory is that if you're scared of girls, this will keep them away.
  • Clearly you're hanging around with the wrong women. Sorry, girls.
  • Or it will attract the ones you're most likely to have something in common with while turning away shallow people you probably shouldn't be pursuing anyway.
  • Nice article, the real trick is actually getting one! Be nice if they added custom lists for already caught Pokémon. I don't care if a thousand Weedle flee, but if a Dratini appears it's worth pulling my phone out. Doubt that'll happen though, might over complicate things.
  • There should be a third color for a custom list of fodder Pokémon. Maybe on version 2.
  • I'd be interested in this if it wasn't so obnoxiously large and geeky.
  • Obnoxiously large and geeky" is kind of my jam, but style is a personal thing. There are a LOT of cases/skins available, so you can make it a little less geeky if not smaller.
  • It's actually rather small and clips to my pants easily and unobtrusively. As for geeky... that's kind of the point.
  • And this contraption is design to catch Rattata"s and Pidgey's all day. No signal to catch rare Pokemon what a waste of money.
  • I catch rarer Pokemon constantly with it. I'm always shocked by what I find I caught by the time I can look at it. Even a bunch of high-IV Pokemon.
  • I pictured it smaller, though. So, if I understand correctly, I don't even need to fire up the game for this to work? Or do I need to keep it running, just with the screen off?
  • This is so sad, can't even get to play this good