The Motorola Atrix 4G has been receiving nothing but positive reviews since it’s unveiling in early January, CNET awarded the Atrix the best smartphone of CES 2011 award. Popular Android blog TheAndroidPhone.com also dubbed it the best Android phone of 2011, a bold prediction given the amount of high powered Android phones being released in 2011. Can the Atrix live up to it’s expectations? For the time being it looks like it, without any other dual core processor phones currently on the market the Atrix specs dominate every other phone.
So how does the Apple iPhone 4 match up vs the highly praised Atrix 4G? If you have a look at our comparison chart below you will notice some key differences that should not be overlooked. The Atrix unquestionably overpowers the iPhone 4 in the power department, sporting a dual core 1ghz processor compared to the iPhone which only runs on a single 1ghz processor. The other major difference is the RAM the Atrix doubles up on the iPhone 4 with it’s 1gb RAM compared to the iPhone with just 512mb RAM.
Aside from the big difference in processing power, the other key difference in both phones is the battery. Since the iPhone first launched Apple received a tsunami of negative complaints about the built in battery that can’t be removed. Apple clearly doesn’t think this is a concern and frankly doesn’t seem to care about the complaints as the iPhone 4 still doesn’t allow you to change the battery. Meanwhile the Atrix comes loaded with a market leading 1,930 mAh lithium-ion removal battery that will give you 9 hours of 4G talk time, no other smartphone on the market can compete with the battery of the Atrix.
Both phones share size & weight similarities, nearly identical in size and they both weigh in at 4.8oz. The Atrix does have a larger screen size out dueling the iPhone 4 by a half an inch at 4.0inches. Specs aside the iPhone 4 holds one up on the Atrix in the overall look and feel of the phone, the Atrix looks and feels like a “regular” smart phone while the sleek design of the iPhone 4 is simply put, cool!
The Atrix 4G also comes with the ability to dock the phone and use it as a pc or netbook, you can purchase 2 optional accessories the Motorola HS Multimedia Dock and the Laptop dock.
Motorola Atrix HD Dock
The multimedia dock has 3 USB ports and an HDMI port enabling connections to a keyboard, mouse, speakers and a HDMI-compatible monitor.
Atrix 4G Netbook Dock
While the laptop dock comes with an 11.6 -inch screen, full keyboard, stereo speakers, 36Wh three-cell battery that delivers up to 8 hours of battery life and weighs just 2.4 pounds.
It’s always hard to knock Apple on the internet, they have a posse of fanboys and a paid PR team that go and defend Apple to the death on blogs and forums. The simple fact though is that the iPhone 4 specs can’t compete with the Atrix 4G specs, I’m sure the next version of the iPhone will give the Atrix some good competition but for the time being the iPhone 4 loses the specs battle.
Specs aside the iPhone 4 holds up well to the Atrix, infoworld ran a set of tests in which they scored the iPhone 4 higher in Web & Internet support, business connectivity and usability. The iPhone 4 clearly beats out the Atrix in the design of the phone, which to many people is a big factor in buying a new phone.
For a tech geek like myself, it’s more important what is under the hood, buying an iPhone 4 at this stage of the game is like buying a 2010 car. It still looks cool and does enough but with the avalanche of superphones coming out this year buying the iPhone 4 now will give you a cool phone with yesterdays technology.
Motorola Atrix 4G VS iPhone 4 - Who Wins?
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Using the Samsung Captivate now and I love the Android OS. I really like the Atrix and optional laptop dock…That’ll be my next phone when my contract comes up for renewal this summer. As a previous Palm OS, Blackberry and WinMobile user,I only had fleeting interest in the iPhone and I’m so glad I waited and went with Android. It has been nice to see Motorola get back on the cutting edge.
I never thought I could live without a hardware keyboard, but the Captivate convinced me otherwise. With Swype, its more accurate than any hardware keyboard I’ve used on a cellphone. Still, the laptop dock is nice for extended use.
The only drawback to all the touchscreens I’ve seen and used is the difficulty of using them in bright sunlight. If the cellphone manufacturers ever conquer that, the world would be a perfect place.
