Saturday, September 3, 2011

Motorola Atrix 4G (Revisited)

With the fast pace of technology and the availability of upgrades to most electronic devices, things change. Mobile technology, especially, is something that constantly changes. Phones, bluetooths, and even speakers are able to be upgraded to get better over time. The Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone is no different. It has received a total of three updates since its release. If you read my first review of the Motorola Atrix then you know the phone was in need of an overhaul. Well it came, and it is happens to be Gingerbread flavored. Whether or not you like the sweet baked cookie or if you prefer thin mints is not the question. The question here is, "Did the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) update fix the problems with phone?" I think it has. Here's why...
The problems that I brought up in the original review of the Atrix were;

1. I couldn't get my Hotmail working properly.
2. The fingerprint scanner worked most of the time (not all the time).
3. When using a bluetooth, which I do VERY frequently, you can not make an outgoing call without first unlocking the phone.
4. I didn't like the look/setup of Motoblur, which is Motorola's overlay on the phone.
5. General glitchyness like intermittent slow screen transitions and slow unlocks.

This update was targeted at fixing things that users had specifically identified as problems with the phone. It also gives the user the newest flavor/update of Google's Android operating system. It did successfully do both of these.

To address problem number 1, hotmail works great. I don't constantly have to remove and then re-add my hotmail account, only to have it stop working two minutes later. Enough said on that..

Problem number 2 with the fingerprint scanner is addressed. It worked every time, all the time. I didn't find myself swiping my finger across it to get the phone to recognize it more than once unless I was doing it too quickly because I was distracted by other things. It works great. Problem number 2, fixed.

Bluetooth was actually "fixed" also, which means problem number 3 gets a highlighted even more. There is now a check box in the privacy settings of your phone where you can check the option to have your bluetooth override the screen lock to make calls. It is an option, because technically that is a security breach. I checked it and it works well. I must say I'm impressed with this because this is really only a personal preference and I wouldn't have classified it as a "problem" before. Check the screen shot to the left to see the option.

Motoblur must not have been a very popular looking setup to a lot of people. The reason I say this is because they've completely changed the look and feel of it, completely addressing problem number 4. See the picture below for the difference between the two screens. I think it is much more comprehensive and user-friendly. It also looks less "cartoony" which has been a common complaint of a lot of Android haters or even Android lovers out there. This update not only fixes the look and feel of Motoblur to something that I can appreciate, it adds a fun little aspect: when you hit the lock button to lock the screen, the screen "shuts down" just like an old tube TV, with a little flash and a flat white line before finally phasing out to black. It's fun and made me smile.

The old Motoblur user interface on the left. The new on the right.
Finally, the 5th problem was addressed in a big way. It is one thing to have things be a little glitchy about a phone and have an easy fix for them. It is another to have it happen so sporadically that you're not really sure if what you're doing to fix the problem is working or if the phone just happened to stop doing it. These little bugs, or "Gremlins," as one of my customers put it have been repelled by whatever bug repellent was applied to the Android 2.3 update. Screen transitions are now smooth. Unlocking happens much quicker. The phone finally reacts like a dual-core processor phone should react: quickly. Check that problem right off the list.

So, for the full review, please refer to the first article, but keep this article in mind when you do because Motorola has fixed every problem I identified in my first review. This truly is (now) a powerful smartphone.

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