When Pokémon GO was first announced, the Pokémon GO Plus wristband was a near-essential companion. This officially-licensed accessory allowed you to interact with the game even when your phone was in your pocket; a flashing LED button on the device would alert you to nearby Pokéstops and Pokémon, and a quick press would initiate either a spin or a catch attempt.
Nintendo replaced the Go Plus with the Poké Ball Plus (which could also be used in Pokémon GO Let's Go), but since then, the company hasn't expanded on this concept – leaving third-party accessory makers to fight one another to create the ultimate Pokémon GO companion device.
All of these devices do the same basic thing, with one key improvement over the official offerings: they automatically perform their duties and don't require the player to physically press a button to catch monsters or spin Pokéstops. The biggest downside – and this applies to all of these devices, even the official ones – is that the connection between the device and the game is automatically disconnected after an hour, presumably to prevent your phone's battery from draining to nothing when you forget to disable the link.
For serious Pokémon GO players, this is an annoying limitation, even if it is understandable. It means you constantly need to keep reconnecting your device when you're out and about, which can – in certain situations – lead to you missing potential catches because the connection has dropped out. PhotoFast – the same company behind the 4K Gamer Pro upscaler – has come up with what it hopes is a solution: the 247 Catcher.
This small, circular unit replicates all of the features you'd find in your typical auto-catcher but has one secret weapon: it can keep the connection between itself and the Pokémon GO app active for hours – but (and please forgive the pun) there's a catch here.
In order to keep the connection active, the 247 Catcher resorts to an ingenious but somewhat awkward tactic. It comes with a cable which connects to your phone's screen using rubber suckers and uses static electricity to tap the Pokémon GO Plus icon and reconnect the device when disconnection occurs after an hour.
Having had the 247 Catcher for a few days now, we can report that it works – but we perhaps don't need to explain that this solution isn't going to be palatable for many users. For starters, it relies on your phone's screen being on for the entire duration of your Pokémon GO session, so you can expect your battery life to fall off a cliff. Secondly, you can't put your phone in your pocket with the auto-tapping cable attached; firstly, it will either fall off the screen or prove to be uncomfortable, and secondly, because the screen is still active, you risk accidental inputs.
But then again, the makers of the 247 Catcher aren't suggesting you use it this way; the device is clearly intended to be placed on a table and left to auto-catch when you remain in a single location. As a bonus, you can reposition the auto-tapper at the bottom of the screen and activate the device's 'raid' mode, where it taps at increased speed and really helps during raid battles.
Another bonus is that the 247 Catcher's internal battery claims 120 hours of use per charge, with a standby time of 15 days. Those are impressive numbers, especially for a device which is clearly doing to get a lot more daily usage than your typical auto-catcher.
247 Catcher Review - The Verdict
Despite its claims of offering 24-hour auto-catching, PhotoFast's unit isn't quite the revelation its promotional material might have you believe. The extended connection feature is only really possible when you're in a position to have your phone's screen active or have it resting on a table. Of course, it operates just as effectively as a 'normal' auto-catcher – but we prefer devices which can be worn on the wrist, so reconnection is easier. Also, the price is steep – $90 makes it more expensive than its rivals.
As a result, we feel that this device is really aimed at only the most hardcore of Pokémon GO players; players who want to leave their phones on all day long (perhaps connected to the wall socket?) so they never miss a single catch or Poké Stop spin. We're sure those people exist, but for more casual players, the 247 Catcher's unique features are going to be of less value.
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Thanks to PhotoFast for supplying the 247 Catcher used in this review.