Motorola has really come back with a bang thanks to its recent Android releases with the Motorola Atrix perhaps its most anticipated handset to date. Dubbed the world’s most powerful smartphone, it certainly has the specs to live up to its prestigious title but it isn’t the only dual-core handset in town with Samsung Galaxy S II hogging the spotlight of late. Thankfully, Motorola has a few tricks up its sleeve to make its dual-core offering stand out, but do they work their magic?
The Motorola Atrix is a smart piece of kit with a full black exterior. Its nicely rounded edges and smooth plastic backing is easy on both the hand and the eye and its 135 gram weight makes it a pleasure to hold. The usual four Android navigation keys line the bottom of the Atrix’s 4-inch qHD Gorilla Glass display, the screen resolution of which is almost as high as the iPhone 4’s Retina display at 540 x 960 pixels.
Despite the power it packs under the hood, the Motorola Atrix is a slim device at just 11mm thick. Although the handset is neatly put together, Motorola could have further improved the Atrix’s appearance by covering up the HDMI and microUSB ports, if only to stop dust and pocket fluff getting trapped in them. It’s no big deal though and we were particularly impressed with the fingerprint reader which offers a more secure locking system than most handsets. It was really easy to set up and worked every time.
Power and Operating System
At first, we were surprised Motorola had chosen to ship the Atrix with Android 2.2 Froyo especially when most top-range smartphones come with Gingerbread. The manufacturer has said a software update will be rolled out at a later date though and providing you can live without NFC support and SIP calling until then, this shouldn’t hinder your user experience with this speed demon.
The Motorola Atrix has a 1GHz Tegra 2 dual-core processor and even though it may not be as fast as the Galaxy S II (which has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor), this is where the older version of Android goes in its favour as the two work extremely well together. We didn’t experience any lag when flicking through the seven homescreens, loading up apps or opening several Flash-heavy pages on the web browser which is also no doubt thanks the Atrix’s 1GB of RAM. Motorola also claims that the CPU makes the battery last up to 28% longer than the Atrix’s competitors and with 9 hours of battery life on offer, you shouldn’t be reaching for the charger too often.
Motorola has put its Motoblur UI over the top of Android and it brings some useful features to the table. For example, the social networking widget lets you choose which social network feed you want to view to save it crashing and you can resize homescreen widgets manually too.
In a bid to give the Motorola Atrix the edge compared to its dual-core competitors, Motorola has created several docking stations which further enhance the Atrix experience.
The Lapdock is the most cutting-edge of the accessories and looks just like a laptop, with a 11.6-inch screen. Users can attach the Atrix to the dock and open up a whole new world of functionality. Essentially, it allows you to use the handset as if it was a laptop, handy if you need a larger platform to work and play on. While the Atrix continues to run on Android, the Lapdock uses a Linux-based operating system called Webtop and features a full Firefox web browser and file manager. When the Atrix is docked, you can still access all your phone’s functions too – so you can check your emails, make and receive calls and run Android apps on the bigger screen. It all sounds impressive but using two operating systems at the same time could get a little confusing and the Lapdock doesn’t come cheap either at £300.
Motorola also offer a multimedia dock, a peripheral that brings three microUSB ports and a pass-through HDMI port (a HDMI cable comes in the box) and enables watch your media on the big screen. You can use a Bluetooth remote control to play the music, videos and pictures on the Atrix’s memory card via your TV as well. There’s also a less hi-tech charging dock available for the Atrix, however this is a much simpler affair and is used to charge your handset or turn it into a bedside alarm clock.
Camera: The Motorola Atrix has a 5 megapixel camera with an LED flash. The quality of the pictures isn’t particularly outstanding but the Atrix makes up for that with HD video recording at 720p (a later update will allow video recording at 1080p). There’s also a front-facing VGA camera for video calling.
Other tech specs:
- 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Adobe Flash 10.1 support
- Bluetooth 2.1
- microUSB port
- HDMI port
- Up to 16GB internal storage
- 32GB microSD card slot
- Music player – Supports MP3, WAV, WMA and eAAC+ files
- Media player – Supports 1080p MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV, Xvid and DivX files
It’s a shame the accessories that make the Motorola Atrix stand out from the crowd come with such a prohibitive price tag. Considering that the handset alone costs around £500 SIM free, add £300 for the Lapdock and you’ve got yourself a pretty expensive mobile phone package.
The Motorola Atrix gave an impressive performance and while it may not have a 1.2GHz dual-core processor like the HTC Sensation or Samsung Galaxy S II, it works extremely well with what it’s got. The high-resolution screen is a great asset to this powerhouse and although it might not have Gingerbread, Froyo coupled with the 1GHz dual-core processor is a winning combination for those looking for a swift, streamlined smartphone experience. As for the claim that the Atrix is the world’s most powerful smartphone, Motorola isn’t far off.