Best Phones for Google Fi Android Central 2020
For just $20/month for unlimited calls/texts and $10 per GB of data you use (any data past 6GB is free), Google Fi is one of the most compelling MVNOs around. Factor in its excellent roaming support, nationwide coverage, and Bill Protection feature that credits back whatever data you don't use, and you have an even more appealing purchase. Fi works on almost any unlocked phone these days, but certain features work better on some phones than others. The Pixel 4 XL is our top recommendation for the network, but if that doesn't fit your needs, there are plenty of other handsets to choose from.
- Best Overall: Google Pixel 4 XL
- Best Value: Google Pixel 3a
- Best Budget Phone: Moto G7
- Best Specs: OnePlus 7T
- Best Battery Life: Samsung Galaxy A50
- Best Compact Phone: Samsung Galaxy S10e
Best Overall: Google Pixel 4 XL
When it comes to phones that work with Google Fi, the one we think is the best overall option is the Google Pixel 4 XL. Not only is the 4 XL an exciting phone on its own, it was also built with Fi in mind to provide the best possible experience when used on the network.
Looking at the phone itself, the Pixel 4 XL brings a lot to the table. It has a large 6.3-inch AMOLED display with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor paired with 6GB of RAM, and one of the fastest face unlock systems we've ever seen on an Android phone.
The Pixel series' greatest strengths — camera performance and software — are where the 4 XL shines. Along with the primary 12-megapixel lens, there's also a 16-megapixel telephoto one. Images taken with the Pixel 4 XL are wonderful, whether you're shooting during the day, evening, or outside in pitch black for jaw-dropping astrophotography images. The software on offer is fast, clean, and is guaranteed to receive major updates and security patches through October 2022.
If there's one downside to the Pixel 4 XL, it's battery life. While most folks can likely make it through a full day of use, you won't go any further beyond that. While not as anxiety-inducing as the regular Pixel 4, the 4 XL's battery certainly has room to improve. Rounding out our complaints, we do wish Google offered more storage than the current 128GB max with no way to expand it via a microSD card.
Tying all of this together is the fact that the Pixel 4 XL works with all of Fi's features. This means automatic network switching, Fi's built-in VPN, and more all work with the phone without a hitch.
- Phenomenal cameras
- 90Hz AMOLED display
- Wickedly fast face unlock
- Clean, up-to-date software
- Works with all of Fi's features
- Unimpressive battery life
- Poor storage offerings
Best of the best
Google's own Pixel 4 XL stands out as the best phone for Google Fi. It's an outstanding package that works with all the Fi features.
Best Value: Google Pixel 3a
There's no denying that the Pixel 4 XL is an enticing package, but we also understand that not everyone is ready to throw down that kind of money for a new phone. If you prefer to keep things a bit more affordable but still want a similar experience, the Pixel 3a is for you.
Compared to the 4 XL, the Pixel 3a does have some shortcomings. Its display is only 60Hz, the processor used is a mid-range one, there's less RAM, and no wireless charging. In the grand scheme of things, however, none of that really detracts too much from using the 3a in the real world.
The Pixel 3a feels great to hold thanks to Google's premium polycarbonate construction, performance is more than adequate for normal day-to-day use, and while it may not be 90Hz, the AMOLED panel used for the 3a still looks good for browsing through the web and binging YouTube. There's even a 3.5mm headphone jack for those of you that still care about it.
All of that's fine and dandy, but what really helps the Pixel 3a stand out is its camera. The Pixel 3a takes stunning photos, often looking identical to what you can capture with the much more expensive Pixel 4 XL. If you're a photo bug and don't want to compromise on image quality just because you're thrifty, the 3a makes perfect sense.
Lastly, just like the 4 XL, the Pixel 3a works with all of Google Fi's advertised features, making for the best possible experience.
- Premium-feeling design
- Shockingly good cameras
- AMOLED display
- Reliable performance
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- No wireless charging
- Just 4GB of RAM
Stretch those dollars
The Pixel 3a has unmatched value. It takes outstanding photos, has smooth performance, and much more for an incredible price.
Best Budget Phone: Moto G7
Speaking of affordable phones, another handset we want to shine the spotlight on is the Moto G7. Motorola's Moto G lineup has built a reputation for offering quality phones at reasonable prices, and the G7 continues that legacy with pride.
Design-wise, it's a striking phone. The back is curved and easy to hold, the large 6.2-inch display with minimal bezels is easy on the eyes, and the fingerprint sensor is wonderfully embedded in the Motorola "M" logo on the back of the G7. The level of fit-and-finish that's on display for such an affordable handset is outstanding.
Specs-wise, the G7 has a lot to offer. There's a reasonably fast Snapdragon 632 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage that can be expanded with a microSD card. You also get a 3,000 mAh battery and dual cameras with a 12-megapixel primary lens that's paired with a depth sensor.
The G7 is currently running a stock build of Android 9 Pie, and along with being clear of unwanted clutter, you also get some great additions from Motorola. Moto Display is one of the best ambient display modes available on an Android phone, and with Moto Actions, you can move your phone in a chopping motion to open turn on the flashlight or twist it around to open the camera. The software experience right now is fantastic, but looking down the road, Motorola has a notoriously bad track record when it comes to timely software updates.
The last big win for the G7 is that it's designed with Fi in mind, meaning that it works flawlessly with all of the network's features.
