Started by ex-Googlers through crowdfunding, Nextbit, has a cloud first approach for data backup that has not been used for a long time. But does it live up to its claim of addressing the issues of limited internal storage on smartphones?
While I should have straightaway talked about the cloud storage Nextbit offers and how smoothly it works, the Robin is worthy of praise in the looks department as well.
With all smartphones looking alike, NextBit Robin provides a fresh lease of life. It doesn't have a unibody design and has been made of polycarbonate (which means plastic), but it still looks pretty. My review unit in turquoise was soft on the eye. The straight line design makes it feel good to hold. The edges aren't sharp and it is easy to slide in the pocket as well. It has a straight line design, which doesn't feel uncomfortable to hold.
There are two circular speaker grills - on the top and below the 5.2-inch full HD display. The power key has been placed ergonomically on the right edge, which also hosts a fingerprint scanner for unlocking the phone. And it works well. There is a cloud-shaped Nextbit logo with four white coloured LEDs at the rear, which start to blink when the data is being backed up on the cloud. Nextbit Robin has a Type C Charing port at the bottom and the cable in the same turquoise colour looks nice. There isn't any power adapter added to the box as Nextbit believes that a consumer buying the Robin will be upgrading to this smartphone and will have an existing adapter with them.
Coming back to the USP of the Nextbit Robin, this device will never run out of storage space. While it comes with 32 GB of internal storage, it also offers 100 GB of cloud storage for a lifetime. So whenever the device is running out of storage, it automatically deletes the images and apps that have not been used for long. By default, the images and apps are backed up to the cloud only when the Robin is connected to a Wi-Fi network and has been plugged to charge. The company has ensured that automatic backing doesn't consume mobile data or drain battery, which is good in a way.
However, the default settings can be altered by visiting the settings app. When the images are deleted from the device, a small thumbnail icon is created in the gallery. The same image can be fetched by simply tapping on the icon (when connected to the Internet). In case of apps, while you can pin the apps that prevent them from deleting, only the APK files are deleted and the data files continue to reside on the phone. This means, when the app is reinstalled from the cloud, the app will pick up from where you left it. For instance, if you are on 15th level of Candy Crush when the app was backed up on the cloud and removed, you will be able to continue to play it from the same level when retrieved from the cloud. It's just like linking your Facebook account with the game to resume it from the same level on any other device.
It runs a custom version of Android OS built on Marshmallow, known as Nextbit OS. The UI has been kept simple and neat and didn't take much getting used to. The overall performance of the Robin was good. It runs on Qualcomm 808 processor and is paired with 3 GB of RAM. There were not any heating issues but the speaker was just about average. The 13-MP camera also captures decent images. But the battery struggled to last me a day with heavy usage.
Bag it or Junk it: A forward looking device with cloud storage tied up with Internet connectivity.
Price: Rs 19,999
Plus: Design, Cloud Storage
Minus: Continious access to Internet for backup and restoring data