The Motorola ATRIX 4G isn’t likely to stand out among midrange smartphones – it’s entirely made of plastic and somewhat lacking in imagination. But that’s one way to look at it. We felt it quite close to the Motorola Defy in terms of styling – which is to say sober and reliable. A smart way to place the emphasis where it’s due, on the powerful internals.
While there is nothing fancy going on at the front of the ATRIX 4G – not counting the 4” qHD touchscreen – the back is where Motorola got wild. Well, sort of.
Although the big Gorilla Glass-protected screen and the high performance hardware imply otherwise, the all-plastic ATRIX 4G weighs in at the perfectly manageable 135 grams.
At the top of the device you’ll find the power/lock button, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner. If it were a mere button, we wouldn’t be too happy with the location – it’s not in the usual place to say the least. But as a fingerprint scanner, it’s in a very comfortable position for your index finger.
The Motorola ATRIX 4G can take several fingerprint scans to use as enhanced screen lock security. The feature is optional and you’re prompted to set a recovery PIN, in case you need to override the fingerprint unlock.
It’s a neat option but nothing more. Nor is it truly a first in the smartphone world – think Acer M900, Toshiba G900. It’ll cool enough the first couple of times you show it to your friends.
Above the display we find a status LED which lets you know when the battery is done charging. Next to it there is a proximity sensor which takes care of locking the touchscreen during calls and an ambient light sensor for adjusting the brightness of the display. Next to them are the earpiece, the Motorola logo and the front-facing VGA camera good for video calling.
Underneath the display are the traditional four capacitive keys in charge of Android navigation: contextual menu, Home key, Back and Search.
The left side of the handset is very tidy, only featuring two connectivity ports: microUSB and microHDMI. The microUSB port is used for both charging and data connections.
The right side of the ATRIX 4G features the volume rocker only. It feels solid to the touch and is comfortable to reach. There’s no dedicated shutter key on this phone.
The bottom of the Motorola ATRIX 4G is completely bare, the mouthpiece is facing front right beneath the capacitive buttons.
The back on the other hand is rather interesting. The distinctly patterned back cover resembles carbon fiber finish and at the bottom is the MOTOblur logo. A 5MP lens is placed in the top left corner, along with a dual LED flash.
The loudspeaker grill is at the bottom, designed to match the rough heavy duty looks of the phone.
Removing the battery cover reveals the hot-swappable microSD card slot, the SIM card compartment and the seriously large 1930mAh battery. Motorola quotes it at up to 400h of standby in 2G and 50h less in 3G mode. As to actual phone calls, the ATRIX 4G promises the pretty decent 9 hours.
In moderate to heavy use, the ATRIX 4G barely lasted two days but Androids are a power-hungry crowd. For the time of this test we did some gaming, we took the usual load of photos, and we browsed the web over Wi-Fi for about an hour per day.
The build quality of the ATRIX 4G is solid, the styling subtle. There could’ve been some metal on the body, but the phone isn’t bad in an all-plastic body. The ATRIX 4G is well put together using quality materials .
As far as design goes, the ATRIX 4G looks perfectly acceptable to both youngsters and mature business users. The ATRIX 4G is comfortable to hold and operate singlehandedly, but also very pocket friendly.