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Motorola Atrix review

Can this be the phone that brings back Moto's Razr effect?

Our Verdict

In many ways, the Atrix leads the pack of Android phones and points the way to a future where our mobile computer is small – and powerful

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 8.83 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 540 x 960

View full specification

For

  • Large battery
  • Good camera
  • Clever HD Dock turns it into a good computer
  • Lap Dock has potential
  • High res screen

Against

  • No Gingerbread for now
  • Slippy back panel
  • Expensive accessories
  • Computer element won't work without phone docked
  • Convoluted overlay

Updated: we've now picked up the UK version of the Atrix and have re-reviewed the phone to make sure it was the same as our US model. We've spent a lot more time with the accessories too, so take a gander at our upgraded article.

Back in 2007 Motorola's then arch rival, Nokia, told us its iconic N95 was "what computers have become."

The sentiment may have been a little optimistic, but if Motorola were to use that now for the Atrix, it'd be a little more fitting.

It isn't what computers have become, but it does give us an idea of where the future is heading with high data speeds, high definition cameras and massive dual core processors. All on a mobile phone which can also almost become a laptop.

Our colleagues over at T3.com have spent some time with the Motorola Atrix, offering up a tasty video treat of the phone's top features:

Instead, Motorola's gone with "The World's Most Powerful Smartphone" which just might be true, albeit with a little help from its accessory friends.

An Orange exclusive at the time of writing (SIM-free models aren't out yet but are expected to hit the £500 mark) – and the subject of a massive advertising campaign – the Motorola Atrix matches the dual-core specs of others such as the new and popular Samsung Galaxy S2 and the LG Optimus 2X, which are hitting stores now and more than capable of matching the power-processor promises.

Motorola atrix

The Atrix is definitely Motorola's most advanced smartphone ever – it has a 5MP camera with HD video, massive 1930mAh battery and – with optional accessories – it really does transfer from a smartphone to a multimedia centre and very swish looking netbook.

It has a tendency to quickly get hot during use though – especially around the lower right-hand corner. No doubt the 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor is working hard and providing that heat, but it can be a battery sucker.

But it does so elegantly, with the Motorola Atrix able to handle just about every task and app that you throw at it without judder or delay.

Motorola atrix

It certainly feels like a quality device. It's not uncomfortably heavy at 135g, but just hefty enough for its presence to be felt.

The screen is definitely something of quality too – a 4-inch qHD capacitive display. While it may not be able to match the brightness of the Samsung Galaxy S2's Super AMOLED Plus screen (probably the best on any phone out there right now), it certainly holds it own against others on the market.

Motorola atrix

Blacks look black, whites look bright and only when you put your eyes right up against the screen do you notice the pixels. Icons on the home screen (Motorola's at least) almost seem to jump out at you, and the Gorilla Glass promises to do its best to keep the screen relatively blemish-free.

Motorola atrix

The back is smooth, which could cause problems. Several times during the review process, the Atrix slipped out of the hands and was only saved by some quick moves to catch it.

This happens a lot when you're quickly flipping the camera over to landscape to take a photo and, combined with its weight, could spell disaster. A rugged back would help – but in the absence of this, you'll want to find a case.

Motorola atrix

The memory card is hot-swappable – you'll have to pull the battery cover off to do it, but this is easy enough. The charging port is on the bottom left hand side alongside a Mini HDMI socket (more on that later).

The speaker grill is found at the bottom of the rear – slightly indented to prevent it being muffled.

Motorola atrix

Perhaps the most impressive gimmick is at the top where the lock/unlock button also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner for unlocking the phone.

It actually works very well and you'll find yourself trying to fool it (unsuccessfully) with other fingers at some point. It may not be rigid enough security for Barack Obama, but it's good enough for most of us and is great for showing off down the pub.

With all of this, the Atrix is pretty much future-proof (aside from the operating system, which we'll get onto in a moment).

Motorola atrix

Just as well really – because you'll pay a lot for it.

On contract, to get it for free, you'll have to sign away two years of your life and pay £35 at least a month for the privilege – and that's before you buy the added accessories (the lapdock, the HDMI dock, bluetooth keyboard, etc).

Although various bundles give you them at a lower price, they're not cheap add-ons and you'll see that reflected in a higher monthly bill.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameMotorola
Battery Talk Time8.83 Hour
Product ModelAtrix
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution540 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerARM
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height117.8 mm
Width63.5 mm
Depth11 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time400 Hour
ManufacturerMotorola, Inc
Product NameAtrix Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeCortex
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberSM3013AW2R8
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.motorola.com/uk
Marketing Information

MOTOROLA ATRIX 4G gives you dual-core processing power and the revolutionary webtop application. With webtop and a compatible Motorola docking station, sold separately, you can surf the Internet with a full Firefox browser, create and edit docs, or access multimedia on a large screen almost anywhere.