Final Words

It's still too early to draw any final conclusions about the Atrix 4G, I've got a lot more testing ahead of me in the weeks to come. I've shared quite a few of my thoughts in this preview already so the least I can do is recap them.

The build quality and form factor of the Atrix 4G are both excellent. I typically prefer large screen devices on Android and the 4-inch display in this case is perfectly matched. The Atrix isn't too thick and it doesn't feel cheap either. These are the things Motorola stands for and the Atrix 4G does not disappoint.

I have to take issue with the Atrix 4G name itself. As an HSPA+ phone you don't get the same network performance on the Atrix as you would from a WiMAX or LTE device.

The PenTile LCD may be an issue for some. I'm mostly pleased with the display but I'm also not someone who is overly bothered by the PenTile grid. I do appreciate the 960 x 540 resolution in Android and that makes up for PenTile in my opinion. I realize that others won't feel the same way so if PenTile is an issue for you then this may be a deal breaker for the Atrix.

The Motoblur UI is ok. I don't consider it too much of a distraction but I also don't consider it a selling point over competing devices. I personally prefer it to the Optimus 2X UI, but I'd rather have something even closer to the stock Android interface/setup.

Motorola's Phone Portal is a neat idea. I like having the ability to look at my SMSes on my computer without having to get my phone. I'm not sure how frequently I'd use Phone Portal (I only really needed to use it for this article, so far I haven't had a real world use for it) but it's a nice feature to have.

Motorola also has the right mentality behind its hardware dock strategy for the Atrix, the only problem is pricing. The Laptop Dock is just too expensive - it realistically needs to be $199 at most. The HD Multimedia Dock is a little better if you have a HDMI monitor you can use, but it's not too useful for travel (since you have to still carry around a keyboard/mouse and you need a display with an HDMI input).

The webtop Linux environment has a lot of potential. I like the idea of being able to run a full blown desktop OS along with a desktop browser on your smartphone. Thanks to the Cortex A9s the performance surprisingly good for light browsing, but anything above and beyond that doesn't work well. While Motorola may add additional features here I'm betting we'll need a newer generation of SoCs before the webtop usage model makes practical sense.

Performance within Android is excellent thanks to NVIDIA's Tegra 2. My only complaint is the Atrix is still running Froyo and I want the GPU accelerated UI from Gingerbread. Other than some scrolling hiccups, the Atrix 4G is comfortably quick. It's my favorite Android smartphone I've used thus far. I realize that is typically how Android smartphones work. Each new flagship release is almost always the best until the next one comes along in a few months.

Minus the PenTile LCD and the arguably overconfigured Motoblur UI, I'd say the Atrix 4G is probably the best combination of build quality, feature set, battery life and performance I've seen in an Android smartphone thus far. I will reserve final judgement until I've spent more time with the device but so far that's what it feels like to me.

That being said, I am currently at MWC and I'm expecting a bunch of new Android smartphones to be announced based on TI's OMAP 4, NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Qualcomm's 8660. While the Atrix 4G may be the best combination I've seen thus far, the year isn't even half over yet.

Battery Life
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  • jigglywiggly - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    i spy with my little eyes a 780i motherboard.
  • EvlG - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Nice writeup! Can you send a SMS from the portal? Or just view/delete? Would be convenient to be able to chat over SMS without having to get the phone out of my pocket
  • CallumS - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Hi Anand

    Just noticed that you mentioned two different resolutions;
    In the text: "On the front is the 4.0" qHD PenTile LCD screen (960 x 540 resolution)"
    In the table:4" IPS-LCD 800x480

    Can you please confirm/fix? I hope the first one is correct!


  • Chloiber - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    There is a whole page about the screen...
  • CallumS - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Yeah sorry I noticed that later. Obviously just the table is wrong.

    Looking forward to this and other mobile's with high resolution displays!
  • StormyParis - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    It does seem to make sense to move phones towards the desktop. They are, or will soon be, powerful enough for most uses. However

    - the price is outrageous. I can get a very good netbook or even laptop for less money
    - the whole setup is proprietary. With the accelerated mobile phone upgrade cycle, it means it's money down a very fast drain. A netbook/laptop will be easier to re-use.

    HP's tap to synch approach makes a lot more sense until these two issues are solved, if they ever are.
  • Leimi - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link


    Thanks for this great preview, this phone seems to be a really great device :)
    One question though, do you know if the LED is multi color ? You can test this with Blink (you have to switch off screen after choosing a color). It's on the market :

  • jcompagner - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    My carrier has no influence on what phone or what software is on that phone at all. I never buy my phone through my carrier, always just on 1 of the many gsm webshops there are over here.

    Most of the time i just buy my phone when ever a phone comes around that i want to have, i don't look at my contract at all (i also could do that but i most of the time don't do that)

    So buy my phone for 600 euro.. then i go to my carrier when my contract ends (when ever that is) and then i ask them what the best sim only contract there is what they can offer me.. (1 or 2 years). Currently the 2 year was the best so what i get was a 25 euro contract per month where i get 40% off over 2 years, and the first 6 months i did get an additional 50% off on top over that.
    So that's the first 6 months 17.5 euro off (105 euro) and then 18 months 10 euro off (180) thats in total 285 euro that i save, so that i only payed for my high end phone 315 euro on a contract of 25 euro.. And i can buy whenever i want a new phone and extend my contract when thats around the corner.. they are not related to each other.
  • erwos - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    They apparently want $500 for the laptop dock and $130 for the desktop dock, not to mention tethering charges WHEN YOU ARE NOT TETHERING.

    It's completely absurd, and is probably the first time I've actually started wishing for carrier subsidies to be outlawed, as they are in some countries.
  • svengalis - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Nope it can't mirror. This is why the Optimus 2x is better to me. It does TRUE mirroring of the WHOLE UI so no need for this silly laptop dock when I can buy a cheap laptop and do basically the same thing for FREE.

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