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Motorola ATRIX HD Review

Motorola ATRIX HD 8

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It’s anyone’s guess who’s influencing Motorola at this point, but one thing is certain, there’s no remnants of MOTOBLUR whatsoever with the ATRIX HD’s Android experience. No doubt, some will like the mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience, however, the overall one isn’t as comprehensive as other custom UIs from the competition – like HTC Sense 4.0 or Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX. Nevertheless, Motorola’s choice of donning an unmodified Android experience might mean that the handset will receive updates faster (we hope).

Initially, it appears as though it’s a stock ICS experience on the ATRIX HD, which is noted by its on-screen Android buttons and typical app tray that breaks down the apps and widgets. However, Motorola manages to provide a single goodie in the form of the “Circles” widgets. Specifically, the widget consists of three circles that display weather/temperature information, various clocks, and one for the handset’s battery level, data consumption, and settings. Aside from that, the rest should be a very familiar one.

The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience - Motorola ATRIX HD Review

The Motorola ATRIX HD offers a mostly vanilla Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich experience


With the stock ICS experience on hand, there’s nothing out of the ordinary with the handset’s core organizer apps – seeing that their presentations and functions are unchanged.

Organizer apps - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
Organizer apps - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
Organizer apps - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
Organizer apps - Motorola ATRIX HD Review

Organizer apps

Even though the Webtop functionality is missing in action with the ATRIX HD, Motorola is kind enough to bring over its SMART Actions app, which allows us to modify certain functions of the handset according to specific actions. As Motorola points out, it’s great tool for optimizing the performance of the handset, like its operation or battery life, but it requires some meticulous management on our part to become useful. Still, if you prefer having a firm grip on all aspects of the smartphone’s functions, this should be something that you’ll find satisfying.

With the real estate presented to us by its display, typing up messages with its on-screen keyboard isn’t an issue – mainly because both the Swype and stock keyboards are spacious and responsive.

On-screen keyboards of the Motorola ATRIX HD - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
On-screen keyboards of the Motorola ATRIX HD - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
On-screen keyboards of the Motorola ATRIX HD - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
On-screen keyboards of the Motorola ATRIX HD - Motorola ATRIX HD Review

On-screen keyboards of the Motorola ATRIX HD

Processor and Memory:

Joining the ranks of other select Android smartphones on AT&T’s lineup, the Motorola ATRIX HD is able to fly effortlessly with most tasks thanks to its 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. Maintaining a high level of performance with nearly everything we threw at it, there’s no arguing its blazing rate of operation – albeit, there’s an occasional delay every now and then with opening certain apps. Although it fails to conjure up class-leading benchmark scores, we’re not entirely saddened since its real-world operation is evidence enough to distinguish itself as a viable contender .

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu NenaMark 2
Motorola ATRIX HD 4310 5620 56,5
Sony Xperia ion 2833 6044 36,4
Samsung Galaxy S III US 4520 6111 59,4
HTC One X AT&T 4958 6863 57,7

Unlike its esteemed rivals, the ATRIX HD is lacking in the storage department out of the box. Honestly, you’ll need to throw in a microSD card in it because it’s only boasting 4.97GB of total storage!

Internet and Connectivity:

With 4G LTE connectivity in tow with this bad boy, you’re ensured lighting fast data speeds with AT&T’s network – that’s as long as you have it around your area of course. Even though Adobe Flash isn’t preinstalled, a quick visit to Google Play remedies that – thus, presenting us with that desktop-like experience. Most of the time, the handset retains a fluid movement with its navigational controls, however, it does suffer from jumpiness with its movement every now and. It’s not too irritating, luckily, but it does stand apart from other things. Nonetheless, the experience is more than tolerable to accept.

Web browsing - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
Web browsing - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
Web browsing - Motorola ATRIX HD Review
Web browsing - Motorola ATRIX HD Review

Web browsing

Being the GSM device it is, international travelers won’t come across any problems trying to get it to work with most wireless networks abroad – though, LTE connectivity is only available domestically via AT&T. As for its other connectivity goodies, it features a GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot connectivity. Strangely, it’s lacking NFC, which is increasingly becoming a standard with most high-end devices.

  • Options

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 07:49 4

1. ajac09 (Posts: 1480; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

I will say for the price it is one of the best.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 07:58 1

2. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I don't get it what's wrong with photo department.
It makes worse pictures than droid 2.
And why didn't they put larger battery in it taken straight from razr maxx?
It would be a huge bonus for users.
I bet that most of potential customers will wait to see if moto announces next month the same phone with a monstrous battery.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 08:24 4

3. belatukadro (Posts: 11; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)

Felt I needed to comment here:

Comparing this phone to the One X and SGS3 pretty much defeats the purpose. Those are top-end phones, the flagship devices of their manufacturer's lineups. This phone, based on its price-point, is obviously not meant to compete with them. It may be the current best-of Moto on AT&T, but it is not their flagship. I would fully expect the RAZR HD to make it to more than just Verizon this year (without the DROID moniker, of course). I think the new management at Moto (read: the new CEO) realizes that making their flagship only available on one carrier undercuts their sales. As you stated in the review, this update is solid, and for the price unmatched.

