The Motorola Atrix HD brings more than just hints of the RAZR aesthetic to AT&T. The 4G LTE device also flaunts some impressive specifications given a relatively modest price. As an added incentive, AT&T is including the $40 Motorola Car Dock.
The fabulous 4.5 inch screen packs 1280 x 720 pixels and has more generous viewing angles than the Galaxy S III. Its 326 pixels per inch exceeds the Galaxy S III and One X displays.
Available in Titanium or Modern white, the Motorola Atrix HD measures 8.4mm thick. The review unit provided was in white which has an attractive pearl sheen. The amount of trim, white or titanium, is minimal. A wide swath of Kevlar drapes the rear of the device. It's sort of a Lara Croft in pearls. Motorola says this along with Gorilla Glass and a transparent nano-coating on the outer shell and inside on the circuit boards for splash resistance makes the Atrix HD more rugged. The soft texture of the Kevlar gives the Atrix HD a more premium feel than the pricier Galaxy S III. The build quality appears to be quite good.
You'll find the microSD slot along the left side -something the HTC One X lacks. You can add up to 32GB of stoarge to supplement the 8GB built-in. Low profile sleep/wake & volume buttons grace the right edge. I found its sleep/wake better placed for one handed operation than on the HTC One X. The micro USB, micro HDMI ports, and audio jack are on top.
Though slightly more compact than HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III, not many outside the NBA will have large enough paws to operate the Atrix HD with one hand. But then if you're looking for a large screen this isn't likley to deter you. That would be like complaining you're too full after eating a one pound burger.
It does not have a non-removable battery like the Samsung has, but that won't be an issue for most.
The Atrix HD outperforms its price in its smartphone duties. The 8MP camera captures photos and 1080p video with competence, but is lacking an edge refinement from more expensive hardware. The panoramic mode is simple to use. There is a rapid frame burst mode, but its initial "shutter" lag is longer than the single frame mode. Though it may not top many side-by-side comparisons, its image capturing shouldn't disappoint.
Motorola has skinned a UI on top of Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0.4. The software differences between Motorola, HTC, and Samsung really are best explored hands on in a store, but Motorola has provided some genuinely useful tweaks without tainting Ice Cream Sandwich. The lock screen for example has a ring of four icons (unlock, phone, text, and camera for instant access to each.
One of Motorola's big selling points is its Smart Actions functionality. These are a collection of automated actions launched by a variety of triggers including time, location, and other options. You can set Smart Actions to dim the screen and disable background data when the battery level gets low.
There is also a Smart Drive app with a simplified touchscreen interface for the car. It can be launched like any app, but mounting sliding it into the Motorola Car Dock will launch it automatically.
While AT&T includes the car mount, those looking for a simple way to stream movies and music to their entertainment system might give Motorola's HD Mulitmedia Dock a look. Priced at $49, it provides a relatively inexpensive and easy way to connect your TV to online services like Netflix. It does not include the required micro HDMI cable, but you can buy one locally for around $15 or less if you shop around online. Though most users would connect via Wi-Fi, Netflix worked just fine over AT&T's slower 4G HSPA+ network. The speedier LTE network is of course even better.
The gorgeous screen, rugged build, and Smart Actions make the Atrix HD a compelling choice for the money. The included car dock doesn't hurt either. Even though the HTC One X has been discounted to to match the Motorola's price, the Atrix HD might appeal to those who want expandability of mircoSD slot.
Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960
Display: 4.5 inches screen with 1,280 x 720 pixels and 326ppi
Storage: 8GB internal, microSDHC slot
Cameras: 8MP rear with LED flash & f/2.4 lens capable of 1080p (30fps) video
1.3MP front capable of 720p video
OS: Android 4.0.4 with a Motorola skin
Dimensions & weight: 5.26 x 2.75 x 0.33 inches and 4.94 oz