A few weeks ago Google opened up Project Fi to everyone in the US. If you’re not familiar with it, Project Fi is Google’s take on cell phone service. In typical Google fashion, they have a proprietary technology that pushes the envelope of what we think of when we think of cell phone service. When making calls and using data Google chooses the strongest signal between Wi-Fi, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Because of this, the pricing is really really competitive, which is what ultimately made me switch.
I saw that they were offering $150 off of a Nexus 5X phone through April 7th to anyone who switched. I used their calculator to estimate my monthly cost. I tend to be on Wi-Fi often (at home, at work, at friends/family houses) so I figured my data usage was pretty low but I didn’t realize how low. Including using my phone as a hotspot a few times per month, I was still using less than 1 GB on months where I didn’t travel. With Fi, $20/month gets you unlimited voice and text, and then you pay $10/GB of data. Most months my bill would be about $27 + tax. When I travel it will go up of course, but that’s huge savings over my unlimited everything plan on T-Mobile for $80/month. Fi also offers international data at the same rate as domestic data, similar to T-Mobile. As a bonus, they throw in things like voicemail transcription that T-Mobile charged extra for. Add in the Sprint coverage and it’s a much better all around service for much less, not to mention that there’s no contract commitment.
I picked up a 32 GB Nexus 5X for $250 a few weeks ago. The pricing trend in phones is really fascinating to me. It is amazing that for $400 you can get an almost-flagship phone. You end up with 80% of the phone for 50% of the price of a Galaxy S7 or other flagship in the $800 range. The only things I really wanted that I didn’t have with my Note 3 were a fingerprint reader on the back, a better camera, always-on voice control, and a pure Google (Nexus) experience. I would probably rather have a 6P, but the 5X price was too good to pass up. I don’t mind it being a tad smaller than my Note 3. It’s the same resolution but fits in my hand and my pocket better.
Activating took only a few minutes. My T-Mobile account was automatically canceled (I called to confirm). I haven’t looked back since! As expected, the service is the same as it was with T-Mobile, which is great in Albany. I’ve tested it in quite a few situations, such as in the car to use voice commands, at the doctor’s office as a hotspot, and in a sports arena, all with no issues.
The best part about Fi is that it makes total sense. If Wi-Fi is available, why tax the cell network? They utilize public Wi-Fi securely by automatically connecting through a VPN. Having both Sprint and T-Mobile, instead of one or the other, is a bonus as well. All in all, it’s kind of brilliant.
If you’re into a pure Android experience, want a Nexus phone, and want great service at a fraction of the cost, I can’t recommend Fi enough. It’s so simple to set up, totally transparent, a great deal, and innovative technology. It’s only going to get better over time, and for a guy like me it’s already better than any other cell phone provider!
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