I really wanted to love the Atrix 4G! I went in for my upgrade and opted to get the Atrix after hearing all the sales persons tell me how great it was. While I loved the live wallpaper and the specs, it failed to really impress me. The icons and feel of the screen was generic, the App store was total crap, and the picture/ video quality was under par compared to the iPhone 4. I did my homework too, searching the internet for hours on reviews and comparison videos and blogs- still not seeing anything that mind blowing. Time and again the words ” give it a couple of months and it will improve” echoed though my head but in the end I said to myself- Why am I waiting for it to become better when it should be great right from the start?? In the end I exchanged it for an iPhone 4. I never really wanted to jailbreak it but after finding out all the ways to customize it I took that step and now I LOVE MY IPHONE!!
Sorry Atrix, I gave you a chance and you failed to win me over…
It’s not called the app store on Android!Nice try fanboy but you FAIL!!
your really dumb.. you buy a iphone then jail break it.. should have kept your atrix and not hack it. How dose the market suck? basically the exact same apps you will find in apples app store but not as expensive.
I owned iphone 3 for a while as my first smartphone. I really liked my iphone, then it got stolen and the findmyiphone app wasn’t able to find my iphone which really pisses me off, cause the app is called findmyiphone and the one thing it was created for it totally failed. So I used my moms iphone 4 till I could buy a new phone, to me it was exactly the same as iphone3 besides the hardware specs, so I instantly liked the iphone4. A few weeks later I was ready to go purchase me a new iphone4 so I went to att store and when I walked in I noticed a really nice blackberry torch(a white one) I started playing with it and realized I really liked the blackberry os, so at that moment I chose to look at all iphone4 comparable smartphones and to test them all. After hours of playing I fell in love with the freedom and how much android os allowed me to do. So I bought an Atrix and after all the time I spent with iphones never was as satisfying as my new dual core smartphone. The Atrix does everything my old iphone could and tons more. Thanks to android and Atrix I no longer am wondering why my phone can’t transfer over wifi with my pc, or spend hours jailbreakingand voiding my phones warranty to do simple stupid things all smartphone OS should be able to do. From the box. My Atrix does so much more and the overrall freedom android offers over iphone OS is unmatchable by apple. I used to spend hours syncing my iphone to itunes just to add some music or movies. Now I do it in mins without having to even get near my pc. Anyone who has used both these phones for a fair amount of time can’t deny android is better. Atrix is more powerful and has way cooler accessories.
Great review…lots of useful information! What’s up with the poor performance on AT&T’s 4G network? ATT – always lying?
I’m not sure how true it is, but I read online that this is because AT&T decided to “switch off” the 4G receiver in the phone. Either way, its slow for me too lol
I tried to reproduce your smokie Atrix screen and the only way I could reproduce it to match your Atrix display was to turn the brightness all the way down. Did you intentionally do that, and if so did you lower the brightness on the IPhone 4 all the way down as well. Because when I have automatic brightness on I have about 170 degrees of viewing capability.
This comparison was very helpful because I really thought that Atrix would beat the iPhone by a landslide but it seems that iPhone holds it own better than expected. I am waiting for iPhone 5 but I am eligible for upgrade so I was looking at the Atrix instead. I still may wait for the iPhone 5 just to see what enhancements they will incorporate. The Atrix appears to be a very nice product and competitor and the laptop dock is nice but I do not see how a dumb terminal can justify an increase of $300.00 for the bundle. The laptop has no processor, just a heyboard and display so it seems a bit much. If I wanted a laptop, why not just get a netbook for less than $300.00. This is the only thing that turned me off for the bundle but the phone is still interesting and still in the running for me.
We shall see but very good review and objective.
I had been an iPhone user for 4 years, then switched to the Atrix. Today, at the end of my 30-day trial I am returning it for the iPhone 4. The Atrix is a remarkable phone, without a doubt, but some things are annoying and on a recent trip to Paris with my husband some other things came to light that made up my mind for me. My husband, who has an iPhone, has camera and video in one app, whereas I had to keep switching back and forth. He was able to multitask. He had FaceTime, which kept us in visual touch with our daughters in the States, who also have iPhones. His photos were 100% better when taken in low light situations. The Atrix keyboard is smaller. The Atrix has Swype, which would be great if your finger weren’t hiding half the keys as you go along. I almost never had a typo on the iPhone, whereas I can’t get through a single sentence on the Atrix without having to go back and fix something, which is difficult to do because the cursor completely has a mind of its own and if you want to fix a word typed anywhere earlier in a sentence, it’s nearly impossible to return to the part you wish to fix. The cursor just goes where it wants to go. The touch screen in general is overly sensitive, leading to other frustrations. The charger is at the side of the phone, making it difficult to hold the phone if, like me, you like to use it while charging at the end of the day. The sync software really sucks compared to iTunes. Voicemail is the pits. Once you delete, it goes to a delete box, where it has to be listened to once again in order to really delete it. I want it gone the first time. Apple apps are far, far better than anroid. The major problem I had with the Atrix was that after shutting down the phone for the night, which you are asked to do because it is, after all, a computer, I had to, on several occasions, remove the battery and put it back in to get the phone to come back on. The Atrix does have the option of inserting an SD card so you can use external, rather than internal memory, which is really nice. It also has that removable battery, which in most circumstances would be a real plus. All in all I’d say if you want a user-friendly phone that has some computer-capability, get the iPhone. If you want a hand-held computer that also makes calls, get the Atrix.
