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Atrix: A smartphone that aspires

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Rickaren, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Atrix: A smartphone that aspires to be more than that

    By Troy Wolverton

    : 03/14/2011


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    Shown is the new Motorola Atrix smart phone being plugged into its laptop-like...



    The new Motorola Atrix is a smartphone that aspires to be much more than that.
    The Atrix can be thought of as one of the first examples of a post-PC computer, offering many of the same advantages of a PC in a much smaller, more portable and more adaptable form.

    When the Atrix is plugged into an optional dock that resembles a notebook computer, it can be used much like a laptop. Another dock can be connected to a computer monitor and keyboard to allow the Atrix to act like a desktop PC or can be connected to an HD television, allowing the device to act as a kind of digital set-top box. The accessories allow users to write e-mail, surf Web pages or even watch movies as they would on a standard computer.

    To be sure, the Atrix is more than just a wannabe PC. It's also a fully capable smartphone based on Google's Android operating system. It's superfast at playing games and running typical phone apps, thanks to its dual-core processor, one of the first in a device this small. It has a high-resolution 4-inch screen, and includes a new, refined version of Motoblur, Motorola's software that links together contact information and status updates drawn from users' social networking and other online accounts.

    But it's the Atrix's ability to mimic and potentially replace other tech gadgets that makes it so intriguing.

    I'm writing this review at my desk. For part of the time, I've used the monitor and keyboard I use with my office-issued Windows PC. But I've also been using something that looks and feels very much like a notebook computer. In both cases, the actual "computer" I've been using has been the Atrix.

    The notebook accessory for the Atrix, dubbed the laptop dock, has a full keyboard, a trackpad, an 11.5-inch LCD screen and its own battery that Motorola says will last for up to eight hours of use even while recharging the battery that's in the phone itself. The Atrix plugs into the accessory through a dock that's hidden behind the accessory's screen.


    When you plug in the phone, the screen on the laptop dock lights up and you get an interface called "webtop" that offers a computer desktop and taskbar. From the webtop taskbar, you can launch the Firefox Web browser or, through a virtual image of the Atrix's screen, any application you have installed on the device.


    The other accessory -- the HD Multimedia dock -- is more versatile. If you attach it to a computer monitor via a digital video cable, you can use the Atrix as a kind of desktop computer. The dock has two USB ports into which you can plug a wired keyboard or mouse or an external hard or flash drive. You can also connect the Atrix to a wireless keyboard or mouse using Bluetooth.


    Alternatively, you can plug the HD dock into your TV using an HDMI cable and use the Atrix as a media player. A built-in application called entertainment center allows users to quickly access and view on their television the pictures, songs and movies stored on the device. The HD dock includes a remote control that allows users to do all this from the comfort of their couch.

    Unfortunately, the Atrix's versatility comes at a high price and doesn't work very well in practice.

    The laptop dock alone is $300 -- not including the price of the phone or your wireless service plan -- which is about what you'd pay for a low-end notebook computer with an actual brain in it. The HD dock, with a bundled keyboard, mouse and remote control, goes for $190, or about twice what you'd pay for a Roku media player or Apple TV, both of which are able to do much more as digital living room devices.


    Those prices might be worth paying if you could get years of use out of the docks and plug into them not only the Atrix but other smartphones. But right now, the docks are compatible only with the Atrix. Motorola won't say whether it plans to make devices in the future that will work with them. Even if the company does, it's a good bet that the docks will work only with Motorola gadgets, which means you'll have limited choices for compatible devices in the future.


    That limitation aside, the laptop dock in particular was disappointing. Although it's wider and deeper than a typical netbook, its keys felt similarly cramped, leading to many typing errors. Meanwhile, I had to be wary of resting my palms on its touchpad -- an easy thing to do -- for fear of moving the cursor to a different part of a document and inserting or deleting words in the wrong place.


    The webtop software was also underwhelming. It fails to translate the phone's native apps into a PC-like experience. To run a phone app, you have to call up the virtual phone and launch it there. The experience makes you feel as if you are viewing those apps through a literal window.


    The only native webtop application is Firefox, and Motorola has no plans to open up the interface for other programs. You can run cloud-based programs through the Web browser or a built-in Citrix client, but you may not want to. Because as speedy as the Atrix's processor is for running phone apps, it labored noticeably while running webtop.
    Even when just composing this review in Google docs, I noticed a considerable lag.


