Motorola is working hard to retain their footing in the smartphone segment and so far, they’ve been faring quite well. Their recent attempt at a Galaxy S II competitor in the form the RAZR XT910 proved to be quite fruitful. Their latest device is in the form of the Motoroal Atrix 2 that’s designed to offer users premium features at a reasonable price. We’re here to tell you if they made good on those deliverables. Take a closer look.
On video: Motorola Atrix 2
Unfortunately the Atrix 2 is not the best looker on the shelf. Aside from looking rather plain, as far as smartphones go, it’s also a little bulky and weighs in at 147 grams which isn’t exactly lightweight either. On the other hand, no one can say that the quality of materials used in its construction are of a low grade. The dark Chromed border in front and the hard plastic (slightly rubberized) rear panel make for a sturdy device with a decent grip.
From the front
On the right side are volume keys with a dedicated camera shutter release/access button towards the bottom. A micro USB and HDMI port reside on the bottom of the left hand side. A 3.5mm headphones socket and power/sleep button are placed at the top. The Atrix 2 features 8GB of internal storage and support for up to 32GB more via micro SD cards (Hot Swap under the rear panel). The large 4.3-inch TFT touchscreen display sports a 540 x 960 pixel resolution under Corning Gorilla Glass. The display is quite easily visible in broad daylight conditions with good viewing angles. The colors, although not as vibrant as Sony’s Bravia Engine or Apple’s Retina Display can provide (to name a few), are still quite good with very sharp imaging. All in all, there’s nothing to complain about at all.
Features and Performance
Running Android Gingerbread (2.3, no word on an update to ICD but keeping the specs in mind, support will not be an issue) on a 1GHz Dual Core processor with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU for added support, the Atrix 2 handles like a dream. It’s every bit as good as its more expensive brethren. From UI functionality to accessing apps, browsing and media playback, the Atrix 2 functions smoothly with no hint of lag or framing of any kind. MOTOBLUR with its active widget system might not be the very best designed interface but some of the widgets are quite handy and one can always download third party options that work better and are far more customizable.
MOTOBLUR, not the best UI but quite functional
A built in Data and Battery Manager feature (accessible via the Settings) lets you control the usage of various features to help preserve power. It’s not as sophisticated as the RAZR’s but it does help. A few extras that are part of the Atrix 2’s make up include voice functionality that can be used to read out your emails or messages and also calls out the number or name that shows up when you get a call. It’s no Siri and sounds too much like the old Symbian devices, that translates to, shut this feature off and you won’t miss anything. Motorola has also included their CrystalTalk feature that lets you choose from presets to enable better quality of audio for calls. It's extremely handy. Swype too is preloaded onto the handset. The option to join the same contact via Facebook and those on my Google account did not come up at all. This was quite bizarre.
Features Mini HDMI
The Atrix 2 gave us a Linpack scoring of 43.45 in a Single Thread run and 65.60 in Multi thread on an average. Overall functioning, as we mentioned was smooth and quite instantaneous when it came to accessing apps and files etc. AnTuTu scored it at 5222 putting in the same league as the Optimus 2X and a few points short of the Galaxy S II.
Straight out of the box, the Atrix 2 comes with support for quite a few of the popular video codecs – 1080p MP4, H.263 and H.264, WMV, Xvid, and DivX. For MOVs, FLVs etc. any third party option like Rockplayer will make sure you’re well taken care of. The native media player, although capable of providing well balanced tones via the very comfortable to use wired headset, doesn’t have a Folder View option which could be an issue for some. A bit of a drawback is that Motorola offers no direct access to audio settings from the player itself. You'll have to go through the handset's settings menu>Sound Settings>Media Audio Effects to make any changes. The available audio settings include Surround effects, EQ presets and a profile option to set it to 3D, Live or Home Theatre. An FM radio as well as SHOUTcast for online streaming are both present. You can access your stored videos as well as YouTube videos from the same app. The radio worked out just fine with decent reception through most of the city.
Other media features include SoundHound for music recognition and a Music Community option for TuneWiki, Music Maps and HOT Playlists that tie into FB and Twitter and play videos off of YouTube. These services are quite a bit of fun to use and do help enhance the devices media offerings. Motorola has also tied up with EA (Electronics Arts) to bring consumers a host of freebies from the game developer. A total of 9 titles like NFS Shift, FIFA 10, Bejeweled and Dead Space are included for free download.
In this department, the Motorola has tried to equip the Atrix 2 with as much as possible. Connectivity options include – 3G (up to 21Mbps), WiFi with DLNA support, wireless streaming using the MotoCast app, Hot Spot creation, EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth with A2DP and EDR and of course USB 2.0. Using apps like Motorola Webtop, you can hook your phone up via HDMI to larger (supported) displays and access web apps and surf the net while taking and receiving calls and messages. Moto Phone Portal lets you manage your phone content via your PC and MotoPrint allows you to print wirelessly. A noticeable glitch which we could attribute to this being a test device (hopefully) occurred when switching over from WiFi to EDGE. It wasn’t seamless, so much so that we were required to switch the handset into Flight mode and then back for data connectivity to reactivate. Restarting the handset is obviously not an option.
Quite a bit of connectivity options
In the GPS department only Google’s Navigation, Maps and Places are available. Motorola’s Navigation application that used to be pre-installed on older devices is, unfortunately not available anymore. On the social media front apps like Google+ and it’s corresponding Messenger come preloaded with Google’s Latitude. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al are all easily available through the Google Play store.
Aside from the basic Android-centric apps like the calendar(syncs with Google and Facebook),Calculator and Tasks app, Motorola has thrown in a few extras in their Widget Section like Sticky Notes, a File Manager and OfficeSuite for reading documents on the go. A news RSS reader and News and Weather App are also available. An app called GoToMeeting powered by Citrix will allows you to keep a tighter rein on your schedule. For Enterprise purposes, Citrix Receiver for dedicated apps and cloud based services has been provided.
The Atrix 2 features an 8 megapixel auto focus camera with an LED flash. Features include GeoTagging, basic effect settings, Scene modes, Multishot and Panorama mode (auto-stitch) and exposure control. It can also record video in full HD i.e. 1080p (@24fps). Image quality is right up there with the best of them. For most part pictures captured and viewed in native resolution (on a PC) look quite sharp and with a reasonable amount of color retained in both indoor and outdoor settings. Low light image capture is not its forte but it still manages to do a decent job. On the whole, the Atrix 2’s camera is another feather in its hat.
Looks quite crisp in normal conditions
Macro shot with flash
The Atrix 2’s 1785 mAh battery proved to be a real asset. In our Video-Drain test we ran the device non-stop for over 7 hours playing a standard definition video with WiFi running constantly in the background downloading emails, chat message, updates etc. In our tech2 Loop Test we managed to get a full loop – 2 hours video, 2 hours audio, 1.5 hours talk time, 2 hours audio streaming – and also started off a second loop that gave us 1.5 hours of video, 1.5 hours of audio and squeezed out another 15 minutes of audio streaming. That works out to over 10 hours of rigorous usage with Wi-Fi constantly active.
Not too slim
The Bottom Line
The Motorola Atrix 2 is priced at 22, 900 which makes it one of the top handset to consider in this price bracket. The only real issue you’ll have to contend with is the slightly bulky demeanor of the beast. If superficial aspects are not your concern then the Atrix 2 is a solid investment. It’s fast, fluid and well equipped with great battery life and features galore. We say, it’s real value for money.
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