I’m also a veteran iPhone user, previously had an iPhone 3GS. For me, the switch to the Atrix was perfect, but I’m on the more technical end of the spectrum, and I love all the configuration that’s possible with an Android phone. I just wanted to clear up a couple of the problems you mentioned.
“My husband, who has an iPhone, has camera and video in one app, whereas I had to keep switching back and forth.”
There is a toggle in the camera app on the Atrix to switch between camera and camcorder. Just tap the screen once and click the “Switch to” button. Certainly not the most elegant solution, but definitely workable :)
“He was able to multitask.”
Android has all the multitasking capabilities of the iPhone and more. Hold down the Home button to bring up a list of your most recently used, open app.
“He had FaceTime, which kept us in visual touch with our daughters in the States, who also have iPhones.”
Definitely smoother from iPhone to iPhone, though there appear to be options for iPhone to Android video chat (haven’t tried any of them out)” http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=android+to+iphone+video+chat
“I can’t get through a single sentence on the Atrix without having to go back and fix something, which is difficult to do because the cursor completely has a mind of its own and if you want to fix a word typed anywhere earlier in a sentence, it’s nearly impossible to return to the part you wish to fix.”
Definitely agree with this one, iPhone’s text selection and native keyboard is a way better experience. Android got a lot of keyboard improvements with version 2.3, but that’s of no use to Atrix users.
“The major problem I had with the Atrix was that after shutting down the phone for the night, which you are asked to do because it is, after all, a computer, I had to, on several occasions, remove the battery and put it back in to get the phone to come back on.”
I haven’t heard this recommended, I don’t shut mine off frequently at all. Having to remove the battery to turn the phone back on is definitely not normal, and should be covered by the warranty (hopefully?).
That you for clarifying all her many misunderstandings of how to use her phone. I’d say her real problem was she was used to an iphone and was incapable of learning how to use her atrix properly. I’m guessing her husband showed her how to use her iphone properly :P
the atrix does have the capability to switch from camera to recorder w/o switching over to the homepage…i’m surprised you didn’t notice it b/c it’s quite easy to see and use..all you have to do is tap on the screen and on the right hand side and list of options comes up to what you wanna do and there is a “switch” option that changes to whatever you want to use. just had to clear that up..i love the atrix and just went w. my gut b/c i thought i had my mind made up that i was getting a iphone, but i’m so glad i went w. the atrix..i’ve had the ipod touch, and it was great….for a while that is..now it won’t turn on and it’s a 200 dollar paperweight. the only thing that i don’t like about the atrix is the swype will sometimes stop working when you play around in the maps..but a quick reboot or a battery pull fixes it instantly. i think apple has more apps but android is still fairly new so they’ll catch up..all the major apps are about the same on both phones though..the live wallpaper is as cool as the other side of the pillow. i give it a 10/10 as w. the iphone i give it a 9.5/10.
Thank u dianne hubbard! I just got the new atrix 4g I’m even more now than before an iphone lover!!!! I don’t think anything about the atrix 4g coulld possibly change my mind! I WILL b returning it before 30 days r up! I tried it because of all the hoopla about android phones! Those r obviiously not previous iphone 4 users!!! Ps it. Took me 30 min. To type this message from the atrix! The cursor jumps around n don’t. Try to mo e the cursor it will never go back to right spot it jumps to editing. Optio s!
Sorry about the type o’s!gave up fighting the cursor problems!