I will say though, I have the odd feeling they have updated camera software cooked up, but are waiting for the new flagship device to reveal it before pushing it to other devices. It really just looks like their software poorly adjusts the images after they are taken, not that the sensors are sub-par (use 3rd party software and the images are definitely passable).

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 08:35 1

5. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)

yes, but the problem is this is their best phone as of the moment IMO and they are competing in a lower level. People will be mistaking this as a lower end model (people have a thinking tha expensive is better, ex. iSheep) they should have at least made it more... spec'd and pushed advertising!

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 12:05 1

16. remtothemax (Posts: 260; Member since: 02 May 2012)

the egregious apple comment was uncalled for, seriously

i think this phone is great for what it is
it is a lower end model, people will not be mistaking it
that is why it is only $99, not $199 or more
it is unabashedly a mid tier phone
go look at engadgets chart comparing the atrix hd to the one x and the gs3
for a mid tier phone it is actually an amazing deal
moto will probably be realeasing something more cutting edge later
but for now i see no problem with this phone for what it is

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 08:35 3

4. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Strangely, I took a sample photo with the HD I sold yesterday, and it looked fine. It wasn't muddy or grainy. It was actually quite sharp.

Also, it doesn't make sense that the battery life would be so weak, because the battery is about the same size as the Atrix 2 battery, which does fine.

Oh well. You guys gave it an 8. That works for me.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 09:07 1

7. snowgator (Posts: 3554; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Good to know about the camera, buddy. Be interesting to see what other tech sites say.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 11:26 1

13. John.V (Posts: 99; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Did you check it out on a computer though? It looks nice and sharp on the ATRIX HD's ColorBoost display, but after evaluating it on a computer, its quality something entirely different. Very muddy.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 09:05 3

6. snowgator (Posts: 3554; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Okay- I am impressed, period. Yes, yes, we all know that no Android released this calendar year will top the Sammy GS3 in the hearts and minds of reviewers and tech bloggers. But this is a gorgeous handset that does just enough the same to see it is a Motorola and just enough different to stand out against the Verizon family. It has good benchmarks, a wonderful screen that really pops, and it should sing and never slow down with it being 85% stock ICS experience. It is priced to move, and is an easy device to like.

I will be heading to an AT&T store soon, and give this device a run I shall. If it is as nice as I am expecting, I have a back up device in the wings if I am not happy with WP 8.

Love Moto. How I wish Microsoft could bribe them to putting out a Droid 4- style device for WP 8.....

Oh and by the way:

"Call it a bummer, we’re curious to know why a standout feature like that is omitted with a top-shelf device such as this." John V. was of course referring to Motorola's dock expansion. It was omitted to keep this a lower priced device.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 09:45 1

8. DechyX (Posts: 127; Member since: 16 May 2011)

I purchased this phone yesterday (49.99 at BestBuy) and I agree with the review for the most part. I loved the Atrix and liked the Atrix 2, but the HD doesn't really offer anything new or exciting... it's just cheaper. The display is really pretty, and the little circles widget is cool, but the lack of social networking integration and any other compelling feature will probably cause me to return it sometime this week.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 11:25 1

11. DAN13L83 (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)

I was disapointed with the lack of social network integration but I do like that it is closer to stock ICS

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 12:09 1

18. remtothemax (Posts: 260; Member since: 02 May 2012)

the whole point of it is that it is a cheap phone
why are people nocking it for not being a top shelf device when it never was trying to do that
the launch price tag is kind of a giant bilboard outlining what level the phone is trying to be
you know, kind of how nokia's lumia 900 was underpowered, so it didn't sell at $199

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 17:56

20. DechyX (Posts: 127; Member since: 16 May 2011)

I'm not so much knocking it as just giving my opinion, cheap or not, you still have to look at the pros and cons. And while the price is awesome, it still is suitable enough for my needs.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 09:54 1

9. TimTebow (Posts: 70; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

Other reviews had better benchmarks beating S3 in most of them...

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 11:25 1

12. DAN13L83 (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)

Can you post the links. i would like to see.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 10:10 1

10. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5710; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

i'm not satisfied with this review. you guys barely even went over the software like the quick launch icons for instance and the speaker on this thing is ridiculously loud. see MobileTechReview's Review for this. it covers a lot more.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 11:30 1

14. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

50 bucks for such a device?

