Smartphone makers have been struggling to fix the major pain points with devices over the years. It is only in the past few months that they have been able to offer a battery that will last 24 hours, come what may.
The other pain point for a lot of budget phone users has been the fact they are always looking when the phone will run out of space. Nextbit tries to fix this, with its first phone, the Robin.
Nextbit Robin is a good-looking phone. It is slim and thin, with straight lines and edges. It has two front facing speakers, and a set of LED lights at the back to indicate that the phone is backing up to the cloud. After all, this is the USP of this device. Like the Sony Xperia phones the fingerprint scanner is on the right, embedded into the power button.
Specs: 5.2-inch full HD display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor | 3GB RAM+ 32GB storage space (100GB cloud) | 13MP rear camera + 8MP front camera | Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow | 2680 mAh battery
Price: Rs 19,999, Flipkart exclusive.
What is good?
The Robin has one innovative and unique feature: this phone will not run out of space. The phone comes with 100GB of cloud space, and your photos and app data are backed up whenever the phone is on sleep with a wifi connection. So when you come close to the 2GB threshold, the phone starts deleting apps and photos you have not been using.
You have the option of pinning apps to preserve them from being removed. Anyway downloading them is a seamless experience. This entire feature works quite well without much effort from the user.
This phone does not have any performance issues, and handles everything from multi-tab browsing to online gaming pretty well. It does get a bit warm at times, but holds the temperature well short of hot. The benchmarks put this phone a shade under the OnePlus 2, so this is certainly not flagship specs, at least not 2016 flagship specs.
I quite liked the camera on this phone. It does a good job and offers subtle colour variations, which some of the mid-level phones struggle with. The auto mode is on by default, and the manual mode gives quite a few options to get the best out of a frame. Not much options are available in video though.
Since the founder was associated with Android, the Robin also pushes what is a near pure version of the operating system. There some minimal tweaks though. For instance, there is no app drawer, and hence there are no widgets on the homescreens. The widgets are added on an extra layer floating on top of the homescreen, and summoned by a long press of the options button. I found this to be a neat feature.
What is not so great?
Despite the front facing speakers the audio on the Robin is flat and lacks the finesse of some of the newer smartphones. This can be easily fixed with a software update, but needs to be done for sure.
The front facing speakers offer another problem. The circular speakers are ever so slightly concave and under the screen this appears like a home button. I kept pressing it involuntarily and I am sure Robin users will end up wasting quite some time this way.
The battery of the phone is average. It gives about 12 hours with average use and while this phone tries to fix one pain point, the other one remains.
Should you buy?
Buy this phone if you need a decent device that looks and works a bit differently from most other phones in the market. However, your need to be insulated from space issues has to be strong enough for you to pay a premium for the same.