Got the Android Atrix yesterday–already hate it. Going back to the iphone . Yes the Atrix is faster. Big Deal- I dont think the extra 5 seconds that it takes to connect to a website is going to be the end of me. So it has a computer keyboard that you can use–So now we all throw away our laptops since the Atrix came out? dont think so. It’s the little things that I do not like about the Atrix. For example The Atriz is very hard to plug in in the dark when you go to bed and your other half is already snoozing. two small ports right next to one another on the lower right side. Good luck finding the right one. Iphone was very easy to do by feel. Also cannot hold the Atrix and talk easily when it is pluuged in as the charging port is on the side. Missed calls and texts? The Atrix makes you pull down and expand a tiny menu on top of the phone to see the names and numbers. Iphone displays them across the screen as they come in. I can go on and on–in short it looks that the Atrix is not as intuitive as the Iphone for just about every task. So back to my Iphone.
If I were a computer guy I would pick the Atrix. Droid obviously has some great engineers but they lack in common sense as the phone is just plain ugly and harder to use for us non computer folks.
I’ve had a Iphone 3g, 3gs and a 4. Very nice phones…..I also have a Nexus one and a Nook Color (both hackers’ dream) running Gingerbread so I’m very familiar with andriod and IOS and just got the Atrix.
I like all my stuff, but the Atrix right now is my favorite, even with Motoblur, locked boot loader, etc, etc that everyone likes to complain about, it really is an awesome phone – better than any phone I’ve thoroughly tested (moto has quality components) and the experience will only get better in time.
There are some problems with your comparison chart that I am noticing. I have an iPhone 4 for personal use, and an Atrix that I use for work. First off, the battery life is completely dependent on how its used. My iPhone lasts about 2 hours longer than my Atrix. Another guy in the office has the opposite issue. Second, the camera’s may be the same megapixels, but the Atrix pictures are a lot grainer than the iPhone. I’ve noticed this to be an issue with every Motorola phone I’ve used. Third, the AT&T iPhone has the mobile hotspot option, so “only on verizon” is inaccurate. Fourth, the matter of dropping the phones, my Atrix is just as slippery as my iPhone. The HUGE difference is, the Atrix is so much more fragile! I have dropped my iPhone 4 too many times to count without a scratch, but the Atrixes we use in our office are constantly being replaced due to damages caused by dropping. My wife dropped her Atrix while getting in our car, and it shattered when it hit the ground. It fell 4 feet.
The last issue I see with the comparison chart is the Touch Screen section. Your statements contradict each other. On one end, it says the TFT is SIMILAR to the Retina. On the other end it says the Retina IS a TFT display. I’m no tech guru so I won’t pretend to know what the real difference is, but what i can say is, while the Atrix has very nice picture quality, it is nowhere near as good as the quality on my iPhone.
Now that I’ve said that, I want to express that I am NOT an Apple or iPhone fanboy. I like the Android OS a lot better than iOS, and I actually like using my Atrix a lot more than the iPhone. I just feel like this review was biased toward the Atrix, and as someone who uses both on a daily basis, I felt like I should say so.
I really wanted to like the Atrix more. It’s just a bit buggy and clunky compared to the iphone. I was a Linux geek for a long time, back in “take old discarded computers and get them to do something useful with Debian” days. I don’t mind geeking around with things. I liked Motorola smart multimedia phones before there was a such thing as iPhone or any real competition.
However, the Atrix just didn’t have it. First up was Exchange synch on custom ports. Google won’t let you choose a custom port to run SSL over. Then again, Windows phones didn’t let you either. On an iPhone, you just enter your server:sslport and bingo, great ActiveSynch over the same port running secure OWA, including calendar, contacts synch, whatever you want, even OVER CUSTOM SSL PORTS.
Second up was the constant apps that don’t close. When you leave an app on the Atrix (or Android in general I guess), many of them stay open eating up your battery and bandwidth. Some apps don’t even have an exit feature, and Atrix does not let you truly close an app without hunting thorugh settings and running apps. I like the option of just closing things, something the iPhone just did. I do like to multi-task, but if it’s between apps actually closing or everything left running by default when I’m done, I say close them.
Third, Apple apps are just more refine, put through more quality testing and review.
On the other hand, I dislike Apple’s control sometimes where every app needs it’s own storage playground, you can’t use the same PDF with multiple apps, etc., and no SD card support. I guess I can live with that loss of flexibility better than apps that don’t give you an exit button always staying opening using up bandwidth and battery (without having to hunting them down in device app settings to close them after each use), apps that want so much access to your personal details that I’m not going to use them anyway, lack of Netflix, and attempts at rendering Flash that crash the phone or lock you up. Great idea and great hardware though. Better software and it’d beat the iPhone as a serious business tool hands down, but as it is I’m tethering my old generation iPhone just to get decent Exchange synch on custom SSL ports…
Thank you so much for that great video. Really answers all the questions I was asking myself annnnd with that said, I think the Iphone will win for some of the reasons mentioned here and other personal reasons. Thanks again!
