Motorola ATRIX HD Review

With half of 2012 behind us, it’s been an uphill joy ride for AT&T, as the carrier has been graced with some stellar Android powered smartphones. In fact, it’s arguable to say that AT&T has the deepest lineup out of all the major domestic carriers – and it looks like it’s not stopping anytime soon! Thus far, we’ve seen flagship devices from HTC, Samsung, and Sony, though, one venerable manufacturer has remained silent throughout it all.

Motorola has been doing some serious work over on Verizon, as its DROID smartphones have taken the spotlight – especially the battery friendly Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX. It’s not that AT&T doesn’t get its fair share of equally compelling devices, as the carrier nabbed the ATRIX 4G and ATRIX 2 last year, but AT&T customers are starving for something that’s similar to what Verizon is blessed with. Thankfully, they’re heeding the call now that the Motorola ATRIX HD is finally here, which is sporting a drool worthy $99.99 on-contract price. After seeing so many stellar devices for AT&T, the ATRIX HD has a tough battle ahead of itself in an attempt to stay relevant amongst the pack.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide


Let’s not beat around the bushes with this one people, but there’s not much originality found with the design of the Motorola ATRIX HD – it’s actually a bigger version of the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX. We’re not too keen about its black/white paint job, but for those who prefer a uniform body, it’s also available in all-black. At its core, the ATRIX HD is a solidly built handset, which is evidenced by its sturdy plastic body, clean looking KEVLAR rear backing, and water resistant nano-coating. Still, our biggest gripe is that it feels too unwieldy in the hand because of the larger bezels surrounding its 4.5” display. By comparison, its overall size is nearly identical to the HTC One X because of those wider bezels.

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

Call it a rarity still, there are no capacitive Android buttons whatsoever with the handset, since they’re incorporated into the platform. Meanwhile, above the display, we find a very tiny earpiece, green LED notification light, and its front-facing camera, which has the ability to shoot 720p videos.

Just like the DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX, the ATRIX HD has a plastic flap on its left side that tucks away its microSIM and microSD slots. Additionally, the placement of its physical power and volume buttons are in the same locations on the right edge. However, we’re not fans of their indistinct feel and stiff response. Rounding things out, we spot the handset’s 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB, and microHDMI ports all lying on the top edge of the phone – though, it’s worth noting that this ATRIX doesn’t feature Motorola’s Webtop experience.

Much like its rivals, the ATRIX HD packs along an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash – with three notches nearby that tucks away the internal speaker. There’s no way of getting easy access to its 1,780 mAh battery.


Rather than employing an AMOLED panel, like what’s found on the DROID RAZR and RAZR MAXX, Motorola instead opts to grace the ATRIX HD with a 4.5” HD (720 x 1280) ColorBoost TFT display. Naturally, its pixel density of 326 ppi produces some sharp details that allow us to easily recognize fine text. And even though Motorola doesn’t elaborate on the ColorBoost technology, our eyes take note of the superb and vibrant color reproduction of the display, which is a bit more natural in tone when compared to the over-saturation of AMOLED panels. Throw in some decent viewing angles and a high brightness output, it really comes to life in many aspects – albeit, it still requires some shielding in direct sunlight. There’s no arguing that it’s one sharp display, but it still doesn’t come off as being more compelling than the Super LCD2 display of the HTC One X.

Motorola ATRIX HD 360-Degrees View:



1. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

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

2. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 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: 11; Member since: Jul 16, 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: Jul 15, 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: 260; Member since: May 02, 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: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

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

13. John.V

Posts: 99; Member since: May 27, 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: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 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: 156; Member since: May 16, 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: 3; Member since: Jul 16, 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: 260; Member since: May 02, 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: 156; Member since: May 16, 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: 70; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

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

12. DAN13L83

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

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

10. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 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.

14. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

50 bucks for such a device? bargain.

15. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 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: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 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.

19. Brewski

Posts: 710; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Why is David wearing footie pajamas?

21. Yusei

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

WOW What a beautiful phone, i love the white one. About specs, top notch too.

22. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 207; Member since: Jul 27, 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: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 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: Apr 27, 2012

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

25. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 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.


Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

Can not wait when it hits best July phone list

27. ATins

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 17, 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: Jul 17, 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? 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 and get it "nano coated".

30. amjohnson2005

Posts: 8; Member since: May 16, 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: Jul 13, 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..??
  • Display 4.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Battery 1780 mAh(9h talk time)

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