I’m considering getting a Google Pixel 3XL and switching from AT&T to Google Fi. The question I have relates to coverage, and all around usage experience. There isn’t a wireless service that is without its flaws so I’m asking about Google’s service. What are some issues subscribers have experienced? Do they prefer it to their previous carrier? Ay regrets? Is there anything they feel needs improvement? Any issues with SMS coming from those who used iMessage?
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had any issues, so I’m trying to remember what they were. I do know that support has been , and I’ve never regretted switching from Verizon. On VZ, calls were garbled, and support was useless. But with Fi, I don’t wait forever on hold, and they get me to a solution quickly. A few months ago I was having issues with my phone of the time - the Pixel XL - and Fi Support helped me determine that it just needed to be replaced.
Early on when I first signed up with Fi, I did have issues with getting on a data network when I was at home but not on Wi-Fi. I can’t remember quite what the solution was, but they walked me through it. No issues like that since.
I’ve heard @JasonHowell say that he doesn’t see the benefit of Fi since he doesn’t travel. But I don’t travel - I travel much less than Jason does - and I still benefit from a lower phone bill and great service.
Caveats: It’s not for people who aren’t often on Wi-Fi. And regarding data usage, just do the math to see if Fi is for you.
Something that bugs me about those clinging to unlimited plans: Fi is just as unlimited. You pay $10 for every 1GB, $20 for 2GB - simple. But if you go just a little bit over, say 1.1GB instead of 1GB, you pay $1 more. When I was on VZ, that would have been $15 added instead of $1. That’s crazy.
So you can go unlimited if you want - go crazy if you want. But if you hit 6.1GB, they won’t charge you $61 for data; nor will they throttle you. (In another thread on here, someone suggested TMO/Sprint was throttling MVNO customers, and I thought maybe, but it’s not the case.)
Anyway, if you hit 6.1GB of data, you don’t get charged more than $10 for the connection and $60 for the data. It seems as though heavy data users would really win with Fi.
Leo has talked about it a few times on The Tech Guy. I even just listened to a show of his from 3 years ago, and it was discussed. I found a few links on his site dealing with Google Fi:
Fi service isn’t the greatest but I’ve found it’s better than just Sprint or just T-Mobile. If you use a lot of data or don’t travel internationally then it might be better to go with a Verizon or AT&T MVNO.
I bought a Pixel 3 last Black Friday with a great deal from Fi but I also bought the Super Bowl deal on Mint. It was easy to pause my Fi service and switch to Mint (T-Mobile MVNO) using the Fi-Switch app. So now I primarily use Mint but every now and then when I know I need to go through bad coverage areas (or if I run over my data limits) I’ll unpause, switch to Fi on the eSim for a bit then switch back when I’m ready and pause again.
I switched from AT&T to Pixel+Fi. I have no trouble with Fi coverage in Urban/Suburban areas I’ve visited. Definitely check the coverage maps, though. Rural coverage is spotty.
My favorite things about Fi:
- Cost effective at my own usage level, 1Gb/month of cellular data
- International service is great. Worked well for me in e.g., Taipei, Tokyo, Dublin, London
- Bundled VPN (WiFi assistant-based) can be used on WiFi and Cellular, and is free.
- Voicemail transcripts are pretty cool
- I can do most of my calling from PC/iPad (but see below)
- I find myself tied to Hangouts for SMS because of the way I place calls over WiFi. Hangouts is a pretty poor SMS client.
I haven’t had any issues that I can think of. My wife and I are both on it and it has been solid. It’s been nice when occasionally going somewhere where T-Mobile (my preferred carrier) is spotty, I can switch over to Sprint or US Cellular. Speeds while on Sprint and US Cellular are atrocious, but using the Fi-Switch app, you can force the phone to connect to whichever you prefer. We were on their “traditional” plan of pay-for-what-you-use. We would occasionally go over our “limit” of I believe 12GB. I switched us to the new unlimited plan which doesn’t do any prioritization until 22GB, and we haven’t come close. My only complaint is that I can’t have my wife on the “traditional” plan for her very low usage and me on the unlimited plan unless we do two individual accounts instead of a joint account.
