Other key changes Motorola have made all involve MotoBlur. This brings together social networks, email accounts and your other messaging services into one interface. So you can jump into a single universal inbox to check messages from all these services in one go. It’s an interesting addition though one that we seldom found ourselves using, instead preferring to manage our different modes of communication separately.
Social networking is another MotoBlur feature that, like messaging, brings together different networks into one interface, this time with an emphasis on status updates. Like the universal inbox and normal email app, though, we find the interface a bit awkward thanks to the white-on-black styling – it’s just not very easy on the eye.
The final piece of the MotoBlur puzzle is the contacts list. Here, like on many Android phones, Facebook and Twitter info is integrated into a each contact, where available. You can also swipe left and right to view a contact’s updates and your conversation history. Again, there’s an oddity though. Unlike on most Androids where if you press the contacts button, the dialler is a mere tab away, on the Atrix you have to close the contacts list and open the dialler separately – a pointless change.
When it comes to multimedia, the Atrix doesn’t challenge the Samsung Galaxy S 2’s crown. The latter can play just about any video file under the sun, including mkv, but the Atrix, not so much. The standards of mp4 and avi files are supported but mkv won’t play ball. Likewise, FLAC music files aren’t supported, though this is far less of an issue as third party apps will do this for you.
It’s a similar story when it comes to taking your own videos or photos. With only 5-megapixel stills and 720p video on offer, the Atrix is a step behind much of the high-end smartphone competition. It also lacks features like touch focus and face recognition. The pictures it produces are perfectly middle of the road but we would’ve hoped for more from the “most powerful” smartphone. At least the dual-LED flash lights do a reasonable job.
The final, often-overlooked feature of any smartphone is how good it is at making calls. The Atrix proved to be an adequate if unexceptional call-maker, with a reasonably powerful speaker. Its large 1930mAh battery kept the phone going for longer than most rivals, though we’re still talking a couple of days between charges – it’s just that you’ll easily get two rather than one and a half in general use.
So, clearly the Atrix has a few plus points as a standalone phone but when it really comes into its own is when you factor in its dock accessories.