Google Pixel 4 XLSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Best Phones for Google Fi Android Central 2020

For just $20 per month for unlimited calls and texts, and $10 per gigabyte of data (and any data past 6GB is free), Google Fi is one of the most compelling carriers around. Factor in its excellent global roaming, nationwide coverage, and billing feature that credits back whatever data you don't use, and you have an even more appealing purchase. Fi works with almost any unlocked phone, but certain features only work on some phones. The Google Pixel 4 XL is our top recommendation for the network because of its complete feature support, but if that doesn't fit your needs, there are plenty of other phones to choose from here.

Best Overall: Google Pixel 4 XL

Pixel 4 XL sitting on a treeSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

When it comes to phones that work with Google Fi, the best overall option is the Google Pixel 4 XL. Not only is the 4 XL an exciting phone on its own, but it was also built with Fi in mind to provide the best possible experience when used on the network. It supports Fi's network switching for the best coverage and speeds, and can use every extra Fi feature like its built-in VPN.

Looking at the phone itself, the Pixel 4 XL brings a lot to the table. It has a large 6.3-inch 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.

The Pixel series' greatest strengths — camera performance and software — are where the 4 XL shines. Along with the primary 12MP camera, there's also a 16MP telephoto one. Images taken with the Pixel 4 XL are wonderful, whether you're shooting during the day, evening, or outside in the 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.

Pros:

  • Phenomenal cameras
  • 90Hz AMOLED display
  • Wickedly fast face unlock
  • Clean, up-to-date software
  • "Designed for Fi" multi-network compatible

Cons:

  • Unimpressive battery life
  • Poor storage offerings
  • Doesn't have 5G

Best Overall

Google Pixel 4 XL

Google's phone pairs perfectly with Google's carrier

Google's 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

Pixel 3a XL standing on a tableSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

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 panel used for the 3a still looks good for browsing, hitting social media apps and binging YouTube. There's even a 3.5 mm 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. And just like the 4 XL, the Pixel 3a works with all of Google Fi's advertised features, making for the best possible experience.

Note: The Pixel 4a will likely be available in July. If you're at all able to hold off on getting a new phone, the 4a looks poised to be a really nice upgrade from the 3a.

Pros:

  • Shockingly good cameras
  • Solid AMOLED display
  • Reliable performance
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • "Designed for Fi" multi-network compatible

Cons:

  • No wireless charging
  • Just 4GB of RAM

Best Value

Google Pixel 3a

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 G Power

Moto G Power ReviewSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Time and time again, Motorola stands out as one of the best companies for delivering good, cheap Android phones. 2020 saw the release of the Moto G Power, and if you're in the market for an affordable smartphone, it's hard to beat.

The "Power" name is a reference to the phone's best feature: battery life. With a 5,000 mAh battery crammed inside, you can easily get two or even three days of use on a charge. In a world where it's the norm to throw your phone on a charger nightly, being able to go a couple of days without worrying about it is a dream come true. The 6.4-inch display is easy on the eyes, performance is plenty fast thanks to the Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM, and graphics performance is vastly improved over its predecessor. The G Power also has a trio of solid cameras, allowing for a wide variety of shots, and image quality is pretty good considering how cheap the G Power is.

Motorola's software ties it all together. The interface is nearly identical to what you'd find on a Pixel, so it's clean Android as Google intended it. Motorola throws in a few software tweaks to enhance the experience, like Moto Display and Moto Actions. The former is arguably the best always-on display out there, with the latter allowing you to move the phone in various ways to launch features.

The Moto G Power lacks NFC, which rules out contactless payments. Plus, Motorola's history with software updates is very weak, in stark contrast to Pixels. If neither of those two things bothers you, however, the Moto G Power is a wonderfully complete package that we think a lot of people will be overly happy with. And because it's part of the "Designed for Fi" program, it gets complete network support on Google Fi just like a Pixel 4.

Pros:

  • Great build quality and design
  • Three rear cameras are a lot of fun
  • Up to three-day battery life
  • Moto Display and Moto Actions are great
  • "Designed for Fi" multi-network compatible

Cons:

  • Moto G line isn't known for swift software updates
  • Lacks NFC

Best Budget Phone

Moto G Power

The best budget Android phone for most people

You want the Moto G Power if you're on a budget. It's built well, has a good display, fun cameras, and insane battery life.

Upgrade Pick: Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung Galaxy S20+Source: Android Central

Everything Samsung's done in the Galaxy S20+ just solidifies its position at the top of the flagship Android phone world. It brings top-end hardware with a big display that has a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, a large 4,500 mAh battery, tons of RAM, and a new Snapdragon 865 processor. Every Galaxy S20+ is 5G capable as well, with Sub-6 and mmWave, which isn't the biggest deal right now but will become more critical as we push into 2021.

The huge move up this year for Samsung is with the cameras, with a new array both front and back. The new sensors are all larger and let in more light so you can take dramatically better low-light photos. It's not entirely on the level of the Pixel 4 XL, but this is a big step up for Samsung and is no longer a shortcoming of this flagship. You also get capable zooming up to 5X, while keeping an ultra-wide camera for more shooting variety.

You pay top dollar for everything this phone does, though, with a price jump of a couple of hundred dollars over the already-expensive Galaxy S10+ last year. But if the cost isn't so important, you're getting an excellent phone that's worth the money.

Pros:

  • Best-in-class display
  • Good battery life
  • Exceptional performance
  • Great all-around cameras
  • 5G enabled

Cons:

  • Expensive for 128GB of storage
  • Camera zoom much weaker than S20 Ultra
  • Slow fingerprint sensor
  • No headphone jack

Upgrade Pick

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung's excellent all-rounder

The S20+ has a great screen, excellent specs, a strong set of cameras, and feature-packed software. It's expensive but worth it.

Best Value with 5G: OnePlus 8

OnePlus 8Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

OnePlus didn't make huge changes coming from the 7T, but it didn't really need to. You get a fresh design that keeps it fresh and in line with the 8 Pro, plus a bump in specs and 5G with the same great basics. There's an excellent 90Hz display, great battery life, consistent camera performance, and incredibly good software.

In keeping its price relatively affordable in the scheme of high-end phones, you miss out on a couple of things. The cameras didn't improve from the 7T, and in one way got worse — you lose a telephoto camera, and gain a dedicated macro shooter that isn't very good. Unlike the 8 Pro, there's no wireless charging here. At the same time, you're dealing with the fact that the OnePlus 8 is considerably more than the 7T was just six months ago.

Even still, the OnePlus 8 offers a great value if you want to dip your toe into 5G with a higher-end phone, but don't want to spend top dollar. You get Sub-6 5G from the T-Mobile side of Google Fi, which has great coverage and solid speeds.

Pros:

  • Fantastic software experience
  • 5G and excellent specs for the money
  • Consistent camera performance
  • Sleek and solid hardware
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • No wireless charging
  • Minimal improvements over 7T
  • No zoom camera and bad macro camera
  • Only has Sub-6 5G in the U.S.

Best Value with 5G

OnePlus 8

One of the best phones with 5G right now

The OnePlus 8 is a 7T with new specs, 5G, and a larger battery. Even at its higher price, it still represents incredible value.

Best Battery Life: OnePlus 8 Pro

Oneplus 8 ProSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The OnePlus 8 Pro is just as impressive and well-made as any high-end smartphone out there. If you know anything about OnePlus, you'll be happy to know the 8 Pro doesn't upend the traditional formula. Instead, it extends it to its logical place in a world of 2020 flagships with ever-more features and a higher price.

The hardware goes toe-to-toe with any phone out there, punctuated by the best display OnePlus has ever put in a phone. It's bright, colorful, and has a 120Hz refresh rate that you'd expect for this money. Inside, there are exceptional specs, and that leads to fantastic performance thanks to super-smooth software — it's just a joy to use. It also extends to incredible battery life, even though the 4,510 mAh battery isn't the biggest. Once again, it's all about the software here.

The 8 Pro also brings the best cameras yet to a OnePlus phone, with a new primary sensor that steps up its game to a flagship level. The entire camera experience is a small step behind the likes of the Galaxy S20+ and Pixel 4 XL, but then again it's also competitively priced and offers a ton in other areas. That's really where the 8 Pro fits in: it's a true flagship top to bottom, for just a bit less money than traditional players with big brand names.

Pros:

  • Large, beautiful 120Hz display
  • Greatly improved main and wide-angle cameras
  • Excellent battery life
  • OxygenOS is best-in-class Android software
  • Wireless charging and IP68 rating

Cons:

  • Much more expensive than before
  • Only has Sub-6 5G in the U.S.
  • Telephoto camera isn't good
  • Some software and camera bugs still present

Best Battery Life

OnePlus 8 Pro

A more expensive OnePlus phone, but one that's more capable

The 8 Pro is an impressive and well-designed smartphone that doesn't upend the traditional OnePlus formula.

Best Under $150: Moto E (2020)

Moto E 2020Source: Motorola

Over and over again, Motorola's Moto E series stands out as being an incredibly affordable phone. However, while they're undoubtedly cheap, they don't deliver a bad experience. In fact, with the new Moto E for 2020, the formula is better than it's ever been.

For being as inexpensive as it is, the Moto E has a nice design. The glossy plastic isn't amazing, but the 6.2-inch display with small bezels and a simple camera notch looks right at home in 2020. You'll also find two cameras on the back, and a fingerprint sensor — both firsts for a Moto E.

The Snapdragon 632 processor and 2GB of RAM won't knock your socks off, but for basic app usage and some light games, it'll get the job done just fine. You also get 32GB of storage, with microSD expansion, a headphone jack, and a 3,550 mAh battery — though Micro-USB charging is a major bummer.

Motorola's software is Android 10, and it's top-notch, but comes with a catch. Unlike Moto Gs that are promised a major operating system update, the Moto E isn't confirmed to get any. That means it could get a big upgrade, but you shouldn't count on it. That's something to weigh in, but at this price maybe you'll be willing to just buy a new phone before the out-of-date software becomes a problem.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Large display with respectable bezels
  • Great out-of-the-box software
  • Has a headphone jack
  • Expandable storage

Cons:

  • Charges with Micro-USB
  • Won't get any OS updates

Best Under $150

Moto E (2020)

A super-low price tag with outsized value

If the lack of future software updates doesn't bother you, the Moto E packs quite a punch given just how inexpensive it is.

Bottom line

As you can see, there are a lot of great phones out there that work on 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. Then 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 can also go with the Pixel 3a or Moto G Power and get that same set of compatibilities and features. These devices all get special Fi goodies, such as access to multiple wireless networks with the ability to switch between them for better coverage, seamless Wi-Fi-to-data switching, a Fi VPN for secure web browsing, and Wi-Fi calling. But all of the other phones on this list still get a solid experience, with 4G or 5G data on Fi, along with texts and data in over 200 countries around the world. But here in the U.S., you'll be limited to just T-Mobile's main network.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Andrew Martonik is Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

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 joe.maring@futurenet.com or hit him up on Twitter @JoeMaring1

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