Motorola ATRIX HD Review
One area that Motorola left untouched is the handset’s camera interface, which is unchanged from previous devices. To tell you the truth, it’s rather barren in terms of manual controls, but there are a few shooting modes and options that should tide some people over – but as a whole, we’re not particularly fond of its layout. Essentially, it’s lacking some deep custom options we’ve been exposed to with other recent devices to please hardened photo-happy enthusiasts. Just like its DROID siblings, the ATRIX HD emits a cool zapping tone when it snaps a shot.
Brandishing an 8-megapixel camera in the rear, it’s not an upgrade considering that the ATRIX 2 flaunted the same resolution. Unfortunately for this just made available smartphone, its quality is nowhere close to the level of its direct competitors – simply, we’re dismayed! Even in outdoor settings with plenty of lighting, it fails to deliver anything compelling, which is illustrated by its muddy details and bland color tones. Worse yet, its quality in low lighting is stubbornly poor, as it’s diminished by some noticeable instances of noise and graininess. Using the flash does little to alleviate its garish quality, seeing that it produces a vignetting effect that doesn’t illuminate properly the corners and borders of the shot.
However, its 1080p video recording quality fares a little bit better, but not by much. First and foremost, we do appreciate its smooth capture rate of 29 frames per second. Beyond that, we see pretty much the same results with its still capture quality. Specifically, its details are very dull in tone and that it suffers from a tiny bit of artifacting when panning quickly. Audio recording sounds decent, well, except for its inability to cut down wind noise.
Motorola ATRIX HD Sample Video:
Showing its love for the stock ICS experience, both its gallery and music apps maintain their presentations. With the latter, we’re always tickled by the cool 3D carousel in play when browsing through our catalog, but beyond that, it packs a straightforward layout. Cranking up its volume to its maximum, it delivers a pleasant tone that’s never too irritating to the ear. Even better, its audio quality can be enhanced thanks to the available sound effects offered by the ATRIX HD.
Having the correct ingredients on hand, the Motorola ATRIX HD’s 4.5” HD ColorBoost TFT display is a beauty of its own when it comes to watching high definition videos. Playing our test video encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 resolution, it’s naturally equipped in providing us with an excellent experience. Not only does it boast sharp details, but it’s the rich colors of its display that ensnares our attention above all.
Regrettably, there’s no support for Motorola’s Webtop experience with this ATRIX – as we’ve noted already. Rather, its microHDMI port simply coughs up the typical mirrored experience on a high definition television set. 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.
Being an AT&T bound device and all, it’s preloaded with all of the usual AT&T apps we’re so used to seeing – these include AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Ready2Go, AT&T Smart Wi-Fi, Live AT&T U-Verse Live TV, myAT&T, and AT&T Messages. As for the other on there, they consist of Amazon Kindle, Qik Lite, Quickoffice, Real Racing 2, and YPmobile.
1. ajac09 (Posts: 1106; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
I will say for the price it is one of the best.
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.
3. belatukadro (Posts: 10; 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).
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!
16. remtothemax (Posts: 170; 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
4. Sniggly (Posts: 6194; 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.
7. snowgator (Posts: 3015; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Good to know about the camera, buddy. Be interesting to see what other tech sites say.
13. John.V (Posts: 88; 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.
6. snowgator (Posts: 3015; 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.
8. DechyX (Posts: 109; 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.
11. DAN13L83 (Posts: 2; 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
18. remtothemax (Posts: 170; 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
20. DechyX (Posts: 109; 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.
9. TimTebow (Posts: 68; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
Other reviews had better benchmarks beating S3 in most of them...
12. DAN13L83 (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)
Can you post the links. i would like to see.
10. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5424; 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.
15. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 612; 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?
17. dmn666 (Posts: 179; 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.
21. Yusei (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)
What a beautiful phone, i love the white one.
About specs, top notch too.
22. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 49; 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.
23. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5424; 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?
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
25. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5424; 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.
26. PhoneFanatic.com (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)
Can not wait when it hits best July phone list
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.
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".
30. amjohnson2005 (Posts: 7; 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!
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..??
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.
32. Thullraven (Posts: 14; 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.
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.