The "1-Minute" Review
- Poor battery life
- No control over cloud storage
- Slow camera
Cloud storage has become an integral part in people’s everyday lives and most people use at least one service from Dropbox to Google Drive. Now devices that heavily rely on cloud storage have become more common with Chromebooks as a prime example. Smartphones are now making that leap with the release of the Nextbit’s Robin.
In terms of design, the Robin hearkens back to older smartphones with its sharp and angular shape. To balance out the angles, it incorporates round buttons and speaker grills for a more approachable appearance.
What really gives the Robin personality, however, are the pastel color options of turquoise and light green, though it does have a more subtle dark grey palette. Reviewers call the design festive and fresh with Engadget stating, “I’m absolutely, over-the-moon in love with how it looks. It’s charming…” While the color and shape might make it look “toy-like” experts point out the build quality is superb and the soft texture of the back makes it easy to grip.
Very thin side bezels surround the 5.2 inch 1080p LCD display. While it doesn’t compare to higher end phones like the iPhone 6S, critics describe it as good enough as it offers vivid colors and solid viewing angles. The only issue they noticed were faint lines running horizontally across the screen. Still, they mention the average smartphone user probably won’t even notice.
A hexa-core Qualcomm processor and 3GB of RAM keep the Robin running at a fairly steady pace. It was able to handle pretty much any task reviewers threw at it, though they did notice it would get a bit warm. Thankfully, they didn’t experience any shutdowns due to the processor overheating. Gaming was likewise smooth and they were able to play fairly graphics heavy games on medium setting without any lag or stutters. The biggest disappointment in terms of hardware was the battery. Critics were barely able to get a full day out of it, with many having to charge midway through with even moderate usage.
What really sets the Robin apart from its competitors is its focus on cloud storage. While it does come with 32GB of onboard storage users also receive 100GB of free cloud storage. It will automatically back up apps, phone data, photos and games and will even archive apps that have not been used once your onboard storage reaches 2GB. Unfortunately, this is where the phone runs into issues. Users have zero control over the cloud storage feature. That means they cannot offload new apps or photos as Robin only moves over inactive/older ones. There is also no way to force a backup to the cloud. The inability to use the cloud as they wished was a huge disappointment for experts. Still, they don’t deny the usefulness of the smart storage features as it can help keep apps and photos organized.
On the rear of the device is a 13MP camera. It comes equipped with Phase Detection Auto Focus and an f/2.2 aperture. In practice, critics were able to take vibrant pictures in bright light settings despite missing optical image stabilization. They were also impressed with low light pictures, though when viewed closer, they did notice significant noise reduction in post-processing, leading to blurry images. The biggest problem they had was the long delay between pictures. Often it would be a full second before they could take another picture.
The Robin is a hardsell for reviewers. While the admired the cute design and good performance they were less than thrilled with the slow camera, lack of control over cloud storage and poor battery life. Most suggest waiting until the second version releases to see if any of Nextbit addresses these issues rather than buying into the first iteration.
What the Critics Are Saying...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Nextbit released the Robin on February 16, 2016.
Nextbit Robin prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Nextbit's suggested retail price is $399.00. You can compare Robin prices from around the web here on The Informr.
Nextbit backs up the Robin with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Robin has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Nextbit support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Nextbit's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.