I jusy got the Atrix last week. Sooooo fast.
Best smartphone on the market today, imo. Not one single complaint from me.
I can’t think of one single reason i would rather have a different smartphone.
Being able to text easily is very important to me. I’m a BB user about to upgrade and considering these two above-mentioned phones. If the Android’s keyboard is THAT buggy, I guess I’ll be getting an iPhone, much as I HATE to “give in” to Apple. I was really hoping to go with an Android.
What about internet use? Which one opens pages faster? Browses faster? That’s my second most important issue for my phone as I use it for work and need FAST internet. BB’s internet SUCKS.
Any advice from actual users of both phones about these two issues? Thank you!!!!
The Atrix is by far a fast browsing device.. with its superior multi-tasking capabilities and HSPA+ 4G support (that the I Phone dose not support) Makes this phone the fastest browser on ATT
Probably you have bought the phone already but I will answer anyway. If you don’t like the stock keyboard, you can very easily install other keyboards, many free and good, such as Go keyboard.
as far as typing ( i have a bb as well ) you can get used to the iphones keyboard within the day you get it and type just as fast on your bb. browsing is far more smoother. despite the atrix fast connection speed, the iphone will get you there smoother .. meaning even if the atrix got you to your webpage the time it takes to actually SMOOTHLY load the page , letting you view its contents… will stand out. as the iphone wont have this lag im explaining. bottomline. the iphone is probably the best keyboard you can use. and it loads pages much smoother making up for lost time if any. ( whats 5 seconds ? )
Today I got the laptop dock for my Atrix and im really impressed. I was a pc tech for years and always enjoyed new technology understood it pretty easily. But to keep this short I really really like where motorola could go with this. And all the stuff that I can do in the webtop environment is imo amazing. Im not a fanboy screaming how this is the best phone ever or even saying its better than any other phone, I am saying the Atrix does what others can’t do. If you love technology and get along with it well, then this is definately for you. If u like technology but don’t get along with it that great then stick with iphone. For someone like me that easily understands software and tech the Atrix better. Its really fun to connect to my pc at home with a desktop view from anywhere with the dock. Simple stuff like that is what really stands out and displays what some of the possibilities could be. Running programs in windows on my webtop is amazing. Way to many things to list and explain, there’s just so much.
“Can you drop it?” – is this serious?
big problem with that speed test vid: it was done before the update. If you did such a test today, the Iphone would get wrecked.
The main reason I switched from my iPhone 3G to the Motorola Atrix is call sound quality. The iPhone has a low level, and very muddy sound. I even had to turn up an internal adjustment in my car’s hands-free system just to get the iPhone to sound decent on calls. Of course, it was necessary to go back in and turn it down when pairing with the Atrix. I even noticed the superior sound quality on the Atrix when I tried it out in the store, before buying it. And it’s nice to have a Bluetooth functioning phone again. I am able to send contacts into my car’s phone book with the Atrix; this was not an option on my iPhone. Plus I can send other files, like sound and video, to another Bluetooth device, with the Atrix. Not an option with the iPhone I had. And this is very important to me: When I traveled overseas earlier this year, I wanted to use my iPhone with another carrier, not AT&T or Verizon. Once I got it unlocked, I understand that I can never safely update it again in iTunes. I called the folks who did the unlock for me before I got the Atrix: they said, no problem, they can unlock it, and I can keep updating it, it wouldn’t become a brick like the iPhone. I also enjoy the many ways I can customize the Atrix. The iPhone is how THEY want it. The Atrix is how I want it!
AT&T and T-Mobile are notorious for false advertisements. I have used both of them as well as the Verizon. People do your home work before you buy your phones with any company. I personally have traveled in a 18 Wheeler all over U.S and with confidence I can say that Verizon has best and fastest 3G/4G Network with MORE COVERAGE than AT&T and T-Mobile. They both suck and lie.
Motorola Atrix doesn’t have gyroscope.
I bought the Atrix last August and last month, it started locking up, rebooting at will, and force closing apps. Under warranty, I received a replacement Atrix and in less than a week, it’s worse than the original phone. Tonight, it won’t power up at all. Sorry Atrix… I’m switching to an Iphone. I’ve had it.