Google Nexus 6P

I finally decided my old Google Galaxy Nexus was done. I couldn’t use the phone in the house, it was having random meltdowns where apps would kill the battery in 4 hours, and was getting text messages duplicated inbound and outbound. Surfing was a slow nightmare. I just could not trust it as I could when it was new, and could not use it reliably for texting. I don’t text a lot, but I do need it to work.

So after reading a gob of reviews, I decided to go Google Nexus 6P, the new Huawei Nexus version in the phone form factor. I ordered the 64Gb version, and the Speck case in black and white. It quickly arrived.

Phone? More like a surfboard. Large, about halfway between the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 Tablet. Fits into my hand, barely. Gorgeous display. I downloaded a selection of apps, redid the 2-factor setups on several accounts, restored a backup using Helium (was Carbon). Called Consumer Cellular (AT&T MVNO) to transfer the number – had to go to local Sears first to get the Nano-SIM, my existing Micro-SIM did not fit. After a bit I had to order cables – it uses the new Type-C USB format, and I needed USB to USB Type-C for connection to a laptop and car charger. Love the format, hate having to buy new cables, but now I won’t ever again.

It calls and texts in the basement in my pocket. Old phone did not. I spilled coffee on it today. The Speck case seals around the edge, and a ArmorSuit Military Grade screen protector prevented anything from touching the screen. I have dropped it several times, no problem. I did get the insurance.

Pros

  • Fast charge, good battery life. Phone used for 10 mins/day, some surfing, mostly WiFi.
  • Great display.
  • Fingerprint unlock is the best. Grab, unlock, go. I would never go back.
  • Android 6 Marshmallow works and looks great for fans of stock Android. No crapware.
  • Unlocked and compatible with Verizon AND AT&T. Can’t wait to try in Canada or Europe.

Cons

  • Big, sometimes gets away from you. If have small hands, it won’t be an easy one-hander. Hard to stow in pockets.
  • New cables required for USB Type-C
  • Expensive
  • That’s it. Great phone.

Sprint Airave

We have Sprint phone service on a family plan. We have unlimited data and decent coverage, except at home. No bars.

They sent me an Airave, which is a femtocell, basically a baby cell tower in my basement. But they want me to install it between my modem+router (WRT54GL) and the outside world. I tried that, and my internet died. No good.

Reading up on the Web, I found most folks find the recommended installation does not work. They suggest plugging it into your LAN. The only consideration is if you use VOIP – some QOS may not work. Not my problem.

Some of the instructions were complicated – plug in a laptop, manually configure for the static IP, blah blah blah. I think the dude mixed up the WAN side with the extra LAN side on the Airave.

My config: Comcast -> Linksys WRT54GL (WAN)
Airave (WAN) -> Linksys (LAN)
GPS antenna near a window.
Power.

Bingo. Airave at IP = 192.168.0.231 (via DHCP from the router in the internal network) and 5 bars on the cell phone. Made a call. Works. Sweet.