The Nextbit Robin is a pretty looking phone that looks like no other smartphone on the market we see today. But the beauty of the Robin isn’t just skin deep as it packs in a good performance hardware inside.
Robin is delivered in a smart looking box…book with a cloud themed cover. Flip the first page and it says, Hey Rebel, meet Robin, well, thank you there. Flip one more and you’ll meet the Robin. Along with the phone, you get a USB Type-C cable and a sim ejector tool. It’s somewhat strange, but Nextbit wants you to buy the charging adapter separately, or just make do with the charging cable.
For those who want to watch out exhaustive review of the Nextbit Robin; here you go-
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The Nextbit Robin looks and feels premium even though the whole body is crafted out of plastic. Clean design lines and sharp edges make the boxy looking Robin out of the box. The phone is really lightweight and feels surprisingly nice to the hand. Almost every module on the Robin is designed to stand out of the crowd. Starting off from the fingerprint sensor that doubles up as a power key, is placed on the right-hand side of the frame- something like we have never seen before.
This beautiful 5.2 inch full HD display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and on top of it are the 5 MP front camera, proximity sensor and an earpiece .The earpiece also doubles up as the speaker. At the bottom of the screen is a speaker module as well and both the speakers come with dual amplifiers. Up top we have the 3.5mm audio jack, noise cancellation mic and at the bottom are the USB type-C port a primary mic. We also get a charging notification light near the charging port.
The volume buttons are placed on the left and a single sim tray is on the right. At the rear we can see a dual tone finish, with the cloud sign and notifications lights. On top is the 13MP shooter with Dual LED flash. Interestingly all the circles we see on the Robin are in pairs. The Robin is not metallic or heavy, but even with its lightweight plastic construction, it feels like a well-built, well-finished premium product.
OS and Specs
The Robin comes with Android Marshmallow straight out of the box and features the NextBit UI on top. The phone also gets 32GB onboard memory along with a free 100GB cloud storage, we will get to that in a bit. Powering the device is a Hexa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor coupled with Adreno 418 GPU and 3GB RAM. The numbers are quite decent and surprisingly, the performance is even better in effect. Energy is drawn through a 2680 mAh battery.
Swiping through the screens is a breeze, no glitches here. The UI loses the app drawer and all of your apps are displayed on the home screen. Apart from the missing app tray, the whole experience is stock android and pretty easy to get used to. Interestingly, the Robin is rolled out with an unlocked bootloader, which means users can flash their favourite ROMs on the Robin without voiding the warranty.
The smart storage is a neat addition to the device and happens to be the USP of the Robin. Let me break it down to you as to how it works. Smart Storage provides 100GB of cloud space that is integrated in the OS itself. No third party apps are needed. All you need to do is go in settings – smart storage and sign in with your google account. There is no manual uploading to the cloud. Instead, the Robin uploads your data on the cloud automatically.
As of now, Smart storage only stores your apps and photos and not videos, which is a bit of a shame, as those are the files which hog the maximum space. We hear that an upcoming update on Robin will fix that though. You can select apps that you don’t want to upload on the cloud by dragging the specific icon, Nextbit likes to call this act as ‘pinning’ the apps. These apps stay on the internal storage while others get archived. The icons of the archived apps are greyed out. This icon here is immovable and cannot be replaced by any other icon. This gives you the overview of all the pinned and archived apps.
Before testing the Robin with any games or apps we ran a few benchmark tests. We expected that the fancy looking phone won’t be amusing us in this department. But we are happy that such was not the case. An impressive score of over 70k led us to load the Robin with some high end games.
The Asphalt 8 Airborne experience was astounding. We experienced no lag or frame loss in the game and the gameplay very smooth. The performance was similar when it came to Nova 3 and Dungeon hunter 5. This smooth performance is delivered through some beautifully meshed hardware and software, but that finesse comes at a price. The 2680mAh battery isn’t enough and drains down fast while gaming. Also, after a couple of races, the phone started feeling warm and heated upon extended use.
The 13 mp rear shooter is good, but we believe it could have been better. There is also a bit of a lag between touching the screen for image capture and when the image actually gets clicked.
Having said that, images captured in brightly lit environments come out good. The 5MP front facing camera could have been better as well with a bit more speed, sharpness, and details. The camera app offers a manual mode with some very intuitive slider controls for ISO and exposure, although the camera doesn’t allow you to control shutter speed. Videos can be shot in 4K, full HD and HD from the rear camera. The output here is reasonably good in brightly lit conditions, though the lack of an image stabilizer is quite evident when shooting with a jerky hand. its Front shooter would shoot Full HD and HD videos. Overall, the camera performance leaves us somewhat wanting for more.
Battery performance has been okay at best since a 2680 mAh unit is not enough for the Robin. Quick charging support is appreciable, but we feel Nextbit should have most definitely provided a compatible charging brick inside the box. You have to shell out extra money if you wish to buy a Nextbit branded charger.
At USD 299 or 19,999 Indian Rupees, for the specs that it offers, the Robin feels slightly steep, especially in the company of those increasingly inexpensive Chinese phones. The Robin isn’t a top drawer phone, and it shows in certain aspects including the camera performance.
However, the Robin doesn’t wish to win this market on performance. Its trump card is its differentiated styling which really makes it look refreshingly stunning among a crowd of drab looking bricks. This one should really tug at the hearts of the fairer sex. Throw in that 100 GB of free cloud storage and the Robin should make some sense for the style conscious among us.
It’s still a Robin, though, and we can’t wait for Nextbit to unleash the Batman on us. We think it’s coming soon…