Motorola Atrix 4G

The phone that acts like a mini tablet.

Shawn Loefflerby Shawn Loeffler

Motorola Atrix 4G

Very little differentiates one touchscreen smartphone from another these days, which means manufacturers have to innovate, which is usually based on existing technology, and find a hook to get you to buy theirs over someone else’s. So when Motorola rolled out the Atrix 4G with its set of features at CES 2011, it caught the attention of industry folk like headlights catch a possum’s attention.

One such feature is the self-explanatory fingerprint reader; you can probably guess that it enhances the security of the phone. The other feature is a little less obvious. Realizing that more and more people are using their smartphones as their primary connection to social media and the Web in general, Motorola has included a little something called the Webtop app, which allows you to plug the Atrix 4G into a docking station that then gives you a laptop-like experience. The docking station has an 11.6-inch display, weighs 2.4 pounds, and has a battery life of eight hours. The Webtop app supports Adobe Flash Player and runs Mozilla Firefox 3.6.

One other selling feature on the Atrix 4G is the dual processors, which is trending in 2011.

As for the phone itself, the Atrix 4G has a relatively small screen at 4 inches, but it’s qHD (high definition), it has 960 x 540 pixels, an accelerometer, and a proximity sensor. If a smartphone comes out that’s not running at least Android 2.2, you should avoid it, but that’s not the case here. While the Atrix 4G will initially be powered by Froyo, you’ll be able to upgrade it to Gingerbread (Android 2.3) by the end of 2011.

The name of the Atrix 4G gives it away, but I’ll say it anyway, it has access to AT&T’s 4G network. AT&T is also supporting the optional Mobile Hotspot service, enabling users to connect up to five Wi-Fi devices.

Seemingly not wanting to be left behind by Apple, the Atrix 4G comes with a full HTML 5 browser, but upping the ante Motorola has also included Adobe Flash. Other basic features on the phone include: the Android WebKit browser, messaging and e-mail, Google’s range of apps, an organizer, an audio player, and assisted GPS.

There’s also a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash onboard, a forward-facing VGA camera for self-portraits, a 720p camcorder, and HD playback.

Undressing the Motorola Atrix 4G

The Atrix 4G uses Nvidia’s dual-core Tegra 2 chipsets and each processor runs at 1GHz. Motorola has also done a fine job of providing beaucoup memory with 16GB onboard (upgradeable to 32GB via microSD) and 1GB of RAM.

The included batter is a lofty 1,920mAh lithium ion job.

Wi-Fi 802.11n support comes in with 2.4GHz and 5GHz.