In-Depth Review: Motorola Atrix 2

The Atrix 2 isn’t the best looking phone on the planet but it is really slick and nice. It’s also not as thin as you might expect it to be, in fact it weights a whole 147 grams. If you’re looking for a thin and really sharp looking phone I’d suggest going with the Galaxy S III, otherwise the Atrix 2 is the way to go. The weight and thinness might be an issue for you, but the quality of materials used in the creation of this phone are fantastic. A lot of phones such as the Galaxy S II feel like cheap plastic, but the Atrix 2 really outdoes itself in this area. The dark chromed border in the front and the hard plastic that has a slight rubbery feel really makes the device feel sturdy and allows a decent grip. I’ve only dropped this phone twice before and both times it fell on a hard floor. There are barely any signs of use on it even after I dropped it.


The layout of the phone is pretty standard when it comes to smartphones. You have the volume buttons on the right side of the phone with a camera shutter release/access button towards the bottom of the phone under the volume buttons. There’s also a micro USB and HDMI port at the bottom of the left hand side. You’ll also be seeing a 3.5mm headphone jack and the power/sleep button are placed at the top to the left of the headphone jack. The Motorola Atrix 2 often comes with 8GB of internal storage and will support up to 32GB more through the micro SD Card slot (you can swap SD Card’s really fast under the back cover. The phone also features a large 4/3-inch TFT touchscreen display that boasts of a 540 x 960 pixel resolution with the Corning Gorilla Glass.

The display is very visible even in bright daylight conditions. I was very surprised to see how little of a glare there was in the daylight. Obviously there will always be glare in the phone but on the Atrix 2 it is very minimal. You’ll notice that the colors aren’t as vibrant as the Galaxy S III or even the later version of the Atrix 2, the Atrix HD. It’s still very good with the sharp pixels and really, there’s nothing to complain about at all. I found all the buttons and the layout to be very comfortable and wasn’t awkward one bit.

On the back of the phone you’ll notice the 8 mega pixel camera with flash along with the 1080p HD video area. It’s not a button you access but I figured it was worth mentioning. The video is very high quality and is something I’ve actually never seen on a phone before (a phone that I own, at least). You can access both the front facing camera (near the speaker at the top of the phone) and rear facing camera from the camera button on the bottom of the right side of the phone.

Performance and Various Features:

The Motorola Atrix 2 is currently running Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. There has been word that Android 4.x Ice Cream Sandwich will be coming to the Motorola Atrix 2 in the coming months. It could also come very soon as Motorola’s famous “soak test” is about to begin pretty soon. Since Google has also taken over Motorola the Atrix 2 should also be getting Jelly Bean. It’s definite that the hardware packed in this device can handle it. The Atrix 2 features a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core processor with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU for added support. With both of these features the Atrix 2 runs smooth as butter. From the UI functionality, live wallpapers, browsing and media playback, I have not found even a hint of lag or frame rate dropping whatsoever.

The Atrix 2 comes stocked with the MOTOBLUR widgets which do not compliment the Atrix 2 the way they should. Instead, I downloaded a few widgets off of the Google Play Store that complimented the Atrix 2’s design more. What I did love about the Atrix 2 is the Battery and Data management feature that came stocked with the device. This lets you preserve power and data. It’s definitely not as advanced as some other phones such as the Galaxy S II’s and S III’s Battery and Data Management features but is often very useful. As you would experience with most phones, the device comes with voice functionality that can be used to read emails or messages and also calls out the number or name that shows up when you get a call. It’s not an advanced feature like Siri but if you’re looking for something like that, downloading the free app, Vlingo will get you close to that point.

You’ll also notice that Swype is included in the device. Compared to my last phone, I feel like it wasn’t really an improvement but was actually worse. I also didn’t like the stocked keyboard it came with so I downloaded the SwiftKey 3 app and everything works fantastically. I should also mention that the stocked keyboard also does not really fit the Atrix 2’s design so you may want to look for something a bit darker or at least with a blue color. Motorola also included their CrystalTalk feature that lets you choose from presets to enable better quality of audio for calls. It’s extremely useful and works wonderfully. You may not think it actually does what it says, but I noticed a huge improvement upon changing the settings around with it.

When it comes to overall functionality, the Atrix 2 works fantastically. The voice is often crystal clear unless the person on the other end has terrible voice quality. When it comes to opening apps and media playback it’s near instantaneous and if it isn’t, resetting your device should fix that. As to performance, I’d say it’s a bit short of the Galaxy S II. The only thing there is, the Galaxy S II feels like you could snap it like a twig while the Atrix 2 feels pretty sturdy and very durable.

