Currently, 4G cell phones are very popular, and the Motorola Atrix offered in the US by AT&T is a 4G phone with plenty of special features. With a 1 GHz Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel camera, a fingerprint reader, and the availability of a docking station that can turn the phone into a laptop or a desktop computer, the Atrix seemed quite impressive. When we saw Motorola advertise it as the “World’s Most Powerful Smartphone,” we were anxious to take a look.

The Atrix comes in a colorful box, shown in Figure 1.

Motorola Atrix Cell Phone ReviewFigure 1: The Atrix box

The contents of the box are shown in Figure 2. They include the Atrix, a Micro USB charging cable, a non-foldable plug that accepts the USB cable, and several small pamphlets including a Quick Start guide, a Staying Connected guide, and several safety and legal informational brochures.

Motorola Atrix Cell Phone ReviewFigure 2: The contents of the box

As you can see in Figure 2, the Motorola Atrix is a standard looking candy bar phone. The phone measures 2.5 x 4.6 x 0.4 inches (63.5 x 117.75 x 10.95 mm) and weighs 4.8 ounces (135 grams), which is similar to most other phones of this size and shape. It sports a 4-inch screen, which is in the middle of the currently popular screen sizes. This screen is slightly larger than some and slightly smaller than others.

The Atrix has a 24-bit color qHD touch screen covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass. A qHD has a display resolution of 960 × 540 pixels arranged in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The name is from the fact that this resolution is one quarter of an ATSC full HD 1080p frame. Although this is not a standard Android resolution, we found that it worked well for the phone as well as for all of the apps that we tried. The screen is crisp and clear but a bit faded in bright sunlight.

The remainder of the phone is covered in smooth black plastic. The only design detail is a diagonal pattern that runs across the back, as shown in Figure 3.

Motorola Atrix Cell Phone ReviewFigure 3: The back of the Atrix

On the back of the Atrix you can also see the 8-megapixel camera and the LED flash. At the top is a power/sleep button. This is an unusual shape because it has a fingerprint reader incorporated into it. The fingerprint reader works very well most of the time, but the occasional time that it will ask you to rescan your finger always seems to be when you are in a hurry to access the phone. Corporate users may be willing to put up with this, but the average user might not. Fortunately, if you do not setup the fingerprint reader, the phone works in the regular manner, unlocking when you slide your finger across the unlock screen.

In Figure 3 you can also see the speaker on the bottom of the phone. It delivered very good quality audio for music, as well as clarity for speakerphone calls.

The Atrix is solid and sturdy. It fits well in a hand or pocket. It comes with 16 GB of on-board memory, and you can add up to 32 GB more on a removable micro SD card. Removing the back cover of the Atrix shows the SIM card, memory card slot, and the battery, as shown in Figure 4.

Motorola Atrix Cell Phone ReviewFigure 4: The back with cover removed

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.