Before my recent trip to Europe, I bought a Pixel 2 which I have to say is the best phone I’ve ever had. The pictures are stunning, especially in low light. The phone is fast. It holds a charge all day and charges very quickly. I also got a really great wallet case for it. I can’t recommend this phone enough.
The Pixel 2 is the newest and most high-end phone officially supported by Google’s Project Fi. One other detail about the Pixel 2; there are two sizes. I chose the regular Pixel 2, but there is also the Pixel 2 XL with a larger screen. Other than the screen size, there is no difference between the two. I like a smaller screen so I went with the Pixel 2. I essentially did this the most expensive way possible.
This is the newest flagship phone from Google and I chose the largest available memory size. I also chose the unlocked version so I can do whatever I want with it in the future. There are much cheaper options which still qualify for Google’s Project Fi. For example, you can pick up a certified refurbished Nexus 5X for just $149 which will still do everything I describe here.
Optional Secondary Router
I also picked up a USB LTE modem which works with Google’s Project Fi. You could also just use hotspot on your phone, but I wanted to have a router that works all the time with my data and it doesn’t cost any more to use it this way. This modem plugs in to my cheap travel router to provide my Project Fi data over wifi for my chromebook and for any friends’ phones and laptops. This modem will probably work with any router that has a USB port.
I also set the router up to encrypt all its traffic through Private Internet Access. This protects against stingrays or other trivially easy attacks by unscrupulous third parties. Our own government publicly acknowledges that these devices are being used in America and that they don’t know how to find them or stop them. It is now trivially easy for malicious third parties to see anything you do on an mobile data unless you use a VPN like Private Internet Access. The last thing I need is my accounts being hijacked while I’m overseas.
If you do decide to use this LTE modem, you will need a sim card adapter to fit the Project Fi sim card into the modem. They are just a few dollars.
Project Fi: How It Works
Project Fi is so simple. It works in over 120 countries including almost all of the developed world. It’s $20/month for unlimited voice and texts. And then you pay $10/gig for data up to a maximum monthly cost of $60. So if you use one gig, you pay $30 for the month. If you use six gigs, you pay $80 for the month. If you use a hundred gigs, you pay that same $80 for the month. It doesn’t go higher than $80 no matter how much data you use.
This rate applies to your phone and any other data-only devices you add to your plan. That could be a tablet or a router for example. So in my case, my travel router and my phone share the same single bill of $80/month for unlimited data almost anywhere in the world.
This is an amazing deal! If I am on my phone using gigs and gigs or data, and on my laptop watching movies and using tons more data, it still just costs me $80/month total. That’s cheaper than paying for my old phone plan plus my home internet. And I only used a few gigs the whole time I was in Europe, because there’s excellent wifi everywhere. Since I am using Private Internet Access to encrypt my data, I don’t have to worry about jumping on whatever sketchy wifi I come across. I am protected!