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7 Observations about the Atrix 4G, Android and Laptop Dock

Tuesday 26 April 2011 - Filed under Default

Motorola’s dual-core 1GHz Android-based phone, the Atrix, is notable because it’s the world’s first dual-core phone. Add to that the option to connect it to an optional laptop dock and the product is pleasantly unique. After more than 4 weeks of use, here are my impressions:

1. The phone is fast. This comes as no surprise since it’s dual-core and has a gig of RAM but so far it beats the pants off any other phone I’ve had. If I have any problems with the phone, it’s not me waiting for it to process something. Searching emails and contacts happens quickly but my biggest test was playing HD video on it while on the phone. Nary a glitch. For comparison, I didn’t have many problems with my last iPhone but my more recent Blackberry Curve 8900 frequently stalled while loading text messages and the browsing experience was truly discouraging.

2. The fingerprint reader is going to be a must have for me on any future phone. With the Atrix (and yes I refuse to call it Atrix, dropping the definite article…after all this is a thing, not a person) I happily set a strong pin knowing that I can quickly swipe my finger past the sensor to unlock it. This even works when the phone is docked.

3. The laptop dock was worth the purchase to quickly be able to hammer out a well-formatted email from time to time. I’ve played music, monitored my location via gps, and surfed the Internet all at the same time with only the most infrequent of audio glitches. For what the dock has hardware-wise, it could be cheaper however Motorola is offering a standout option here so some premium is to be expected. I like that it charges the phone while in the dock and I’ve had a blast being able to really multi-task with the laptop dock.

4. Android has tons of apps available and if you like freedom in your mobile software, Android is the only way to go. Since I do prefer to stick to free software apps if I can, F-Droid has been very helpful even if I just use it to select what I will later download via the Market.

5. Android’s browser is fast and fun to use. Besides loading pages well, the Android browser does a great job of resizing colums of text to eliminate the need for horizontal scrolling.

6. The keyboard could use some work. It often fails to correct common words I type and I’ve gotten into several capitalization battles with it. From what I can tell there’s no logic within it to know which keys are next to which. This sort of programming would really help it fix my typing errors. I’ve found in some cases just counting on it to fix as I go worked but it could definitely be better.

7. Cubed is a fantastic music player. I’m not going to review lots of apps but this one really enhances the experience not just as a phone but as a device for life. Two things are notable about the player…1) It downloads cover art for random MP3s and albums really well, automatically searching Flickr and other sources and 2) as you flip through your cover art, an experience lost since I physically handled CDs in jewel cases, it’s very easy to queue up album after album to create a great listening session.

There is much more to say of course but much of that would be about apps and not specific to the Atrix. Thanks for reading and if you have a tip for a better, hopefully free-software-licensed keyboard, I’d love to hear it.

2011-04-26  »  David Sterry


  1. Kelvin Lau
    7 July 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    hi David,

    I just got the Atrix, and its browser isn’t resizing columns of text… is there a setting i have to toggle somewhere (i didn’t see it in browser settings)?