Motorola ATRIX 4G Review
Even though there are some things left to be desired with its camera interface, as a whole, it suffices in capturing photos without much work. Specifically, there aren’t that many manual controls found with it, but there are still a few modes that you can switch on to that add some novel results. Taking a photo is accomplished by simply holding down on the on-screen shutter key, which then kicks in the focus, while letting go will capture the shot.
photo-taking department. Belonging to the upper echelon of cameraphones, the ATRIX 4G's 5-megapixel shooter captures some pretty good shots with neutral looking colors and fine details. We're also impressed with how well it handles in low lighting situations; albeit with some soft evidence of noise at times. If you plan on using the Motorola ATRIX 4G as a substitute for your point and shoot though, keep in mind that its dual-LED flash is actually far from powerful enough in order to light up completely dark environments.
Aside from its inability to offer continuous auto-focus while shooting 720p videos, we’re nonetheless more than satisfied with its performance. Granted that close-ups can look a bit out of focus, it’s actually more than able to capture a decent amount of detail – while shooting at the smooth rate of 29 frames per second. At the same time, we’re also pleased with the realistic looking colors present with its recording. However, there is some noise evident with shots taken in low lighting, but it doesn’t detract from its overall good looking capture. While it's a bit of a setback that the Tegra 2-powred ATRIX 4G can only shoot 720p video as of now, it's worth noting that Motorola has promised a future update that will unlock 1080p video recording.
Well it’s about time that we find an Android device on AT&T’s lineup that offers the ability to do video chat! Thanks to its front-facing 0.3-megapixel camera, we were able to use Fring to video chat with another user. It isn’t pretty, especially when it’s on the pixelated side of things, but at least we’re able to comprehend our conversation without much falter. Indeed, it’s definitely nice to finally see video chat on an AT&T branded Android smartphone.
The Gallery app is your one stop destination for all of your photos and videos, but as usual, there isn’t much new in this area with the Motorola ATRIX 4G. Content is placed in a grid-like view, however, it transitions to a 3D camera roll when you’re in landscape – which is nice considering its fluid movement in viewing images. Of course we’re presented with a treasure trove of sharing options, but we’re even more excited about the depth of editing features on board.
Nothing particularly new with its stock music player experience, which is rather surprising for a device sporting a dual-core chipset, but it nonetheless acts quite functional at its core. Although we were hoping to see some kind of heavy 3D interface of some sort, it decides to take the usual approach with its presentation. While playing a song, it displays the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls – and no, there are zero visualizations available. However, we find a handful of equalizer options for both the wired connection and speaker output. And when it comes down to audio quality from its speaker, it’s quite powerful and glaring to the ear, but there is subtle amount of crackling at the highest volume setting.
Playing high definition videos is a piece of cake for this peppy one, but it’s even more satisfying when there is plenty of room for your eyes. After starting up a video encoded in MPEG-4 1280 x 720 resolution, we’re treated to an enthralling experience with its smooth playback, rich details, and tantalizing color production. So whatever you throw on it, you can pretty much expect a high level of performance in watching videos.
Using the included microHDMI cable, you can easily share content stored on the device with your high-definition television set. When you connect it, you can essentially run the entertainment center experience which transforms the handset to a mini control scheme – with navigation and various playback buttons. From here, you can browse through videos photos, and music all directly on your television. With the music player, there is a pleasant looking visualization that runs while a song is being played. In addition, it didn’t have any problems in playing a 720p video on the big screen as well.
However, the true potential of the Motorola ATRIX 4G is found by using its optional multimedia dock. When it’s placed in there, you can switch from running its widget clock, the entertainment center experience, and finally, the best part about it all – the Motorola webtop app! In this mode, it unlocks some innovative functionality that we have yet to see on any other device. Not only does it emulate the handset’s experience on the big screen, as you control it using the now transformed trackpad layout of the handset, but its expanded interface plays host to Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. In summing up the experience, it’s rather engaging since you can quickly get into it – plus, it operates at a tolerable rate.