Thanks. Being an AT&T customer I was curious what I was going to sign up for if I make the move. I don’t really think coverage will be too big of an issue living in the LA area. I don’t travel so that’s a box that I can ignore. The majority of my cellular data is used either streaming music or podcasts as I drive around or on my commute. I’ve been using iMessage forever with a few SMS outliers who are on Android. It’s highly unlikely I can get everyone to switch to Signal just for me .
I could cave additional after I look at how much actual cellular data I use. I’ve been grandfathered into the unlimited rate from day one but I know I could probably save with Fi.
Just pulled the trigger on that 3XL from Gazelle. I totally forgot to check if there was still a valid offer code though.
I just found that I used enough data on a regular basis that my bill was always $60-70 which just felt a bit high for what I could get elsewhere. But I was spoiled by T-mobile’s $30 per month plan for years before Fi, so the bar was pretty high.
With mine at ~$105, anything less will be welcomed.
In that case, you would be happy with Fi.
If you’d like $20 off your first month, you’re more than welcome to use my referral code, TAW894.
I had to move on from that fantastic $30 TMobile deal last year because I needed more call minutes. It really served me well for several years, though after I left Verizon and went unlocked and prepaid with the Nexus 4.
Got it yesterday. Set up wasn’t too crazy. However, I opted to transfer my messages, contacts, and call history after I had set up the phone and installed all the apps. Contacts was simple since I just copied all my iPhone contacts to Google. Messages and Call History was a little trickier because it involved backing up the phone to the computer using iTunes. After that, it was just a matter of copying the messages and call backup files (thanks to a how-to I found) to my Google Drive and into the Pixel using an importing app.
I didn’t realize that in order to start receiving messages from IOS users, I had to de-register my iPhone from iMessage. After that I was getting IOS SMS messages.
My only other Android device is a Nexus 7 Tablet I got back for Christmas 2013. Geez I think it’s still has KitKat or Lollipop. So this Pixel I’m still getting used to. I did notice like on the Nexus, swiping is not quite as frictionless as on IOS. On my iPhone, I just barely had to touch the screen and I could swipe left and right to go through people’s IG posts. On the Pixel, I have to let my finger rest on the screen for a split second before swiping otherwise nothing happens. Moving the cursor around in a text is still as annoying on Android as it always has been. You have place the cursor first then magnify it to move it. Whereas in IOS, it’s all one movement. I guess duplicating the ease of IOS on this is grounds for a law suit?
But it’s newer-ish and faster and I can customize it. So I can live with the quirky stuff.
If you’re willing to consider a third party keyboard, the SwiftKey app does have the option to add arrow keys to the keyboard to assist moving the cursor around in text. Once the app has been set up, opening it from the app drawer should show the settings, and from there you tap Typing then Keys, and turn on the Arrow Keys toggle. This makes editing way easier.
Funny because I think the opposite. iOS frustrated me with having to hold then swipe and on 13 it’s even worse. However gBoard on iOS (and Android) makes it better with swiping the keyboard to position the cursor.
I feel that both systems (iOS 13 and Android 9+) have tried to overdo and overthink the system of selecting words, cutting, pasting, etc. I want them to go back to the simpler, if a bit arcane, way they used to do things.
I used SwiftKey on my iPhone 6 but got annoyed with it after a while. I can’t remember why. I have Grammarly installed which is OK but it aggravating when it auto-corrects when I don’t want it to. Sometimes you want to use a contraction like rockin’ . I don’t want my tech telling me how to speak. I just haven’t gotten around to turning it off yet. But then I don’t get the simple corrections. Again, quirkiness. I’ll have to give SwiftKey another look.
The other thing was the removal of the “courage” port. So aggravating. I think I was eyeballing the OnePlus 6T because it hadn’t been removed yet. I forgot the 3XL took it away. BT is so frustrating. I had to go round and round about six times with trying to pair this phone to my Gear S3 watch before they actually paired. And then the watch reset itself in the process and the faces I had downloaded were lost. There must be a lot cycling of faces because the ones I had are no longer available through Samsung or the Facer app. I’m sticking with wired headphones. Who cares if they’re primitive. They work and that’s all that matters. Plus I don’t have to charge them.
SwiftKey is definitely not perfect: I get exasperated sometimes with it putting up a really exotic word when I swiped a simple one, but that could be my swiping technique. I only mention it because the arrow keys for controlling the cursor are a deal-breaker for me, and limitations on my ability to exert fine control of finger movement make the swipe-to-position action on Gboard (and iOS devices too) rather difficult.