Motorola ATRIX 4G Review

Let’s reminisce for a bit shall we? It was roughly a year ago when we were all finally entertained as AT&T ushered in the era of Android as the carrier introduced the socially right round Motorola BACKFLIP. Being the last of the major carriers to enter the Android game, customers were probably hoping to be entertained by some kind of high caliber device, rather, they were only subjected to the mid-range offering. Since then, and up to the beginning of the New Year, customers had to endure and wallow with a sea of forgettable devices from Motorola’s camp – such as the BRAVO, FLIPSIDE, and FLIPOUT.

Call it an injustice or whatever you want, but now they aim to erase all prior memories as we open up our arms and embrace all the loveliness that the Motorola ATRIX 4G is about to offer. Not only it is the first truly respectable offering from Motorola’s camp for AT&T, but it’s gunning to position itself as the best smartphone device in its class amongst the carrier’s lineup. Naturally, there are plenty of goodies strapped in for the ride. But it’s taking things into new territories that haven’t been explored yet. But in the end, will these new ventures actually transition to something that consumers want?

The package contains:

  • Motorola ATRIX 4G
  • microUSB Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • microHDMI Cable
  • Quickstart Guide


With all the impressive hardware under its hood, one can easily overlook the less than tasteful design it’s sporting. There’s no arguing about it, but when it’s compared to some of Verizon’s babies, say the Motorola DROID X, the ATRIX 4G doesn’t come off as boasting a stellar design. Rather, it resorts to a minimalistic approach that’s rounded on the corners and is constructed out of some marginally acceptable plastics. At the same time though, it’s very lightweight (4.76 oz.) thanks to its plastic housing, while still tucking away easily in the pockets due to its slim (0.43” thick) looks.  However, we do find its back cover intriguing thanks to the pattern painted on here that provides a shimmering effect when the handset is tilted at various angles. It’s not sexy by any means, but its design is tolerable enough to accept.

You can compare the Motorola ATRIX 4G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Looking past its design, our eyes are greeted to an illustrious 4” qHD (540 x 960) LCD display that packs plenty of crisp details that make even the tiniest of text extremely visible to the naked eye. Moreover, color output is fantastically natural looking and luscious to behold without having the over-saturated looks of an AMOLED display. In outdoor settings under the gaze of the sun, it’s still workable without the need of being shielded thanks to its strong luminance output. Plus, viewing angles are actually good with the handset since colors retain their level even at some extreme angles. And lastly, the display is quite receptive in registering all of our gestures and presses.

As always, the usual set of capacitive touch Android buttons line the bottom area beneath the display. Though, we still had a tendency of accidentally pressing on them since they’re placed somewhat close to the edge. Next to the earpiece, the 0.3-megapixel front facing camera is perched nearby, while the proximity and light sensors are there as well.

Placed alongside one another, we find the microUSB and microHDMI ports built into the left edge of the phone. The tandem enables the handset to offer some new innovative features that truly deliver in making the ATRIX 4G a great handset, but we’ll explain more about that later on.

Now the only thing found on the right side is the ample sized volume rocker that provides a reasonable amount of feedback when pressed.

While on the top, we’re presented with the 3.5mm headset jack with the dedicated power button placed awkwardly towards the back and at angle. Rectangular in shape, some might be thrown off by it, but it actually doubles as a finger print reader which is used to unlock the device. Definitely adding yet another level of peace of mind, we like its tactile response and ability to unlock the device – which is still rarely found on most of today’s smartphones. Additionally, the noise cancelling microphone is found close-by as well.

Turning it around to its rear, we’re greeted with its unmistakable 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash, while the speakerphone grill is found towards the bottom portion. Removing the back cover is simply done by yanking it off from either the top or bottom edges, and once that’s done, you have access to its larger than normal 1930 mAh battery, SIM card slot, and microSD card slot.

Motorola ATRIX 4G 360-degree View:



60. itiswhatitis

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

i know its pretty late but i'm getting mine on 4th of february

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!!!

58. geroge unregistered

the galaxy s 2 is 10 times better than this garbage, just saying...

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.

56. megaman unregistered

it is fantastic phone that you should have

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.

52. rayjones09

Posts: 149; Member since: Dec 16, 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.

51. Dwight unregistered

Nice review.

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?

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.

45. Gothbeard

Posts: 54; Member since: Jun 28, 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.

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

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)

39. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 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.

38. Alan626 unregistered

Why did the rating of the phone go from 9.5 to 8

48. assajdsad unregistered


37. Alan626 unregistered

Why did the rating go from 9.5 to 8?

36. MpowerSkills

Posts: 47; Member since: Feb 19, 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: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

haha u rite!!i tot i was the only who felt that way

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 ........

29. DJLegacy2k5

Posts: 212; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

28. DJLegacy2k5

Posts: 212; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

24. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 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.

22. Julian unregistered

I purchased my Atrix last week and have been giving it the thorough run thru and have these comments to make. Pros: 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 ( Cons: 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: 3629; Member since: Jan 19, 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??

21. oneilmccord

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 14, 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: May 10, 2010

surely not anyone who's gotten an original Galaxy S. xD

14. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 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

13. Jason1212 unregistered

Who the hell paid them to give this POS a laggy and motocrap makes the phone unusable
  • Display 4.0 inches
    960 x 540 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP (Single camera)
    0.3 MP VGA front
  • Hardware NVIDIA Tegra 2, 1GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 1930 mAh
  • OS Android 2.3.6

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