The Nextbit Robin: A Cloud First Smartphone

Smartphones have hit a plateau over the last few years, with most new phones opting for incremental design changes and features that do not really shift paradigms. It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd in such a scenario, particularly if you are a small Android manufacturer.

This is exactly what the Nextbit has done. Everything from the design of the phone to its ‘killer feature’ helps the Robin to immediately be distinctive and unique. The hardware of the phone is nothing special, however, that is to be expected for a phone being sold unlocked for 399$. It comes with 32GB storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera plus a 5-megapixel front shooter, 5.2-inch 1080p display, 3GB of RAM and 2,690mAh battery.

None of this is supposed to entice you to buy the phone. It is only the standard that people expect from their phones nowadays. The real story is in what Nextbit calls ‘Smart Storage’.

Seamless Backups

As anyone who has used a 16GB iPhone or a low-end Android with limited storage will understand, it can be extremely difficult to fit all of your apps, photographs, videos and everything else on the phone. The option is to either buy a phone with more storage (which can be expensive), buy a phone with expandable storage (less and less common) or keep meticulously backing up everything on your computer (most people will never do it).

Nextbit has come up with a solution that it feels is ideal. The Robin comes with 100GB of free cloud storage with each phone and then intelligently starts to back up your apps/photos to the cloud without ever needing a prompt from you.

The software determines which apps you have used least over the last few weeks and then backs it up to the cloud. The app icon remains on your device in a washed out color to indicate it has been backed up. You can choose to re-download it with a simple tap whenever you have access to a data connection and it will pick up from wherever you had left it, all data in place.

The same works for photos. The system works without the user ever having to worry about storage worries.

Still some work to do

Unfortunately, though, this solution is not quite perfect right now. Videos, which take up the most space by far, are not backed up by Nextbit at all. Android restrictions also mean that Google apps will always be on your device whether you use them or not.

These are small gripes though and things that Nextbit can easily rectify with software updates. The camera performance also left a lot to be desired, with pictures frequently far inferior to what its competitors can capture.

The skin that Nextbit has put on stock Android is pretty light, in that it takes away some features from android rather than add any major ones! The widgets have been pretty much hidden away from users and the whole setup is made to look like the app grid of the iPhone.

On the plus side, though, the phone comes with an unlocked bootloader and so power users can flash any ROM they want without destroying their warranty.


The Nextbit has come out with a phone which is based on a good idea. Unfortunately, though, we are not sure how long or how difficult it will be for other major manufacturers to just add the same functionality in their phones and thus removing the novelty factor from Nextbits.

As of now, this is an interesting phone to try out but not one that we would recommend you buy unless storage is your only criteria.


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