Project Fi and Nexus 5X report
So after having a Google Nexus 5 smartphone for the last 2+ years, when I saw that Project Fi had the potential to give me better coverage and a higher data limit for lower cost than T-Mobile, I decided to go for it.
Here's my notes on both the Project Fi service and the Google Nexus 5X smartphone.
- Project Fi
- Value: great
- cheap data rates and my modest usage means I have basically all the data, TXT, and voice I need for $40/month
- Coverage: better
- Coming from T-Mobile I have the coverage I used to have plus access to Sprint and Wi-Fi calling so it's a no-brainer improvement on this front. Weirdly the heart of the downtown business district in my home town is a T-Mobile dead zone.
- Transition: flawless
- All the cell number porting stuff and account stuff went smooth as butter
- Overall it's really good service with no long-term contract, an unlocked phone, and a low monthly bill. Really pleased with this.
- There are some annoying limitations of Google Apps accounts vs regular gmail accounts. I use my main Google Apps accounts for most things, but they don't work with Google Play Store or Google Voice, so I need to use an old gmail account for that, which is annoying and confusing.
- Having voicemail just be there without having to dial a number and use an IVR touchpad is really nice. Amazing it took so long to reach this point.
- Value: great
- Nexus 5X
- battery charges much faster and lasts much longer than Nexus 5. It will probably take me a while to adjust the chronic battery paranoia I learned using my Nexus 5 which could do ~6 hours at most.
- Camera is indeed better
- Fingerprint reader is nice
- Larger storage capacity is welcome
- Still kind of mind-blowing that my Creative Nomad Xen mp3 player circa 2006 had double the storage of my current smartphone a decade later.
- Performance is not noticeable better compared to my Nexus 5. Most things are still a bit laggy when they shouldn't be, which the exception of the Calendar app which responds instantly and caches tons of data locally, which I wish every other app would do. It's disgusting that Google Inbox does not automatically sync my most recent 1GB of email at all times. I can use Here Maps and download a detailed map of the entire state of Colorado for offline use but getting the email with my flight details from last much while offline - not so much.
- The USB type C charger connection is a bit of a hassle as you are extremely likely to buy the wrong thing when shopping for chargers and cables on amazon at the moment.
- Let Google Engineer Benson Leung's amazon reviews be your guide.
- However, if you do indeed find the right thing, it's nice to see on the screen "Charging rapidly" as a confirmation.
- I caught the dramatic price drop of the Nexus 5 after the initial batch last time around, but this time with the 5X I didn't wait. Less than a week after my order, google dropped the price significantly.
- Android Marshmallow
- Overall a lot better
- Transition was a bit annoying as google does not transfer any app settings or OS settings other than your google accounts themselves. Had to go through app by app and adjust notifications and preferences
- Some fixes when connecting via bluetooth to my car stereo
So without too much time/effort configuring stuff, my smartphone is now in good working order and I have everything set up how I like and don't have to futz with it. Overall within the apps themselves I'm still feeling constantly frustrated by current UI trends of stacking stuff on top of each other, animations, and moving/disappearing tap targets.