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Christmas Gift Guide

​Turn off AR

Off the grid

Ahead of the curve

Forget about the curveball, Ricky, give him the heater

Catch 'em all

Abuse the zoom

Power up

Hard-boiled

Catch Zubats, acquire candy

Dust in the wind

Natural selection

Crack those lucky eggs at the right time

Travel in herds

Head off your foes with a balanced attack

Time doesn't heal any wounds

Keep your bag in order

Give your Pokemon nicknames

If we were to give a rough estimate, we'd say it's around 15 billion times easier to aim your Pokeballs if you turn off AR. Rather than moving around the screen as you tilt your phone, wild Pokemon will be fixed dead centre. Save AR mode for the hilarious Dugtrio in the toilet screenshots.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

Learn to read the grid of nearby Pokemon. The top left in the 3-by-3 grid is the closest to you, and each gets further away until you hit the bottom right corner. If you keep the grid open, you can work out if you're getting closer to tracking it down based on its position to the other Pokemon in the list.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

If you want to get fancy, you can throw curveballs. Before flicking the Pokeball, spin it around with your finger until it sparkles. Then launch it at an angle, and it should curve back around to hit your target, granting you a small XP bonus.

Caption by / Photo by Luke Lancaster/CNET

Sure, you can put a little english on it, but landing it squarely in the smaller coloured circle is more important. Hold down on the Pokeball before throwing, and the circle will contract and expand. The smaller it is when you hit it, the better your XP bonus, up to an extra 100XP.

Caption by / Photo by GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

Make liberal use of the items you get, because you're gonna get plenty. If the CP of wild Pokemon is starting to creep up and you're finding them harder to catch, you can feed them a Razz Berry and use the rarer Great Balls or Ultra Balls to improve your chances. Hit the bag icon when you're staring down at a wild Pokemon to access your stores.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET

It seems obvious, but zooming in and out makes it much easier to tap wild Pokemon on top of a Pokestop or one you've flown past on the train. Either use the classic two-finger pinch or double tap and swipe up or down.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

Pokemon Go is the destroyer of battery life. The battery saver mode in the settings menu helps a little, going to a low-power screen if you hold your phone upside down, but don't expect the app to survive constant use for more than a few hours. If you're planning an outing, take a battery pack. Or three.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

Eggs hatch based on how far you walk, needing 2 km, 5 km or 10 km depending on the type of egg (that's 1.25 miles, 3 miles and 6 miles). Keep in mind that nothing tracks if the app is sleeping. If you want those eggs to hatch, you need to have the app open. The game is also smart enough to know if you're in a car or on a train (the rumoured threshold is 20 km/h or 12 mph), so no cheating.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

There's still a point to catching more of those Pokemon you're sick of seeing. Transfer any duplicates you don't want to Professor Willow by tapping it in your Pokemon menu and scrolling to the bottom of that page. Then, take the candy he gives you (and don't ask questions about what it's made from), save up and evolve a whole swathe of them for a sweet XP bump.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

You get Stardust from hatching eggs and catching wild Pokemon. Used to boost the CP of your Pokemon, it's by far the most important resource in the game. While you can take a Pokemon with a very low CP bar and level it all the way up, it's better to save it for Pokemon who only have a little bit of their CP bar left to fill (like the above Pidgeot), otherwise you'll be wasting a lot of your precious dust.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

Don't waste your candy evolving a Pokemon you plan to keep if it has a low CP bar. While it'll still get a relative boost in power, it will be in the same position on the CP bar, and cost you that much more candy and Stardust to power up. Aim to evolve Pokemon that are already quite high up.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

For bonus marks, save up that evolution spree to coincide with a lucky egg. Lucky eggs will double your XP gains for 30 minutes, and if you combine them with evolutions, lures and incense, you'll easily be able to climb a couple of levels.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

If you want to take down an enemy gym, bring friends. You might need to face a Pokemon with a much higher CP than your strongest challenger, but you and your friends can unceremoniously gang up on the poor thing and all fight it at the same time. As an added bonus, your squad can quickly build up defences at the gym you've just taken.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Luke Lancaster/CNET

Pokemon is like a big scissors-paper-rock match. Fire beats grass, grass beats water, water beats fire, etc. So before you come in hot at an enemy gym, try to build a team of six with type advantages. Likewise, once you've taken a gym, don't leave yet another low CP bug type to defend it. Try to diversify types and aim for high CP Pokemon to increase your chances of holding the gym.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshots by Rebecca Fleenor/CNET

A good night's rest won't help your injured or fainted Pokemon after a battle. The only way to get them back into fighting shape is by using items. Note that evolution is a rare exception, as evolving a Pokemon will fully heal it.

Caption by / Photo by Niantic

Is your bag full to bursting? Battles are the best way to burn through your stores of potions and revives if you can't bring yourself to delete items to make room for more Pokeballs. If you're desperate to make room, basic potions and revives are the best thing to delete.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET

You don't have to keep your Pokemon's Nintendo-given name. Just go to your Pokemon screen, choose a Pokemon and tap the pencil next to its name to change it. This is especially helpful if you have more than one of the same Pokemon (Zubats are rampant in San Francisco, for example).

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Sharon Profis/CNET
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