The Motorola Atrix has quite an interesting biography, starting with its debut at CES 2011. The original Atrix, with its snazzy press conference in tow, was a game-changer for Motorola. Their fancy WebTop system aside, the Atrix was a respectable device. Unfortunately, it lost some of the steam with the Atrix 4G, which failed to impress techies – or consumers.
But the Atrix’s biography is about to be updated with the Atrix HD, offering advanced functionality at half the price of leading Android smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III. The smartphone leverages Ice Cream Sandwich and has a 720p display, in addition to LTE and an 8-megapixel camera. At $99, the Atrix HD may be our budget smartphone of choice.
The design hasn’t changed much on the Atrix HD, but Motorola built upon its physique by taking cues from the Droid RAZR. Like the Galaxy Nexus, the Atrix HD opts for soft keys rather than dedicated button. While the front looks mostly the same as the original Atrix, the back uses Kevlar, the same material found on the Droid RAZR.
The overall design and port placement resembles the Droid RAZR, with the exception of the camera module. It’s a fairly large “lump” on the back, which houses the 8-megapixel shooter, speaker grille, and LED flash. On the front, the “lump” houses the earpiece, logo, and front camera. The phone is as large as the HTC One X, despite having a smaller screen due to the rather large bezel.
Overall, though, it feels bulkier than the Droid RAZR and HTC One X. Additionally, the button placement is a bit odd: the power button sits on the site – not top – of the device adjacent to the volume rocker. Available in black and white, the Atrix HD doesn’t win any design awards, but is nonetheless decent. They say beauty is on the inside, let’s see if this is true with the Atrix HD.
Motorola wasn’t sure which bands to cover, so they threw them all in! The Atrix HD supports AT&T LTE, HSPA+ (4G on AT&T), EDGE, and GSM. Powering the slew of antennas is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. Unfortunately, you can’t get up close and personal wish cash registers with the Atrix HD – an NFC chip is nowhere in sight.
Unlike most phones, the Atrix HD uses a Lithium Polymer battery, which is the same type found in the Droid RAZR. While these batteries are lighter and thinner, they’re more expensive and offer fewer charge cycles compared to their Lithium Ion cousins. And like other Motorola phones, the battery is non-removable.
Compared to the Droid RAZR, the Atrix HD offers an impressive 4.5-inch, 1,280 x 720 display, equating to 326 ppi. The screen is a mix between the Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. Luckily; you won’t find any pixilation with the Atrix HD despite the fact that certain colors appear oversaturated. Motorola could’ve made the screen bigger without changing the size of the phone by getting rid of some of the plastic bezel.
Performance-wise, the Atrix HD falls in between the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. However, the Atrix HD feels chunkier and not as refined. With only 8 GB of onboard storage, you’re bound to fill the device rather quickly.
Despite these shortcomings, at half the price of the flagship Galaxy S III, you get the same features, excluding NFC. However, the phone will likely feel severely outdated in two years, assuming you stay true to your contract.