Motorola Atrix Review: Hands On

by: Darcy LaCouveeJanuary 28, 2011
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As I’m sure you all know, Motorola has announced the Motorola Atrix 4G, and we’ve had the pleasure of being able to do a quick hands on review for you.

Running Android 2.2 (a 2.3 upgrade will be on the way soon), the Atrix 4G looks like a fairly harmless handset and with its modest black styling, and is similar in appearance to the Motorola Defy, which is one tough phone. At 135g and just 11mm deep, it’s surprisingly svelte and lightweight, and nowhere near its Motorola Droid X brethren, and not as solid or heavy as the Milestone.

Really though, we only care about one thing: What’s at the heart of the Atrix 4G. Inside, a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, which is comprised of two 1Ghz processors, keeps things flying along. Motorola claims it can open web pages twice as quickly as normal phone and we are inclined to believe them. It certainly seemed lightning fast during our time with it.

Really, what sets the Atrix 4G apart from other phones on the market or soon to be, are its webtop capabilities, which are designed to bridge the gap between smartphone, laptop, and desktop computer. Surprisingly, in practice, it actually works incredibly well.

Pop the handset into the new Multimedia HD Dock or new Motorola Laptop Dock, or connect an HDMI cable to it and the webtop application on the phone enables you to run a full Mozilla Firefox 3.6 browser, complete with tabs and the ability to handle Adobe Flash videos with ease. With the ability to access and edit work documents and emails on a large screen, it basically turns your phone into a mini computer.

Of course, it also has a high resolution 4.0 inch qHD display on board, which is on par with the Iphone 4 in many respects, except that it is larger. Furthermore, it’s a 24 bit display, and does a remarkable job of displaying videos and images. The camera is also excellent, and records 720p video. Furthermore, Motorola has worked hard to ensure that Android and Firefox play nice, so you can copy and paste between the two.

Other applications accessible via the Atrix 4G include: file manager, memory manager (that lets you view content) and print manger, PDF viewer and Archive viewer (for unzipping files)

So what about those docks? The Motorola HD Multimedia Dock includes three USB ports for hooking up a mouse, as well as HDMI for connecting a monitor or TV.

A more portable solution is the Motorola Laptop dock, which has an 11.6-inch screen, keyboard, eight-hour battery, trackpad and stereo speakers. It’s basically a laptop shell without the processor, but plug the Motorola Atrix into a dock at the back and it provides the processing power.

There’s no news on prices for the docks yet. According to CEO Sanjay Jha, total cost of ownership of dock will be ‘meaningfully less than any proposal, which is a slimline PC,’ which doesn’t really give much indication, but we’re hoping they are competitively priced. We have, however, heard reports that we should anticipate to see the Motorola Laptop dock for around $150.

The Motorola Atrix 4G has a qHD screen with a resolution of 960×540, and is certainly bright and sharp. At 4-inches it’s a good size for movie playback. Touch commands work well too and are very responsive. Even though the screen is large at four inches, it’s important to note that the Atrix has a substantial 1930mAh battery, which should definitely earn it some further praise.  We are told that we can expect 9 hours talk time and roughly 10 days  of standby.

The fingerprint reader is impressive too, turn the handset on, swipe the top and the phone unlocks, the convenient control positioning means it’s much quicker than pressing a button and swiping the centre of the screen.

Other features of the Motorola Atrix 4G include 1GB RAM, a 5MP primary and VGA secondary cameras and 720p movie shooting at 30fps. There’s 16GB internal memory and a microSD slot.

We’re really excited by the Atrix 4G, it really has so much potential to transform the way we currently use our smartphones, and especially with its unique webtop functionality.
From our experience, we can tell you the web performance of the on-board Firefox is quite good. Flash videos load quickly, and webpages are impressively produced as fast as the network you are on provides.

Stay tuned for more. Is the Motorola Atrix on your wishlist?

  • Brian

    Does this have Gorilla Glass?

    • Darcy Alexander

      Yes it does. Thankfully!

  • Thomas Brown

    This is the first smartphone I’ve seen with such unique features. I don’t normally get excited about new releases, but this is an exception. I must have it…

  • john snith

    It is a tegra 2. Not a tegra 2 core 2 duo…as core 2 duo is an intel processor.

  • Krishal

    Hi guys! can you pleas help me, which phone is better? the HTC Desire or Motorola Atrix?

    • Darcy Alexander

      Hi Krishal!

      Thanks for the comment. This is a tough choice. Certainly, the HTC Desire will be a better price, but the components inside are not going to be as fast or powerful as the newly released Motorola Atrix. If I was you, and I had the money, I would definitely go for the Motorola Atrix as it is a faster phone, with better specs, and it also has great battery life via its 1930 mAh battery. Hope that helps!

  • Rich

    I was just wondering if the Motorola Atrix has a more powerful battery?

  • steve

    How does this compare to Samsung’s Nexus S or the newly released Galaxy S2?

  • kedar

    would like to know which smartphone to choose?
    samsung galaxy s2, apple iphone4 or the motorola atrix 4g also if somebody could help me with the pricing of all the three in the usa?

  • Nicole

    How about compared to the iPhone 5?

  • Edward Dhlu

    This is a really good phone given the fact that it acts a a slim down PC. For a lot people the phone is their only connection to the WWW.