Finally, there is also a laptop dock which is priced at $500 if your purchase it separately from the handset, or $300 when bought together as a bundle. Basically, it features an 11.5” display, 2 USB ports, stereo speakers, chicklet style keyboard, and an oversized trackpad with two physical left & right buttons. Essentially, you place the handset into its dock, which is located in the rear of the laptop, and from there, it offers the same webtop functionality that we described with the HD dock. Sure it might seem like a novel thing, but this add-on essentially transforms an ordinary smartphone to something a little more – which is nice to say the least, but we don't appreciate the price tag, which is quite steep.
With 16GB of internal storage, it should be sufficient to satisfy the needs of most individuals out there, but if you’re hungry for just a little bit more, more can always supplement its capacity by throwing in a microSD card up to 32GB in size.
Supplementing its depth of content sharing, the Motorola ATRIX 4G comes preloaded with quite a few apps that’ll get your multimedia content onto other devices. For starters, we’re presented with the DLNA app that’ll enable you to stream things like photos, videos, and music with other DLNA certified devices; such as television sets. Furthermore, the Media Share and Phone Portal apps accomplish the same things – with the latter managing your phone’s content via USB connections to your computer.
Google Maps and all of its rich set of enticing features are all in tow, naturally, but the handset’s dual-core process is able to smoothly traverse through the heavy graphical showcase of 3D map view. Moreover, you’ve got free voice guided turn-by-turn directions courtesy of Google Maps Navigation. Although there is nothing new out of the Google Maps experience, it’s nice to see it running ever so flawlessly on the ATRIX 4G.
Also, preloaded third party apps include things like Quickoffice, YPmobile, Blockbuster, Need for Speed Shift, and Vlingo. And since this is an AT&T branded device, it’s packed with things like AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, and the myAT&T app.
With the Android Market, you can always download all of your favorite third party apps to increase its potential and functionality, but sadly, AT&T seems to have the last say on what apps actually make it into the market. Much like previous AT&T Android smartphones, like the BACKFLIP, you’re unable to side load apps onto the device. Additionally, there are specific apps that aren’t available with the handset – in fact, tethering apps like June Fabric’s PDAnet is conspicuously missing. Yes, it’s Android and regarded as an open platform, but in this classic example, it goes to show how carriers still have some say in what apps make it to customers.
1. protozeloz (Posts: 5326; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
9.5!! I'm i seeing things here? same as iPhone 4!? wow
now stop comparing everything with the iPhone do few more phone smack downs using other phones an I'll stop calling you biased
5. superpooburger (Posts: 31; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)
why compear everything to iPhone, its becouse iPhone does give best costumer satisfaction.
6. protozeloz (Posts: 5326; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
it alright to compare one device with the iPhone but if you read this page more often you will find out every device is compared with the iPhone witch it not even fun, for example comparing this phone with the iPhone will be dumb but a compare with the optimus 2x can be appreciated as you can see witch you can choose. its not that I don't want them to skip apple comparison but to add more different product comparison
49. assajdsad (unregistered)
50. assajdsad (unregistered)
27. protozeloz (Posts: 5326; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
its an extra comment related with phone comparison... usually done around review times
41. protozeloz (Posts: 5326; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
LOL just happened.... I win candy for that
2. Falcon (unregistered)
You forgot to add poor sound quality during calls as a con in your conclusion. I think that is an important point.
15. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
and you forgot this is a Motorola product, they ALWAYS have crystal clear sounds during phone calls, i know, i've had the Razr, the Devour and the Droid X and 2 and NONE of them disappoint. the problem here might be AT&T.
26. max (unregistered)
you had the devour....
42. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)
sounds like your just used to the horrible call quality that comes from motorola devices. every phone you named off is from the same septic tank flowing from the motorola plant.
43. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
i've had smart phones from other manufacturers as well and the only other one that can compare to Moto is HTC, the reason why i know the finer differences is because my dad drives a car carrier and there's a lot of background noise on both ends and of all the smartphones we've had Motorola comes out on top in sound quality.
3. Prodigy (unregistered)
Poor sound quality, poor reception, 1 and half day - above battery life???
Was that an Atrix prototype or is it an ending smartphone?
4. superpooburger (Posts: 31; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)
in rewiev told taht can hear static in background, and did not mention it in cons..
Shame on you, Device primary function, Phone, and it not very good at it... so need to mention...
7. protozeloz (Posts: 5326; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I really hate to bash on phone companies but i think AT&T is to blame Motorola is well known for call quality
33. snowgator (Posts: 3158; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
That may be true (actually would put money on it being AT&T's network that caused the poor sound quality) but since it is an AT&T only phone, the review should have reflected it. If it made it a 9.0 instead of a 9.5, would that really have kept anyone from buying it?
8. Allday28 (Posts: 273; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)
What about all the lag with the device because of BLUR that all the other sites are reporting!??
16. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
BLUR lagging a phone with a Dual Core Tegra 2 Processor and a Gig of DDR2 RAM? i'm sure that's not right, i think everybody is just prejudice of the BLUR UI.
19. Allday28 (Posts: 273; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)
Oh know its right. Just cause it has dual core doesnt mean its the king of phones. Go look at some other reviews and you will see. Plus froyo isnt optimised for dual core and neither is gingerbread. Not a big fan of motorolas smart phones. iphone and htc is where its at.
53. therygy (Posts: 94; Member since: 24 May 2010)
thumper, you do not know what your talking about. just because it has a dual core proccessor doesnt mean motorblur wont lag, it is not optimized for a dual core proccessor yet. I returned it because the battery overheated and because i expierienced lag with motoblur. stop thinking your such a big shot and thinking you no what your talking about.
54. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
did you have any widgets on your homescreen that were updating too quickly? because i almost burned up my Droid 2 because of that. well you obviously know more about it than i do because you bought one and i didn't but i'm sure you didn't think the phone would lag at all before you bought it, maybe you played around with one. i'm sure it didn't lag then because of all of the ones that i've played with there is no lag at all. i think before you go blaming Blur for whatever happened with your phone then you should be entirely certain that there was no user error at fault oh and i'm not sure i understand what you mean when you say i think i'm a big shot but when i comment on these posts i'm only sharing my experience and knowledge on the matter at hand, so just go to school, learn some grammar and get off my jock.
9. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)
Is AT&T working on the call quality issue with an OTA update?
10. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)
"So if you’re looking for a smartphone right now, there is no reason why the Motorola ATRIX 4G should be on the top of your list."
9.5 out of 10? Then why do you end the review telling people NOT TO BUY?
That last sentence of the review is very misleading.
17. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
yeah, that was a real fail, they probably really meant shouldn't. xD
11. cj100570 (Posts: 198; Member since: 12 May 2009)
Why do you insist on referring to HTC Leap as Helicopter View? At no point has HTC ever referred to it as that! And I also must agree with protozeloz on the constant comparison of every phone to the iPhone. Review the phone in front of you and stop dragging the iPhone into everything. It is not and never has been the benchmark to beat!
12. Hi (unregistered)
I think "should" be "shouldn't" in your last sentence
13. Jason1212 (unregistered)
Who the hell paid them to give this POS a 9.5.......so laggy and motocrap makes the phone unusable
18. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
well have you ever had a phone with Blur?
20. Allday28 (Posts: 273; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)
100% agree. Really wish it would have been stock for being on a motorola phone.
35. DJLegacy2k5 (Posts: 205; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Youre an idiot, there is no lag even from MotoBlur because of the Dual Core. Dont run your mouth until you actual USE a device.
14. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 932; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)
besides the motoblur that i wouldnt care for, this is the best phone AT&T has right now. i like the labtop dock because with that it would end the need to keep my computer (in my opinion). its about time that AT&T has steered away from the clutches of the Iphone and the amount of crap you have to endure (I-tunes and lack of insurance for example lol)
Since the Iphone and their bandwagoners have left for verizon, let the real AT&T users like me have fun with the atrix....i thought about getting the dell streak, but this phone is the best phones AT&T has come out with and its a must have for me
21. oneilmccord (Posts: 16; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
This phone seems to be acceptable...but I'm gonna wait for the Galaxy SII. Who's with me?
25. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
surely not anyone who's gotten an original Galaxy S. xD
22. Julian (unregistered)
I purchased my Atrix last week and have been giving it the thorough run thru and have these comments to make.
Battery life is quite amazing, a day and a half on a full charge with moderate use. (email every hour, few videos/music/games, and 1-2 hours talk time)
Screen is great, very crisp.
No lag noticed so far, but not as blazing fast as I thought.
Call quality is GREAT, and I've already used it in Green Bay, Tampa, and Detroit
I have been able to run speed test in Tampa and get over 4G speeds (mobilespeedtest.com)
Design feels solid, but could be a little nicer looking
Screen resolution is not fully utilzed with since the resolution isn't different.
Battery heats up with long use.
And of course this motoblur is moto boring!
Otherwise a great phone for the price, wanted the Inspire but keep hearing that the battery sucks!
32. sajan1989 (unregistered)
can it play .mkv files upto 720p resolution?????
34. snowgator (Posts: 3158; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Battery heats up???? Just me, or is that kinda alarming??? Any other reports of the battery getting hot, or did Julian get a unit that should be returned like RIGHT NOW to get looked at??
24. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 787; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
I just can't understand how they didn't put an 8MP camera on this thing, being the high end product it's supposed to be.
28. DJLegacy2k5 (Posts: 205; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I think PA got a bad unit!
My call quality is the best of any phone ive ever used, no joke. People on the other end say im INCREDIBLY CLEAR, like I am in the room with them. I get ZERO static at anytime...Other than as mentioned, when playing music at a SUPER high level.
I am not a huge Motorola fan, but call quality and this phone over all is the best Ihave ever used.
29. DJLegacy2k5 (Posts: 205; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Also I hate MOTOBLUR, but this phone is so fast and smooth that Motoblur doesnt lag and freeze up the phone like on most moto phones.
Also the camera is good, the iphone is a 5mp, why does this need to have a higher res camera to be "high end", on the update this phone will do 1080p...some of you are just getting greedy now.
31. sajan1989 (unregistered)
can this device play .mkv?
well the so called BRips are now getting more with 1280 resolution with less size
hope this phone plays .mkv we can save lots of gigs ........
36. MpowerSkills (Posts: 33; Member since: 19 Feb 2011)
The author doesn't have the best grasp of the English language. Some examples form the last page:
"Luckily, we didn’t experience any dropped calls during our testing in the greater Philadelphia area. Meanwhile, it manages to retain a solid connection to the network with no adverse fluctuations in signal our review." Whats he mean, "Meanwhile"?
"functionality that unanimously chops down borders"? Whats that mean?
I like how he ends it, "So if you’re looking for a smartphone right now, there is no reason why the Motorola ATRIX 4G should be on the top of your list." I'm pretty sure he meant the opposite.
61. itiswhatitis (Posts: 419; Member since: 23 Jan 2012)
haha u rite!!i tot i was the only who felt that way
37. Alan626 (unregistered)
Why did the rating go from 9.5 to 8?
38. Alan626 (unregistered)
Why did the rating of the phone go from 9.5 to 8
48. assajdsad (unregistered)
39. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 787; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
Camera button would have been really nice to have. Check that. It should have been in the design from day 1. Don't know why everyone except SE refuses to put one on the device.
