NextBit Robin: A cloud storage smartphone for the future (Tech review)

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New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Cloud computing is the future and unleasing its power on your smartphone is the next big thing. San Francisco-based device maker Nextbit has made a quick switch with its flagship “Cloud first” Android device Robin in India.

Did we say US-based? Yes, amid the sea of Chinese players, Robin, the first Android smartphone with integrated cloud storage, is a fresh feeling.

Nextbit is a startup backed by Apple, Google and HTC. The Rs.19,999 Robin automatically switches to cloud storage when a user starts running out of space on the device.

Let us see what works for the phone.

The rectangle-shaped phone — in mint and midnight colour options — has a flat USB Type-C cable. The company does not provide power adapter or a headset which can be purchased separately.

The device is built entirely with plastic but the soft texture feels different. The identical speaker and earpiece space give the design symmetry. Next to the earpiece are the 5 MP front-camera and the light sensor.

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The 5.2-inch IPS panel display with a full-HD resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for protection makes it a complete choice. The round volume buttons are placed on the left while the single Nano-SIM tray and power button are on the right.

The 13MP rear camera has a dual-tone LED flash unit and a series of LED lights below.

The company has offered a smart storage feature that gives a 100GB cloud storage in addition to the 32GB inboard memory.

The smart storage feature also frees up space by backing up apps and photos to the Cloud and archiving the least used ones when space runs low.

It leaves grey thumbnails of all archived content on the phone, making it easy to tap and restore the app and continue where you left.

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The smaller files can be synced on the Cloud via mobile data but other features can only be synced with Wi-Fi.

When the device senses the space is low — for example while downloading a video game — it starts archiving apps and photos by itself.

Robin runs on the custom Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow)-Nextbit OS and delivers an optimum sound quality from its dual front-facing speakers with audio enhancements by Arkamys.

The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB RAM and has 2,680 mAh battery.

The phone handles 4K videos well. In our loop video test, the phone lasted for 6 hours and 43 minutes. With regular use, one can use the phone for a day.

What doesn’t work.

The camera is average. Focussing speed is low with no macro photography support. Low-light shots look good on the phone’s display but turn out to be grainy when viewed on larger display.

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Although the concept of providing fingerprint scanner on power button is new, one has to press the power button to unlock the phone while other phones with fingerprint technology are unlocked with a touch on the scanner.

There is no app drawer and so people have to use too many screens if they want to install several apps on the phone.

Verdict: Overall a new concept. In our opinion, the device will surely lead a revolution in “Cloud-first” devices. A good buy if you do not want another Chinese device.

(Sourabh Kulesh can be contacted at [email protected])



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