The dual-core Motorola Atrix 4G received an iFixit teardown and its best repair score to date, a 9 out of 10.
The Motorola Atrix 4G is the
latest victim of the iFixit teardown team's Torx screwdrivers, plastic opening
tools and nosey prodding. The smartphone, which AT&T will begin offering
March 6, is alone in coming with a dock that can turn a user's smartphone experience
into more of a netbook experience. It's also the first smartphone on the U.S.
market to boast a dual-core processor-though LG
introduced its Optimus 2X
As far as the iFixit team is
concerned, however, the really big news is that the Atrix 4G is the most
repairable smartphone they've taken apart, earning it a repairability score of
9 out of 10. (The
, you may remember, earned an 8 out of 10, as did the Dell Streak.
By contrast, the Verizon Apple iPhone 4 received a 6 out of 10, while the
repair-averse Apple MacBook Air got just a 4 out of 10.)
was evident from the start. Not only did the Atrix 4G's cover come off easily, but
also printed inside the back cover are instructions showing users how to remove
the battery and reconnect the cover.
"We applaud Motorola's drive
to help its users with this procedure," iFixit
on its site.
Also easy, said the site,
was "exposing the innards of the phone," which prove accessible with the
removal of a few T5 Torx screws and some plastic clips. (No
here, as they found on the Apple iPhone 4.) Even a big sticker
showing a model number and SKUs came off easily and was fixed with an adhesive
that make it possible to re-stick it after it was removed.
Seven steps in, the team
noted, "We haven't encountered any VOID stickers or things of that sort while
taking apart the Atrix, making it appear to be very repair-friendly."
A few steps later, the major
players on the motherboard were revealed to include an Elpida chip that
contains 1GB of DDR2 RAM and covers the phone's Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU. There's
also an Ericsson chip, along with technology from Qualcomm-supporting HSPA+ (Evolved
High-Speed Packet Access) technology and putting the 4G in Atrix 4G-Toshiba,
Triquint, Kionix and Hynix.
In what the team called a
nice bit of integration, the phone's front camera, earpiece speaker, power-button
assembly and top microphone are all housed on a single cable. Again, on another
cable, the rear camera, proximity sensor, ambient-light sensor, pressure
contacts for the headphone jack and side volume buttons all come out as a
"What a decade can do for
cables," enthused the team. Comparing the thickness of a Parallel ATA cable to
the Atrix camera cable, wrote iFixit, "the PATA cable is 0.66 mm thick, while
Atrix's camera cable measures 0.17 mm! And they're routing several components
through the same cable!" In a photo on the site, the two are the equivalent
thicknesses of a stick of gum and its wrapper.
From there, the team removed
the metal plate behind the LCD display, releasing a few retaining clips and-success.
The LCD, which Motorola chose not to glue to the front panel glass, lifts right
up from the panel. More than saving the team from breaking out their heat gun,
this lack of glue is good news for owners.
"The roughly 80% (this
number is a rough estimate and is a calculation deemed accurate by the iFixit
statistical department) of people who drop their Atrix now won't have to spend
their money on replacing a fully functional LCD in addition to their broken
glass!" writes iFixit.
While finding the smartphone
to be "definitely designed for repairability," and "just waiting for our loving
hands to disassemble it," wrote iFixit, two things barred it from earning a
perfect score. These, wrote Miroslav Djuric, iFixit's director of technical
communication, are Motorola's MotoBlur, "we prefer vanilla Android,
thankyouverymuch, and the dreaded anti-root mechanisms Motorola has insisted on
including in its phones."
That said, he added, "We
love just about everything else with the phone, including its uncanny ability
to be repaired."