Nextbit Robin XDA Review: The Cloud Phone That’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Nextbit Robin XDA Review: The Cloud Phone That’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Have we found a new Nexus?

Final Thoughts 

Many people are apprehensive about the very idea of storing apps and photos in the cloud. I was too. However, after using the smart storage feature in person I believe the idea shows promise, but it definitely needs improvements. In its current state, smart storage won’t be replacing Google Photos + Titanium Backup but I can see a future where it might do that. First, Nextbit needs to hurry up and bring out ways to manually control your cloud storage. Next, they need to expand the cloud storage capabilities by allowing us to upload a greater number of file-types to their cloud such as videos and music files. Finally, I believe that Nextbit needs to work on expanding third-party gallery support  so smart storage isn’t crippled. I am not exactly positive how the latter would be accomplished. If I did, then Nextbit would probably have fixed it already like they’ve done with third-party launchers. At the very least, Nextbit could flesh out their gallery app so it isn’t so bare-bones.

Apart from the few shortcomings of smart storage I’ve pointed out, I was very pleased with Nextbit OS. Coming from a long line of Nexus devices, I am in love with the stock look and feel of Android and am glad that Nextbit decided to stick with what works in that regard. Sure, they added their own flare with the white/cloudy theme present throughout the UI, but it feels so similar to regular light Material Design that it doesn’t feel out of place. And the minor adjustments they’ve made such as the hotspot notification, search bar on recents, and lockscreen weather are welcome additions. NFC and fingerprint support round out the software/hardware feature-set to bring the device on par with the Nexus 5X.

The design of the device screams finesse and is one of the most well-built devices I’ve ever held in my hands. However, the battery life on this device is a major blemish that mars an otherwise great mid-range device. The battery life isn’t terrible like the Galaxy Nexus was back in the day, however, and it will certainly last through the day for most people. Personally, with the ability to root, ROM, and flash custom kernels I’m not as concerned as some might be with the screen-on battery life, but many users are opting to forego custom ROMs these days and are sticking with a rooted stock ROM. For these users and for the many regular users out there who expect great battery life, then they may find themselves disappointed.

Conclusions

At its $399 price, I feel that the Nextbit Robin has created a device that could make budget-conscious Nexus enthusiasts gravitate towards it for their next purchase. If I were to choose between a Nextbit Robin and the Nexus 5X, I would go with the Robin. Nextbit as a company has impressed me with their much-welcome pandering to the ROM enthusiast community as well as their open engagement with users on XDA, Reddit, and their own forums. The Robin itself is on par with the Nexus 5X in most regards, but the design and extra 1GB of RAM puts it on top for me.

The Robin isn’t an extraordinary device, but it doesn’t pretend to be one. Nextbit has taken what Google wants to do with the Nexus and cloud services and simply integrated all of it. Google wants you to use individual services to backup your photos, apps, music, etc while Nextbit is providing the entire experience for you out of the box. Of course, like I mentioned above, the cloud experience on the Robin is far from perfect but it has the potential to make the device a serious contender in the future. For now, however, Nextbit is knocking on heaven’s door with the Robin but is unable to enter until they hammer out the smart storage chains pulling them towards the ground.

Check Out XDA’s Nextbit Robin Forum >>

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