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The Pokemon GO Plus: what’s still wrong with it?

pokemon go plus problemsA while back we did a post on the Pokemon Go Plus,  and everything that’s wrong with it. And back then our advice was to avoid the Pokemon Go Plus. The thing was a buggy mess, with no clear support or solution to the problems it had.

But in the past few months things have changed for the best. Niantic has come out with plenty of updates to the game, and some important patches, which have solved critical issues with the Pokemon Go Plus.

Thinking about making that investment? The PoGo+ is still listed at $35, though some places go as high as $50 depending on how scarce it is in their specific area. Is it currently worth shelling out that kind of money for something which had so many problems?

What’s improved with the Pokemon Go Plus?

Let’s start with the basics. These past few months we’ve been testing the Pokemon Go Plus on a Samsung Galaxy J500 which runs on Android 6.0.1. We’ve done no real tests on iOS, but from what we’ve heard the problems aren’t as serious as with Android. You can probably find references on the PoGo+ and iOS devices on Silph Road.

So, how well does it work now on Android? Well, the connection has greatly improved with the more recent updates. Seems Niantic has got that one solved pretty well. And it’s “pretty well” and not “completely” for a reason: there’s still connection issues. I’d say in our case the connection success rate hovers around 95%. The other 5% of the time the thing still refuses to connect. But that’s a major improvement, considering before it was more a 50/50 kind of thing.

There’s no longer a need to mess around with the Bluetooth system, pairing and unpairing manually to get the thing to connect. Most of the time it works like it should: press connect on the phone, press the button on the Pokemon Go Plus, wait about 10 seconds and get a connect. Bluetooth takes care of itself for the most part.

What hasn’t improved on the Pokemon Go Plus?

pokemon go plus problemsWell, the Bluetooth system is still a bit wonky. Every so often, maybe a little bit more than before, the Pokemon Go Plus messes up the phone’s Bluetooth system. And when that happens, there’s still no solution other than to reboot the phone.

Communications are still not working 100%. It’s not unusual for the Pokemon Go Plus unit to go silent, even though it’s connected. There’s been several occasions where I’m next to a pokestop, I’m looking at it on my screen, everything’s ready to go, and my PoGo+ remains eternally silent. Same thing when catching wild Pokemon. The problem’s intermittent: sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.

I’m still betting it’s a problem with the Pokemon Go Plus software: the little module that sideloads along the app and (from what I can see) controls messaging to and from the unit. When I get a communications problem and exit Pokemon GO, I get an Android system error stating Pokemon GO crashed. But when I’m not using the PoGO+, no error.

There’s still connection problems on Android, especially with newer phones. There’s some models of Android phones like the Galaxy S6 or S7 that are almost impossible to pair with a PoGo+. Probably some kind of newer Bluetooth protocol not supported by the Go+ unit or software. Beware if you have a newer phone, be sure to test out that Pokemon Go Plus before you make the purchase.

Lag is still there, and it’s still a pain. Just like before, there’s a lag between the phone’s (real) position and the position the Pokemon GO Plus gets. You mainly notice it if you’re moving around at a moderate speed, for example when riding the bus or when riding your bike. You’ll get notice of a pokestop a half a block or so after you’ve passed it, if you’re lucky it’ll spin and you’ll get items, but most of the time you get a red error light if you try to spin it.

Catching pokemon, it’s a little more flexible on the lag. You don’t get an error light… but…

The catch rate still sucks! Really, no improvement.. Your catch rate with the Pokemon Go Plus is still going to suck. I’d say  less than 50% all the Pokemon you try to catch with the Go+ unit will be successful. The rest simply get away. And Niantic hasn’t done anything to let you throw great or ultra balls, curves, or even use berries. Let’s say the berries would be nice, but throwing great and ultra balls is absolutely required here. After a couple of hours playing on the Pokemon GO Plus, I often find myself with a stockpile of great and ultraballs, and no regular pokeballs. And that’s it: there’s no more catching with the Go Plus unit, I have to keep catching manually, until I get more regular pokeballs.

Driving while using the Go Plus unit? Still not great. You get a lot of lag, a lot of missed catches, and of course your distance travelled doesn’t count unless you’re stuck in traffic and moving at a crawl speed. But, if you’re one of those that plays Pokemon Go while driving, you’re still safer with a Pokemon GO Plus, regardless of lag or anything else.

One suggestion that still works well with the Pokemon Go Plus is to turn off your phone at night. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, do it. That helps to clear the memory and clear any stray errors that the Pokemon GO Plus might have generated on your phone. It restores your Bluetooth system to working condition and leaves it ready to play again.

So, is it worth investing in a Pokemon GO Plus now?

If you can pair one of these units with your phone successfully, and can get one at the $35 list price, it’s now a good purchase. You’re still going to have problems and frustrations, but they won’t be as bad as what we saw a few months ago.

Just make sure you can really pair the unit with your phone. Try it out several times at the store before you buy. And if you have trouble pairing on your specific phone, it’s best to avoid buying one of these… wait a few months and then check again to see if updates have solved the connection issues by then.

pokemon go plus problems

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