AT&T customers have long yearned for a powerful, high-end Android phone in the carrier’s lineup of smartphones. They got their wish when the Motorola Atrix debuted in 2011. With impressive multimedia functionality, a jam-packed feature set and the ability to expand storage capacity to a generous 48GB, this Android smartphone handily earns our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award. AT&T has since introduced newer Android phones, but when we compare the pros and cons, the sleek Motorola Atrix continues to be one of the best.
The AT&T Atrix retains Motorola’s trademark style and polish, with a textured backing and a slim profile. The device weighs 4.8 ounces and measures 4.6 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide and 0.4 inches thick. It has contemporary rounded corners and tapered edges, which make the device comfortable to hold and easy to slip into your pocket. The Android phone is largely made from plastic, but it’s so solidly constructed that it doesn’t feel flimsy. However, it doesn’t quite have that expensive, upscale feel that our top-ranked Android smartphones do.
The 4-inch qHD (quarter high definition) screen has a resolution of 960 x 540. This yields a sharp and crisp picture. Text and images won’t look quite as smooth as they do on Android smartphones with a 1280 x 720 resolution. Unless you’re comparing them side-by-side, chances are you won’t notice a difference.
The one area in which the Motorola Atrix could use improvement is battery life; it’s good but not great. The phone delivers up to 9 hours of talk time and significantly less when you’re continuously accessing the web. The Android platform is data intensive, and if you use it as more than a phone, you may find yourself needing to charge up daily.
At 5 megapixels, the Atrix phone serves as a suitable camera for everyday use. An LED flash allows you to take decent shots in both high and low light. The phone can additionally function as a 720p camcorder and is equipped with a front-facing camera designed for video chatting. A built-in music player allows you to play your favorite songs anytime, anywhere.
The Motorola Atrix comes with the Android 2.2 platform installed but can update to Android 2.3. It also houses a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, both of which assist in the speed and responsiveness of the device. Most impressive is the fact that the phone’s combined storage capacity can reach 48GB. It comes with 16GB built in and supports microSD cards up to 32GB.
The Motorola Atrix earns the distinction of being the only device on our lineup to offer all of the features we sought in Android phones. It boasts a USB input, GPS, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The phone also has two Android-based features that mobile tech enthusiasts will appreciate: voice typing and Swype. Voice typing translates your words into text, while Swype allows you to input text with one continuous swipe of your finger.
One unique feature the Motorola Atrix has is fingerprint scanning. The phone’s power button can doubly function as a fingerprint scanner for an additional layer of security. We think the feature is useful in theory, but some users online have indicated that it’s more frustrating in practice. Unless you need the added security, the standard-access passcode should suffice.
The Motorola Atrix packs speed and high-end features into a sleek, compact package that earns a top spot in our lineup of the best Android phones. The device would benefit from a beefed-up battery to extend its operating life. Overall, however, this impressive Android smartphone won’t disappoint.