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printed September 2, 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  

Screen

The Atrix's display measures 4.5 inches and is packed with 1280 x 720 pixels -- hence the "HD" moniker attached to the device's name. There's no doubt in my mind that it is the best display to date to grace a Motorola phone. The combination of pixel density and size mean that it's nearly impossible to pick out individual pixels. Thanks to what Motorola calls "ColorBoost" technology, the display is amazingly bright and colors are rich and vibrant. It looks fantastic inside, though suffers from some glare outside. Ramping up the brightness all the way makes the display easy to see under the sun, though. Lastly, the viewing angles are dramatically improved over what we saw on the RAZR and RAZR MAXX, which turned blue and dim when viewed from an angle.

Signal

The Atrix consistently outperformed other AT&T devices when it came to signal strength. It had no trouble connecting to AT&T's 3G and 4G networks in and around the metro NYC region. It never missed any calls, nor did it drop any, even in weak coverage areas. Data throughput varied by connection type (3G versus 4G), but was excellent all the time. The Atrix consistently hit 5Mbps downloads when surfing HSPA+ and often score higher than 15Mbps when it found AT&T's LTE network.

Sound

I found the Atrix to be very good voice phone. Quality was mostly excellent, but I noticed a few issues (static/noise) here and there. The Atrix has three mics in order to help eliminate background noise, and I'll be darned if it doesn't work exactly as Motorola advertises. I was able to conduct a phone call while standing amongst several thousand raucous attendees of a concert and I heard every word of the phone call. It helps that the earpiece is especially loud when set all the way up. I would say most of the time the volume can be set at about 50 or 60%. Only push it all the way up when necessary. The speakerphone offers quality calls, too, but its maximum volume setting wasn't enough for me. You shouldn't miss phone calls because you can't hear the Atrix's ringer -- as long as you pick the right ringtone. Some of the included ringtones aren't as loud as the others. The best ones, though, will cause birds to drop from the sky it's so loud. The vibrate alert is good, but not great.

Battery

The Atrix HD's battery life was mixed. When under 3G-only coverage, it easily lasted an entire working day (7AM - 11PM). The device's lifespan was cut short when taken into areas covered by AT&T's still-growing LTE network. I saw the device last 7 hours (7AM - 2PM) and 9 hours (7AM - 4PM) on days when it was using mostly 4G. That's not good enough for most people. Mixing it up between 3G and 4G, the Atrix lasted about 12 hours. Worse, there's no way to turn off the 4G radio; it's always on. Bottom line, you really need to pay attention to the Atrix HD's battery life and develop a method that helps you get the most out of it.

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