Google Fi Review after One Two Three Years

Update: This post was updated October 2021 after using Fi for over three years.

I have been using Google Fi for one two three years. In that time, I have traveled to Chile, New Zealand, Australia, French Polynesia, Easter Island, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Canada. I live in Denver, Colorado, and I’ve also traveled to Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Alaska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, California, Washington, Oregon, and all of the 50 states. The only time I have ever had any trouble with Google Fi is in my basement in Denver, in the back country of West Virginia, the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on the reservations through Arizona, and in the Amazon in Peru.

After one two three years, I absolutely recommend Google Fi with a Pixel. Read my full experience below.

You can get a $20 credit on Google Fi with my referral.

Google Fi in China, the World and in Denver

My first international experience with Google Fi was on a trip to China where I could easily use Facebook, Instagram and Google in China on my phone without any blockage and with complete access. In addition, I had complete ability to call and text at any time. I did all of this with Google’s Project Fi, which was just renamed to Google Fi in 2019.

When was the last time you loved your cell phone service?

Since this original trip with my Google Fi cell service to China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, I have been to Chile, New Zealand, Australia, French Polynesia, Easter Island, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, France, Spain, and Portugal. I love Google Fi and I love my Pixel 3 and Pixel 4a. Keep reading.

Works with Facebook

Here’s how it works. First, you must have a Google Fi compatible phone. I dumped my Samsung S6 for a Pixel 3. I then dumped Verizon for Google Fi. Both were fabulous decisions I don’t regret. I then signed up for Google Fi (previously Project Fi), and I’ve never been happier.

My cell phone service in Denver, throughout the US, in Canada, all over South America, French Polynesia, the UK, western Europe, and now in China has been impeccable. Voice is clear. Text messages go through without any delay. And I can access all of my apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, and Gmail.

How did Google Fi with my Pixel work in China in particular?

Cell Service Is Exceptional

As long as I was using CELL service via Google Fi, it worked beautifully. The minute I switched to WIFI in China, I was blocked on several apps and websites. Yes, it costs me. But it costs me the standard Google Fi rates. $20 per line/$15 each additional plus $10 per gig of data. My husband, on the other hand, when he used is Samsung with Verizon had access problems the entire time we were in China.

Project Fi Versus Verizon

I’m a moderate user of data. While in China, I did Facebook Lives, photo uploads, and video uploads via Instagram and Boomerang. I used two gig of data over 10 days, costing me $20 for basically all the international data I could use. On the other hand, my husband was on his Samsung S9 with Verizon’s TravelPass and was having a horrible experience. He couldn’t access apps, WIFI was inconsistent, and he could never get on Facebook regardless of what he did. He couldn’t get his texts either. Every time he suffered on Verizon, I had access on Google Fi. In a Verizon vs Google Fi contest, Fi won every time.

Many blogs and reviews have been written about the Pixel 3 camera, so I won’t go on and on here. But I will say that the photos I produced were top notch, and the compliments on Instagram came pouring in like never before. All of the shots here in this post were done with my Pixel 3, no editing, no filters. I have since upgraded to a Pixel 4a, and I am even happier. The nighttime shots with my Pixel and its ability to blur the background make it outstanding. Check out this picture of us in the Banksy Tunnel in London.

Switch to Google Fi

If you’re wondering how you’ll get online while traveling internationally and especially while in China, Google Fi with a Pixel 3 Pixel 4a is the hands-down best option for great access to Facebook, Instagram, Google, Gmail, Twitter and more. Plus, the price is right (cheaper than Verizon, T-mobile, AT&T, Sprint) and the camera is amazing. You can get a $20 credit with my referral. (If it says it’s timed out, just let me know, and I’ll send you another referral link.)

Google Fi vs Local SIM Cards

If you’re thinking you’ll just swap to a SIM card when you land internationally to save money, don’t do it. Here’s why. The beauty about Google Fi is that the minute you land on the tarmac, you phone works. It simply works. And what do you need when you land in a new country? The Internet. You’ll need it to find taxis, ubers, hotels, atms, etc. If you wait to get a SIM card when you land, you have to 1) find a provider, 2) install the SIM, 3) hope it works and 4) troubleshoot in the local language. You MAY save a few dollars, but why? Pay the extra $4-5 for Google Fi and save yourself the insane hassle of buying local SIM cards that may or may not work.

