Sunday, September 8, 2013

Motorola Atrix HD Review


The holidays are lurking just beyond the seasonal horizon. In less than a month, we will all be locked in the stifling vice-like clutches of last-minute shopping madness. But a plan of attack can stave off waiting in tedious long lines, depleted stock shelves and unnecessary money spent. If a solid inexpensive mobile device was on your gift-giving list, then Motorola and AT&T can help with the latter of those chores via  their $99 mid-range 4G Motorola Atrix HD (w/ 2yr subscription).


The Motorola Atrix HD steps away from it predecessor, the Atrix 2, with a number of major differences.  I’ve heard the Atrix called a “a cross between the DROID RAZR HD and the Atrix 2″. That’s not a wild claim. They look very similar with the rounded corners, kevlar back and the dearth of physical buttons. But the Atrix HD is near-wafer thin at 8.4mm thick and only weighs a measly 4.94 ounces. The ColorBoost display supports 1280×720 image resolution, which is handsome, without questions. But don’t sip the Kool-Aid At&t is pouring into the marketing hype. It is not the “highest” resolution of a phone (‘ello Retina!). There are similar suitors out there.
Regardless, I found the display to be immaculate with great color balance and enhanced brightness. I enjoy the larger screen real estate over smaller offerings such as the iPhone. Plus Motorola has drenched it in a bit of liquid armor. Despite the tough kevlar back, the company has coated the screen with a nano-coating to help protect against spills and other fluid-fumbling.
The unit is powered by the 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core. This is another break from its forbearer. The Atrix 2 made use of a Tegra 2 with TI OMAP. While you should be excited for this departure from the Tegra, the benchmarks below provide a sobering, but wholly accepted, insight on the matter. Service related tech is impressive. But the speedy LTE is the standout feature here. The Motorola Atrix HD supports AT&T current radio bands as well as UMTS, quadband GSM and EDGE. You can also factor in older HSPA+.
Moving on to the “soul-stealer”, we have a 8-megapixel camera capable of full HD video capture. There is also a front-facing camera, which does 720p video recording. Video can output to a secondary source via the HDMI-out min port. All your favorite Bluetooth profiles are in attendance. WiFi is 802.11 a,b,g,n–familiar stuff. The Atrix HD features side volume rocker and lock button  on its right side. The left side houses a micoSD slot (capacity is 32GB).  As you can see this is not the blueprint for a mid-range phone. HDMI-out, 1080p video capture and the like are high-end features that can often warrant a higher price.
It comes together handsomely and comfortably. The Motorola Atrix HD is a distinguished looking device. We received the white model and it looks sharp. I should mention, it doesn’t seem to attract dirt and finger prints like other similarly colored devices. It feels solid and tightly compact upon picking it up, which I appreciate. No one likes airy flimsy electronics. The few physical buttons are very easy to reach with single-hand use and perform with reliable responsiveness. I can’t speak highly enough of the display and it’s vivid color. That brightness does suck up nearly 50% of the device’s battery life at times. So therein lies the rub. Coming full circle, with the benches below we see all that high-end innards underwhelmingly produce mid-range performance in games if not internet browsing.


The performance may be midrange, but I must reiterate: the price is commendable for the tech-to-performance ratio. Not to mention the Motorola Atrix HD also has few other “softer” tricks up its mobile sleeve. The OS in use is the scrumptious Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. But the big “M” has has included “Motorola Applications Platform”, TouchWiz and Sense 4 running in lock step with the OS. MAP offers a different lock and home screens, where the home screen can be customized to great a degree.  I must say I really like the way the new circle widgets function. There are 3-total on the home screen and each holds a dual function. Tap the “Time/clock” circle widget to reveal your most recent missed call or text. Tap the battery status widget and it flips to offer a gateway into your widget settings. It’s simple but looks cool and is rather prosaic and practical. On top of all that is the Smart Actions app. This automatically tailors your phone settings and behavior to accommodate what you may be currently doing. Place your phone on a vehicle navigation dock to have your texts read aloud, or even have an “I’m driving!” auto-reply sent to all incoming text messages. Smart Action functions can be more tailored and customized, as well. Display brightness toggles and toggling Bluetooth and WiFi are also options. Smart Actions live up to their namesake and offer intelligent and intuitive functionality to Atrix HD.
In general the software performs quite well. There is a great deal more than the average user will need. Plus the doubled up applications are annoying. I don’t want to weed through three different map applications, three different text applications, 3 different movie/media playback applications and so forth. But it all runs so speedy. Moving from screen to screen, in and out of app is so seamless. Everything seams to transition very smooth, even and peppy.

Via: HR


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