Nextbit Robin XDA Review: The Cloud Phone That’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Have we found a new Nexus?
Thoughts on Development
At XDA, we all love to customize our phones. A large subset of us flash custom ROMs and kernels or simply root and use themes or the Xposed Module framework. Whatever your preference is, you’ll be happy to know that the Nextbit Robin supports them all. Indeed, unlocking the bootloader and achieving root access on the Robin is as painless as it is on the Nexus series of devices. While there isn’t any one-click tool such as the Nexus Root Toolkit by WugFresh available, you can easily just use a few simple fastboot commands to unlock the bootloader and flash TWRP. Unlocking my phone took me all of 10 minutes to accomplish, the majority of which was spent trying to get my fastboot drivers working on my Windows PC!
Once your phone is unlocked, you’re ready to enter the world of root, ROMs, and kernels. At this point, your custom ROM and custom kernel options are nil. This is because the device actually needs developers working on it, and with the device just recently reaching the hands of most consumers, it will take some time for them to pop up. Fortunately, Nextbit seems devoted to the XDA cause and has even provided devices to developers such as Francisco Franco and the TWRP team and are currently working on bringing CM nightlies. They’ve also already posted the Robin’s kernel source as well as factory images for the device should you ever need to return to stock. Brick your device? No problem, it’s covered by the warranty! The only downside to all of this is that should you choose to run a custom AOSP-based ROM you will lose the Nextbit smart storage integration.
If you’re okay with the stock ROM, then you’ll still have access to quite a few customization options. For instance, you can play around with the CPU settings as shown above, you can enable ad blocking via the hosts file, you can install a theme using RRO layers (but unfortunately the system framework remains unthemed), and you can of course use one of the many, many modules that utilize the Xposed Framework. After I installed Xposed, I immediately downloaded GravityBox to get my custom ROM fix and then turned off the fingerprint vibration on authentication error because I found that the feature bothered me when I turned on the screen using any finger other than the one I setup the fingerprint scanner with.
The Nextbit Robin is potentially a great device for custom ROM/kernel enthusiasts, but we’ll have to wait and see how the scene develops.
Continue to Final Thoughts & Conclusions (Page 8)