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Motorola Atrix 4G

*Est. $30 with contract
Reviewed
May 2011
by ConsumerSearch

The versatile Motorola Atrix 4G is fast, but not 4G fast

Pros
  • Responsive interface
  • Large, colorful display
  • Can double as a netbook
Cons
  • Slow 4G speeds
  • Lags when used with accessory dock

Atrix 4G doubles as netbook, packs impressive features

The Motorola Atrix 4G rises above what PhoneArena.com editors call a "sea of forgettable devices from Motorola's camp" to take the crown as king of the Android line-up. That's due to its "insanely speedy" dual-core processor (as Joshua Topolsky of Engadget.com describes it), a sharp 4-inch touch screen and 4G compatibility. The Atrix 4G also offers an optional dock that allows it to function as a netbook, although reviews of the accessory are lukewarm.

The phone runs Android 2.2, coupled with Motorola's Motoblur interface. While reviewers aren't thrilled with this combination, they note some improvements from previous iterations. The 4-inch touch screen has an "excellent" resolution that makes 3D graphics "look just as impressive as what you'd find on a Nintendo DS or PSP," says Steve Kovach of BusinessInsider.com. The feature that has reviewers buzzing is the Atrix 4G's ability to turn into a netbook, thanks to an optional docking accessory. Despite this "decidedly cool" feature (as CNET's Bonnie Cha terms it), the dock carries a pricey $500 price tag and reviewers find it suffers from sluggish performance. Topolsky warns that it "seems clear to us that your money would be better spent on a tablet or decent netbook."

Does 4G live up to hype?

Design may not be the Motorola Atrix 4G's strongest suit. While most reviewers say it feels lightweight and plasticky, PhoneArena.com editors say that the "impressive hardware under its hood" makes it easy to overlook. In fact, reviewers are blown away by the Atrix 4G's speedy dual-core processor, with Topolsky terming it "one of the fastest (if not the fastest) Android phones we've ever used." Yet while the phone excels in performance, it drops the ball with its 4G speeds. In Topolsky's comparison tests, the Atrix 4G's average download and upload speeds were less than half that of the (non-4G) iPhone 4. PhoneArena.com editors also report upload speeds are a "far cry from its potential."

The Motorola Atrix 4G has a 5-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash and 720p HD video recording; a forthcoming software update will upgrade video to 1080p. The phone has an HDMI port for outputting video to an HDTV. There's also a front-facing camera for video calls. Call quality on the Atrix 4G is "excellent," according to Brian Bennett of Laptop Magazine, with callers reporting "loud and clear" reception, along with "crisp" sound on his end. Battery life is the "only potential deal breaker," according to Kovach, noting that the phone died on him a few times during testing; battery tests from CNET yield between 7 and 10 hours of talk time. The Atrix 4G comes with a variety of useful apps, such as QuickOffice, though the phone also has a "considerable amount of bloatware," says Topolsky.

The Motorola Atrix 4G and its available accessories are thoroughly reviewed by a number of sources. CNET tests out processor speed and the phone's multiple features along with call quality and battery life. Engadget.com, PhoneArena.com and Laptop Magazine also provide reviews backed up by testing, as do PC World and BusinessInsider.com.

Where To Buy
Motorola Atrix 4G MB860 Unlocked GSM Phone with Android 2.2 OS, Dual Core, 5MP Camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - Black

 (191 reviews)
Buy new: $479.99 $106.99   38 Used & new from $79.99

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Our Sources

1. Engadget.com

Joshua Topolsky runs the Motorola Atrix 4G through various performance tests and examines most of the phone's features. His review breaks into mini-reviews of the Atrix 4G's numerous accessories, such as the netbook dock.

Review: Motorola Atrix 4G Review, Joshua Topolsky, Feb. 14, 2011

2. CNET

Awarding the Motorola Atrix 4G a Best of CES Award due to the phone's various docking accessories, Bonnie Cha provides separate reviews of the phone and its netbook dock. She tests the phone's many features, along with its call quality and the responsiveness of the dual-core processor.

Review: Motorola Atrix 4G (AT&T), Bonnie Cha, Feb. 10, 2011

3. PhoneArena.com

In a detailed review, editors at PhoneArena.com examine the Motorola Atrix 4G from every angle. The review covers design, interface, data speed and the multiple features and accessories available for the Atrix 4G.

Review: Motorola ATRIX 4G Review, Editors of PhoneArena.com, March 1, 2011

4. Laptop Magazine

Rating the Motorola Atrix 4G 3.5 out of 4 stars, Brian Bennett of Laptop Magazine says that the "real future of smart phones" is in the Atrix 4G's optional dock that turns it into a netbook. He praises the phone's performance, but finds its 4G speeds disappointing.

Review: Motorola Atrix 4G Review, Brian Oliver Bennett, Feb. 9, 2011

5. PC World

Mark Sullivan awards the Motorola Atrix 4G 4.5 out of 5 stars, citing its dual-core processor and high-res display as points in its favor, but noting the netbook dock is "poorly executed."

Review: Motorola Atrix 4G (AT&T), Mark Sullivan, Feb. 9, 2011

6. BusinessInsider.com

Calling the optional dock a "$500 gimmick designed to prove that the Atrix phone is powerful enough to run a computer," Steve Kovach says that for AT&T customers, the Motorola Atrix 4G is "the best Android option you have," but maintains that the dock is a waste of money.

Review: Motorola Atrix 4G: AT&T's Best Android Phone Yet, Steve Kovach, Feb. 17, 2011

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