23 Days with the Motorola Atrix 4G
Monday, May 9, 2011 6 Comments
I’ve had an iPhone 3G for the past 21 months. The last 12 of those months have been irritating, annoying, frustrating and inconvenient thanks to Apple and the iOS4. I thought “Oh cool, an update to iOS4 for my phone…it should make improvements!” Wrong! It slowed my phone down so much that, at times, it was almost unusable. It shouldn’t take three minutes to type out “Hey man where are you?”. After a few updates with minimal improvements, I went to my local Apple store to see what I could do about it:
“Hey my phone is messed up because of your update, how do I go back to iOS3?”
“Sorry sir, you can’t revert back to iOS3 once iOS4 is installed”
“So you can’t fix it? I can barely use this thing”
“Well you can replace it for $200, but at that point you might as well get the iPhone 4”
“Or I can get an Android…”
Although I do like the iPhone, I vowed never to get another one because the same thing will happen to the iPhone 4 once iPhone 5 comes out, then to the 5 once the 6 comes out and so on. So I began my quest for an Android. I had worked a handful of months at T-Mobile, so I had a chance to play with several Android devices both 3g and 4g (or HSPA+ if you want to get specific) so I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted.
After a couple of months looking at phones on different carriers, I finally landed on the Motorola Atrix 4g. It was slim, had a bright 4” screen, dual core processors, you can get that crazy laptop dock as a peripheral, blah blah blah…basically all the bullshit the commercials will tell you. After playing with it in the store for a while and mulling it over for a day or two, I decided to get it. Rich with excitement, I went in and got it mid-march, soon after it came out, and the sales associate was stoked for the easy upgrade. Finally, I could retire my iPhone, or so I thought. The first couple of days were great; the honeymoon phase as you could call it. The very first thing I did with the phone once I got home was upload my own text tone (seriously Apple, why won’t you let people put their own text tones on the iPhone?)
After about a week of use, the bliss of having a new phone died down, and the first problem I noticed was when I called people, more often than not, they said “Dude, fuckin’ enunciate your words, your mumbling”.
“Well that’s weird, nobody has ever told me to fuckin’ enunciate before, I don’t mumble.” So, I shrugged it off, thinking it was me. I did have a cold at the time.
The next issue I started noticing was the phone would reboot itself randomly. Usually, I would be pulling it out of my pocket or bag and it would be resetting, so I figured, its a new phone, I wasn’t completely used to it yet, and I probably accidentally hit a button or held something down for it to do this. That was until in the middle of a text, in my hands, it shut off, and restarted. Then, after it was back on, in the middle of the same exact text, it did it again. That was the last straw. Once it rebooted, I immediately looked up some common issues with the phone, thinking my unit had to be defective. Wrong again, Sean! Those issues were common, with Motorola even recognizing the voice quality issues. So, 23 days after the initial purchase, my Motorola Atrix 4G went back in the box, and back to the store. Maybe that’s what I get for buying a phone so close after launch.
I had one more problem, not with the phone itself, but with the peripherals and how much of a rip-off they are. The laptop dock, basically a keyboard and screen without an internal CPU, although functionality-wise works well, is completely useless without the phone, and costs $300. You can buy a simple netbook for less than $300, not to mention using internet with the laptop dock is virtually the same as tethering a normal laptop with the phone and requires an extra $15 a month on your phone bill. Then a $100 Media dock to plug your phone into HD monitors and screens. First of all, I’ve never had anyone say, “Dude, check out this video” and then pull a chord out of their pocket and plug it into a TV or computer screen. A person with a smart phone watches video on their phone. If you’re going to watch something on a larger screen, people will use cable TV, a DVD player, Netflix, On Demand, a good ol’ fashioned PC…the list goes on. So, if you get the phone, don’t even bother with the peripherals. Save your money for whiskey, beer, and the latest hot video game instead.
Aside from those major issues, it was a great phone to have for 23 days. Although the web browser was strangely Firefox, not a version of Chrome (being that it’s on Android), it was fast; even when loading full web pages with flash it was a champ. Security for the phone was incredible with its surprisingly accurate fingerprint scanner to unlock the screen, it stopped all my friends from unlocking my phone, playing my games, and stealing national secrets. The 5 mega-pixel camera took pictures quickly and in good focus. Even the front facing camera wasn’t bad.
While all in all, this phone won’t wow you with its uniqueness, it was a solid phone. It ran Android smoothly, it was powerful, and not too bulky. If the voice quality and rebooting issues are software based and can be fixed with a simple phone update, then bump this review up to a 4 out of 5, but until then my rating stands. They lost one other point because of the laptop dock. It has been one of the phone’s main selling points, but I feel it would be more worth it to put $300 in one dollar bills through a paper shredder.