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printed December 18, 2014
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Review: Motorola Atrix 4G

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Dock  

Screen

The Atrix 4G uses a 4.0-inch LCD with 960 x 540 pixels. It looks gorgeous. Icons, graphics, and text look stunning, and the display is plenty bright for any sort of indoor viewing. Outside, things become more problematic. Direct sunlight almost completely obscures the display. Partly cloudy skies are less troublesome, but still make reading the display outside difficult. Still, the pixel density makes up this when you're using it indoors.

Signal

I experienced pretty good signal performance with the Artrix 4G. Both in Manhattan and around northern New Jersey, the Atrix 4G typically held onto three or four bars. I never saw it drop to one or fewer bars, and it also never dropped to AT&T's EDGE network. It stayed connected to AT&T's HSPA 3G network the entire time I used it. So far, it hasn't dropped any calls, and data speeds appear to be consistently zippy.

Sound

Call quality was solid during the calls that I made. I didn't hear any pops or hissing, and volume was consistent during calls, though it sounded just slightly muffled. Earpiece volume was very good. It was loud enough to hear callers in a very noisy and crowded mall. Speakerphone quality and volume were also good. I'd say using the Atrix 4G as a speakerphone in a small office would be just fine. Ringers and alert tones were loud enough, but just barely. Set to maximum, I wouldn't be surprised if you missed a call or two in noisy places because you couldn't hear the ringer.

Battery

Here's where we run into a significant problem. The 4-inch display and dual-core processor set-up appear to be eating into battery life a bit. I was unable to get the Atrix 4G to last from 8AM to 8PM. It typically died between the 10- and 11-hour mark. That's just not good enough (especially with Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi all off). Power users can't plan their days around where they can locate an outlet. It also lost an entire charge (from 90% to dead) between 11PM and 7AM -- when it wasn't used at all. This thing is going to have to be plugged in all the time, and I'd even recommend carrying a spare battery if possible.

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