Motorola's Atrix 2 is a great smartphone that's well worth the $99 price on contract at a time when the Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung Galaxy S II handsets costs $200 to $299.
The thing that's tough about reviewing the Motorola Atrix
4G smartphone line is that you have to get around focusing on the joy the
phone's accessories bring to the user. I'm going to give it a shot, but there
is one accessory that stands out that I'm going to address later in the review.
The Motorola Atrix 2
refinements over the excellent, inaugural Atrix 4G launched from Ma Bell earlier
, which I noted then was AT&T's best Android handset ever.
With a $99 price tag on contract, I'd argue without hesitation that the Atrix
2 is the best sub-$100 Android smartphone on the market--hands down.
The Atrix 2 runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread on
a 4.3-inch Qhd (Quarter High Definition) screen that sparkles to the eye with a
960-by-540 resolution. Recall that the original Atrix
which debuted at the 2011 Consumer Electronics show in January and cost $199 at
launch, has a 4-inch screen and ran Android 2.2 Froyo at launch. The
Atrix 2 is similarly designed and sized, sporting a metal housing with a
texturized, black rubber enclosure.
The Atrix 2 is powered by a speedy, 1GHz dual-core processor, which together with
AT&T's 4G network makes for a nice combination of application performance.
YouTube, Angry Birds and Motorola's ZumoCast cloud application for music and
movie playing worked well, as did the Motorola Music app.
Call quality was as crisp and clear as usual, though I've
always had pretty solid AT&T service here in Fairfield County, Conn.
The camera, with 8 megapixels and fun perks like the ability to take six
consecutive pictures with multi-shot capability, is vastly superior to the pedestrian
5 megapixel shutter in the original Atrix.
While I found some lag time on the original Atrix, I
found none on the Atrix 2. Moreover, the Atrix 2's video camera records and
playbacks video in HD 1080p, besting the 720p capture and 1080p playback of the
original Atrix 4G
The Atrix 2 also has 8GB on board memory, expandable to
32GB, 1GB of Dual Channel RAM. That's actually less than the 16GB of
of its predecessor, whose microSD is expandable to 48GB. The battery, a
1785 mAh power supply, is also solid, lasting me 12 hours on a full
charge with moderate use.
The new Motorola Lapdock 100
real joy of using the Atrix 2, allowing users to leverage the Atrix 2's Webtop app to put the
phone's content on a larger, 10.1-inch HD display with a 1366-by-768 resolution.
The idea of the Webtop and dock is a fine one for corporate road warriors who
don't want to carry a laptop or tablet computer.
Atrix 2 users simply plug their phone into the Lapdock
100 via the phone's mini-USB and HDMI ports to immediately access their phone
applications and content.
That includes QuickOffice for Microsoft Exchange program
access and Google Docs, even CRM and ERP apps through the Mozilla Firefox
browser that launches when the Webtop app connects to the dock.
There's something cool about being able to control your phone's
dialer app from the Dock by picking a number from contacts and calling
a number with a simple finger scroll and click of a button. Apps can
added or dropped from an application tray at the bottom of the Lapdock
The Lapdock 100 offers 2 USB ports, and comes with a 30 watt
wall charger that resembles a notebook power cord. Unfortunately, the Lapdock
100 pricing and availability has not been disclosed.
My biggest problem with the Lapdock 100 was the 2-finger
trackpad, which I found slower and less responsive than the trackpad on the
first, more clunky dock I used last year. The original dock actually weighed
slightly more -- 2.4 pounds to the 2.2 pounds of the new model. Probably because of the 11.6-inch display WXGA
There's no question $99 for the Atrix 2 is a great
bargain, but AT&T and Motorola are pushing for Atrix 2 buyers, who both
companies envision will be the corporate road warriors who get reimbursed for
company equipment, to shell out hundreds of dollars for the Motorola Lapdock
I can recommend the Atrix 2 if you're an AT&T
customer in need of a great, low-cost, premium smartphone. And you don't even
need the Lapdock to enjoy. It's a fine calling, texting and application-accelerating
handset for anyone. It's a nice sign that users needn't shell out $200 to $300
for a high-end Android phone.