Last month, Google launched two new flagship devices: the Nexus 5X and 6P. Being a hardcore fan of the Nexus line since the 4th generation, I pre-ordered a 6P, the larger model out of the two options. I also jumped on Project-fi, Google’s first carrier service that relies on T-Mobile and Sprint for comprehensive coverage. After using the powerful combination for well over a month now, here’s my take on the tech brand’s unique and somewhat underrated offering.
Project-fi does not function like any of the other carriers out in the market today. There’s only one plan, which starts at $20. This gets you unlimited calls and text around the U.S. with free international SMS. International rates for calls vary depending on the country you call. Roaming is available on Fi for those who plan on using the service while traveling. At the moment, the following smartphones are compatible with the network: Nexus 6, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. So it’s not possible to use a Samsung or LG device with Fi, but you can transfer an existing phone number if you don’t want a new one.
Data is what made me consider giving the carrier a try. Each GB goes for $10, which gets added to your basic plan. That sounds pretty standard, but the kicker is the pro-rated scheme. Data that you don’t use at the end of the month will get credited back into your account. At the end of the billing cycle, you only pay for what you use. All of your billing components, from the payment method to data usage, are managed through the official app. The handy application breaks down all of the complex information in your statements for you using graphs and Google-style reasoning.
With the Nexus 6P
Fi with the Nexus 6P has been an eye-opening experience. I have not seen a trip in the service while juggling between the two carriers. It’s hardly noticeable and Google doesn’t really go out of its way to tell you which one you’re on. The only time the service failed me was during a recent thunderstorm. Calls wouldn’t go through and data crashed to unsurfable speeds at the peak of the downpour, but everything went back to normal afterwards.
The Nexus 6P is a blazing fast smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor and 3GB of RAM. It also relies on a steady connection to power its features, like Google Voice and Now on Tap. Fi’s data coverage can support everything you throw at it. I’ve left multiple browsers on, synced to the cloud and updated apps all at the same time without any hiccups from the phone or the carrier.
With the latest Marshmallow firmware, the experience feels generally light. Contributing to this is possibly the way Fi is in tune with the device. It doesn’t feel like it’s holding back the smartphone and vice-versa. If you’re picking up a 6P for Christmas, it’s definitely worth pondering on letting Google take over your entire mobile experience by signing up to Project-fi.