At the conclusion of the Motorola Atrix review, we had a few questions unanswered, and a few things we wanted to look at further before summing up.
After a few days of real life usage, I can honestly say (hand on heart) that the battery life in this phone is amazingly good, compared to the competition out there.
It passes my ‘ordinary day test’, that is, it can stand up to the following use before running flat:
- Off charger at 6am.
- Hour of streaming audio, some web browsing, and Twitter usage on the way to work.
- Receiving SMS and email notifications during the day.
- A couple of phone calls.
- A few rounds of words with friends
- An hour of tethering usage on the way home, some days with music too.
- Keeping up with Twitter at night.
After all this, the Atrix didn’t die. This might not sound amazing, given some phones will happily last a day or two, but consider this: those phones that last a day or two don’t run Android, and usually aren’t smart phones. Android has a pretty ordinary reputation for battery life – the Nexus One struggles to make a day with moderate usage, unless you tweak the living daylights out of it, the Desire HD struggled to last a couple of hours with the ‘real life’ usage test, and most other phones are somewhere in between. My iPhone 4 can last a few days – if you don’t touch it – but if you actually use the phone, you’ll be looking for a charger come 6pm.
The Atrix does well here. It’s not exceptional, but it can last a full business day before you need to find juice. Obviously, different options and usage patterns will affect battery life, but we found the included battery usage settings screen (where you can adjust power-saving settings) worked really well.
Something I hadn’t noticed in my initial reviewing relates to audio quality, but not for me on the Atrix end, but rather the user on the other end (aka the B-party). I have been told on a few occasions that my voice sounds quiet when using the Atrix, compared to a landline or the iPhone 4 (used for comparison) – this is when speaking at a normal volume – not quietly and not shouting. Speaking at a slightly louder level than usual took care of this issue, but it made speaking in an otherwise quiet environment – such as an office – a little unpleasant as it was of such a volume that others could more easily hear a private conversation.
Something to be mindful of if you plan on speaking in environments where you can’t speak loudly.
Another note during telephone calls – if you use any apps which can trigger notification sounds, such as receiving a message or an email, be mindful that the other party may hear these notification sounds as well. I received a text message while on the phone to a friend and it was loud enough that she complained about it.
The Atrix has struck me as a pretty decent attempt by Motorola. It runs a recent version of Android, Motorola’s modifications to the Android UI are not nearly as barbaric as those usually performed by HTC, and in many aspects, the phone just works. Ordinary usage has revealed no fatal flaws.. only a couple of minor annoyances which are experienced by users of phones of any type.
Would I recommend the Atrix as your next purchase? Probably – but only on one proviso – if you’re an Android enthusiast and you really enjoy customising your phone to the nth degree, then this is not the phone for you. It’s just too fiddly to customise and the ease at which you can brick your phone is alarming.
For everyone else, it’s a fabulous little number, and if you’re planning on using it with a Telstra SIM, you’ll enjoy great coverage – this thing performs well in areas that other phones (including the iPhone 4) just plain and simple drop out.
The review wouldn’t be complete without tipping my hat to Alistair and the team at MobiCity. The Atrix is a phone that’s unlikely to make it to Australia soon, and these guys have brought it here with overnight shipping at a reasonable cost, considering the effort they go to to bring us these phones.
Especially for folk looking for a variety of Androids to use with Telstra (as Telstra isn’t known for releasing many phones of any kind, much less Androids), importers like MobiCity make this possible. Thanks guys, and thanks for supplying the Atrix for us to review.
You can get your very own Motorola Atrix here for $899, and it will usually be delivered overnight by courier. That’s service.