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Playing Pokemon Go On The Google Pixel 6 Is Hard Mode

Having the latest technology is a real treat. I remember when I loaded up Spider-Man: Miles Morales for the first time on my PlayStation 5, and saw the upgrades over the base PS4 immediately. I also got a new TV at the same time, which doubled the impact of Miles’ webslinging antics. But enough bragging, I’m here to tell you that the latest technology is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

Take Pokemon Go for example. The bigger your phone screen, the better the monsters would look as you tried to battle, pet, or capture them. The more powerful your phone’s processor, the quicker the game will load and the smoother your experience will be. Or so I thought.

Maybe I’m still getting used to the large screen on my Google Pixel 6 Pro, but after three months of use I’m pretty comfortable reaching the top areas when I need to delete a draft tweet or turn my Wi-Fi off and the like. But when it comes to Pokemon Go, the large screen often becomes problematic.

Most people know the deal by now, but to catch a Pokemon in Go, you have to throw a ball using your thumb (or finger). Spinning the ball first will result in a curveball throw, which is more effective at catching and gives you bonus experience if successful. Some Pokemon – usually smaller critters like Wurmple and Rattata – are ‘close’ to the screen, meaning you have to throw a short throw to hit it. Large Pokemon are usually further away – and this accounts for most Legendaries.

I’ve found that, since upgrading to the Pixel 6 Pro (the Pro bit is important as the screen is even larger), catching Legendaries is much more difficult. After spending a raid pass and smashing through a raid with a group of buddies, our reward is a Legendary Pokemon each. It doesn’t matter that Niantic is deep into repeating raid bosses at this point, if I’ve raided a monster I want to catch it, if only for the candy or chance of snagging a hundo.

On my old phone, a Samsung Galaxy S10, I could easily hit excellent throws against most raid bosses with relative ease – even one-handed for Legendaries not named Kyogre or Mesprit. On the Pixel? No chance. I have to grip my phone in my left hand and use my forefinger to get enough height on my throw to hit the Legendaries, let alone be accurate enough for a great or excellent throw. What I used to be able to do one-handed is now a struggle with two – and this means that I have to put down the shopping I’m holding or park up my pram in order to take my shots now. Perhaps this is just a learning curve, but it’s a definite downside to the Pixel’s enormous screen.

Size isn’t everything, however. The PIxel 6 Pro’s screen also offers 60Hz refresh rates, which makes watching films on the train buttery smooth. However, this also negatively impacts Pokemon Go – specifically battles against Rocket Grunts or Leaders.

There’s a neat little trick you can utilise for beating Team Go Rocket Grunts and doing serious damage to more senior members of the organisation. The method is based on the fact that Team Go Rocket’s Pokemon will pause their fast attacks for a few seconds after you use a charge move or switch Pokemon. It’s a bit cheesy, but the battles are hardly challenging so it helps move things along faster. If you use a Pokemon that farms energy quickly and has a fast move that charges quickly – say, Lucario with Power-Up Punch – you can ‘stun lock’ Rocket Grunts, so they never get to attack.

It turns out this isn’t based on the number of seconds that your evil opponents pause for, it’s the number of frames. So running Pokemon Go at 60fps puts you at a disadvantage. I still don’t lose these battles, so it’s nothing major, but I need to use more potions and occasionally a revive after battling a Grunt, which is a little frustrating.

So, new technology isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, I love pretty much every other thing about my new phone, but playing Pokemon Go has become significantly more difficult since upgrading. Not in a good, challenging way either, in a frustrating way. I’ve missed out on catching a couple of Legendaries because my balls have been below par, Legendaries that I caught with ease on my old phone.

Is it worth downgrading again to make Pokemon Go slightly better? No chance, but I needed these grievances off my chest. Now, who’s inviting me to another Heatran raid so I can get my eye in and give catching it another go? Practice makes perfect, after all.

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