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 11:45 2

15. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Correct me if I'm wrong but what the hell is with viewing angles, this is a damn phone not a blasted LCD TV, there is only one damn angle I'm going to be looking at my phone the most useful angle; which shouldn't be any of these extreme angles these people keep harping on about. It's so irrational to see this, great viewing angles, are you serious this a hand held phone what kind of angles are you expecting to hold this thing at? They should seriously leave this viewing angle thing out of reviews, makes little to no sense, 178º viewing angle on my cell phone wtf, how on earth am I supposed to do anything at such angles. 90-140º is probably at which most hold their phones beyond that you need help as that's just plain stupid.

This is one pretty slick phone, are they sure it's plastic or is it that Motorola favorite metal plastic coated rubberized deal. As with any Moto phone, this thing should be pretty tough in the build department. I had to laugh at the complaint about it being unweildly, the SGS3 is wider in comparison and the HTC One X is larger as well...the complaints are weird at times. SGS3 isn't unwieldy in anyway and that thing sports a 4.8" screen. My gf with her tiny hands handles that phone with ease and I have yet to hear he complain about it being too big.

Seems like flagship Droid phones do not go to any other large carrier, I have yet to see any of them sold on ATT, T-Mobile or Sprint...I did however see a variant of the Droid X on some regional carrier though. Razr as it is will probably never land on another network because of this whole exclusivity Droid deal thing, anyone see a Samsung Charge(POS) on any other network, nope, what about the HTC Incredible? Maybe overseas but not here, seems like VZW has special terms with Droid labeled phones yes?

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 12:08 2

17. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

Great phone for $100 (or $50 through retailers). How can you beat this deal? I'm not sure about the camera (maybe a firmware issue) - all cell phone cameras suck anyway. I'd give it a 9/10.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 14:07

19. Brewski (Posts: 307; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)

Why is David wearing footie pajamas?

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 19:25 1

21. Yusei (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


What a beautiful phone, i love the white one.

About specs, top notch too.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 20:42

22. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 138; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)

Motorola screw it on this one. The Atrix 2 was a midlevel cell phone competing well with top cell phones. It was outstanding for the money, and looking great. This Atrix HD is squarely below the best cell phone now and I wont get it. I am waiting for the Samsung Note II after returning an S3. Did not like the plastic blue color.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 21:33 2

23. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5710; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

you know the only thing that separates the Atrix HD and the SIII spec-wise is the extra GB of RAM that the SIII packs right?

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 22:35

24. Yusei (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)

better camera, better screen and bigger screen.
SIII wins clearly.
but it's a good smartphone this Moto

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 22:43

25. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5710; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

i only meant in performance, the rest is subjective except for the Camera which Moto really doesn't put a lot of effort into but it's really not bad.

posted on 16 Jul 2012, 23:29

26. PhoneFanatic.com (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)

Can not wait when it hits best July phone list

posted on 17 Jul 2012, 07:33

27. ATins (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jul 2012)

Good morning. I purchased the Motorola Atrix HD the other day and ithe phone is amazing. Very fast and works like a breeze. I'm not sure why some people here are down playing the device and saying its not highend because of the cost. The phone basically is highend and at a lower price plain and simple, the hardware and software are not much different the the other new phones on AT&T that people consider highend because of the price. When I went to purchase the device 3 of the peopleworking in the store had purchased it 2. Its a really great phone, anyone reading this, don't be decieved or turned away by post downplaying the phone and not calling it highend based on the price.

posted on 17 Jul 2012, 12:21 1

28. WillG (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jul 2012)

I upgraded to this phone on Sunday, 07/15/12, and it is pretty good. Love that it is "nano coated" so it won't die if it is dropped in the sink or pool, or gets splashed on. However, i didn't realize until i was at the store, that the battery was not removable. This may be a deal breaker for me.

I had the Atrix 2 and i purchased 2 extra spare batteries that i carried with me in my work briefcase and they have come in Very Handy Many times. Not being able to last One Full Day on the Atrix HD is no good. what's the point of having a cell phone if it is dead when you "have" to use it at the end of the day and you are not near a charger? But...so far, i have been impressed with the battery life on the Atrix HD. today is 1PM EST and though i haven't used my phone much today, it is still at 85% charged. So that is a nice surprise.

Another potential bummer is that i have not found a way to copy all my Playlists from my AmazonMp3 app to my new phone. I've tried BlueMuze, but it has not worked yet.

And the Screen is bigger than the Atrix 2 and it is brighter and crisper by a lot...there is one caveat...the home button, "back arrow" button and the settings button are all On the Screen. That may sound cool, and maybe it is..but i see it as taking real estate away from the screen. When i compare the Screens of the Atrix 2 to the Atrix HD, and when you subtract the "bar" at the bottom of the screen with the abovementioned buttons, the "viewable/usable" real estate of the Atrix HD screen is smaller than the the screen of the Atrix 2.