Media Playback:

As said before the Atrix 2 comes with support for some popular video codecs such as 1080p MP4, H.263 and H.264, WMV, Xvid and DivX. The native media player is capable of providing some nice very nice visuals and standard audio quality (I’d suggest throwing some headphones in the jack). You’ll be able to easily watch downloaded movies on your phone but you won’t be able to have a folder view option the media player. This is an issue for some if you’ve put your movie in a special folder. It’s a bit of an inconvenience but you could also download ASTRO File Manager and play the movies/videos from there. Also, Motorola does not provide any direct access to the audio settings from the native media player itself. You’ll have to go through the devices settings menu. Sound Settings > Media Audio Effects to make any changes. Currently, the available media options include Surround effects, EQ presets and a profile option to set it to 3D, Live or Home Theatre.

It’s kind of odd that they didn’t add any direct support to the player. Media Players off of the Google Play Store do a whole lot of a better job when it comes to the Media Playback. You’ll still get to experience the 1080p HD video playback; it’ll just be through a different player like Rockplayer or even the MX Player.

When it comes to music, I usually use the Google Play Music instead of the built-in music app that comes with radio and all that. The built-in music player is a piece of junk and is not even worth your time. If you throw some songs onto your device and play them through Google Play you’ll notice a significant difference in the sound quality. This is mainly because Motorola did not spend as much time developing the built-in music software as they did with the amazing specs of this phone. It really isn’t something to complain about after saying how smoothly this device runs as it seems like such a minor feature of the device.

Application Performance:

A lot of people like to play games and some heavy duty applications on their device(s) so I felt that this blurb was pretty necessary. As most people will tell you, the 1GHz processor is a Tegra 2 which opens up a whole lot more for you on the App Store. A lot of devices are not optimized for anything other than Tegra powered devices while a lot of apps are for all types of devices. That means you’ll be getting the apps exclusive for Tegra powered devices and thus you’ll see a whole lot more apps in the App Store along with the standard apps you would of gotten whether you had a Tegra device or not. For some reason I noticed that even some games that say is Tegra optimized won’t work on the Atrix 2 for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s a bug in the system or what.

Not only that, but some applications have separate applications that are for Tegra devices. What’s the point in that, you may ask? Well, as you probably understood, Tegra devices tend to run a lot faster and a lot smoother than your regular processor when it comes to mobile devices. Therefore, say a game like Amazing Alex plays pretty good on your regular every day processor. Think of the Tegra version of that increasing its performance by 10x and ultimately even improving the awesomeness of the graphics.

Even if the app isn’t optimized for Tegra devices exclusively and will still run on your device you’ll still notice an overall improvement when it comes to performance and quality of the application. The Tegra 2 is still a processor like any other, it just has a whole lot more capabilities than anything else you might experience.

Obviously the new Tegra 3 processor that has come out is a huge improvement upon the Tegra 2, unfortunately Atrix 2 devices are not shipping with that. The successor to the Atrix 2 does not even have a Tegra processor anymore, instead it boasts of a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragron processor. So if you’re looking for Tegra powered games for your phone, you won’t be finding many on either device. The Atrix 2 is still very fast and runs applications and High Definition games very smoothly. Sometimes the Atrix 2 will get pretty dang hot, but that’s usually because you’re really working that Tegra 2 processor. If you own a tablet with a Tegra 3 processor you won’t be experiencing that heat at all due to how high powered that actually is.


I really like this phone. It runs very smoothly and was definitely a nice improvement upon the original Atrix phone. I can tell you that it’s nothing compared to the top of the line phones that are out right now. The Galaxy S III and even the Galaxy S II blows it out of the water.  If you’re looking for a moderate experience phone for cheap, you’ll be able to get this for $100 on contract with AT&T. I’m sure Verizon and some other companies offer close to the same thing at least.

The only trouble I have experienced with the phone is the network dropping at random times. A restart usually fixes this after the phone hasn’t had a reboot in 3 – 4 days. Besides that, everything runs smoothly and often impresses me as to what it can do. I’m sure the Galaxy S III is a lot better, but again, if you’re looking for a standard and moderate experience with some cool aesthetics, the Atrix 2 is probably the best phone for you. I would also suggest that you at least give the successor a try, the Atrix HD as it boasts the same price with some huge improvements when it comes to hardware. If you don’t like it though, I’d highly suggest taking a look at the Atrix 2.


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