Nextbit Robin Review

Nextbit Robin Review

Introduction


Being the smartphone industry watchers that we are, a recent trend has not managed to evade our sights: smartphones are beginning to look alike. It's as if most makers are converging on two or three variations of what is essentially the same thing, reusing the same ideas again and again. Full-metal bodies have basically become the norm for everything above the dirt-cheap range, with the occasional glass + metal frame specimen here or there. But the problem isn't really so much in the materials phone manufacturers choose to use – it's in the stylistic decisions they make.

Nextbit Robin Review
Nextbit Robin Review
If you enter a cell phone store today and look at the shelf with displayed devices, what you usually see are a bunch of generic, rounded-rectangular shapes, their colors occupying all the "exciting" shades in-between black and white. Most of these devices look like they've been hastily put together, to try and capitalize on the extreme demand smartphones enjoy. It's a bleak, industrialized, picture. A lot of noise, and not nearly enough signal to cut through it.

And while most consumers don't seem to notice the problem yet, as they are probably too busy catching up with the cavalcade of ambiguous marketing terms manufacturers regularly bombard them with, some companies have taken it upon themselves to try and shake things up.

Founded by industry veterans from major companies like Google and HTC, Nextbit is a newly-established phone maker who's recently started shipping its debut smartphone: the $400 Robin. What's so special about the Robin? Well, first – it's very innovative when it comes to automatic memory and app management; and second – it doesn't look like anything on the market today.

Design

A counter-mainstream, consistent design makes the Nextbit Robin a sight for sore eyes in today's cold, metallic market.

Nextbit Robin Review

Nextbit's positioning is very clear – the firm and its followers call themselves 'rebels'. One look at the Nextbit Robin and you know this isn't just humbug. The shape of the Robin is strikingly clean, its edges exhibiting only a tiny bit of rounding, so they don't cut into your hands. It's sharp-looking, not sharp-feeling. Then come the colors: you can get the more conservative 'Midnight' (very dark gray) variant, but the 'Mint' (white and baby blue) one is where it's at with the Robin. Combined with the perfectly symmetric, clean rectangular shape, it makes for a phone so fresh and new, there's really some adjustment period needed.

But the more you look at and examine the Robin's unconventional, yet perfectly harmonious body, the more you get into it. Beyond the fun, almost cartoony appearance, hides some serious design work by former HTC design head Scott Croyle.

Nextbit Robin Review
Nextbit Robin Review
Nextbit Robin Review
Nextbit Robin Review

The plastic used by Nextbit is also strikingly different from what we're used to. It has just the right amount of softness to it: it's neither rubbery soft-touch, nor the usual hard one – it's somewhere in the middle, and I love the feel of it. The thoughtfully rounded edges, the fresh use of colors, and the warm, smooth feel – it all makes for an incredibly friendly, intelligent device.

The Robin's design is a bold, risky move on Nextbit's part, but I think what they've created is more than a breath of fresh air. It's genuinely pretty.


Display

The Robin is a big smartphone, and it's big for a reason. The sizable screen measures 5.2 inches in diagonal, while its resolution is 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Nextbit Robin Review
While the clarity and overall quality of the display are quite high, there's still work to be done here. Brightness levels are good, but the color balance could definitely use some more red.

Additionally, the gamma of the Robin's screen is not quite right, the result being a slight lack of contrast.

Overall, though, none of these imperfections are intense enough to make the viewing experience unpleasant. Just for perspective, the Robin's display is actually as good or even better than those of some major phones out there, like the LG G5, for example, so it really isn't that bad.

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30 Comments

1. Dreamboat

Posts: 49; Member since: Apr 29, 2015

Still seems like a pointless concept

5. Nopers unregistered

It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist any more.

17. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I like your nick, Captain Nopers

19. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yes right.. adoptable microSD will be a lot better and simplier

10. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Meh. Cloud phone. Surprisingly I know someone with the black variant of this phone.

26. Hydrocaliz

Posts: 39; Member since: Apr 20, 2016

And this phone looks super ugly...

30. DSP96

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

the grey version looks surprisingly good; atleast a bit better than the white one, but different people might have their own preferences.

2. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Eh....

3. eN16HTMAR3

Posts: 253; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

"An impressive first try" sums it up nicely.

4. ..Z..

Posts: 85; Member since: Apr 16, 2016

This reminds me of Sony Z.

18. Fialho

Posts: 16; Member since: Sep 03, 2015

Indeed. There's nothing "unique" in this design and to me it sounds more like the xperia S and others...

6. camera531

Posts: 346; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

When you keep defending a phone with lines like, "it's really not that bad"... I think I'll pass.

7. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

With the phone due to receive such a major update perhaps you should also update this review when the time comes. Maybe you should have even waited until after the update to write the review(surely you thought about it).

11. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

A lot of reviews are performed on loaner phones that need to be returned by a given date - the review timing may not have been up to PA.

15. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

They get to keep some phones, we don't know if they have to return it or keep it. There's an article about how they have over 90 phones in their office, that they got to keep.

16. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Remember when they had a post having this 90+ phones? yep, not returning

8. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

The idea and design seems very futuristic to me. Just some fixes and it'll be amazing.

9. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I do like the design but I guess that's because I have always loved the design of Sony's Z series smartphones.

12. Noonting

Posts: 135; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

So where the hell are the benchmarks

13. dariosaur

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Where is the HTC 10 review?!

14. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

They're at it already by now, probably it'll be out within this week. I bet it's getting 9 or higher *fingers crossed*

20. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

but its PA... 9 is reserved only for A* and S*... (and some lucky soul in the past)

21. xperiaZlover

Posts: 202; Member since: Nov 15, 2015

Well this phone deserves more than 6.5 what the hell PA? SERIOUSLY. Look at the design. It is unique. Userinterface is somewhat new and unique. Device has that cloud storage facility. I would have given it 8 minimum. You people only give 9,8 ratings for Apple and Samsung? Well true these devices are the best and most valuable. But this Device is not garbage. Reconsider your rating system kindly.

22. Ray.S

Posts: 436; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

6.5 is not "garbage"; it means "good phone for the price".

27. Hydrocaliz

Posts: 39; Member since: Apr 20, 2016

If you thought that this is a "good phone for the price", then why did you give the score of 6.5 instead of 8 or 8.5? PA's scoring system is a total mess... I wish that they go back to the good old rating system...

23. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I do like this phone a lot but couodnt tolerate lag because I am hyperactive.

24. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

To me the whole Cloud thing is POINTLESS. Just give us a 64GB ROM with MicroSD support up to 128GB and problem solved. Anyone who require more storage than that should seriously invest in a portable Hardisk. I have a friend who bought Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe just to brag about his storage - 128GB ROM + 128GB MicroSD!! And it only cost him roughly US$440 (with the MicroSD)! But great job on the Design, both Hardware and Software. Real FUNKY.

25. libra89

Posts: 2154; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Glad that there's finally a review for this phone on here! Now I wish PA can just add the Robin to their size and phone compare...

28. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Nice to see something as creative as the Nexbit Robin. However, 150 grams is a bit heavy for a 5.2 inch phone with a smallish battery. The newly announced Lenovo Zuk Z2 Pro is only 145 but with a bigger battery. Also, the ZTE Axon Mini is only 140 grams - all three have 5.2 inch displays. The LG G3, a 5.5 inch phone was lighter too at 149 grams. When you buy a 5.2 inch phone you want something a bit more compact than a 5.5 inch one but it must weigh correspondingly less as well to feel as compact as it should feel.

29. simranpateL

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 15, 2016

It's splendid

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