Smartphones are becoming a bit like comic books. It’s difficult to launch a new character from a new publisher into a space already crowded by brand names like Nexus, Galaxy, and iPhone. But every once in a while, a new one comes along that grabs a small slice of the action. A couple of years ago it was OnePlus. Last year, it was Nextbit with the NextBit Robin.
The Robin is perhaps the ultimate realization of the Cloud-centric phone. It’s a 5.2” device, with a 2680mAH battery, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. You get to soak in all of the Android goodness on a 1080p screen, which, for the technorati, may not feel like flagship level. But the point of a NextBit Robin is that it maintains all of your content on the phone until it gets to be too much. Then it starts to offload apps to the Cloud; I’m assuming to Amazon Web Services (AWS). I’m not certain how this recurring service model works from a price perspective, as I have not had the opportunity to test one. Regardless, for those who run tons of apps, this might be a good fit. Reviews have been divisive, from those who are unimpressed by the half of the solution that you actually hold in your hand despite the Cloud gimmickry that represents the other half of the phone’s value, to those who are positively smitten with its svelte design and by the cutesy color (Mint) that is an option.
It’s not the device for me, but if it suits you, it is available for a limited time at a $100 markdown from its normal MSRP of $399. To inaugurate the phone’s availability on Amazon, this sale brings the phone down to $299 and almost makes it an impulse buy. And it certainly makes it a viable alternative for those on the hunt for an inexpensive, unlocked phone. It only runs GSM frequencies, so you’ll need to use it on AT&T or T-Mobile or any of the dozen MVNO’s (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) who piggyback on the big carriers at a reduced price.
Most users will likely be fine with 32GB of storage. Power users? Maybe not so much. And I know for me I’d just rather have a phone with larger on-board storage than a Cloud-based extension. In a lot of ways, though, you can think of it as being akin to how the Microsoft Xbox One handles storage. If your down with that tofu, then perhaps the Robin will suit. And you’ll have a mighty fine looking phone cosmetically speaking as well. But also keep in mind Cloud is the only option to expand your storage. There is no microSD slot on the NextBit Robin. Unrelated, but it also does not come with a charger, although a USB Type-C cable is included.
The Robin also offloads photos to the Cloud, so be aware of this. I’m the type who does not allow for any auto-syncing of my photos to the Cloud. Not after the Matt Honan compromise and the Happening. My personal stance on the Robin is that I’m not interested in anything on my phone going to the Cloud without my express manual permission. Add that there are phones at parity and many with better specs at nearly the same price points or just a bit more. Motorola’s Moto X Pure Edition is on all sorts of crazy sales. The Blackberry Priv can be had for $399 on Newegg. And the Nexus 5X is at nearly the same price. Give it some thought and pan around for other deals. But if this floats your boat, by all means, have a go. You might now be wowed, but you should not be disappointed, and you’ll be saving a good bit of cheddar as well.
Photo courtesy of an anonymous Amazon reviewer