    While trying to highlight a word or line to delete or change, I'd often wait several beats before the Atrix would respond. Often times, I ended up highlighting or deleting far more than I wanted without knowing it. I ran into similar sluggishness while just surfing Web pages in Firefox.



    I actually like the Atrix a lot as a smartphone. But as the first of what will likely be many attempts at an all-in-one gadget, it comes up short.


     
  2. lucas710

    lucas710 New Member

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    Great post :) Thanks for the heads up :) I think I will wait to see what HTC has up its sleeve, I have the Evo 4G and had no problems with it, so HTC looks like it will be my next smartphone.

    Have you try'ed the Xoom tablet yet?
     
  3. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Thanks for your kind message! Well sorry to say I had not heard of the Xoom table but did find this New UK Review that you may have already seen but could be of benefit to others here. Enjoy

    NOTE: Only posted first page of review so click on SOURCE below to see complete article.



    Tablets Review

    Motorola Xoom review

    The first Android 3.0 tablet arrives to challenge the iPad 2

    Our Score 4
    Last reviewed: 2011- March 3rd


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    The Motorola Xoom is the first Android 3.0 tablet to hit the market

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    The Motorola Xoom is the first Android 3.0 tablet to hit the market. That makes it the first Android tablet to ship with an OS that's designed especially for big screens, and that's why it's so exciting.


    Every tech must be judged solely on what it provides, its purpose in life, and whether it will help you accomplish tasks and enjoy your media.


    With the Motorola Xoom, it's too easy to make constant iPad (and iPad 2) comparisons. Can you purchase movies as easily? Does the screen get as grimy? Does it cost more?

    Yet, the Xoom is the first Android 3.0 tablet, the first really powerful tablet with a dual-core processor, and a sleek, 10.1-inch slate that is easy on the eyes.
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    There's no question the Xoom is a brilliant tablet, one that is incredibly flexible in terms of media you can put on the device.

    With a 5-megapixel front camera and a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera, 32GB of local storage (plus a potential for more SD storage after the next software update, 1GB of RAM, 4G support once the LTE roll-out starts and after a software upgrade, and 10-hours of battery life, the Xoom has the hardware specifications to make you sit up and take notice.

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    Plus, the new Android 3.0 tablet interface lives and breathes in the open source world.

    Frankly, the Motorola Xoom blows the Samsung Galaxy Tab out of the water, and that is saying something. We'll keep our iPad comparisons to a minimum (hey, if you wanted one of those you would have bought one by now, right?) and ratchet down our comparisons to the iPad 2 which ships in the UK on 25 March.

    The Xoom is the best Android tablet around and a device that is well worth serious consideration.

    However, before we go any further, we need to address pricing - the Motorola Xoom is currently available for pre-order for £499. The 3G version is set to cost £100 more at £599.

    The next-best Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, costs £399.00 without a contract, which is quite a bit lower than the Xoom. And, the Apple iPad 2 will start at £429.00 for the Wi-Fi-only version, so the Xoom is expensive.

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    Yet, our overall impression testing the device is that it is a notable upgrade from every other Android model, including the Dell Streak series. The heart and soul of this tablet is the new Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS, which ran lightning fast in our tests on the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor.

    And we mean fast: finger swipes registered quickly and accurately, and the few games available ran smoothly.

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    Android 3.0 is a brilliant interface for tablets – much more flexible than iOS in that you can drop widgets all over your homescreens, and more responsive and even better suited for reading books and playing games.

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    The Xoom even touts this fact in the Google Books app: there's a cool page flipping animation.

    The Xoom has a decidedly PC-like UI in that you can press a button to see all open apps (unfortunately, you can't selectively close them from here but you can close apps through a memory manager under the settings screen), click the clock to see notifications and access settings, and move objects around the screen easier.
    Our colleagues at T3.com grabbed some Motorola Xoom video footage which you can watch below.









    SOURCE: Motorola Xoom review from TechRadar UK's expert reviews of Tablets
     
  4. sprank1

    sprank1 New Member

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    I have the Motorola Atrix and love it. The phone is very fast and and has a good amount of memory. There are some bad reviews going around about it and the "4G" AT&T network, but those issues should be worked out.

    I don't have the laptop dock for it yet - I'm waiting for the price to go down, but I have played with it in the store. It's definitely a neat accessory and a great idea, but also definitely not a replacement for a real laptop yet. I do think that the Atrix is just the first phone to have accessories like this and between the upcoming speed increases, the dual core processors, and the internal memory, the Atrix is a great phone and I'm very happy with it.
     

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