- Large Full HD+ display
- Motorola's software goodies
- Snappy rear fingerprint sensor
- Works with all of Google Fi's features
- Hands-free Alexa
- Motorola has a bad track record for software updates
- No NFC for Google Pay
Best Budget Phone
Your wallet will thank you
Trying to spend as little as possible? The Moto G7 works with all of the iconic Google Fi features while coming in at a great price.
Best Specs: OnePlus 7T
Looking back on 2019, one of the phones that stands out the most is the OnePlus 7T. Not only is this a good phone for Google Fi, it's just a darn impressive phone no matter what carrier you use it on.
Hardware-wise, the 7T is gorgeous. It has a striking glass/metal construction with a Glacier Blue finish that's bound to catch the attention of anyone who sees it. The 6.55-inch display is a beast, too, as it utilizes an AMOLED panel with a silky-smooth 90Hz refresh rate. Around back, you'll find the huge rear camera bump that houses a 48-megapixel primary camera, along with telephoto and ultra-wide cameras.
The OnePlus 7T is powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855+ processor, an impressive 8GB of RAM, and comes with a standard 128GB of storage. You also get a 3,800 mAh battery that can be charged insanely fast using the included 30W charger. We do wish wireless charging was offered, but c'est la vie.
Powering the OnePlus 7T is OnePlus's OxygenOS. This custom Android interface is based on Android 10, and it's outstanding. It's fast, easy-to-navigate, and filled with genuinely great features — such as a gaming mode, theming tools, and more.
The OnePlus 7T does work on Google Fi, but since it wasn't designed for the network, you miss out on some specialized features — namely the network switching and Google Fi's VPN.
- Gorgeous hardware
- Battery life is excellent
- Smooth and crisp 90Hz display
- OxygenOS software is top-notch
- Remarkable value
- Doesn't work with all of Fi's features
- No wireless charging
Everything you could ask for
You simply can't ignore the OnePlus 7T. It has an excellent design, display, battery life, and more at an unbeatable price.
Best Battery Life: Samsung Galaxy A50
Samsung is widely-known for its Galaxy S and Note flagships, but in 2019, the company decided to double-down on its mid-range offerings. The Galaxy A50 is the fruit of that labor, and my oh my is it a compelling smartphone.
There are a lot of reasons to love the A50, but the thing that stands out the most is its battery life. Equipped with a 4,000 mAh battery, the A50 easily gets more than a day's worth of use on a single charge. No matter how hard you push the phone, it's able to keep up with you and quickly recharge thanks to the included 15W charger.
Elsewhere, the Galaxy A50 is just as impressive. It has a really beautiful design, an AMOLED display that's perfect for movies/games, three rear cameras, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor that works better than you'd expect.
Similar to the OnePlus 7T, the Galaxy A50 works on Google Fi while missing out on network switching and the VPN service. That's a bummer, but overall, this is one heck of a phone.
- Insane battery endurance
- Sleek, modern design
- AMOLED display is a joy to look at
- Reliable in-screen fingerprint sensor
- Expandable storage
- Lacks some of Fi's more intricate features
Best Battery Life
The road warriors' choice
For those of you that need a phone to last all day long no matter what you throw at it, the Samsung Galaxy A50 is the perfect fit.
Best Compact Phone: Samsung Galaxy S10e
Anyone that's been following the smartphone market over the last few years has likely noticed the trend in which phones from just about every company are getting bigger and bigger. The Galaxy S10e is a wonderful exception to that rule.
With a 5.8-inch AMOLED display, the S10e strikes a great balance of being small enough for easy one-handed use and big enough so that watching YouTube and playing games doesn't feel too cramped. You also get small bezels surrounding the display, lending another hand to the compact dream.
Some highlights of the S10e include the Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 or 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of expandable storage, two rear cameras, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Samsung Pay is also here, allowing you to pay for things with your S10e using NFC and MST technologies.
Due to the compact size, the S10e's 3,100 mAh battery does struggle a bit when paired with especially heavy use. It's also missing some of Fi's more unique features, like network switching. Those complaints aside, this is a great phone for those of you that are fed up with the ever-increasing size of our pocket computers.
- Easy to use in one hand
- Gorgeous AMOLED display
- Great dual rear cameras
- Premium hardware
- Samsung Pay
- Iffy battery life
- Doesn't work with every Fi feature
Best Compact Phone
Perfect for small hands
If you're after a compact phone, the Galaxy S10e fits the bill nicely. It offers a flagship experience in an easy-to-use form factor.
As you can see, there are a lot of great phones out there for Google Fi. However, if we had to pick just one, we'd have to go with the Google Pixel 4 XL.
For starters, the phone on its own is darn impressive. The 90Hz display is great to have, the cameras are among the best on the market, and Google's software experience continues to be one of the best out there.
Things get even better when you consider how well the Pixel 4 XL works with Google Fi. You aren't missing out on any of Fi's features with the 4 XL, meaning you'll be able to enjoy Google's network the way it was intended.
The Pixel 4 XL is just one of the phones that'll help you get the complete Google Fi experience. You need phone that was designed for the network — such as the Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3a, and Moto G7. These devices get special Fi goodies, such as access to multiple wireless networks with the ability to switch between them, seamless Wi-Fi-to-data switching, a Fi VPN for secure web browsing, and Wi-Fi calling. All phones, including the OnePlus 7T, Galaxy A50, and Galaxy S10e, get support for calls, texts, and LTE data on Fi, along with texts and data in over 200 countries around the world.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central's News Editor. He loves talking about all things tech, especially when it comes to Android phones. He has a drawer full of them that continues to grow and spends way too much time at Starbucks. Have a tip? Send an email to email@example.com or hit him up on Twitter @JoeMaring1
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