July 23, 2015

Project Fi after a month

I’ve had my Nexus 6 and Project Fi for about a month now. The short review is that I love the service but don’t like the phone. Below is the long version.

Hardware

fipackage
Simply put: I think the phone is too big. It’s bigger than a Samsung Note 4. Even a month later I’m not used to it. Barely fits in my pants. It’s two hands for just about everything. That said, it’s nice having a screen that big with me all the time. Basically, overall, like a big phone but maybe not this big. It’s likely I’ll change my mind in a month just like every other big phone user.

The perf on the phone is fine. It’s not much better than my old (stolen 🙁 from my car) Nexus 5. But I don’t notice any lag except on Tapped Out . . . . but I hear that is an Android 5.1/5.1.1 thing.

Google also sent a welcome pack (and I put my phone in the case they sent and then took a picture) which was a surprise and delight moment.

Network

singalcheckpro

One of the most intriguing features of Fi is that it makes T-Mobile and Sprint into your network (along with Wifi which is uses instead of either of those two if you are connected. Here in AZ you are taking the #3 carrier for coverage (T-Mobile) and the #4 carrier (Sprint) and making into a tie for #2 in coverage with AT&T and nowhere near as good the #1 carrier for coverage (Verizon). I installed an app called “SignalCheck Pro” mostly so I could tell which network I was on and I was surprised how often I was on Sprint’s network. The jumping between Sprint and T-Mobile is seemless but I have had times where I was on Wifi on a call and the call was dropped as I walked away from the Wifi. It’s something to be aware of but hasn’t bothered me much.

Google Voiceinlinevoicemail

When I transferred to Project Fi I was informed that I either use my current Google Voice number or I port my cell number and loose my Google Voice number. That was a tough decision since I used both often. Anyway, I ended up porting my cell number (and moving my Google Voice number to a different google account) and it went fine. And I love that SMS text messages are integrated with voice messages with a translation. That was certainly a surprise and delight feature.

Project Fi

Not much is different between Google as a provider and T-Mobile as a provider except that I use the Project Fi app to keep track of my data usage. And THAT is the real downside of having to pay for every byte . . . it makes you think about everything you do. There is something to say about psychological detachment you get when you have allotment of data to use or not use. That truly is a big downside to Project Fi . . . even more than the forced Nexus 6.

Pricing

Project Fi will not save you money except in edge cases. Start at out $20 and then add $10/GB for data. That SOUNDS cheap, but it really isn’t. Especially for people with a family or anyone who uses more than a few GB of data. T-Mobile recently announced a 10GB family plan . . . 10GB for each user. . . . and two people on that plan is the same as a Fi plan using only 3GB each. And I like to tether! So I frequently use over 3GB of data. The T-Mobile plan is so compelling that I decided to give my 3-year-old daughter a phone that I can use when I need to tether.