I was able to test out the Motorola Atrix at CES 2011. The Atrix felt comfortable in my hands and felt well built. It is mostly all plastic, but not flimsy plastic. After this point, I knew that I would be getting the Atrix as my next mobile phone. I also have the White iPhone 4, but the Atrix is now my main phone. Ok here is my view of the Atrix after using it for about two weeks now.
First things first. I rooted the Atrix and made sure that I could install out of market apps. AT&T has this disabled on their phones. I like to be able to install other apps that I might run across, that are not in the market place. As of now just mostly have some 3rd party applications installed. One of the best features that I really like is the Biometric fingerprint reader to log into your phone. This feature work very well with one hand. I am able to push the Biometric and slide my index finger to log in with no trouble at all. I can hold it in either hand as you swipe your finger print. It also has active noise cancellation with dedicated microphone, which works pretty good in noisy areas. The camera in does a very good job in taking pictures, and has dual Led flash to help out in those dark areas. I have compared the pictures to my iPhone 4, and the iPhone 4 takes much better pictures. The back cover is plastic, but it snaps on very well and is not lose at all. The speaker is on the bottom and sounds pretty loud, when playing your music or using the phone with the speaker phone. Below is a sample of picture I took, using the Atrix and the iPhone 4. You can be the judge, whether you think the Atrix does good job, or not.
This was taken with the Motorola Atrix
This was taken with the iPhone 4 without HDR
Using the Atrix to make calls has been excellent, without the normal dropped calls I would normally get in the same area with the iPhone 4. Not that the iPhone is bad, I haven’t had any dropped calls with the Atrix so far. I have paired with my Bose BT headset and all calls work great. Also using the handset to make and holding a conversation is very clear on both ends. I haven’t made any video calls with the Atrix, but I will be trying that out later this week.
As I was doing the review. I have run across what seems to be that others can’t quite hear you when you call them from the Atrix phone. I verified this by calling my wife on her iPhone 4 to hear what others were complaining that I sounded muffled or far from speaker. A quick search indeed shows several Atrix phone owners are reporting the same problem. Some have exchanged their phone for a new one and issue is no longer there. I also have disabled the Noise suppression from settings>Call Settings and now seem that others hear me well. I can still say that it is much better after disabling the noise suppression, but still something needs fixed. I do believe it is software issue, as when using my Bose BT headset it is loud and clear on the other side, and also if I use the speaker phone on the Atrix callers also say, “Wow now you sound clear”. So I will either think about exchanging the Atrix for another one and hope the second one won’t have this issue or wait for a fix.
The qHD screen is very clear and very bright. All the text is readable, and is very clear as well. When viewing web pages on the 4” screen is much better than on smaller screens like my iPhone 4. One of the best features of Android OS, is that when you zoom in a article, the text renders perfect on the screen without having to scroll side to side like on the iOS. This display on the Atrix is viewable in the sun light. This makes it easy to read your emails or look up any information that you need to, without having to find some shade to do this on your phone.
Motorola has put its MotoBlur software, but from my use, I haven’t noticed any slowed down and actually some of the apps are well integrated with phone using MotoBlur. Example, when you create a email account from the MotoBlur accounts, you can go through your contacts or you make a call to one of your contacts that you have emailed, you are able to view any email, text messaging, etc… right from the contacts info, as you swipe left. If you swipe to the right and have created any accounts in your social network, this will also appear and you can respond from right there. This has me using the MotoBlur for this reason. I still might go back to using K-9 Email app, but for now I will continue to testing out MotoBlur. This almost makes it very handy as a one stop shop for all your needs. No need to go out to email, or text messages etc…
The Atrix has the basic software buttons down at the bottom like most all other Android OS phones.
Into the two weeks of using the Atrix I haven’t had any slow downs on the phone at all. Also haven’t had to reboot or anything like this and all programs so far are working perfectly. Like I have mentioned that I haven’t installed many 3rd party programs. Reason is that I want to test the phone as much as stock as possible, before installing Launcher Pro, Beautiful Widgets, etc… on the Atrix and find out how battery life and how the performance if any is affected by these programs running daily.