Android ICS is pretty cool and the widgets are great too. Still getting used to some other ICS interfaces with ubersocial and Gmail. But it is a really good upgrade from what the Atrix2 has.

Remember, when you get the Atrix HD, you also have to get a "micro sim card", so you will need a sim card adapter if you want to put your new micro sim back in an older phone.

For the money, the Atrix HD is a Great Phone! and you won't go wrong having it.

But for me, i'm not sure it is worth the upgrade from the Atrix 2, maybe wait until the next Big Deal is out for AT&T.

I will give it another week or two...but at the moment, i am leaning towards returning it. Maybe I'll just see if i can send my Atrix 2 to liquipel.com and get it "nano coated".

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 16:38

30. amjohnson2005 (Posts: 8; Member since: 16 May 2012)

I'm with you on the screen real estate, especially when they tossed in the google search (which looks like a widget but isn't). The lack of NFC and exchangeable battery were the other deal breakers for me. Other than that, the phone was great/awesome/smooth! I'm wondering if maybe I should go back...I hate this phone doesn't have NFC :( because I really wanted a LTE device!

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 03:34 1

29. nadar.bsm (Posts: 32; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

I dont understand why this does not considered in the likely of SGS3 as both use same SoC.. the differences is the SGS3(LTE version) has 2GB RAM & Atrix HD has 1GB RAM and SGS3 has 16 GB inbuilt memory as compared to Atrix HD's 8 GB...

It uses stock Andriod not much skin to it by Motorola & in future the updates may directly come from Google(wish it to happen to all Moto device)... so it is more ideal choice than skinned SGS3 or HTC One X....

I know it is not the flagship device from Moto but still, please anyone explain why is it not considered as the high-end device like S3 or One X as it has the same specs as those device have.... ??..confused..??

posted on 24 Jul 2012, 11:24

31. stuartfit (Posts: 1; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)

For this price, it is a value for your money, never mind the little disadvantages over SIII and One X which the comparisons were done.
I have been a Motorola fan since early 2000, used many of its phones and currently using the Atrix 4G, ROKR E8 and the Command One bluetooth (just bought another Elite Flip bluetooth recently). I was thinking of upgrading to either RAZR XT910, RAZR Maxx or the Atrix HD but only one thing held me back - the non-removable battery. I was truly disappointed with this design but it's their designer's call, so now I just have to hold on to my Atrix 4G a bit longer and since I bought the whole lot of Atrix 4G's accessories. it doesn't hurt so much to wait. Bought the Lapdock, the Multimedia Dock, bluetooth keyboard, bluetooth mouse, remote multimedia controller, one wall/USB charger, 2 additional batteries, car charger, 2 silicone covers and crazy me, another original battery cover. (God knows what was I thinking!)
Anyway, I really wanted to support Motorola but if they continue to produce smartphones with non-removable batteries, I might have to look elsewhere for my upgrade in the future until they come up with a removable battery model. Their crystaltalk technology is one of the best in the world and that's what made me stay with their brand and I hate to start looking for another option, that is only if I really need to.
Battery is one aspect we owners has to be careful of, handles it right, it can probably serve you well between 2 to 3 years and the last 4 to 6 months will usually be the most painful experience, it requires frequent charges on daily basis. On the other hand, ignorant and high volume users might encounter shorter battery lifespan and the buyer of their used smartphones will be left to deal with the battery replacements which require Motorola's know how technicians. Bear in mind that not many locations have these kinds of "specialists" resulting in more complaints and long term brand deterioration of Motorola. So if any guys reading here happen to work for Motorola (or GooGle), kindly take note of this or else you might risk losing more supporters in the future. That's one reason why I don't even want to look at Iphone besides other contributing reasons. So here I am, a concerned supporter providing my point of view, the rest will be up to you - Motorola.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 19:34 1

32. Thullraven (Posts: 26; Member since: 14 Nov 2011)

I have the Atrix HD. One co-worker has a Samsung GS3, another the HTC One X. They are remarkable phones that do amazing things. That said, we work in an area where it is hard to get a good cell signal. It's somewhat amusing that those high dollar phones can't keep their signal while mine is fine and I can check the web, check e-mails, and make calls the whole time while they can't. Motorola makes the best anntenas in the game. no one seems to realize how important that is, especially in a tough situation.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 19:05

33. mdwsmith (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Jun 2013)

I have had this phone since november 12... and i love it and still love it! for the price and the specs it punches isnt bad... especially when compared next to the s3... this phone hasnt failed me yet and havent had one problem.

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Motorola ATRIX HD

Motorola ATRIX HD

OS: Android 4.1 4.0
view full specs
Display4.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (326 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
1024 MB RAM
Size5.26 x 2.75 x 0.33 inches
(133.5 x 69.9 x 8.4 mm)
4.94 oz  (140 g)
Battery1780 mAh, 9 hours talk time

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