Motorola Atrix hands on Australian first impressions

I have just received a Motorola Atrix 4G and my initial thoughts on this powerhouse of a Android phone that won 10 awards at CES 2011 are mixed. On the one hand this is the most powerful Android phone around today and sadly on the other it is let down by its the packaging housing this power.

Motorola Atrix
Motorla Atrix

The phone comes with a standard HDMI cable to hook it up to a TV and play the media on the phone on your big screen. There is also a USB cable and wall charger. The odd thing is there are no headphones which tend to be an obligatory addition to most smart phones today especially for handsfree use.

MicroUSB & HDMI sockets
Atrix MicrosUSB & HDMI sockets

First impressions are that the screen, which is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, is quite brilliant and the best I have seen on an Android phone. The 4 inch screen’s resolution is qHD (quarter High Definition) 960 x 540 and is crisper than my HTC Desire AMOLED screen.

Motorla Atrix Screen
Motorola Atrix Home Screen

The phone itself weighs in 2 grams less than the iPhone 4 at 135 grams but unlike its biggest competitor it doesn’t have the styling or the finesse of the Apple product. In fact it doesn’t seem to have the build quality of the HTC Desire or the solid and stylish HTC Mozart.  Unfortunately the phone has a plasticky feel to it, especially the back. The back comes across as one of those cheap fake carbon fibre bonnets seen on cheap, wannabe “Fast and Furious” hoon cars that splutter around the suburbs of major Australian cities.

Motorola Atrix Back
Plastic Back of Motorola Atrixwith combined finger print reader &co power button (top)

The phone features a 5MP camera with flash as well as a front facing camera for video calls. The camera can record 720p footage and apparently will be able to record 1080p with a future upgrade.

Before using the phone a Motoblur account needs to be set-up. Once done this enables the ability to locate your phone if you have lost it or remotely wipe its data if it has been stolen.

One unique addition to the phone is the finger print reading device on the back which is actually the power button. It can be setup as a way of unlocking the phone with a PIN as a backup. To be honest its a bit too small and works on limited occasions so I can’t recommend it.

Where the phone stands out is its sheer speed. The dual core processor makes Froyo seems like its on steroids. The DLNA software allows you to stream media to the phone or indeed from the phone and the power of the Atrix really shows here.

DLNA software
DLNA software

The 1930mAh battery seems to do a good job at keeping all this power running, but you can actually feel the heat of it through the plastic back cover when using the phone over prolonged periods of time.

Battery and card slots
Atrix Battery and card slots

The Motorola Widgets can be resized on the homescreen with ease and the social networking app pulls together all your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin status updates and contacts. All I need now is the HD dock and the laptop dock to put the webtop software through its paces and full potential.

Would I recommend it? The answer is yes purely for the potential this phone has to change personal and working mobility. However I wish Motorola had given the Atrix a better casing as it feels like a wolf in cheap fake wool clothing which really is the only let down. Does it beat the iPhone 4? The answer is, in all areas except design, that is an overwhleming yes.

More info @ Motorola

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