Motorola Atrix 4G review: Enter the Atrix

GSMArena team, 15 April 2011.

Phonebook has socializing in its blood

The Motorola Atrix 4G phonebook can store practically unlimited amount of numbers and contacts plus you can store various details about individual contacts.

You can also integrate your contacts with Facebook and check their status updates directly from the phonebook. This is great, but MOTOBLUR doesn’t exactly pioneer it, as it can be found on devices like the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S, so it’s really nothing new though it’s a nice to have it.

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The Phonebook • Social network integration in the Phonebook

You can add new phonebook fields besides the preset ones. There’s no limit to the fields you can add to a contact.

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Editing a contact

When viewing the contact list, you can swipe left to reveal the History – a list of all recent communications with all contacts. Alternatively, a right swipe displays all recent status updates from all contacts.

This swipe magic is available when viewing individual contacts too – in this case, only history and status updates for that contact are displayed.

For this to work, you have to link the contact with their Facebook, Twitter, MOTOBLUR address book or Gmail accounts. This gets done in a second – tap the menu key, Link contact and pick the appropriate account (those are pulled automatically from the services you’re logged on to).

The phonebook shows MOTOBLUR at its best – blurring the distinction between “local” and “online” and putting all the info from all the sources at your fingertips.

Telephony has Smart dialing

The Motorola Atrix 4G had no problems with holding on to a signal. And we didn’t have any reception issues while in a call.

The Atrix 4G features the CrystalTalk technology. It makes use of a secondary microphone on the back of the phone to clear any background noise and a primary one to focus on your voice. In practice it works great. You can set the noise suppression to be normal, high or low.

We had some issues with the earpiece of the Atrix 4G. When you dial up the earpiece volume to maximum it would make crackling sounds. It was very annoying and we had to lower the call volume by 2-3 points.

The Smart dialing feature comes with the Atrix 4G, which is great as it spares you the time to go into your phonebook to find a contact or going to the specific contact widget.

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Smart dialing

Voice commands are here too, just like with the tougher DEFY. They can be used to dial, send message and so on, but aren’t the best around.

The Atrix 4G lacks the turn-to-mute a call function of the DEFY but has the tap-to-snooze the alarm function.

We ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Motorola Atrix 4G. The handset rated as Good, so it stands right in the middle in terms of loudness. You shouldn’’t have issues hearing it it even in louder environments.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S66.6 65.966.6Below Average
LG Optimus 2X65.7 60.067.7Below Average
Motorola MILESTONE 266.563.674.9Average
HTC Incredible S66.566.176.7Good
Motorola Atrix73.265.177.8Good
HTC Desire HD69.766.678.3Good
Nokia N875.866.282.7Very Good
HTC Gratia73.273.683.5Excellent

Messaging has Swype

All types of text communication are handled in the Messaging app. It combines a unified inbox, standard text messaging, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. It’s all part of the social MOTOBLUR UI.

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Messaging section • Creating a message

The SMS and MMS department is pretty much your ordinary Android – threaded messaging is enabled and the message composer has a neat and simple interface.

When viewing a thread, the newest message is placed at the bottom and messages are displayed as speech bubbles, just like on the iPhone. Unlike the dialer, the recipient field in the compose message UI has “smart search” – start entering the name of the contact and suggestions will show up immediately.

The tap-to-compose box starts off with a single line but it will expand to three lines if needed. It won’t expand any more than this. It would have covered the received messages if it did anyway.

A press-and-hold in the tap-to-compose area gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text across applications like email, notes, chats, etc.

Converting an SMS to MMS is logical and easy. When you add multimedia content to the message, it is automatically turned into an MMS. You can just add a photo or an audio file to go with the text or you can choose to go into a full-blown MMS editor, depending on your needs.

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Inserting content into a message • Text selection and options

Email is part of the Messaging app too. It’s a must-have for every self-respecting smartphone out there and the Motorola Atrix 4G doesn’t disappoint.

For email there are the Gmail app and the standard Android email app. In Gmail batch operations are supported and allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. You can enable push email or schedule automatic updates. There’s an option to sync only over Wi-Fi, which is sure to save you data charges.

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The Gmail application

For text input on the Motorola Atrix 4G you get two options - the standard Motorola QWERTY keyboard, which is great, is the first option and the Swype keyboard, which uses a swiping technology to increase writing speeds.

Swype isn’t everybody’s first choice but can be very useful if you’re writing in English. You swipe through the keys in the word you’re trying to type and when you’re done Swype detects the word or several words and gives you a choice of picking one.

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Text input features Swype

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