Motorola Atrix HD review: The Atrix reloaded

Stefan Vazharov, 24 August 2012.
Pages: 12345678

Introduction

The LTE-packing Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T faces a couple of hard challenges. First and foremost, it has to build on the user experience of original Atrix 4G, giving its owners who are up for an upgrade these days, a reason to stick with the brand.

And that's not going to be easy, considering the iconic status that the Atrix 4G had for Motorola. Announced as one of the brightest stars of CES 2011, the Atrix 4G developed a solid following and for a good reason - it was one of the very first proper dual-core Android powerhouses, whose finger scanner added an extra dash of massive geeky coolness.

Motorola Atrix HD Motorola Atrix HD
Motorola Atrix HD official photos

Additionally, the Atrix HD will try to appeal to all Motorola fans in the United States who were not given the chance to own a GSM flavored, subsidized Motorola RAZR.

And now that we have the smartphone's family history out of the way, let's take a closer look at its specifications.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and 3G support
  • Class 17 LTE network support
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4.5" 16M-color LCD capacitive touchscreen with HD resolution (720 x 1280 pixels); Gorilla Glass; ColorBoost technology
  • Superb build quality; Kevlar coated, splash resistant body
  • Lightly customized Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Krait CPU; Adreno 225 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 chipset
  • 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of storage; microSD card slot
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; face detection and geotagging; 1080p video recording
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera for video-chat
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor and auto-brightness sensor; compass
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v 4.0
  • microHDMI port
  • Smart dialing, voice dialing
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Office document editor
  • Attractive price tag

Main disadvantages

  • No dedicated camera button
  • 1780mAh battery and comparably short battery life
  • No FM radio
  • Dubious design - the AT&T logo at the bottom looks like a button, but it isn't
  • Non-user-replaceable battery

Quite frankly, we were caught by surprise when AT&T and Motorola announced the Atrix HD. For a smartphone whose specs are so impressive, the arrival of the latest member of the Atrix family as well as Motorola's most powerful handset on the US market, was a seriously low key affair.

As you can see from the lists above, the Motorola Atrix HD is one the best equipped smartphones currently on the market. You will be hard pressed to find much to frown about in its specs sheet - it screams flagship from beginning to end. And then there's the fact that the smartphone is priced lower than its direct rivals to sweeten up the deal even further.

The Atrix HD is not without its faults, though. We can't help but be skeptical about the size of the handset's battery. Its 1780mAh capacity is nothing to write home about, especially when put in a device manufactured by the company which gave the world the RAZR MAXX. The design could have also been a bit more inspiring, but that might be just us.

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Motorola Atrix HD live photos

Overall, the Motorola Atrix HD is one of the most interesting smartphones we've welcomed in our office recently. We are hoping that its real-life performance can maintain the good impressions that its specs sheet creates. As always, we'll kick its review off with an unboxing of the handset, followed by a look at its design and build quality.

Note: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include all of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T is a US-only phone, so it will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

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