Cellular Performance

Previous Motorola LTE devices used Qualcomm basebands for 3G data and telephony, while using Motorola's own Wrigley LTE baseband. Here, though, with Qualcomm's own baseband tucked alongside the AP, the Atrix HD is Motorola's first UE Category 3 device, so speeds should be better than the predecessors we saw on Verizon. And that performance was every bit as good as we've seen in other Category 3 devices. AT&T's network has a lot of potential, but speeds have as much to do with signal quality as network congestion. With AT&T's growing LTE network there's still a paucity of devices in the wild, so it's still easy to find a completely unloaded tower and spam several 55+ Mbps Speedtest.net runs. Muck with signal quality or surround the tower with lots of active devices and you'll see speeds drop, but so far that's not as likely to happen as with Verizon's network. 






Unfortunately, I neglected to record the data I collected in an AT&T LTE area prior to resetting the phone to try and resolve the suddenly absent rear-facing camera. As a result, the LTE data is skewed to the little exposure I had while traveling through an area with an utterly unloaded AT&T LTE tower. As expected, speeds in such a scenario can be massive, and seeing the test fly by is quite satisfying. More realistically, I saw speeds that fit the profile we've seen before; consistently faster than AT&T HSPA+. Speaking of HSPA+, performance was on par with what we've seen down, but up was a different story. HSUPA performance hovered around 1 Mbps, and in some instances I saw performance that would make 1xRTT look speedy. AT&T's coverage of HSUPA+ is good, but one can never take for granted the possibility that you'll find yourself with either poor coverage or saturated cells. 

Call Quality

Call voice quality is one of the more subjective aspects of a phone, and the best I can offer is that it was as good as I've heard. The speaker was perceptibly louder than many other phones in house, including the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S III (Verizon). I still don't have the equipment to quantify that figure, but I'm abusive with phone speakers; I listen to music and podcasts all day long and the difference between a quiet phone and a loud phone is the difference between a phone I'd never own and a phone I would own. Motorola's typically a reliable performer and they do just fine here. 


There's no evidence that they used anything other than the MSM8960's GPS silicon, which leaves us beating the same dead horse here. Signal locks are quick inside and out, and it's never once said I was standing in a lake when I was not. 

Software and Camera Battery Life


View All Comments

  • Belard - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    The Atrix HD does include the Car Dock/Charger. It re-configs the phone to a GPS type device and hands-free home just by plugging it in. The dock costs $40 (on the Motorola site).

  • kpb321 - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I assume that the color issue persisted with the new phone you received to resolve the camera issue since you didn't say otherwise. When I first saw the specs and price for this phone I figured it would end up being a pretty solid mid level phone and most people probably wouldn't be bothered by the display or if they were it would be at a level where they couldn't put their finger on why it bother them. Reply
  • dymelos - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I know most of these are written with certain things in mind, and mostly started before market adjustments happen. But when you put a mid range phone againist a high end phone (the htc one x) thats the same price as each other, its hard to recomend the mid range phone. The htc has been 99 at att for over a month now. Its the best phone for the money that they carry as far as complete packages are concerned. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    And the AHD is already $50 at most places other than AT&T... They can't revise the article d every two weeks. Reply
  • bill4 - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    Umm, they can edit the line referring to price, or update their conclusion, or come out with these reviews in a more timely manner, or SOMETHING.

    Talking about how this is the only Krait available for 99 when the One-X has been 99 for weeks just makes the article look bad.

    Just overall, the review isn't timely enough. This phone came out in late July IIRC. At that time I was kind of interested in it as an SGS3 alternative. That seems like forever ago and the Anand review is just now hitting? It's way too late to do any good.

    However, Anand does the most thorough phone reviews that I trust the most. A lot of reviews from all the phone sites, while they may review the phone a day after release, are really shitty. To me they're more like first impressions masquerading as reviews.

