For light data users in the US, Google’s cellular service, Project Fi, can be one of the best deals in mobile. It’s $20 per month for unlimited calls and texts, plus $1 per 100MB of data you use (that works out to $10 per GB), with a “bill protection cap” (basically an unlimited plan) of $80. Coverage from Sprint, T-Mobile, and US-Cellular is all rolled into one super-carrier, multiple data SIMs are free, and you can text and leave voicemails from a PC.
The hard part is getting a compatible phone that works with Fi’s multi-carrier setup. Previously, there was only Google’s lineup of Pixel and Nexus phones, along with the Moto X4. Today, Google is announcing three new Fi-compatible phones: The Moto G6, LG G7 ThinQ, and the LG V35 ThinQ.
The big news here is the Moto G6, which will be the cheapest Fi-compatible phone out there. Normally the phone is $249, but on Fi you can buy it for $199. You get a 5.7-inch 2160×1080 LCD, a Snapdragon 450, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 3000mAh battery. The phone is all glass, with a front fingerprint reader, a USB-C port on the bottom, and—thankfully—a headphone jack.
Keep in mind that buying a Moto G6 means dealing with Motorola’s terrible update support. The Moto G6 doesn’t get monthly security updates—they arrive every 60 to 90 days instead. Previously Google protected Fi users from Motorola’s update policy with an “Android One” version of the Moto X4, which ran stock Android and got monthly security updates. This year, you’re stuck with Moto’s normal update policy.
The Moto G6 is up for pre-order on the Project Fi site right now. Besides buying it for $199 outright, there is also a Fi-nancing plan (sorry) which costs $8.29/mo for 24 months.
There are also two new high-end phones from LG arriving on Project Fi. There’s the LG G7 ThinQ, which we previously tried out, and the newly announced LG V35 ThinQ, which seems to be little more than a spec bump of the LG V30. Both are Snapdragon 845 devices with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Both are made of glass and run Android 8.0 with LG’s Android skin.
The big difference between the two seems to be the displays. The LG G7 has a 6.1-inch 3120×1440 LCD with a notch, while the LG V35 has a 6.0-inch 2880×1440 LG OLED display without a notch. The V35 also has a slightly bigger battery: 3300mAh versus the 3000mAh battery in the G7.
Both LG phones are pretty pricey: the G7 is $749 (or $31.21 a month) on Fi, while the V35 is $899 or ($37.46 a month). I think either one is a tough sell for that kind of money when you can buy the LG-made Google Pixel 2 XL for about the same amount. You won’t get the latest SoC (the P2XL has last year’s Snapdragon 835), but Google’s speedier software is more than enough to make up for it. You’ll get better software, faster updates, and a better camera.
Both LG phones will go on sale at Fi next month.