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A closer look at the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy

A wearable fit for the wasteland

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Special edition video games aren’t so special anymore. When every blockbuster release, even the not-so-great ones, comes with some kind of commemorative statue or lunchbox, it makes the entire concept a lot less interesting. But Fallout 4 is one of the few collector’s editions that actually made people excited, and for one reason: it comes with a wearable Pip-Boy.

The wrist-worn computer is a staple of the post-apocalyptic RPG series, and the life-size version not only fits on your wrist, but can also house your smartphone and run a special Pip-Boy app so that you can check in-game information without hitting pause. (Its availability is also incredibly limited, as the $119.99 bundle sold out soon after it went on sale. Developer Bethesda has since said that demand is so great it’s incapable of making any more.)

Unfortunately, the smartphone app isn’t available just yet, so I wasn't able to play around with any of those features. But I did get the chance to see the Pip-Boy close up and snap it on my wrist. Looks-wise, it’s a good approximation of the in-game device, complete with a radio tuner, a radiation counter, and a big storage box stamped with Vault 111 branding. But it doesn’t feel like a big, hefty, retro-futuristic computer, mainly because it’s made out of very light plastic (aside from the metal clasp that holds it shut). This gives the Pip-Boy a toy-like feel; it’s probably not something you’d want to take with you into the radiated wasteland. I also had issues keeping it firmly in place on my wrist, and the one-size-fits-all wearable felt loose even over a thick sweater. The Pip-Boy is designed to fit a variety of phones — it includes foam inserts to fit a number of models — and I managed to get an iPhone 5C to fit in snuggly, though I couldn’t find any combination of inserts that made a Nexus 4 snap in comfortably.

While the Pip-Boy might not be something you’d want to wear for an extended period — if it even fits you — it does look great, especially sitting on a shelf next to other collectibles like the mini-nuke from the Fallout Anthology collection, or a nice refreshing Nuka-Cola Quantum. I’ll be checking out the smartphone functionality as soon as the app is available, and be sure to also stay tuned for our full review of Fallout 4 next week — the game launches on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on November 10th.


Verge Video: First look at the pip-boy