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

  • eric appla - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    does anybody make rugged smartphones? No mater what phone I had they rarely lasted more then 6-12 months so i ended up with Sonim XP3 but it's too bulky but i could live with that.
    True problem is the buggy SW.
    From the Smartphone on the market Motorola razr seems like most robust but battery live is poor.
    If anybody have an idea what else to look at please post here.

    Criteria are following
    1) Durability
    2) Reliability
    3) battery live 3 days of medium use or replaceable battery to be able to carry spare battery for longer weekend hikes
    4) Android

  • MrMilli - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    The Sony Xperia acro S has IP57 certification but has a non-user replaceable battery. Reply
  • Zoomer - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    The upcoming Xperia V would do too. Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Its out-dated, but kind of matches your 4 items


    Samsung needs to modernize that phone. Its buggy and the battery tends to such. But it is tough.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Maybe adjust your behaviour first? I have broken 2 phones out of 5 I owned, one because of a car/bike accident and one because of a fight I was in. My 2 most recent ones (HTC TP2 and Samsung SGS2) have survived 20+ and 15+ months so far. Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I have zero broken phones out of all that I've owned since 1999 (and a few pagers before that). Work has always paid for my phones + service (currently iPhone 4S). I'll probably break one when I pay for it myself... Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Just get a good case? Hard to imagine anything breaking inside an otterbox. Reply
  • Peanutsrevenge - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    'Sensible screen size: Maybe, just about.
    MicroSD: Check
    Removable battery: FAIL.
    Decent performance: Check

    Another phone that fails to tick the boxes a mate wants ticking.

    Why oh WHY can't Android phone makers put decent hardware in a phone <4" with removable battery and SD card slot?
    Even going for 4.2-4.5" with those requirements is hard to find and their important features for a great number of people.

    Sod saving that 2mm thickness, give us removable batteries!
  • Belard - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Removable battery isn't a major issue for most people. As long as there is a way to hard-reset the phone. My Galaxy S1 Captivate has a handy slide-removable cover - which gets used a lot because it locks up.

    Talk time on todays phones are pretty good.

    The HTC ONE X has a non-removable battery, also can't add memory to it.

    Even thou the S3's cover can come off... it actually works pretty good underwater... a video is on CNET... dropped in a fish bowl for a few seconds. Only thing dumb about it - She tried to turn the PHONE OFF (but it thought it wanted her to unlock/reboot) - rather than pull the battery ASAP.
  • Arbie - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Jason -

    It doesn't "beg the question"; it "raises the question". In basic terms, to beg a question means to take something for granted.

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