The Motorola Atrix is an Android-based smartphone with a dual-core processor. Being powered by a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip already puts the Atrix in a very small group at the top of the Android specifications tree. But Motorola isn’t content to be in a small, select group. It wants to be unique. Which is why the Atrix is joined by impressive array of accessories.
Much more than a smartphone
The most eye-catching accessory of all is the Lapdock. This is a keyboard clamshell with an 11.6in screen into which you slot the Atrix. The Lapdock runs its own OS called Webtop, which provides you with access to Internet-based services. It also duplicates the screen of your Atrix, so that you can control the smartphone on a larger display. If all this seems a bit too much, you can use one of the two available docking and charging units to connect the Atrix to your TV via HDMI.
These gizmos and add-ons cost money of course – but without them the Atrix is still a reasonably good smartphone. The on-off switch sits on the upper edge of the chassis towards the back. It’s a little off centre, and we found it a bit tricky to reach. But there’s a reason for this. It incorporates a fingerprint reader. This gives you a high level of security, should you choose to use it – though of course you don’t have to.
The Atrix’s screen is super. At four inches across the diagonal it’s large, and delivers 960×540 pixels – a higher resolution than we’re used to seeing on a smartphone. Widgets can be resized so you can make the most of the screen space. An HDMI port on the left edge of the chassis lets you send data to an external display, for which Motorola provides a cable. The 1GHz ARM-based Nvidia Tegra 2 processor whizzes along and gave us no problems.
The five-megapixel camera isn’t quite as good as we’d like, though there’s also a front-camera making it easy to take videos of yourself should you so desire. It’s a shame that the Motorola Atrix runs Android 2.2 rather than Android 2.3, though we understand there will be an upgrade available in time. One feature we really do like is the Phone Portal app. This allows you to connect and copy files easily to and from the Atrix using your computer’s web browser, over your own Wi-Fi network. It’s stunningly simple to use.
We have to give a final nod to battery life. Motorola has equipped the Atrix with a 1930mAh battery – that’s bigger than we’ve seen before in an Android smartphone. It should see all but the heaviest of users through a day without the need for mains power.
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- Good specification; larger battery is a welcome feature.
- Runs Android 2.2 rather than 2.3; extras are expensive.
For all its unique and clever stuff the Motorola Atrix doesn't quite hit the mark. The accessories add functionality, but they're expensive. The handset itself, despite some good features, failed to wow us. Perhaps Motorola needs to reconsider its Motoblur user interface.