40. Chris W (unregistered)
I had this phone since day of launch .. Coming from a HTC Tilt2 (winmo 6.5) , Android is far different (trying to sync contacts was a royal pain from outlook)
But for once i can run All the apps i want in a true multi tasking way
Sadly the Heating battery totally killed my phone in 2hrs from 80% to 10% .. i was not doing that much on it at the time
I since realized having wifi on trying to find networks is what cause it to over work , and suspect also border line 3G/4G or weak network also doesnt help
Motoblur works a dream smooth and syncs emails & fb (the FB widget is a pain as i get 200 notifcations every 12hrs) .. but works and needs less actions from me :)
Other wise .. a top notch phone that can do so much more
If the laptop doc was $100 i would have brought it, i instead purchased a HD dock online (awaiting delivery) for $100
Overall if the only down sides is the hot battery (which then makes itself hotter), over active antenna (which makes the battery get hot)
44. Santro652 (unregistered)
Can this phone act as Wi-Fi hot spot... I connect this phone Via my 3G network and my laptop is connected to this phone wirelessly and i browse in my lapatop? is this possible.. similar functionality as galaxy S.. and will this phone work in india if i get it from USA
45. Gothbeard (Posts: 30; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
Looks great, but 2 reasons why not to buy:
1. Motorola sell phones they know have manufacturing faults (Defy earpiece), and lie to their customers.
2. MotoBlur has poor functionality: in the review he had over 500 sns messages - there is no 'mark all as read' option in any widget. You literally have to flick through 500 messages to clear them. Same for RSS widget etc. Makes it unusable.
46. green2u (unregistered)
Excellent review! It's rare that I find a reviewer that covers pretty much everything. And in light of the possibility that Sprint will now carry it, I'm very excited about the possibility of owning it.
47. DeanV (unregistered)
I've browsed the internet to try and get a yes or no answer to my question and so far from reading various reviews I can only presume the answer but not safe in this knowing fully im not going to get the phone.
Will Irish/european sized sim cards work in this phone if i get it from the states?
51. Dwight (unregistered)
52. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Nice device, although it is aesthetically lack-luster. I used it in the store and it was somewhat laggy. But my friend just got it recently and it was just fine. No lag except the usual stuttery-ness of Android devices. From brief use, the dual-core seems to be another marketing term, because I noticed no significant difference from other devices. As a matter of fact, the performance in terms of browsing the platform and using the internet was similar to my iPod touch 2nd gen. Maybe Android isn't for me. I use it and get a little bored with it. I've used WP7 and come away impressed almost every time. I do intend to get a WP7 device.
55. bbains (unregistered)
Any idea on the Atrix's bluetooth specifics? I'm looking for a phone that will integrate well with my car stereo. Biggest problem I'm having is finding a phone that supports AVRCP 1.3, which allows for song metadata display and browsing. The product information I've seen lists AVRCP, but doesn't specify the version supported.
56. megaman (unregistered)
it is fantastic phone that you should have
57. Newby (unregistered)
My first smart phone and I went with the Atrix because the price was right and features out the ying yang. It seems to do it all and does it well. I use it mostly on WiFi because im in a marginal AT&T area.
Bottom line: Im pleased with it.
58. geroge (unregistered)
the galaxy s 2 is 10 times better than this garbage, just saying...
59. Dan3030 (unregistered)
Going from a 3g to this was night and day. I had a htc fuze before that which had the really really archaic win mo at the time(it sucked). I don't see any lag and the call quality is fine for me but ive had att my whole life so maybe im used to sub par call quality but i really don't notice much aside from a little bit of static when making a call (not during the call) and this can be avoided by having the volume turned down a little below max volume at least in my experience. I like my Atrix a lot and have had no issues with it so far. For the price difference i would rather have this than a 4GS or 4G(with a new plan the atrix was still about 150 bucks less) and when comparing it to some of the Samsung and htc phones its much faster with GB on it, taking advantage of the dual core fully now. The screen isn't huge like some of the newer Samsung and htc phones but i really have no desire to have a giant phone and since it has an HDMI out your screen can be as big as your TV or monitor is. Great Phone!!!