I'm normally not one to have the latest gadgets, best technology, or shiniest toys, but after seeing the Motorola Atrix at CES with its Laptop Dock and HD Dock, I just couldn't resist. I went ahead and pre-ordered one and got it the day before its official release. After two weeks of playing with it, I'm still amazed at the service the phone brings.
What I received was in no means an understatement to what everyone has said about the phone: this thing is wicked fast. With amazing video and sound quality, the Motorola Atrix can load videos and maps in seconds, assuming you're connected wirelessly to the internet.
One of the best parts, I think, is switching between apps. This seemingly nonexistent transition occurs just like in any other smartphone: with the tap of a button or the swipe of a finger. But once you do it, any video you were watching, any facebook status you were updating, or any picture you were taking, suddenly halts and switches to whatever you aimed to do next. Pauses to load screens are minimal, if there are any at all.
This is, of course, on an Android phone with Motoblur. There are customizable widgets and gadgets and whatchamaroos everywhere, and it's up to you on how you want to make your home screens look. You can drop your icons like it's hot (yeah, I went there) throughout seven different screens, allowing one to neatly bypass the alphabetic menu of apps. This is the first time I've had an Android phone before; I was an iPhone wielder previously, and we didn't have this "customizable icon" and "widget-sprees" that you young'uns have.
The best way to determine processing speed? By gaming, of course. The Atrix was nice enough to come with a demo of Need For Speed: Shift. Playing the game was just about as smooth as playing on a console at home: no lag, no bumps, no freezing. I suggest not drinking a cup of coffee beforehand though, as the phone will pick up even the slightest shakes of a hand while you drive.
The sound is just on par with the visuals. Phone calls aren't strained, and I didn't find myself once jamming my phone into my ear thinking it would help hear the other end better - and be honest, you know you've done the same thing before. The speaker on the bottom backside of the phone packs quite a punch, too: whether it's used as a speakerphone or just listening to music, everything comes out loud and clear. Speaking of music, there are pre-set Equalizer settings that you can tinker with. Listening to music on Pandora basically had my phone vibrating, and it wasn't even on a high bass setting at the time.
Quality? Definitely not bad. The Atrix came equipped with a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot HD video as well. You can customize your shots too, ranging from things such as sepia tones or landscape view. It may not be a digital camera replacement, but it definitely holds its own against other camera-phones. The best part, in my opinion, was the front-facing camera. This added piece of hardware is becoming very popular in today's gadgets, and with due reason. Thankfully, the Atrix did not disappoint consumers here.
Props to you if you can read that bottom line - I wrote so small that I couldn't even read it normally!
The Motorola Atrix comes packed with a bunch of extra apps that I, personally, wouldn't use: Blockbuster, Latitude, and YellowPagesMobile, just to name a few. Removable? Some, but not all, which means that I (and possibly you) will have a few useless apps sitting around eating precious space.
Speaking of apps, the Atrix comes with the "Webtop" app, which is what the Atrix relies on when connected to one of its many docks. You can still make phone calls, send text messages, and reply to emails. Which leads us to the...
Ah, the infamous Motorola Laptop Dock, one of several accessories that helped drive the Atrix to such popularity. There have been quite a number of negative reviews on the Atrix Laptop Dock, and after tinkering with it for a while, I can see why. Even on a wireless network, loading times are somewhat slow. Granted, the Atrix still doesn't compare to an actual desktop with their fancy videocards and such. Consumers should keep in mind that the visuals on the Laptop Dock are still being powered by your phone; essentially, you're just looking at your phone through a bigger screen.
Pros: This is going to be redundant, but...bigger screen. The phone easily connects to the Laptop Dock, and it's quite quick to boot up. Anything you were previously doing on your phone will be immediately launched on the Laptop Dock, transitioning them seamlessly. The Laptop Dock will also let you do a few things your phone can't do just yet: for example, watching hulu videos. For some reason, Hulu doesn't work on Android just yet, but it'll definitely let you watch it on Atrix's Laptop Dock. It also has Microsoft Office on it, allowing the work-oriented businesspeople to bring their spreadsheets and documents just about anywhere on this sleek device.
Cons: Quite expensive. Even with the $100 discount and the $100 rebate (assuming you bought the Motorola Atrix + Laptop Dock bundle for $500), you're looking at $300 for what is basically a netbook that can't function without the phone. Some say you're better off purchasing a tablet since it can do more, but that's up to you. For $300 though, I'd expect the Laptop Dock to have a bit more "kick" in it. It just seemed somewhat slow, laggy, and delayed. To top it all off, there's the fact that you need to pay a little extra each month for the tethering service that's required for the Laptop Dock.
I like the phone, and it definitely gets the job done, whatever the job may be: phone calls, video calls, app-gaming, taking pictures and video, music management, or a social media outlet. The processing speed gets top-notch points, and I only wish I could say the same for the Laptop Dock.