The Motorola Atrix has generated a lot of interest since it was announced and demonstrated at CES 2011. On the face of it, the Atrix is a pretty standard dual-core Android 2.2 smartphone with the usual features you'd expect and a responsiveness that we've seen on all of the new dual-core handsets.
But it's actually a great deal more when combined with one of Motorola's docks. There are cradles for in-car use, home multimedia use designed to be connected to an HD television and, most significantly, Motorola's Lapdock. The Lapdock turns your phone into a linux-powered netbook with an 11.1in screen and an additional three-cell battery to power everything for up to eight hours.
Motorola has always put good screens on its Android phones and the quarter HD panel in the Atrix is no exception. There's a lot of detail on the 540x960 resolution display, which makes icons and text in the web browser look smooth and refined. It's also bright enough to use outside and, in our tests, the automatic brightness keeps the display readable but optimises battery life too.
The 4in screen has plenty of room and, unlike our Milestone, the display doesn't feel cramped and lacking in screen estate. We also found the touch screen very responsive, no doubt because of the processor upgrade, but we think this screen responds better to touch than the Milestone's.
Motorola has thoughtfully provided a 1900mAh battery pack with the Atrix. This is one of the largest we've seen in a smartphone, and from our use it seems to be a valuable asset in keeping the phone running for longer than its competitors. In six hours and 17 minutes we had discharged the phone to 50 per cent with light use and with the phone connected to 3G and scanning for Wi-Fi networks, but not connecting.
Put the phone on a Wi-Fi network, and the device should last longer when performing data-intensive activities over 3G. We noticed that during our six hours, the phone on idle used 30 per cent of the power, the display 16 per cent and mobile standby 12 per cent. Motorola's friend feed app that monitors your social networks is also battery intensive, accounting for 10 per cent of our power use, and if you can live without it, you'll really boost your phone's time between charges.
Motorola also includes a fairly clever mode that turns the phone's data synchronisation off overnight. This means that, if you're away from power, you can leave the phone on for calls, but not destroy your battery with data while you're asleep. You can define the off period, so irregular working hours are not a problem.