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printed July 24, 2014
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Review: Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Atrix HD isn't quite as sexy as the RAZR. It's, shall we say, less sharp. Where the RAZR has hard angles and corners, the Atrix HD has rounded edges and a smoother overall design. However, the Kevlar back cover and camera bulge are unmistakably from Motorola. Perhaps more importantly than its relationship with the RAZRs family, however, the Atrix HD is far and away better than the original Atrix and Atrix 2. It's thinner, lighter, and faster.

The Atrix is a sizable device thanks to its 4.5-inch display. It's wide and tall, but fairly thin front-to-back if you ignore the camera hump. Motorola sent us the white version of the Atrix, which I find appealing thanks to the contrasting shades of the Kevlar, front panel and white materials.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The Atrix isn't billed as a rugged device, but it's solid as heck. The build quality is outstanding, and all seams fit snugly together. It generally has a pleasant feel in the hand, and is comfortable to hold for long periods of time. I didn't find it fatiguing to use for several hours straight. It's well balanced and not too heavy. It will surely fit in your pocket.

One thing I disliked about the RAZR was the large bezel surrounding the display. The Atrix fixes that. The bezel is much thinner, contributing to a better overall look to the front face of the phone. Like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Atrix HD completely forgoes menu and control buttons on the front of the device. Instead, when using the phone, the necessary controls appear at the very bottom of the display. Most of the time, those controls are the Back, Home, and Multitasking tools. They offer haptic feedback when pressed, though you can choose to turn that off.

Owners can access the SIM card and microSD card slots on the left side of the Atrix. Both are protected by the same hatch, which is positioned closer to the bottom of the edge. I don't like the hatch much. I found it to be a bit fussy, but it's one of those things with which most users will rarely interact.

Need to adjust the volume or lock the device? Those controls are located on the right edge of the phone. Motorola did a good job with these buttons. The lock button is located closest to the top. It has a chrome-y finish to it and is accented with ridges, which make it really easy to find. The travel and action are excellent. The volume toggle has the same chrome look, but loses the ridges. Don't fret; it's still easy to locate and use. The travel and action isn't quite as good as the power/lock button, but it's still decent.

All of the remaining ports are on the top edge. The microUSB and microHDMI ports are positioned closely together, which is a design choice made by Motorola on a wide number of its devices over the years. This design makes it easy to dock the Atrix with accessories. Notably, the Atrix HD won't work with Motorola's Lapdock accessory, but does work with multimedia and car docks. The 3.5mm headset jack is tossed up there, as well.

The Atrix's battery is sealed inside the design, and can't be accessed by the owner. That means you can't carry around a spare battery for emergencies, and you'll instead need to pay more attention to the Atrix's power resources.

In all, the Atrix is a decent piece of hardware. While it may not be as cutting edge (pun intended) as the RAZR line, it carves its own place on the retail shelves of AT&T stores.

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