6 Months With Pixel 2XL on FI

I’ve wanted to try out google fi since first reading about it several years ago. For one reason or another the time wasn’t right, the phone wasn’t right, etc. Things finally aligned and I bought a Pixel 2XL and joined fi. Fi wasn’t technically available in my area and after doing some research I found that the phone should still activate fine, so I told it I was in a large Chicago suburb that is nearby. My last phone was an iPhone 6S+ on ATT unlimited. I have had several Samsung and Motorola droid phones in the past and so was familiar with Android.

There are many reviews of both fi and the Pixel 2XL and so I’m just noting my experiences so far. This is not an in-depth review.

FI

It works as advertised. I’ve traveled with it to several states and out of the country to South America (Peru) and Europe (Germany, France, Poland). I had an issue getting LTE when first arriving in Peru (Lima). I found wifi and did a chat with fi support and they got it working within a few minutes. My final destination was in the North part of the country and the phone had some issues retaining LTE. Many of the buildings are thick concrete and none of the phones are able to get signal. The issue with the Pixel and fi was that when I came out of the buildings it would not regain LTE and the only way I could get LTE back was by going into airplane mode or restart. The cellular service was very good though.

I was concerned with the amount of data I would use and the price ($10/GB). However, the phone does a very good job of minimizing data usage and my average has been around 1.5 GB/month without making much effort on my part.

Pixel 2XL

It doesn’t look as good as an S8/S9, but it is highly functional with absolutely 0 bloatware.  I use google docs for everything and the functionality and synchronization are perfect as you would expect from this phone. The swype typing keyboard is awesome. I’m not a photographer, but as far as I can tell the pictures are excellent. The best I have ever had from a phone camera.

The dimensions of the phone are about perfect. Good for reading for longer periods of time without going cross-eyed, but not so big that it is clumsy to use with one hand. Some people complained about a blue tint on the screen if you tilt it 170 degrees, yes it has a blue hue, so what, why do you care when it is tilted 170 degrees? It’s not like you could read anything on the screen anyway.

The battery life might not be as good as the 6S+ was. I don’t have objective measures, but it seems to deplete a lot faster than the 6S+ did. There were way too many notifications on initially and some of them were difficult to find the correct place to disable.

The OK Google / Hey Google voice activation of the assistant is not configured to work with the screen locked by default, you get the lock screen and PIN request which seems really weird. It is tough to find the place to configure it to unlock with your voice and unfortunately the setting seems to revert every time there is an android update. The voice activation of the assistant is also very picky, much more so than Siri or Alexa. If your voice isn’t quite right it displays the lock screen with PIN.

Airport (i.e. captive portal) logins always work with an iPhone (at least for me with the 6S+), but they can be problematic with this phone and chrome.

NFC is a cool feature that allows you to use your phone at most credit card readers. Unfortunately it seems to get turned off after android updates.

Overall

I’m happy with both fi and the Pixel 2XL. I wish I would have waited a little longer because it sounds like there will be a Pixel 3 released later this year.

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