Google FI in the Time of COVD

During the height of COVID, my international travel and some of my domestic travel came to a screeching halt. None the less, as my travel narrowed to just the US, I continued to get great service driving from state to state while I executed my 50 Hikes 50 States Project. I still got great service in the backroads of the US as well as in the city centers of the major US cities. I visited every state and only had Google Fi issues on the Native American reservations in Arizona.

12 Comments

  1. Edward

    Hello, Google Fi referral link does not work. Do you have a new one? Thank you.

    Reply
    • EatWalkLearn

      OOh, thanks so much for asking! Sadly, since they cancelled me, I can no longer refer them. I’m sure if you google ‘fi referral code’ you’ll come up with several of them. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Lisabeth

        One would think you would delete the article of high praise for google fi if they dropped you. And why did they drop you?

        Reply
        • EatWalkLearn

          Yes, they dropped us, but it’s still a great service that I would 100% if I were state side full-time. They dropped us because we were out of the US for more than six months.

          Reply
  2. Mark Erin

    Hello! Thank you for this read. I am preparing for my first trip overseas and I chose Ireland.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S10+ and am debating using the Verizon international service or going to Google Fi. I am leaning towards Fi but I wanted to do some research first to see if anyone has had experience with either or both in Ireland and if so how was it?

    I will be flying into Dublin and then traveling west to the countryside of Killarney, Kilkenny and Galway. I will be doing a self drive tour so it is absolutely imperitive that I have adequate data for Google Maps navigation and android auto which provides me with Spotify.

    I would love to hear about your experience in Ireland and any useful suggestions or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
    • EatWalkLearn

      I used Google Fi all over Ireland with zero problems, and I totally recommend it.

      Reply
  3. Chelsea

    Does the google fi work as a hotspot to connect to other devices like a laptop or is it just good from the phone?

    Reply
  4. C Brown

    I have a friend who’s done okay with Fi and it looks like yours has been peachy keen, but below is my experience thus far. Just disgusted. But the main and overarching problem is that NO CELL COMPANY GIVES A RAT’S @$$ ABOUT ITS CUSTOMERS! Hell, at this point, I’d pay extra money for a company that did!

    Took 18 days to get my phone – and made the mistake of ordering husband’s phone, which took less than a week. Activated it – and things were fine. Tried to activate my phone?!?!? Somehow switched my number with his – then deactivated my number. So I have NO access to any cell phone b/c my number.

    I have made no less than 12 phone calls to customer assistance and replied to a minimum of six emails. And going on two days with no cell phone. And getting charged (overcharged, actually, since now Fi doesn’t recognize that my husband’s cell phone came from Fi AND won’t give us the 50% for three months PLUS charged for days NOT having cell service).

    Hubby said, “Well, what do you expect from a search engine company? They think they can do cell phones, but they don’t even have their own lines…”

    So. Fed. Up. And no one cares!!!!!! In tears.

    Reply
    • EatWalkLearn

      I’m sorry this has happened to you. Whenever I’ve had to contact tech support, I’ve always gotten the solution quickly. Once I was in Mexico and the phone wouldn’t make calls. I got on chat, and they toggled a setting and got it working quickly. Another time with customer service, I was asking extensive questions about any throttling Google might do after being out of country for longer than 6 months. They did some deep research and confirmed that they don’t do that–I’ve kept that chat just in case. I’ll be ordering new phones soon–looking at the 4a with 5g–and keep your thoughts in mind. Hopefully, it will be a positive experience. Again, sorry this has happened to you.

      Reply
  5. Nikki

    Hello! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with Google FI – I was intrigued enough to sign up! I’ve tried to use your referral code, but Google Support has mentioned that it’s expired 🙁 Is there another code you can share? Many thanks!

    Reply

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Chris and Steve, the empty-nesting nomads, travel the world, one month at a time, housesitting and Airbnbing along the way. We uncover urban walks, great hikes, and vegan/vegetarian eats that other guide books miss. And we throw in a bit about Forex trading along the way.

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