Thanksgiving vacation with Google, T-Mobile, 5G

This was one of the few times I have not been particularly paying close attention to my phone over a vacation, and that’s rare. In the past I’ve had a lot of issues with connectivity, having to stay connected for work, problems with hotspots, dead batteries, and generally hated most of my experiences with Sprint and Google. This time, not so much. That’s a good thing.

Google Assistant seemed to be in a mood to not annoy me and only went south when the internet connectivity was questionable. It went south and stayed south even after signal returned, but an additional 5 or so minutes and it returned. The “tell me the news” feature only stopped when the internet did, which was nice for a long drive (7+ hours).

T-Mobile did pretty good, only failing noticeably north of Destin, FL. I popped up a WiFi hotspot and my kids got to experience what I never was able to: a not boring 7+ hour car ride. I’d loaded the kids up with an old deactivated Samsung S7 (their grandpa gave to them,) and my wife’s old S9+ and an iPad from nearly a decade ago, and whatever the last larger Fire Kids edition tablet was.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G got down to 30% or so one day after a whole lot of filming the ocean and uploading it… the beach I was on only could reach 620mbit per second… the horror. OK, uploads seemed to be capped at 70mbit but yeah…

I went against all my normal advice on vacationing, basically because after two years of not really having much of an escape I was not thinking about that. No downloaded maps, just left.

A couple of calls were made on the road, the devices worked fine and I noted the lack of dead zones for calling… I don’t think I’ve run across dead zones in the last four or five years.

Google, T-Mobile, 5G, Samsung, basically faded to the background as nothing particularly horrible went wrong. Other than trying to figure out a TV at an AirBnB and a Schlage lock refusing to disengage, I finally had a no tech support vacation.

The only thing that really failed during the trip was the Fitbit Sense – battery life of a day and a half. Not really sure why, perhaps it thought the 8 hours in a car were me doing something. I noticed the screen kept turning on whenever I looked. Not really sure if it hated the area or what. Seems to be back to normal today but for about four days it would use significantly more battery than expected.

I did notice that Google’s spoken podcast/news tends to have no way to mark something heard and move on – eg I tell it to skip, it may come back later and say “resuming tech podcast from 9am this morning”

Overall – tech acceptable and has reached what I feel I was expecting eleven years ago.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts