on March 16, 2011
A bit of context, just so you know where I'm coming from on this...
- I upgraded from a Motorola Backflip. The best Android phone AT&T had to offer at the time, but I'd had enough of the ridiculously slow processor.
- Rather than wait another 8 months to renew my contract, I took an exclusion renewal, so I got the Atrix for only about $100 under retail price.
- I don't spend much time on social networking sites, so the Motoblur features aren't a selling point for me.
- I've used iOS devices, and their UI design is excellent, but I'd never buy an Apple product (I find their walled-garden policy patronizing and their hardware restrictions unethical.)
So when I looked into upgrading, I cross-checked the specs on a few different phones (Android's great, but I was willing to try Windows or Blackberry if the hardware was right). The dual 1ghz processor sold me on the Atrix.
Remember when cell phone LCDs first went from black and white to color? Within the first five minutes, this phone completely changed my paradigm for mobile phones. Everything is fluid and responsive - no more half-second delays between action and response, no more waiting for a window to load, it's all instantaneous.
I won't waste your time with a glowing review (there are enough on here already), I'll just cover the questions I had when looking into upgrading my phone. And I'll start with the cons, because the Atrix is just that impressive:
1. Battery life is pathetic. While we've come to accept that with touchscreen smart phones, it's a shame that 8 hours of moderate use will suck down the whole battery. It's on par with other high performance phones, so plug it in to your car adapter, PC, or outlet whenever you get the chance.
2. Android 2.2 is almost a year old, and 2.3's been out for a while now. It would be nice to have an ETA on when the 2.3 update will be pushed to these phones.
3. The usual Motorola/AT&T rebranding and lockdown of the OS. It's unnecessary restriction just to squeeze a bit of extra cash out of their customers, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
4. No physical keyboard. People that are used to touchscreen-only devices won't even raise an eyebrow about it, but this is the first phone I've owned that didn't have a keypad of some sort.
5. The accessories are gimmicky and overpriced. If you want a laptop, spend the $400 on a laptop. If you want to play media on your TV, use the Atrix's built-in DLNA to run it through your Xbox, HTPC, or any of the other DLNA devices you've already got connected. The dock is crazy expensive, and the phone comes with an HDMI cable, which is really all you need.
6. The battery gets a warm when charging - scary warm, like it might not be healthy for the phone. Phone also charges slowly when connected to a PC.
7. The power button is about the same size and shape as the loudspeaker, and it's in about the same spot (only on the opposite side of the phone). I've caught myself pressing the speaker to turn on the phone, rather than the power button, at least 10 times this week. That can't be good for the speaker.
1. FAST. Insane fast. The responsiveness of this phone is like nothing I've seen before - there is no noticeable delay in using any of the UI menus or features.
2. The screen is enormous, vivid, and crisp - almost on par with a PC monitor.
3. All the I/O ports you need: micro USB, stereo miniplug, and mini HDMI. (And it comes with a free mini HDMI to HDMI cable, so you can plug it right into your TV or home theater receiver)
4. DLNA is fantastic - I never considered how useful it would be on a phone until I saw it in the apps menu. Access all your Windows 7 shared libraries, media on your Xbox 360, or shared media on any other DLNA-enabled device on your network. Transferring files from your computer to your phone is as easy a tapping a few icons - no cables required, and transfer speeds are quick - ballpark, I'd say it was around 1 MB/s.
5. Voice recognition is excellent. For the first time, speaking a text message is actually faster and easier than typing it in. Accuracy is good, and my only complaint so far is that it automatically censors swear words. Which is bull****.
6. Very light for its size.
7. Front-facing camera and rear camera with a bright LED flash.
8. Six input buttons: Volume up/down, menu, home, back, and search (search was a new one for me)
9. The usual bonuses that come with buying non-Apple phones: you can take the battery out if it freezes or you keep a spare; microSD port allows you to expand your storage space up to 48GB; you can load and play DRM-free media without using any apps or programs; reasonable replacement plans for theft, damage, or loss; standard micro-USB charge port, so if you can buy cheap spare charging cables in the wall socket, at your office, in your car, etc.
10. And, of course, the flexibility that the Android homescreen offers for widgets, shortcuts, and everything in between. The phone's processor handles it all with exceptional speed - I filled the home screen with every widget on the phone, just to put the phone through its paces, and screen-to-screen transitions were as smooth as ever.
I bought this phone because I wanted something faster. I got all that and more. If you've already got one of the newer iPhones or a newer, higher-end Android device and you're satisfied with it, you can probably wait until next year's crop of superstar phones come out - there may not be enough of a difference to justify the price.
But if you're in need of a serious speed upgrade, the Atrix will revolutionize the way you see mobile phones. There really is no going back.
After some more time with the phone, I've got a few additional items for the "pros" list.
11. The loudspeaker, while small, is surprisingly loud and crisp - couple that with Pandora, Grooveshark, or stored MP3s, and you've got a nice little micro-boombox.
12. The fingerprint reader is an ingenious timesaver. I hate having to slide-unlock my phone after pressing the power button to turn on the screen - just another step in the process, but turning it off leads to pocket-dialing, which isn't fun for anyone. Despite all the personal data stored on smartphones, I've never used the pin lock feature either, because I don't want to go through the extra step every time I wake up my phone.
Enter the fingerprint reader. It sounded gimmicky, so I ignored it for the first week. When I finally gave it a shot, I was amazed at the elegance and simplicity of the idea. You press the power button to wake up your phone. Then slide your finger down the same power button (you don't even have to adjust your grip), and there's your home screen. No need to swipe to unlock, no need to type in a pin.
The fingerprint recognition seems strong, too - I tried to get a false positive using my other fingers (it only works for your right and left index fingers) - and the phone rejected those attempts. As a failsafe, you can always enter your pin number to unlock the phone if the fingerprint reader malfunctions.
on February 24, 2011
I've been an iPhone user ever since the first iPhone and upgraded to every version of an iPhone, every other year I would upgrade at full price. What I can tell you is I've had the Atrix for only a few days and the customization that you can do with Android phones is Incredible.
I'll try and list what I like about it;
You can customize widgets to your home screen to display a mini version of your most used programs, I use it like a preview without having to open the program.
There is a bar across the top of the phone that has all the phone notifications.
I use the Finger print recognition to unlock the phone which I find it to be much faster than entering a code, there is a code backup just in case something happens to the fingerprint reader or if you are wearing gloves.
Downloading and Installing applications is faster than any phone I've ever used. There are a lot of Free apps on the Android Market that are paid apps on the App Store.
The best analogy I can tell you is; This phone is like a custom race car, It will take a few days to customize, but once you do, it's like nothing you've ever driven before.
on February 26, 2011
When I first saw the Atrix, I was mesmerized and had to wait a few months to get my hands on the phone. The specs of the Atrix is awesome and I have hope that the phone will live up to the promise that has been made. I have never used an Android phone before this one, but have used the Iphone since it came out and have the Iphone 4. I have used the Palm III, treo, BlackBerry ect... you get the point.
What comes with the phone? You get the phone, USB cord, A wall plug and the HDMI cable, instruction manual and battery. Everything one need to step off into the Atrix Android world.
One thing the iPhone user will notice that the Android software is more difficult to use. It may take a few hours just to get the basics down, but after the few hours a whole new world starts to open up. Unlike the Iphone who's software is easy to operate, the more you learn about Android, the more powerful the phone becomes.
Just a quick comparison Iphone 4 VS Atrix, the Iphone 4 display is way clearer and the screen is a little more responsive. The Artix has a user replaceable battery and the phone can be taken a part and fix for a lot less money than the Iphone. Now, I have never tried to take apart either phone, but the instructions and professional review of the taken down is on line.
One thing I would like to say is that the finger print reader works very well.
The world of Apps...
In Apps, Apple wins. Not much else to say there. The Apps that I use mostly are iHeart Radio (does not work on Atrix), Scrabble (Not found on Android store), Farkle (Android has but quality is lacking), Bloomberg and Fox News.
Android leaves Apple in the dust. The active wall paper cannot be beat by apple, you can have multiple home screens with live wall paper. I love knowing the time, temperature and forcast. If you are like me, the Android system, cannot be beat.
Ease of use...
Apple is a lot simpler to use. Just like pen and paper is easy, but if you are in the computer world, than a pen and paper just won't due, and this is where the Android system comes in. I cannot honestly say which system is best, Android or IOS. If you want simple, but lacking power, Iphone is the way. If you are a person who likes to play, Android is the choice.
The display is bright and colorful, but the diplay is not nearly as nice as the iPhone 4. The lack luster display is noticed especially noticed when reading texts and PDFs.
Camera and Flash:
The camera takes pretty good pictures. The LED flash works really good. I was able to take a picture in a nearly dark room and the subject came out clear and in focus. The LED flash filled the entire room. As a side note, there is a forward facing camera. I have not used and more than likely won't.
Very loud and clear when using to make calls, talk radio and listening to music. It is a small speaker so you will not get a lot (if any) bass from this little speaker.
I have never used Android before, so I have ability to describe between the Android, the Moto Blur, and if ATT messed it up I can't tell. The user of the Atrix must use the one app store that ATT backs, and the icon for the store comes preloaded. It would be nice to have more access to more stores, like Amazon, but if you get this phone, you are going to be stuck. The few apps that I have downloaded all seem to work fine and most of them were free. It would be nice it ATT did not pull the apple store garbage with this phone though.
The Atrix comes loaded with lots of software, commonly known as bloatware, but you get a lot of it. The software that runs on the computer is called "Motorola Media Link", this is kind of like "iTunes" in the sense that the Media Link software is a way for your computer to communicate with the Atrix. This nifty program will take you itunes music (Not DRM protected) and place the music on your new phone. You can also transfer your pod casts too. The Media Link is automatic and does not need to be messed with. I had no problems with the installation or use of the software. The Software is stored on your phone and will try to load on any computer that the Atrix is hooked up to.
Some of the really things about the Atrix that I like is the Micro SD slot (32BG max) for added memory and the user can remove the battery without having to go find apple support. I was also able to keep my unlimited data package, although a lot of AT&T customers have not been so lucky. AT&T also offers their $5.00/ month warranty on the phone as compared to the Iphone, and you do not have to hook the phone up to a computer the first time you use it. You do need to sign up for a MOTO account, nut it only takes a few seconds and you are able to use you new cell phone.
Things I do not like. I do not like the feel of the phone. My Iphone 4 feels better constructed and feels like it will not easily slip out of my hands, unlike the Atrix. I have not yet dropped the phone. The battery seems to take a long while to receive a charge too.
Big minus for the phone is the Lap top that you can purchase with the phone. I cannot see why I should spend 400.00 for the "dock" that is nothing but an empty screen. And then you have to pay ATT and extra ten per month for "tethering" the dock that is nothing but a screen to you phone. The price is too high for the extra ten you have to pay per month. You can can get a netbook that has more power and does more things for the same price.
Why did I give the Atrix only 4 stars? The Atrix is a good phone, but the lack luster construction of the phone and the steep learning curve do not make up for the other great features that the phone has to offer.
With the construction set aside, you cannot just load apps on your new phone. Like Apple, you can only purchase your apps from the included application on the phone. One reason for me gettig rid of my Iphone was the Apple store that you have to use. Well, thanks to AT&T, the owners ofthe Atrix are stuck too. You cannot side load applications eigther. A real star looser for me.
I have now used the Atrix for a few days so it was prudent to give an update.
The battery life is not to great. After getting the battery at 100%, I then took the Atrix to chuch where I used Bible Reader app as my bible. At the end of Sunday school and main service, the phone was down to 60%, after the evening service, the phone was down to 10%. Lack luster battery life is normal. The Iphones have poor battery life, and the Atrix bettery life is even shorter. There is a lot of heat build up during use and when charging. The phone charges slowly when charging from a computer USB with the display off, and does not charge at all it seems with the diplay on. I purchased a Micro USB car charger and it works wonderfully.
I do not use the AT&T navigation, but the "Navigation" function that comes with the phone. The Android device does a wonderful with the GPS. Apple's GPS function and mapping capabilty always made the Apple Iphone a lst choice in trying to use as a GPS. The Android does a very good job with GPS, it is not on the level with a stand alone Garmen, but I do use a GPS alot to find customer houses and I would not hesitate to use the Atrix as my main GPS device. The GPS also has an option to use voice for the inputing of an address. It does work faily well, but the voice input for a destination (restraunt name)does not work as well.
When traveling to your destination, you can turn the screen of the GPS off and you will still get voice commands. If you are using the media player function through your cars stereo system, the music will mute and the directs will come through your car speakers.
If you are like me, you have tons of videos sitting on your hard drive or network attached storage. The Atrix will find the media and play the media. I was able to stream several videos of differing formats with no problems at all. Honestly, I really do not think you will be uising the device as a 3" television set, but it does work. Apple does the same thing, but you must have iTunes and/or AppleTV.
A nifty little function that I have notice after owning the phone for several weeks, the DLNA service will try and link to your home media server where you are within the range of your "in house" network..
You can use and song or sound loaded on your phone as a ringtone. Easy to use, and it is free.
I tried to get Netflix on the phone and much to my surprise, Netflix does not have an App for the Android devices yet. So as an Atrix user, I am stuck paying an extra ten dollars to AT&T for their TV service. According to sources on the internet, Android will have an App adventually but it will be a marketed to new phones. You will see the phones labeled as "Nextflix compatable". Bummer
Phone is still owrking great. Had to turn the phone off and then back on yesterday. For some reason the phone would not update web based apps like stock market, bloomberg and weather. Turning the phone on and off solved the problem. I also purchased the otterbox defender for the Atrix... sweet phone case.
The Atrix does appear to have better reception when placing calls. i could not make a phone call at my work using the Iphone 4 but no problems with the Atrix.
Took the phone on a trip of several hundred miles to see how the GPS would function, the phone did a great job. The phone did stop responding when trying to accomplish several tasks quickly. I was not able to turn the phone off to reset the phone. I actually had to take the battery out. You can look at that problem as a possitive and negative. The battery had to be removed to reset the phone, but at least the battery is user accessible unlike the iPhone.
The phone was plugged into the 12 volt power in the car, no problems with the phone over heating or even the phone filling warm to the touch.
I am pleased to announce that iHeart radio now works.
I have updated the firm ware in the Atrix to 4.1.57 a couple days ago. The firmware update does help a lot with the battery not lasting. I can now get 1.5 days of use out of a full charge instead of having to monitor the battery constantly, and keeping the Atrix plugged in while at work.
ATT bandwidth problem is still there and the radio inside the Atrix is still disconnected thanks to ATT, but the update coming in April is supposed to fix those issues.
Still waiting for the AT&T update that is coming out this month. Phone is working wonderful. No major problems.
If you read the complete summary above, you may notice that I included that the phone feels like it would easily slip from my hands. The phone has on several occasions slipped from my hands, but i have been able to catch the phone before it plunged to the floor. Good thing I have the AT&T warranty.
I did some side by side tests to see if the Iphone was faster loading/running programs than the Atrix. The Iphone maybe a little faster. I have run into CPU speed issues with the Iphone 4 that I have not seen in the Atrix. So my conclusion on the speed of the phone CPUs with launching and running application is this; while the Iphone does appear to launch programs faster most of the time, but running the programs (apps), the Atrix appears to be a constant and steady winner. When Android 2.3 comes out it should make better use of the dual core processor.
on March 1, 2011
This is a wonderful phone with great specs. There is one thing that may not be apparent based on the description:
Although it is a 4G phone, AT&T currently limits the upload speed to 300Kbs. This actually limits the download speed to 1.5Mbs or so. What has angered the community is that the same limit is not applied to the IPhone 4 (which gets 5X faster upload and 3X faster download). With no way to modify the ROM due to a signed files, you are reliant on AT&T/Moto remove this limitation.
on February 22, 2011
Froyo 2.2 comes with flash 10.1 pre installed and the atrix works with full flash. Do not listen to people who do not know what they are talking about.
on May 28, 2011
Motorola Atrix 4G Android Phone (AT&T)
I've been using cell phones and smart phones since they've existed. I've been through all iterations of Blackberry, iPhone and most of the Droids. I've been a customer on T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.
I moved to Verizon a year ago after four years with ATT. Very happy with Verizon but they did not carry the Atrix and it looked really solid so I picked one up. I've had it for a couple days and as an experienced smart phone user, thought I'd post a review for anyone considering buying it.
From a hardware standpoint, this is undoubtedly the fastest smartphone I've owned or used. IMHO it blows the iPhone 4 out of the water. App launches are instantaneous. I also picked up a Droid X2 and ran the Atrix side by side with the Droid X2.
The Atrix is a really solid phone. It feels good in the hands and despite its small size, it is incredibly usable. ATT has a 30-day trial period, and I was going to return the phone (I'm quite happy on Verizon and call quality is much clearer on Verizon), but now am considering keeping the Atrix.
There are a few apps that folks should know about if you intend on using Droid phones, and the Atrix is no exception:
Watchdog Pro - This is an app that will monitor your apps to alert you when one is using more CPU and memory than normal. Perhaps the BIGGEST mistake that most new smartphone users make is they go nuts on the first day and install ten or more apps and then later on wonder why their phone has suddenly slowed down.
The PROPER way to treat a new smart phone is to install just ONE SINGLE app each day and watch the phone's performance. This way you can tell that a specific app is causing problems. Otherwise if you install 10 at once you're going to need to restore your phone to factory settings and install one by one to see what the problem is. Watchdog Pro is a great investment.
SystemPanel - Another monitoring tool. Shows you battery history, app usage etc. Very useful to look back 7 days and see which of your apps is hogging CPU and memory usage. Reality is that it may be a single bad app that is causing your phone to slow down.
JuiceDefender Ultimate - This app will help you get the most from your battery, no matter what your phone is.
The Motorola Atrix is a lightning fast phone. While it is only my second day with it, I'm an experienced user and know quality when I see it.
The ONLY flaw I can find with this phone is that it is on the ATT network. Literally. I would buy this phone over the iPhone 4 hands down. And I say this having owned and used an iPhone 4 for 6 months previously. My only wish is that Verizon would get this phone, but that is highly unlikely to happen.
I looked at the laptop dock for this and honestly cannot see a reason why anyone would want to use this in a laptop capacity. Just buy a laptop.
But as a smartphone, this is hands down the fastest phone I've used and I've used them all.
As an additional bonus for this review, let me tell you about a site where you can get ringtones for any phone. I have no affiliation with this site, but had been looking for "Normal" ringtones for a year before I found it.
If you don't want music or hip hop ringtones, and just want sounds like we used to have on phones, you need to go to this site: [...]
Superb sounds for any smartphone. Not free, but cheap and no tricks.
The Atrix has me seriously considering keeping an account open at ATT.
And this is from an ex-ATT customer who defected to Verizon a year ago and who is happy as hell with Verizon.
I will update this review in a couple weeks if I can, but thus far, of ALL of the droid handsets I've tried, the Atrix is hands down the best and the most powerful. You will not regret this purchase. You may regret the network it is on, but you will never regret the hardware.
Hope this is useful.
UPDATE: 30 MAY 2011 - I took the Motorola Atrix back to AT&T today and returned it and cancelled service. My observations below are why I'm not currently using it and what I ultimately did go with.
The Motorola Atrix is quite possibly the best smart phone I've used. It is, at the time of this writing, the fastest and best Android phone on the market, bar none; and I say this having used the Thunderbolt, LG Revolution, Droid X2 etc.
This phone literally would be THE contender to Apple's iPhone 4, IF IT WERE NOT ON THE AT&T NETWORK.
Literally the ONLY flaw I could find in putting the unit through heavy testing was that AT&T network provided variable data speeds from one minute to the next and dropped my calls - two issues that AT&T has LONG been known for on not just this phone but on their iPhone 4 as well. By variable data speeds, what I mean is that I remained in the same geolocation and ran the SpeedTest app in increments of 10 minutes apart. The differences in speed from one minute to the next were remarkable and concerning to me as a power user.
My initial impression of the phone was that I was going to HATE the fingerprint reader position as well as functionality. In the end, that ended up being one of the features of this phone I loved the most. Unlike most all laptop fingerprint biometric readers, the sensor on this phone does NOT require that you rub your finger over it. There were many times when it literally read my finger swipe "in the air", without touching the area, provided I still did the proper movement. It was (IS) quite impressive and useful.
I live in Portland, Oregon. I was at ATT customer for four years through many iterations of the blackberries, then the iPhone 4, then in July of 2010 I left and took my business to Verizon Wireless. I left AT&T because as a marketing consultant, I could not effectively conduct phone coaching and do business calls on AT&T's wireless network. YES, they get all the cool phones first, and the Motorola Atrix is no exception, but even the coolest, best quality phone is rendered useless if the network it is on is sub-standard.
The decision to upgrade to a 4G phone is, undoubtedly, going to be one that many people face in the next two years. Here's my take on it, based on three weeks of research and actual testing of 4G phones, including the Atrix. These are things many of you may not know about 4G that I learned:
1. Here in Portland, Oregon, we have 4G at the Airport (PDX) and some spots north of the city on Verizon Wireless. There is NO FIRM DATE as to when the 4G blanket will come to Portland with decent coverage. I say this only to suggest that you consider this factor in your own city prior to buying a 4G device.
2. I spoke with many owners of 4G devices in cities that DO currently have 4G. What I found was that yes, 4G is incredibly fast FOR DATA TRANSFER. Two critical things to note here with regard to 4G in existing cities and devices like the Atrix and all others: 4G is a BATTERY HOG. Don't count on getting a full day of use on a charge on ANY device, not just the Atrix.
Why? Because the battery technology has not yet caught up with the juice required by 4G speeds on mobile networks.
Secondly, even WHEN all cities are blanketed with 4G, that will be DATA ONLY, meaning that all VOICE CALL will still go through the 3G networks on all carriers.
3. AT&T's H+ is NOT 4G. It's faster than 3G, yes, but it is not 4G.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you are an existing AT&T customer and you are eligible for an upgrade, and you love LOVE AT&T where you live, BUY THIS PHONE NOW. You will not regret your decision.
HOWEVER, ultimately I returned the phone to ATT and upgraded to an iPhone 4 on Verizon.
I had previously been on the iPhone 4 on AT&T, then in July 2010 left for Verizon and the Droid X. I tried the Droid X2 that just came out and found it to be slower than my Droid X.
As someone who uses a smartphone for VOICE CALL as well as DATA, and as a power cell phone user, I can say with full confidence that Verizon's network not only has better coverage than AT&T but it is also more stable. Calls are clearer. I have yet to have a single dropped call on Verizon and the only time I do experience a problem it has been when the other person I was talking to was on AT&T and they got dropped.
Many people are wondering if the iPhone 4 still is plagued with the same problems on Verizon that it had on AT&T.
NO, IT IS NOT.
Calls are crystal clear and the iPhone 4 is amazingly fast and intuitive as it's always been.
4G phones are coming out before 4G is here. 4G is also a battery hog. By the time 4G is nationwide there will be a whole host of new 4G phones and perhaps the battery issues will be resolved. Until then, from one gadget person to another, the iPhone 4 is the way to go for hardware, or the Droid X, and most definitely Verizon Wireless.
If and when the Motorola Atrix comes to Verizon, yes, I will most definitely consider buying it. It is the closest thing I've seen to an iPhone killer, but it is on the wrong network right now.
Hope this helps. Happy to answer specific questions about my experience. Reach me through my site at adamboettiger dot com.
on February 23, 2011
Simply put. Amazing.
As an old iPhone user, I was hesitant to switch over to an Android phone especially since AT&T didn't really offer a very nice one besides the Galaxy S phone. The experience overall is so much more gratifying than an iPhone, from having Flash Player incorporated into your web browsing to the ability to add widgets so you don't have to open programs all of the time. The screen on this phone is comparable to iPhone, bigger but not technically as sharp as the iPhone4, but I really couldn't tell a difference except when reading web pages and not zoomed in. (Who wants to read 2 pt font anyways)
Speed for running programs is amazing as well. The dual-core combined with the 1 GB of RAM make rendering on the phone seemless and lag free.
I highly recommend this phone, and look around for a $50 online coupon through AT&T and you can get it for $149.99 with 2 yr contract.
on April 12, 2011
Yep, I traded my iPhone 4 for this phone! Why? Because most of my life is in Google so I figured I might as well give Android a try. So, speaking as someone who's owned both platforms for a while, here's a quick list of pros and cons:
1> Fingerprint recognition rocks! Imagine being able to unlock your phone with one hand! No code to remember, just key by swiping either of your two index fingers. Easy and secure.
2> Smooth edges and lighter in the pocket. My son showed me how his iPhone 4 has left a permanent imprint in his jeans front pocket. He's even got a spot where the sharp edge of the iPhone 4 case has actually cut a hole through his jeans. By contrast, my Atrix has rounded corners (like the iPhone 3 used to) and is much lighter so I barely feel it or see it sitting in my pocket.
3> The four inch screen is a full half inch larger than the iPhone 4. The extra half inch real estate really does make a difference, surprisingly.
4> Tons of apps - some are free on Android while the same ones on iPhone cost money. Case in point, Angry Birds is free on Android but is a paid app on iPhone. Amazon's own Android app store (which AT&T doesn't presently allow for Atrix but they promise a fix soon) also offers a daily paid Android app for free.
5> Excellent camera and 720p HD video recording. Plus, according to what I've been experiencing, I'm recording audio in stereo.
6> Complete app integration. When I add a new social app like Facebook to my phone and select to share something like a photo, the Android system immediately offers Facebook as an option to share/send to. With the iPhone, you're stuck with whatever sharing options are set in the OS. Sure, you could launch the iPhone Facebook app and share the photo that way but it's refreshing to see the wealth of choices immediately available to me when I'm already in the photo app and I just took a picture I want to share.
