The universe of Pokémon is filled with wonder, beauty and incredible technologies. Perhaps the most famous and ubiquitous piece of technological innovation is the Poké Ball. It allows the citizens of the world to capture wild Pokémon, and to subsequently carry them around easily – given how the Poké Ball uses some form of quantum technology to miniaturise the creatures for transport (think Ant-Man). Naturally, fans of the trading card game and anime might have an interest in owning their own ball, and this is where The Wand Company’s Poké Ball Replica steps in to almost make those dreams come true.
As fantastic and desirable as the universe of Pokémon may be, it is entirely fictional. As such, any product based on the series needs to fit within what is technologically possible today. Therefore, and in order to set expectations, this Poké Ball Replica obviously does not feature any incredible new technologies nor can it really capture any sort of Pokémon (digital or otherwise). However, it is a wonderfully made product serving a niche audience.
A moment owners will not soon forget is when the box is opened and the Poké Ball is seen for the first time. The Wand Company’s Poké Ball Replica is meticulously built and absolutely gorgeous. The top and bottom halves are made from stainless steel with paintwork reminiscent of automotive finishes. Each hemisphere is split with a single plastic ring, culminating in the iconic Poké Ball nib. As a collectible, it feels and looks premium; and satisfies in many different ways.
The minimal use of plastic on the Poké Ball is for good reason and serves two functions. The first is splitting the hemispheres of the Poké Ball in order to allow each to function independently – since the ball has capacitive touch features (more about this later). Secondly, the Poké Ball nib houses a battery compartment, which can be removed easily when needed.
The weight of the ball is also truly satisfying. Coming it at just shy of 300 grams, it feels perfect in the hand and is almost equivalent in size and feel to a Petanque ball. It is so satisfying, owners might wish to throw the ball for the full affect. Do not do this; as it will damage the paintwork, stainless steel finish, and possibly also prevent the capacitive features from functioning.
Perhaps one of the standout aspects of the The Wand Company’s Poké Ball Replica is its capacitive touch capabilities. In this sense, the ball is able to discern how and when it is touched. In so doing, the iconic light on the Poké Ball nib will activate. When a hand hovers over the ball, it will pulse to life. The closer one’s fingers get to the ball, the brighter the nib will become. Upon touching both hemispheres, the nib will glow in full force. It is a simple gimmick, but it provides for a truly magical experience. Thereafter, the nib can also be pressed for added effects. These include turning the capacitive features on and off, as well as emulating catching a Pokémon – easily one of the standout features of this Poké Ball replica.
Accompanying the coup de gras of the package is a dedicated display case. Made from a sturdy silver plastic in a cube shape measuring roughly 10 cm by 10cm; it allows for the Poké Ball to be displayed and stored. In this sense, the case features a unique feature that raises the Poké Ball as the case is opened; therefore serving as a wonderful means of displaying the ball in all of its glory. However, the base on which the Poké Ball replica sits within the case houses a surprise.
At first glance, the base within the case appears to only feature a soft rubber material (so as not to damage the paintwork). On further inspection, however, the same base is actually semi-translucent and also houses a full RGB LED system (activating when the case is opened). Therefore, the case is able to both protect the Poké Ball as well as display it with some added RGB goodness. Better still, the colour of the lightning and pulsating effects can be controlled via the capacitive placard on the from of the case. With that said, and as great as it looks, it would have been better if the casing was made with some sort of metal covering versus the all plastic design. As such, it cheapens an otherwise fantastic package. Interestingly, the case houses yet another secret.
On the bottom of The Wand Company’s Poké Ball Replica case is a compartment. Opening it reveals the battery location for the case as well as an unusual stainless steel ring. As if the RGB features of the case were not enough, The Wand Company have included yet another means of displaying the Poké Ball. The stainless steel ring hidden in the compartment fits perfectly into the Poké Ball sigil on the top of the case. This allows the Poké Ball to be displayed in a wholly different way, removing the need to leave the case open for it to be displayed. Having a second display option is quite handy, and it is a really well thought out and unexpected addition for fans.
The Wand Company’s Poké Ball Replica is a fantastic product for fans of Pokémon. The Poké Ball itself is very well made, features some unique and interesting features, and really hits the sweet spot for what a replica product should be like. However, the US $99.99 price point may be out of reach for some, and the included display case certainly has some room for improvement. Even so, the weight, picture perfect design, overall great quality, and the simple fact of how it brings to life one of the franchise’s most illustrious technological devices; makes the product a true must have item.
|Gorgeously made||Display case could be better|
|Lovely features||Slightly overpriced|
|Can be displayed in multiple ways|
Product purchased at retail.