Cloud storage vs local storage: Is the Nextbit Robin better than its Android counterparts?

The Robin's cloud connected storage offers little benefits compared to locally stored data and all of that app, photo and video juggling to save storage space will leave you stranded when you need to access something quickly.


Today, Swipe Technologies launched its new smartphone called the Elite Plus and it packs in some budget to mid-range specifications at an attractive price tag. But an additional feature did grab our attention, and that is the 100GB of cloud storage via its SwipeBox app. So can a cheaper Rs 6,999 smartphone take on the mighty cloud-storage-powered Nextbit Robin? Let's find out.

 Cloud storage vs local storage: Is the Nextbit Robin better than its Android counterparts?

First, let us have a look at the specifications. On the Robin, users get a 5.2-inch FHD display compared to the 5-inch FHD unit on the Elite Plus. Next up there's the all-important processor. We get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core chipset with 3GB RAM, while the Elite Plus gets a tried and tested Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core chipset with 2GB RAM. Indeed, the Robin gets an edge out here. Then there's the storage.

The Robin gets 32GB of internal storage with no expandable memory option, but 100GB of cloud connected storage (for life). The Swipe Elite Plus comes with 16GB of internal storage that is expandable to 64GB via a microSD card and packs in 100GB of cloud storage space via its SwipeBox app. For a minute there, one may think that Swipe just one the battle, but more on this later.

Nextbit Robin Midnight front back

We have a similar camera setup on both devices (at least on paper). The Robin packs in a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing unit, while the Elite Plus packs in a 13MP camera and an 8MP front facing unit. You get single SIM setup on the Robin versus the Dual SIM LTE support on the Elite. And then there's the battery where the Nextbit loses again, with Elite Plus sporting a larger 3050mAh unit.

We recently reviewed the Nextbit Robin. It was a great smartphone that features a fresh design and a fresh new concept of an always connected cloud storage. The cloud storage unlike the Google apps in your Android smartphone, will back up not just your photos and videos to free up space, but apps as well. Unused apps will automatically backup to the Robin's 100GB of allotted cloud storage and will be downloaded (within minutes) when you want to use them.

The process has not been perfected yet, and the feature may not be feasible in India since data is expensive and networks aren't exactly fast, so apps do take some time to appear on to your smartphone. Additionally, at no point in time do you have any clue as to what all has been backed up to your cloud storage. This may prove to be tricky if you want to reset the data on your smartphone as all the data on your cloud account may just disappear with no way to access the same through a web app. You can contact Nextbit if you lose your smartphone, but it is a lengthy process and there's little that you do to get data back. Moreover, data is not duplicated like you can with Google Photos app, so the photo is either on your smartphone or on the cloud.

Swipe Elite Plus USB OTG

Coming to the Swipe Elite Plus, you get specifications similar to the older Motorola Moto Turbo and X Play models. You will get to decide what to back up to your smartphone and you do get an additional 32GB (thanks to the MicroSD card slot) that you can locally back up and switch, if you heading into zone with limited connectivity. In fact with the remainder of your cash savings (Rs 13,000) you could get plenty of microSD cards, pen drives and a 2TB hard drive to hook up to your Elite via USB OTG (obviously it's not available in your on the Robin). You could buy another Swipe Elite Plus if you wanted to. And this applies not just to Swipe, but any other budget Android smartphone out there that sells in a similar price range (Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, LeEco Le 1s Eco, Motorola Moto G4 etc.).

Nextbit Robin Midnight Mint front back

While many may love the Robin, in India (its stock sold out even before its first sale), it makes little sense thanks to expensive cellular data, network performance and of course limited local storage. The Robin's cloud connected storage offers little benefits compared to locally stored data and all of that app, photo and video juggling to save storage space will leave you stranded when you need to access something quickly. In this unusual showdown of a cloud-connected smartphone versus a standard Android smartphone that can access the cloud, the Elite is the clear winner, with Robin getting plus points for design and its powerful processor.


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