7> Complete Google integration. The first day I signed into my phone with my Google account, I instantly had all my Gmail contacts, mail and calendar items populated in my phone. Plus, Motorola automatically links in your other contacts - like Facebook, Twitter, Live.com, etc. once you add those accounts to your phone. So my contacts listings include a plethora of information about my friends - including their Facebook birthdays (which also show in my calendar!), their latest social postings and my last few personal interactions with them (texts, calls, emails, etc.). Another neat part of this integration is whenever a friend changes their profile picture, it automatically updates their picture in my phone's contacts.
8> Micro USB standard connection for charging and computer connectivity. It's really nice that I now have the same USB connection as my Kodak HD pocket camera and my daughter's phone. We keep a single cable in the car so we can charge any of these devices on the go.
9> Acts as a USB memory stick. This ability is built into Android. You plug it into a computer and you get several options for connectivity. One of them (USB) allows you to access the phone's entire memory (internal and micro SD) so you can easily transfer contents to/from the phone to any computer. I can't stress how nice it is to no longer be "married" to a single computer. I also can't stress how nice it is not to have to rely on iTunes to manage my phone's contents.
10> Over the air updates. I received my first firmware upgrade from Motorola about a week ago - it came directly to the phone! What a breath of fresh air to be able to upgrade my phone while it's just sitting on the coffee table. No cable required, no computer required. If you check the list of requirements for any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you'll find a computer is absolutely required! Not so for Android phones. These things *are* computers in their own right.
11> Google Maps with spoken turn-by-turn directions! This amazingly free app from Google is available only on Android phones. It uses accurate GPS and depicts your location on a map which is capable of various layers (satellite, traffic conditions, terrain, etc.). Zoom into a city using just the map layer (all other layers off) and you'll see 3D renderings of all the buildings. Panning and changing direction or perspective is butter-smooth! Get directions to a location and you'll be brought to the Google Navigation app - which speaks directions to you while showing you your location on a map (which can also be set to show various layers). I used this app to get me successfully to a remote spot in Spokane WA I'd never been to before. I prefer this app to my car's dedicated GPS device!
12> Voice to text and text to voice! Speaking commands to my phone and speaking out texts and social updates has become so second nature to me now that I hardly find it necessary to type any more. While I'm in the car, the excellent Vlingo app (free and came with the phone) speaks out text messages to me loud and clear and lets me reply just by speaking! I can update Facebook or text a friend safely now while driving. It's also nice to hear a text spoken to me while I'm busy washing the dishes so I can choose whether or not it's important enough to stop what I'm doing to reply to. Voice recognition is built into Android and is available wherever a text input is found in any app throughout the system.
13> HDMI-Out rules! I went on a small trip to visit friends who had moved a few hundred miles away and brought my HDMI cable with me. Unlike the iPhone 4, HDMI-Out is built into the device and the cable is included. It was an easy thing to connect my phone to my friend's living room TV. The phone becomes a remote control for the content on the TV. You can view photos, videos and play music from your phone. No frame rate issues, no skewing or any anomalies at all. The 720p HD videos I'd shot earlier that day were a joy to watch on his large screen. The quality was so good my friend remarked how surprised he was to see actual HD content rendering from such a small device.
14> Flash for web sites! I used the excellent Pulse app when I had my iPhone 4 and routinely found myself staring at a blank, white square when I happened to link to a news article which contained a flash video (as so many do). Now, on my Atrix 4G, I use the same Pulse app but can now see and play the same content I was missing all along. This is a huge benefit for me as I no longer have to make an Evernote with the URL so I can remember to view at home what I couldn't view on the road.
And now for the cons:
1> Battery life. It's good but not great. I start my day with a fully charged phone around 6:30am and by the time I'm back in bed (around 11pm), I typically find myself at 20% or lower at the end of my day. Everyone uses their phones differently and I'm a sometimes heavy user who doesn't always bother to stop background apps and keeps wifi and GPS on 24/7. Why? Well, I've noticed usage of these background apps is handled relatively well by Android 2.2. They're often at zero percent CPU so I figure why bother closing them? In this way, Android is better at multitasking than the iPhone - which, if you keep too many apps open on an iPhone, it can actually crash/lockup! I also keep GPS and wifi on all the time because I've noticed they don't actually get used/accessed unless I launch or switch to an app that uses these systems. When I launch the map, I want the GPS function. When I launch the camera, I also want GPS (for geotagging my photos). When I'm wandering into Starbucks, I want to easily access their network without first having to start wifi on my phone.