    So I guess, it's a big catch 22, and I dont know the answer. But just in general I wish this review was more timely by far. Like maybe first week of August or anything.
  • SlyNine - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    Anandtech adjusts, and learns, from things like this. I hope the next phone review is a bit more forward thinking and includes scenarios such as price drops ( if they think the price will drop just after, or even before the review is released). Reply
  • MrMilli - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Jason, it seems you're not too familiar with v-sync.
    The differences between the onscreen and offscreen tests (v-sync'd and not) are perfectly normal and have nothing to do with 'thermal issues that arise because of the heat generated by the screen'.
    The simple explanation is that when v-sync is off, the gpu doesn't have to wait for the monitor to refresh to send the back buffer to the frame buffer. This will cause an increase in frame rate, even under 60fps.
  • SlyNine - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    They have discussed this before. I believe they disable Vsync for both, Its a developer option, but I don't remember the specifics. Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I've been playing with HTC One X, SGS3 and a bit with the ATRIX HD finally. (I did consider the Nokia 900 and iPhone4s - No on iPhone because of Apples lawyers and iPhones are more prone to theft - no on WP7... and its dead end system... even at $50).

    I helped my business partner go with the Samsung GS3... its quite nice... and these 3 phones include an LED messaging light (handy!). But the screens on GS3s are a bit dark.

    Because of the Power button and USB connector location, I tossed out the HTC-One X. Otherwise, its screen, the feel of the body scores a 10 in my book. The Camera is still odd to me. I just won't deal with that button arrangement. Hence, we have CHOICES.

    Love the HOME button on the GS3... Can't stand the glossy plastic feel - the phone is too big for me to make it even bigger with a cover. The cover my friend bought, feel apart after a month.

    The review cleared up a few areas that helps me out on this... THANKS Jason. (sorry for poking ya about it) - I wish the camera was a bit better, but I use real cameras when photos count. Hence, the 8GB of memory means nothing to me. The issues you bring up are valid (the SD slot cover) and slightly odd looking back. Would NFC added more than $5 to the price? I *WILL* be going with the white version because I like how it looks from the front and side. IMHO, they should have made it solid... it would have looked more modern. I actually like how the texture differences feel. The black band has speckles on it (think IBM type-writer/keyboards of the 80s) which is old-school texture..

    I love how the phone feels (not quite as much as the HTC One). I've played with putting it in my pocket and seeing how I can get phone out. I wish it was a bit smaller. The VOL buttons can be set to control ZOOM or SHUTTER... very smart. Also, because of the lack of MAIN buttons, there is a bit more flexibility in using the phone.

    At least down here, at&t is including a CAR-DOCK ($40 usually) with this Atrix HD... so its almost like paying $60 for the phone. The DOCK attaches to you car and your phone clamps to it. What the dock does is charge your phone and puts it into a GPS mode... It'll operate in a hands free mode (speaks your text messages / speaker phone modes). When you remove the phone from the dock, it can "tag" your car location... so if its in a big parking lot, the Atrix HD will point to your car. (unless it was stolen, of course)

    I like the standard interface of the Atrix HD too... over the Samsung and a bit over the HTC for the very reasons you pointed out... using it on the phone is quite nice. I've been using launcher7 on my Galaxy S1 phone for 1.5 years. (It a WP7 Launcher interface) - I think I'm good with ICS on the Atrix to keep it stock.... its a nice screen and to reduce to basic plain color blocks seems a shame.

    I'm glad you did a proper battery test. Reviews I've seen from end users "battery sucks" had me worried. hence, I trust reviews that use standards that can be compared to products, not just what someone decides based on their own usage. None of the phones on your list is as bad as my 2 year old Galaxy S1.

    PS: I've seen the preview photos of the Lumia 820... that is a very COOL looking phone. Too bad they don't make an Android version. :) I'm sure Launcher 8 will come out if I feel the need to use that User Interface style. There is also WP7 style Phone Dialer / Texting apps too... ITs that kind of flexibility that keeps me on Android.

    PS: I always recommend people to still try out the phones themselves to make sure they are comfortable with it. I trust the HTC One X - but its still not for me.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    You have the battery in the RAZR MAXX, but it's not used in every phone you make.. why not? It would be a huge draw. No other manufacturers have cottoned on yet that people want huge battery life, but you did.. with one model. Reply

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