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Best Pokemon Go phone ever? We think we just created it

Jon Phillips | Aug. 9, 2016
It's just a design exercise, but we think we've landed on the best possible hardware experience for Pokémon Go.

The perfect Pokémon Go display

Hey, it’s a casual game. You don’t need Quad HD graphics, so we’re spec’ing this phone with a 5-inch, 1080p LCD display. A 720p display might make text a bit too fuzzy, so 1080p is a good compromise, as fewer pixels demand less processing power, and that helps save precious battery life.

As for the display tech, we’re choosing LCD so that we can outfit the phone with a powerful backlight, ensuring the game is just a bit more visible in bright sunlight. Yes, an AMOLED display could be better for battery life in certain scenarios, but this is a sacrifice we’re willing to make. And it’s all balanced out by improvements in processor efficiency and battery capacity, which we’re about to explain.

The power-efficient Snapdragon 625

You won’t need a state-of-the-art powerhouse like the Snapdragon 820 for Pokémon Go. So we’re opting for the mid-range Snapdragon 625. It’s appropriately spec’d for a 1080p display, boasts solid power efficiency, and comes with Qualcomm’s latest DSP and modem tech.

snapdragon 625 
Credit: Qualcomm

Optimized for strong GPS

The Snapdragon 625 is a System-on-Chip that has all the silicon for GPS and GLONASS global positioning baked inside. This delivers all the location-awareness that helps you navigate to Poké Stops, and spawns new Pokémon in your area. Obviously, this phone would also support A-GPS (that’s Assisted GPS), which triangulates cell tower locations and WiFi hotspots to further improve location accuracy. But none of this matters unless the ultimate Pokémon Go phone also has a chassis design that ensures antennas operate at full strength no matter how you hold the phone.  

Think about it: Any version of Antennagate would be catastrophic.

High-capacity battery with snap-in back-up cell

First, let’s make sure the battery is extra large to ensure the ultimate Pokémon Go phone can last a long time during epic Pokémon hunts. I’m thinking of something in excess of 4000 mAh—and I don’t care if it add a bit of extra bulk.

Second, let’s spec the phone with a supplementary battery system, like Motorola’s Moto Mod Power Pack. Snap it on, and you get another half day of game play. And just like the Moto Mod Power Pack, the battery accessory would be fully hot-swappable, giving you seamless game play, without having to power-down and power-up the phone.

Let it buzz

Hey, we’re designing the perfect game-play experience, right? So let’s spec an extra-strong vibration motor with variable buzz settings. If you sometimes miss the game’s vibration when it alerts you to a nearby Pokémon, you could choose an extra-strong setting to cut through the sensory noise. We also think it would be helpful if the game itself could be tweaked to have custom vibrations for Pidgeys, Zubats and Rattatas. You know, so you could just get an alert that says, “I’m here... but ignore me.” That’s outside the scope of this hardware exercise, but it’s something Niantic should consider.


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