Aside from its quirky styling, the Robin is a bold venture into an unknown cloud-based future.
Commendable screen, robust performance, clever cloud storage, price
Cloud power, disappointing camera, UI changes, so-so battery life
Display: 5.2in Full HD 1,920x1,080, 424ppi
Processor: Snapdragon 808
Operating system: Android 6.0
Storage: 32GB, 100GB cloud storage
Cameras: Rear 13MP camera, dual-tone flash
The ambitious Nextbit Robin is now available to all following a successful Kickstarter campaign. The Robin comes with 100GB of free online storage to keep apps and photos, but can it amount to anything more?
The cool mint green and white design offers a refreshing contrast to some of the identikit brushed metal designs to which we've become accustomed. A Midnight colour option is available, but we think it the mint really helps to set it off and is more sympathetic to the bold design.
The smooth plastic rear may get toasty hot but for the most part the Robin feels well made and satisfying to the touch. Despite its cute looks it's actually a pretty sturdy unit and didn't flex one jot when put under pressure.
The Robin is unusually boxy for a phone designed by some of the minds behind the HTC M7 and M8, but its diminutive dimensions mean it never strays into brick territory. At 7mm thick it's one of the skinniest phones around and that 150g weight means it slips easily into the hand.
The front bezels are perhaps the Robin's most striking feature. Each houses a large circular speaker which we originally met with wariness, but were happy to discover can make quite a pleasing racket. The placement of the speakers also allows the Robin to deliver a sense of immersive spatial audio.
Four LED indicators on the back of the device light up to show the progress of any offloading activity. There's a further small LED next to the USB-C port which functions as a notification light.
Performance and hardware
That colourful and cooling exterior hides a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core CPU (last seen in the LG G4), Adreno 418 GPU and 3GB of RAM.
We carried out our standard benchmarking tests. Geekbench 3 returned 1,224 (single-core) and 3,504 (multi-core), while AnTuTu returned 71,210. Top scorers like the HTC 10 amassed 2,379, 5,233 and 152,509 in comparison.
Despite its cute looks the Robin is a formidable performer, more than coping with the challenges we tossed in its way.
Performance is that of a mid- to top-end handset, and is arguably comparable to handsets using the Snapdragon 810 (there's not a lot of difference between the chips).
On the strength of that the Nextbit Robin can hold its own against the likes of the OnePlus 2 and HTC One M9. It also shares some similarities with the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7, which has a similar engine room and can be had for around the same price.
We like how the fingerprint scanner resides stealthily in the power button (a move previously championed by Sony's Xperia line) and we considered its accuracy top notch during our hands-on time.