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Motorola Atrix Hands On

The customised Android interface will be largely familiar to any Android users and totally familiar to any current Motorola Android phone users.

You get Motorola's button layout with Call on the left, app launcher in the middle, and contacts on the right while there are a number of small cosmetic tweaks throughout the rest of the OS. Key to Motorola's changes, though, is its Motoblur social networking integration that lets you reply to Facebook and Twitter messages right from the contacts list. For more incite into Motorola's software tweaks, check out our review of the Motorola Defy.

The key thing with this phone, is its new processor and the 1GB of RAM that accompanies it. While software that truly demonstrates the power of this combination is thin on the ground it was clear from the off just how rapid this device is.

Possibly the best indicator was when the phone was plugged into its dock accessories whereby it activates a desktop-style interface complete with support for keyboard and mice.

Two models are available; one for desktop and one that's like a laptop.

The desktop version comes with a well designed remote that's easy to use and well made while the dock itself is also a pleasing black slab of plastic. Connect a monitor to the dock, via its HDMI connection and you can view the phone on a full monitor. Mouse and keyboard connections are also supported, giving you a full desktop experience from a phone.

It takes a moment for the phone to activate the WebTop interface that powers the full screen experience but once running, it's reasonably nippy. The standard phone interface is then contained within a window on the desktop, making it easy to control the phone aspects of the device with ease.

One of the most obvious uses for the phone in this configuration is watching video, which it excels at. 1080p video plays back flawlessly and looks great.

The other most obvious use is to have a proper desktop web browsing experience. Motorola has especially compiled a full desktop version of Firefox for this phone, giving you proper tabs, mouse support and of course Flash video playback. There's no denying this is a truly impressive thing to be able to do on a phone.

Even better than the desktop dock is the laptop dock. It's very well built with a solid feeling hinge and attractive brushed aluminium finish. The 11in screen quality is also better than one might expect with good viewing angles and a more than adequate 1,280 x 800 resolution. Likewise, the keyboard is surprisingly good, with a nice action and no flex or rattle when typing.

The phone fits into a dock section that flips up from behind the hinge for the screen. We'd have preferred an arrangement that lets the phone slide into the laptop but this solution does seem to work quite well.

The best bit about the laptop dock, though, is that its battery will provide up to 8hrs of use with the phone connected but, not only that, it will charge the phone as well meaning you still have a fully charged phone even after you've been using it for eight hours.

So, while we've yet to really put the Atrix through any thorough tests it seems clear that it's a seriously capable device that, with its peripherals, could be the start of a whole new way of working on the move. Either that or it's a gimmick that will never catch on.

Finally, here's a video of the Atrix unveiling from Motorola.

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