2> No Netflix! Although I hardly ever played a Netflix video on my iPhone 4, just knowing I can't do that with my Atrix 4G irks me. It's like someone has taken a tool from my tool belt. Even though I may hardly ever use that tool, I miss having it and know it's gone now. In lieu of an actual video streaming Netflix app, I've settled for a Netflix queue managing app. At least I can browse titles and move them into my streaming queue for viewing at home on my Blu-Ray player.
3> Front-facing camera... useless? Another tool I hardly used but now feel is missing is FaceTime on the iPhone 4. Sure, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've used FaceTime (since it requires another iOS device or a Mac to communicate with) but it was neat. I've tried Tango, Fring and Yahoo Messenger on the Atrix but they either don't make use of the front camera at all or the results are a bit jittery). I hope Skype comes through for us Atrix owners soon!
Overall, I'm happy with my decision to trade my iPhone 4 for an Atrix 4G. Eventually, AT&T will release the 4G cap on this device. Eventually, there will be a decent front-facing camera app. Eventually, Netflix may allow streaming videos. Let's face it, there is no such thing as the perfect phone. But, when you weigh the pros and cons for this phone, you can easily see there are more benefits to owning an Atrix 4G than owning an iPhone 4. I'm quite happy with my trade and enjoy seeing commercials which tout my phone as being the most powerful phone AT&T presently offers. Of course, that's bound to change very soon but the point here is I don't think I'll ever be tempted by the "fruit" again.
on March 10, 2011
Coming from an iPhone 2G to a Samsung Focus then the Motorola Atrix, I have been very happy with my Android phone. My Samsung Focus went back because I wanted a phone that I had more customization over like my jailbroken iPhone 2G. It has been a month so far and I've been very happy with my purchase.
I wanted to address some of the <2 star reviews which I gave me a laugh.
As far as app compatibility, I have yet to find a program that has failed to launch. The only program I have found that didn't work was CPU tuner as it isn't able to adjust the CPU frequency.
Motoblur was the first thing I replaced when I got the phone. I bought Launcher Pro and have not looked back. The interface has smooth transitions and the app draw is silky scrolling.
It can do Flash. Very well. End of story.
Camera is ok, although pictures do end up on the cool side half the time.
Battery life is pretty darn good if you don't have wifi or background services/sync sucking down your battery throughout the day.
Comments regarding locked bootloader and capped upload speed on 4G? Cry some more. Business as usual. It sucks, get over it.
I'm a little bummed that Motorola opted for a pentile screen as an LCD screen would look downright GORGEOUS on the high resolution screen. Alas, they went with pen tile, but not a deal killer. Disadvantages include small text that isn't crisp, diagonal lines that are jagged, and gradients that are choppy. The high resolution screen does offset what would have been a disaster of screen so it is not *so* bad (acceptable); it is bright with good color saturation. If the screen looked like that of the Samsung Focus, I'd been hugely disappointed. Despite the Focus having a Super AMOLED screen, the low resolution made EVERYTHING look noticeably choppy and the black gaps between the pixels were noticable up close.
One hidden feature of this phone is that the folks over at the XDA Developer forum have been all over this device. Tether enabling, webtop over HDMI, among other features have been unleashed in less than a month thanks to the talented developers. I'm excited to see what comes next.
I'm very happy with the Motorola Atrix as it is my first Android phone. I was hesitant to go Android with all the talk about fragmentation but I have yet to regret my purchase from day one.
on February 22, 2011
Incredible phone, very fast and awesome display. The docking station is very cool but I'm getting a few hangs in the browser (1.0 what do I expect?). I'm sure they'll get the bugs worked out shortly. Flash DOES work on the atrix. I'm so happy to have a way to send more indepth emails from my phone. I've been suffering with the iphone's desire to correct everything. Yes, it eventually learns not to correct things but typing long emails on a small touchscreen really bites.
2.2 is the most recent version with better flash support (flash did work before albeit a little slow).
2.3 (gingerbread) was released December 2010, I'm sure it missed the cutoff time for testing and deployment.
2.4 hasn't been released yet (April 2011) this is an update to 2.3 Gingerbread.
I've been hearing later this year for gingerbread on the atrix. No different than other phone OS updates... When it comes out, you can upgrade the software.