Motorola ATRIX 4G Laptop Dock Review
For starters, the very first thing to catch our attention with the Laptop Dock is its razor thin profile – which closely resembles the look of a MacBook Air. Furthermore, its streamlined looks are further accented by its machined metallic exterior that resonates with a premium feel, but it’s a stickler for attracting smudges and fingerprints. In fact, you really need to wipe it down with a piece of cloth and apply some pressure to get some of the nasty dirt off its exterior. And of course, it’s a lot lighter than most other laptops in its category at 2.4lbs. All in all, there’s no denying that it’ll garner plenty of glances as you whip it out and use it thanks to its sleek looking industrial design.
Opening the laptop, we’re first greeted to its 11.6” WXGA (1366 x 768) display that looks exquisitely sharp when it’s set to full brightness – which we might add is sufficient in combating the sun in outdoor settings. However, it sticks to employing a glossy screen as opposed to the matte ones generally found with most laptops. With that, there are numerous occasions when we found ourselves combating reflections, but it doesn’t prove to be too detrimental. As for the chicklet style keyboard, it’s a little bit smaller than we’d like, but at least we’re greeted with a reasonable tactile response when pressing down on its keys. Speed typing is not a problem for this one, but we find its lack of a delete key more of a hindrance since you’ll have to rely on using the backspace key for everything. Still, we quickly found ourselves adjusting to the new scheme of typing.
Below the keyboard, we find an oversized trackpad with its left and right mouse keys. Obviously, it’s supremely roomy for our fingers, but even after adjusting the mouse settings with the interface, we still find it lagging behind in trying to keep up with our finger swipes. In the back, we find 2 USB ports that’ll allow you to connect peripherals, like USB keyboards or flash drives, which soundly show its acceptance of being a fully functional laptop. Additionally, it’s also the same location that we find the dock connection for the Motorola ATRIX 4G. Simply, you expose it and slide the handset into position as it hooks onto the microUSB and microHDMI ports on the handset. After prolonged usage, we did find the rear portion of the Laptop Dock becoming hot to the touch since the battery is constantly charging the handset, but it’s not to the point burning.
The great part about the Laptop Dock is that it transform the Motorola ATRIX 4G into a totally different device thanks to Motorola’s webtop interface. Once it’s set into this mode, we’re greeted with the actual handset, which is running Android and all, operating on the desktop of the Laptop Dock. Specifically, it feels like an emulator more than anything because you have complete control of the handset through the use of the interface. At the bottom portion of the webtop interface, we find a row of icons that get into some of the common functions of the phone – like sending a text message, viewing your contacts, and opening up the dialer. Furthermore, there is an icon that opens up the desktop version of Mozilla Firefox browser. Yeah, it’s strange that they decided to bring Firefox on instead of Google Chrome, but we’re nonetheless glad to see a real desktop web browser running on the Laptop Dock. And lastly, there are some other icons, like the Facebook one, that basically opens up the site via the Firefox browser.
Motorola’s webtop interface
Overall, we’re happy with the intuitive experience we had using the Laptop Dock – especially when it enables you to fully interact with the handset while browsing the web with the Firefox browser. There’s also a File Manager program that enables you to quickly organize files between the handset and any storage media connected to its USB ports. Initially, it runs at a moderate rate with very few instances of slowdown, but once we had multiple things running, we were soon greeted with a message indicating to us to close some windows to preserve memory. Nevertheless, it’s nice being able to run Pandora on the handset, while typing up something using Google Documents via the Firefox browser. And aside from the webtop experience, you can also select the option to get the Laptop Dock into the Entertainment Center. In this mode, it enables you to quickly view stored multimedia content (music, videos, and photos) on the handset. The interface is straightforward without any complications, but it’s still nice to be able to quickly share things with other people.
In the end, we find the Laptop Dock one alluring accessory for the Motorola ATRIX 4G thanks to its innovative experience. For the most part, it can in some ways replace your laptop, but its basic set of functionality still hinders it from being completely independent. Sure you have a real desktop browser in there, but when it comes to the productivity suite, you’ll have to rely on Cloud based offerings like Google Docs – which naturally requires a data connection. Battery life is really good since we managed to get out 10 hours of continuous normal usage with it, so it directly competes with most netbooks on the market.
The Laptop Dock's biggest drawback seems to be its very steep price. We really can't swallow $300, if purchased bundled, let alone the $500 price tag if bought separately, for a larger screen with a keyboard and two USBs. However, we’d like to see the Laptop Dock being increasingly implemented with other future devices and not end solely with the ATRIX 4G.
Motorola ATRIX 4G Laptop Dock Video Review: