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Successor to the Atrix - Motorola Atrix 2 Reviewed

written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 10/28/2011
4

The original Atrix was an innovator in the market and most people would not have thought that a successor would be released 10 months after. The Atrix 2 doesn't quite bring innovation, but adds a bit more of a redesign and a few minor changes. Is that enough to take on the competition?

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    The Atrix Reloaded

    The original Atrix from Motorola was quite the innovative smartphone, featuring the ability and power to become a personal laptop. It was quite innovative for the time, and still is. There are some imitators, opting to include HD docks, but not quite the laptop level that the original Atrix unveiled. The Atrix 2 is the successor to the mighty throne, and the question lingers, is it worthy enough to be a successor? Motorola has been great at inventing new smartphones but the successors always seem to fall short, does the Atrix 2 fall into that category of failures?

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    Design and Display

    Rating Average

    Motorola Atrix 2 Reviewed The Atrix 2 opts to go with a sleeker and smoother look, with rounded and smoothened edges. In addition, it also has a slightly larger display than the predecessor -- a 4.3 inch qHD touch capacitive display. The display itself is beautiful and bright and has a decent viewing angle. Beneath the display are the four Android shortcuts for menu, home, back and search. Above the display is a small VGA, front facing camera. The right edge holds the volume rocker and a dedicated camera button. The top has the power / lock key and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. It's interesting to note that the fingerprint sensor from the original is no longer on the successor. The left edge has the microUSB and HDMI combo that can be utilized for Webtop accessories. Rounding out the back is an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and a nice textured black finish.

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    Performance

    Rating Average

    The Atrix 2 shifted vendors for a processor, opting to go with a 1 GHz TI OMAP 4430, but it has about the same power as the original. It's interesting to note that the Atrix 2 didn't end up with a slightly more powerful processor, considering the new Droid RAZR is opting to go with a 1.2 GHz OMAP 4430. Regardless, the Atrix 2 handles well, even with processor heavy applications running and switching. Running Android 2.3 on the Atrix 2 was a smooth experience and surprisingly there was no real lag affecting the smartphone.

    Call quality on the device was spot on, with incoming and outgoing calls clear and loud. The only bad part was the speakerphone if the back was left on a surface, which isn't a huge surprise. Data speeds were also good, as the Atrix 2 has access to a more enhanced 21+ mbps HSPA+ connection. The battery life was also surprisingly decent, especially considering it's actually smaller than the original. It was able to last around 2 days with regular usage.

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    User Interface

    Rating Average

    The Atrix 2 comes preloaded with Android 2.3 and Motorola's still unnamed overlay. What used to be known as MotoBLUR is no longer named, and it's a much lighter overlay, not as intrusive as the original. The 4.3 inch screen is definitely a plus when using the Atrix 2 and it offers ample space for both hands to use. The LapDock which allowed the Atrix to become basically a laptop, is back, this time in 2 versions. The LapDock 100 is the smaller version, and it isn't exactly the most well designed or the greatest piece of eye candy. If customers want a larger version, the LapDock 500 is also available. The beauty in these LapDocks is that they are universal for Motorola smartphones, except the original Atrix. Meaning users who eventually upgrade on from the Atrix 2 can still keep and use their LapDock with a new Motorola smartphone, a great move by Motorola.

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    Features

    Rating Average

    The beauty in the Atrix 2 is its feature set, much like the original. Upgrading from the original, Motorola Atrix 2 Features the Atrix 2 comes with an 8 megapixel camera, capable of recording up to 1080p HD. Pictures and videos alike come out sharp, colorful and bright with great contrast. The front facing camera isn't the greatest, but it does its job for video chatting, though it would have been better if it were at least a 1.3 megapixel camera. Otherwise both cameras on the Atrix 2 do their job well.

    The LapDock is also a great addition to the Atrix 2. While it won't compete against actual laptops, it's a great addition to carry around while traveling, as it's fairly light and it boots up quickly. Other accessories are also available such as the HD Station, which allows the Atrix 2 to become a portable media center that can easily hook up to HDTVs. There's also the navigation dock accessory that allows the smartphone to become a car navigation system quickly, though it's not entirely new. The beauty in all these accessories is the fact that Motorola is pushing to have them standarized across their line-up, so that the next Motorola upgrade doesn't require an update to accessories.

    The last feature that most people won't notice is the enhanced 4G capabilities of the smartphone. Like T-Mobile, AT&T is upgrading their HSPA+ network to allow for more speed. The Atrix 2 is capable of utilizing the newly tuned 21+ mbps available on the upgraded HSPA+ network. While it's not exactly comparable to 4G LTE speeds, it's still decent, though location is always a huge factor.

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    The Overall Verdict

    Rating Average

    Overall the Atrix 2 ranks in as a 'Good' smartphone and is a decent successor to the original. It's interesting to note that the Atrix 2 doesn't seem to be catering exclusively for the high end market, but rather the mid to high market, which is an interesting change of pace. There is always a chance that it will get lost in the shuffle, but the Atrix 2 is definitely a decent smartphone to pick up if given the chance.