On Thursday, Dec. 22 Niantic finally released the Pokémon GO app for Apple Watch, more than three months after it was first announced during Apple's September event. The app won't run the full game given the device's power and tiny screen, but it instead pairs with the main app for iOS to execute certain in-game actions without having to fish out the phone.
The Apple Watch app borrows a few similar features from Pokémon GO Plus, another stand-alone wearable device that can help players progress in the game. But which wearable is better suited to enhance the Pokémon GO experience? Both devices are viable options to enjoy the game, but which packs more punch? Let's find out.
Pokémon GO For Apple Watch Features
The Apple Watch version of the app comes with a few features that are either not available in the Pokémon GO Plus accessory, or not as fleshed out. These include notifications when Pokémon are within proximity, and the ability to spin PokéStops and collect items. Pokémon tracking is also in tow, alongside tracking of the distance traveled, which can then be integrated into health and fitness apps.
Pokémon GO Plus Features
The Pokémon GO Plus might not possess all of the Apple Watch version's bells and whistles, but it has a killer feature that instantly makes it a far more formidable choice over the former — the ability to catch Pokémon.
Like the Apple Watch version, the Plus accessory can spin PokéStops and collect items, and users can still be notified when there are nearby Pokémon — but because the accessory itself doesn't have a screen, users can't possibly determine which ones are present. However, as a silver lining, several owners of the accessory have reported that it notifies them much faster than the Apple Watch version does.
Pokémon and distance tracking is also available in the accessory, but only when paired with the phone app. That said, steps traveled can't be integrated with health or fitness apps. For tracking creatures, the Apple Watch version can only detect those nearby. For the Plus accessory, tracking is a little bit trickier, but still feasible.
Both devices will track the distance if the iPhone app is running on the background, meaning both wearables will take the number of steps into account for Buddy candies and hatching Pokémon eggs.
Which One Should You Get?
Choosing the right wearable companion will really depend on which features users need, which users already have an Apple Watch, and which users can forgo the two altogether.
Those who already own an Apple Watch should only buy the Plus accessory if they itch to catch a Pokémon remotely. But they can skip it if that isn't much of a deal-breaker for them.
For users who don't own the Apple Watch, the Pokémon GO Plus accessory costs $35, and although you won't be able to see what's happening at all, it's still ahead of the Apple Watch version thanks to its catching feature.
In summary, for those who already have the Apple Watch, it's best to forgo the Plus accessory. But for those who don't already have one, the accessory should be ample.
Do you agree with the verdict? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!