Nextbit is here at CES 2016, which means we finally got to actually see the Nextbit Robin, a brand new smartphone that starts shipping to early Kickstarters beginning February 16, and to folks who preorder it soon before the end of February. I liked the phone so much during the briefing that I went online, while talking with the team, and ordered one.
We spoke with Nextbit lead designer Scott Croyle — you might remember him from his days at HTC, where he also headed up design on the beloved One M7 — and head of product marketing Eric Lin for a bit more background on the device.
We asked Croyle, for example, what it was like designing a phone at Nextbit, now home to just about 30 employees, as opposed to designing a device with HTC. Croyle said it was a bit more daunting, especially since design at HTC often included feedback from other execs and a massive team of designers.
We also wondered about the name Robin and why it was chosen. Croyle and Lin said the goal was to come up with something that wasn’t so cyborg-ish and robotic. “Lucy” was one early name tossed around, though that was quickly shot down. Robin ultimately seemed like a fair balance — it can be used as both a male and a female name, it’s an animal, it’s the name of a Superhero. It’s different.
The phone’s design is refreshing, once a word I reserved for aluminum smartphone that were a nice diversion away from plastic. This is plastic, though it has sharp corners, beautiful and unique colorways and playful round speakers at the top and bottom of the phone. It feels soft and fun to hold, and the processor felt powerful enough to handle the unique custom software included by Nextbit.
Everything feels thought out, by the way, both in terms of industrial design and UI. Small things, like the phone icon, isn’t just a lame handset. Croyle recommended using a smartphone for the icon and, ultimately, that’s what it is now: a smaller version of the Nextbit Robin.
Nextbit knows what it’s doing, and I think while firms such as OnePlus are doing a good job in a similar market, Nextbit is will be a fierce competitor once consumers start to get their hands on this phone.
We’ll have a final say when we get our review unit in, but I’m already confident enough in this phone that I just spend $424 of my own money on one.
Win an iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch with the Reader's Choice giveaway!
What's the best phone of 2019? Is it the iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4 or OnePlus 7T? What about the best laptop, games console, tablet and more? Vote NOW in the Reader's Choice awards and win BIG in time for the holidays!
Here are the best products from IFA 2019!
Here are the products announced at IFA 2019 that were worthy of our Best of IFA 2019 awards. Also featuring MrMobile's single best product at the show!
Pixel 4 hands-on videos reveal all, including new 'Screen attention' mode
The Pixel 4 leaks continue to be fierce. Most recently, three hands-on videos showcasing the Pixel 4 in all of its glory have been uploaded to YouTube.
Here are the best screen protectors for the Google Pixel 3a
Before you take the Pixel 3a on your next photoshoot, make sure to install a screen protector on the device to keep the display pristine for months to come.