Tag: pocket computer

Pixels to iPhones

🔗 WE SWITCHED FROM ANDROID PIXEL TO IPHONE – B3N.ORG

We’ve exclusively used the Google Nexus (now Pixel) lines for the last 7-years, so this is quite the change. I like the Nexus/Pixel lineup for their predictable security lifecycle (compared to other Android manufacturers), lack of bloatware, and consistent UI.

Since the smart watch ecosystem never managed to produce anything small enough or good enough, my wife has been thinking about an iPhone SE / Apple Watch combo.

I’ve been looking at options and researching how iPhones have come along in the years since we had them and how much it will cost us to make the switch.

I had to reboot the Pixel several times to fix issues every few days. Bluetooth works on the iPhone.

I can’t agree more about Bluetooth. We have owned Nexus/ Pixel phones for the past 8 years. The bluetooth has always been a problem for the Pixel phones. They’ll pair to headphones, but will still play through the phone’s speaker. Or will simply refuse to pair, pretending Bluetooth doesn’t exist, nor does any other device.

Though one major loss I had failed to consider in our impending move to iPhone was the lack of call screening.

So, Google’s Pixel call screener is a massive advantage over anything iPhone has–the virtual assistant with live transcription on Pixel is a feature iPhone lacks. With iPhone, I pretty much have to let unknown callers go to voicemail, and then we’re playing phone tag.

The number of calls I get daily that I never see, or that I can have Google’s Assistant screen for me is superb. I open the phone app sometimes to see 20 voicemails of 5-7 seconds for robo callers who weren’t quick enough to hang up.

Even when a call does get through, I can press a button to have Google answer the call and display the text of what is being said by the caller. At which point I can either have the robot continue to ask questions or answer the call myself.

We will continue to use Google Fi as a carrier. Their pay-for-what-you-use pricing continues to frustrate all of the major carrier sales people we encounter in electronics stores. They stride up to us with huge smiles asking how much we pay for our cell phones.

On average $90/month for about 3GB of data between us. The most we’ve used (since Feb. 2020) is 5.36GB and paid $115.

After using the Pixel’s “a” models which set us back $350-400, the iPhone SE’s $500 price tag is bearable. While the prices on the iPhone 13 line starting at $700 is hard to swallow.

I don’t care about 5g. We don’t have a plan with it and I don’t see the need. It frustrates me in 2022 I need to give up my beloved USB-C port for a proprietary lightening connector again. I lose my headphone jack (yes, I still enjoy wired headphones) and I gain wireless charging.

But none of that excites me. It feels like more money for less phone. Though the iPhone does appear to have caught up too and surpassed the Pixel’s photo processing.

We are still debating the right time to buy new phones. It’s not like they ever go on any meaningful sale. Maybe we swap carriers again and take advantage of them. We’ve made the round from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint (RIP), and T-Mobile. We live in a major metro area so the reception on every carrier is nearly identical. There’s noticeable drop when you get into the rural areas of the country off Verizon’s network, but that’s not worth paying for those rare times.

The cost of swapping the ubiquitous USB-C cords all over the house (and cars) for Lightening doesn’t excite me. Wireless charging seems neat but we’ve never had that either. So more new hardware to support it. It’s an expensive purchase that begets more purchases. And I refuse to use the glass computer without a case. I don’t understand those of you running around with naked phones. And AppleCare… Is it worth it? I haven’t even looked at how expensive that’s gotten. There’s a certain joy (and privilege) to being able to walk into a Best Buy and replace your phone for $400 if something happens to it.

Fi

AT&Tata

I am fed up with AT&T. We’ve been with them for a long time. My wife has been an AT&T customer since she had a smartphone. She started with a Windows phone well before the iPhone was invented.

I’ve been with AT&T since we combined our plans into a family plan when we became family 6 years ago. And we’ve been iPhone users ever since. Upgrading every 3 years as our phones wore out.

Recently, I was trying to cut my bill by removing some of the data allowance which we weren’t using any way. There’s no way to have less minutes which I would have happily done. We’re still heavy text users because not everyone uses iMessage. But that’s not expensive either.

I made a change which the AT&T’s site said would save us $30 a month on our plan. That was a relief.

Until the next billing cycle started and I saw my bill would not be $1 more than it was before. So I called AT&T and spoke to billing. The woman there basically said changing the plans only saved me about $5 a month. Which I said wasn’t even true based on what I was seeing.

We’re paying our phone off through AT&T Next 24 so that adds about $50 to our plan each month just for the phones since they no longer offer phones on contract. (Well, they do offer it, but it’s more expensive than using their Next program.)

At the end of the day, I was still paying almost $175 for two phones with data plans. There had to be a better way.

After Billing, I spoke to Colton in cancellation to ask what fees we would be charged if we canceled our plan.

Since we’re not under contract, there is no early termination fee. We’d need to pay off the balance of our phones or return them to AT&T. (We’ll see if this is true when we visit the store this week.)

Major Carriers

I looked at Verizon. Their plans are very similar to AT&T and we’d need new phones so we’d be right back where we started.

I debated T-Mobile but I worry about their coverage area. The same with Sprint. Even through they’re running a great deal now. They’re slicing AT&T’s fees in half and offering a second iPhone for free after you have one on the plan. So we’d be back paying for phones over time, but we’d get one of them for free.

I worry about the coverage areas of Sprint and T-Mobile. We’re in the DC area but we often venture out to see family in the middle of nowhere and drive through the country. I need a data signal that will guide my GPS everywhere I need to be. Not just in the middle of downtown.

My wife and I were weighing our options last night and neither of us are married to our iPhones. It’s a fine device. I’ve owned the 4, 5 and now 6 Plus. But they’re not magic. They serve no greater purpose than being pocket computers.

There’s very few apps native to iOS I rely on. And even fewer I can’t use on the iPad instead. So there’s nothing keeping us from Android. There’s no synergy with our old Mac laptops to take advantage of. iCloud is a necessary evil but not a joy to use.

Fi-nally

We are diving headlong into Android with Google’s Project Fi. As of last night, we have two 32GB Nexus 5X phones headed our way. We are leaving Apple for Google and traditional carriers for Project Fi which uses WiFi and a trifecta of cellular carriers to mesh together coverage.

Between Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular, they’ve created a network that cover most of the country and blankets the east coast in signal. We’ll see how it works this summer when we travel to San Francisco, Las Vegas and rural Virginia to see if the network holds up.

This will be our grand experiment and will save us money. We don’t use a ton of data each month and Fi’s pricing is a simple $10 per 1GB. If we don’t use what we’ve allotted we’ll get that money back. It’s not billed in round 1GB increments. If we use 1.2GB more, then we pay for 1.2GB, not 2GB. It truly is a pay what you use plan.

The phones should be here this weekend. We’ll be canceling AT&T once they arrive and we port our numbers over. I’m excited to try this out and see how far Android has come since the Motorola Droid.