Nextbit Robin XDA Review: The Cloud Phone That’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Have we found a new Nexus?
Amidst the vast sea of high-end flagship smartphones, it’s difficult to imagine how a newcomer could compete. That’s why Nextbit opted to avoid the water and instead go by air with their cloud-based Robin, aimed at the upper mid-range market.
In this review, I will guide you through the Nextbit Robin experience from the perspective of the Android enthusiast. The opinions contained within are my own, but I hope that I can paint an accurate portrayal of day-to-day use of the Nextbit Robin so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not the purchase the phone. I should note that I am coming from the perspective of a long-time Google Nexus user, so my personal observations will be colored by my experience using the Nexus line-up. Before we begin, here’s a specification sheet for you to take a quick look at:
|Android Version:||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Model Name:||Robin (ether)|
|Dimensions:||149 x 72 x 7 mm||Screen size & screen ratio:||5.2 inches (~69.4% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Primary Camera:||13MP||Secondary Camera:||5MP|
|Screen Type & Resolution:||IPS LCD, 1080 x 1920, 423ppi||Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 808|
|Internal Storage:||32GB onboard + 100GB cloud storage||CPU:||4x ARM Cortex-A53 @ 1.44GHz|
2x ARM Cortex-A57 @ 1.82GHz
|Card Slot:||None||GPU:||Adreno 418 @ 600MHz|
|RAM:||3GB||Battery:||2680mAh, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0|
|NFC:||Yes||USB:||USB Type C|
LTE Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12*/17/20/28
- Design, Build Quality (Page 1)
- Software – Smart Storage (Page 2)
- Software – UI, Features, Launcher, Bugs (Page 3)
- Performance – Benchmarks & Real-world UX (Page 4)
- Camera, Audio & Video, and Display (Page 5)
- Battery Life & Charging (Page 6)
- Thoughts on Development (Page 7)
- Final Thoughts & Conclusions (Page 8)
Some might think it’s gaudy. Some might think it looks like a toy. Personally, I think it’s beautiful. The Nextbit Robin’s design is elegant, sleek, and an overall delight to lay eyes on.
The device sports a 5.2″ display with approximately a 69.4% screen-to-body ratio. The bezels are a bit large and the black border around the screen is definitely noticeable, but the overall design more than makes up for it. The edges of the device are sharp and the body is made up of matte plastic that is firm, but soft to the touch. The mint and midnight colors stand out from the rest of the white, black, and gold colored shells you’ll find on most other smartphones.
The volume rocker, while a bit tacky, also fits with the overall design language of the device. Sure it’s a little hard to press (and the same goes for the depressed power button) but it doesn’t feel like Nextbit had to throw these buttons into their design so people could actually use the phone. Rather, it feels like the buttons are part of the overall package. The same goes for the circular front and back cameras, the circular sensors, and the circular speaker grilles on the front. All of these stand out by providing a stark contrast with the rectangular shape of the device. Within the power button you’ll also find the fingerprint sensor, a clever place to hide the sensor but which brings with it some minor inconveniences in that you have to press the button first to activate the sensor.
On the bottom you have a tiny notification LED that’s honestly pretty easy to miss since most of us are so used to peeking at the front of the device. You also have the USB Type-C port to the left, a position I’m not a major fan of as it makes the phone unbalanced when you’ve plugged it in.
Finally, on the back you have the smart storage LED lights which light up whenever smart storage is actively archiving or restoring an app or photo. As you can see in the image, the Robin is quite easy to hold in one hand. The device measures 149mm x 72mm x 7mm and weighs in at only 150g and thanks to the sleek rectangular build you won’t be able to find any angle at which the Nextbit Robin is uncomfortable to hold. Though, if you do decide to hold it with two hands in the landscape position, you might find your thumbs hovering over the two speaker dimples, which if you’re not careful you may end up covering them up and blocking out some of the audio. Overall, though, the Nextbit Robin is one of the most aesthetically and functionally pleasing devices I’ve used in a very long time. You can view more photos of the device in our previous hand-on.
Continue to Software – Smart Storage (Page 2)