The Motorola is pretty much all round in the corners and on the back. This is what makes it very nice, when your holding it in phone calls, or when holding to look up for information on your phone. The left side has the MiniUSB plug to sync or charge the phone, and right underneath that is the Mini HDMI plug. This is where your phone sits in the dock as well.
The right side of the phone is pretty much sleek with only the volume control button. This makes it, in my opinion, one of the sleekest phones. Even my White iPhone 4 has more buttons than the Atrix. Besides the volume buttons, the Biometric Finger Printer reader, is also the power button so it really doesn’t look like a button. Top and bottom no other buttons and on the back it has the second microphone to cancel out noise. Also has the 5MP camera with the two LED flash.
On the back you can see that, besides the AT&T and blur icons. It is pretty much smooth with the speaker grill at the bottom of the phone. Which again sounds loud enough for music and as a speaker phone for calls.
Despite that the Atrix having the newest dual-core Tegra 2 processor, the battery life has been great. Again this is with my testing and can vary with other users if you have a lot of programs running or syncing in the background. It has a 1880mAh battery that last me all day with pretty much heavy use of the phone. I have 3 email accounts that sync through out the day, along with my contacts, and calendar to sync. Also have a weather widget for weather that I installed. I check websites and also send text messages along with Twitter and watch some news videos during the day. The first week of using the phone, the battery ended up at around 25% – 30%. In the past week I have around 50% – 65% battery life from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Then I just plug it in car on my way home so I have a full battery by the time I get home.
I wont go to much into the specs of the device. It is one of the only dual-core running at 1GHz with 1GB of RAM. Also has 540 x 960 pixels with a 4” screen. Capacitive, with multi-touch, GPS, front and rear cameras, HDMI port, microSD slot for up to 32GB, 16GB built in storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, dual LED flash, HTML, and Flash support for websites.
Some show that the Atrix has a Stereo FM radio with RDS, and is also capable of tethering up to 8 users with the mobile hotspot app that is included. This will require you add to your account, and is a additional monthly charge on top of your current data plan.
Since I am still using my white iPhone 4, I use the same micro SIM in my Motorola Atrix and works well. I do have the adapter that converts a micro SIM into a regular SIM, but it works fine without it. The metal strip on the back that holds the SIM card works to hold the micro SIM as well.
On the road I use the Atrix as my mobile hotspot to connect all my device to it. Which can be my Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPad 3G, iPhone 4, yes I connect my iPhone 4 to my Atrix and I can actually load up Talkatone and make calls with no problem. Also at times I use my Galaxy Tab as a Navigation, so this works out very nice tethered to my Atrix to provide the data to the Tab and keeping my phone clear to make calls and still be able to have the Navigation continue while I do my calls on the phone.
AT&T is advertising the Atrix as 4G data phone, and as you can see through out the internet, everyone is not seeing those speeds. In fact, the upload speeds are slower than most 3G phones. Same goes for the download speeds. I was, and I am expecting to have AT&T resolve this issue; which they have said that they will be releasing a update to get 4G working on the Atrix. My iPhone 4 gets around 2-3 Mbps download average, and .90 – 1.5 Mbps upload. Hoping that the update gets released soon to take advantage of the 4G that is advertised on the Atrix.
I was testing some LG Vortex phones from Verizon and wanted to test the speeds from Verizon 3G to compare the so called 4G speed of the Atrix. Well on average the LG Vortex was .80 –1.5 Mbps download. Upload averaged around the same .70 – 1.2 Mbps. Not bad for a 3G data phone.
Overall the Atrix is a very capable phone with the power and great design and has the best specs in the market, compared to other phones, but needs some fixing in the 4G department, and the muffled sound that other users are noticing with the Atrix. I will return the phone, if they don’t announce anything soon, before the 30 days. For now I have disabled the noise suppression, but that might not be a good thing in a noisy environment. I will have to test this out, and see how well the other person can hear me with a noisy background.
The other features that the Atrix has is you can buy a Standard Dock, HD Multimedia Dock, Laptop Dock, and a Vehicle Dock. You can also connect BT keyboard and BT mouse.