The Motorola Atrix 2 comes with a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz, alongside a nice amount of 1GB of RAM. For now, the Atrix 2 runs on Google Android 2.3 while its Android 4.0 update would probably see the light of day later in third quarter of the year. As usual, we subject the review unit to the Quadrant benchmark, which can be found on Google Play. To gauge how it performs against the competition, we matched its scores against dual-core smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Sensation XE and Motorola Atrix.
As depicted in the chart above, the Motorola Atrix fared pretty badly compared to its competitors. All phones are running on different processors: Atrix's on NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor; Galaxy S II comes with the Samsung Exynos processor; HTC Sensation XE is equipped with the Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon chip; last but not least, the Motorola Atrix 2 is packaged with the TI OMAP 4430 processor.
Clearly, the OMAP chip performed the worst in raw numbers compared to the other three chips. The difference in the Atrix 2's main processing unit over its predecessor explains why, despite close similarities in hardware specs, the old unit outperformed the newcomer by a rather large margin.
Fortunately, actual usage wasn't tied with the raw processing prowess seen in the benchmark. Overall, the Atrix 2 ran smoothly and had no problems rendering pages or running graphic-intensive apps. Having both a dual-core chipset and 1GB RAM does contribute to a lag-free performance and the experience using the phone for day-to-day use was generally positive.
The Atrix 2 comes with an 8-megapixel camera, a staple that is found on high-end smartphones. We haven't really been fond of the camera performance on Motorola devices based on their track record, but we shall leave it to the pictures to do the talking.
The camera performance is disappointing to say the least. Colors were dull; details were noisy and fuzzy. The auto-focusing was speedy but seemed to be rather inaccurate at times. For a smartphone of its caliber, we were expecting more out of its camera - especially since it is a much sought-after feature on phones these days. Otherwise, its 4.3-inch screen is gorgeous, well-lit and clear as seen through our usual 480 x 800-pixel test video for our battery mileage runs. If we had to nitpick about the screen, color reproduction appeared to be a tad too saturated though.
Using that same 480 x 800-pixel video that we've maintained for some time now, we next ran our standard battery test. The test parameters include having the video looped under the following conditions:
While it does pretty badly in the camera aspect, it is in the battery tests that the Atrix 2 shines. In second place after Samsung Galaxy S II, the smartphone ran for an impressive 427 minutes, 66 minutes shy of the Galaxy S II's timing. It is almost double the score of the HTC Sensation XE - possibly due to a less graphics and transition-intensive user interface. In the portability test, the Atrix 2 drops to third place due to a heavier weight of 147g as compared to its lighter Atrix sibling. However, given the notable battery life advantage and their close portability standings, the Atrix 2 comes out better overall in this area of comparison.
To give you a real-world gauge, we observed that the phone could last a whole day on a single charge, with emails and Twitter feeds pushed constantly to it. Other activities included occasional web surfing and calls.
If you are looking for a fashionable Motorola phone, we would suggest the Razr smartphone instead. The Atrix 2's design is frankly, pretty pedestrian and is highly unlikely to stand out like other flashier handsets currently on the market (e.g., Sony Xperia S).
However, if you are out in the market for a mid-range and affordable smartphone, the Motorola Atrix 2 is definitely one of the choices you can look at. We wouldn't say that its hardware specs are top of the line compared to the upcoming Android 4.0, quad-core powered devices but its bright 4.3-inch qHD, dual-core 1GHz and 1 GB RAM hardware specs are more than enough for daily usage and gaming. Our user experience has been largely positive on the Atrix 2, with no lags or crashes experienced.
Throw in 10 free EA games and inclusion of useful productivity apps like MotoCast and Webtop connection, you have a full-fledged all-rounder with substantial battery life to spare. However, if you need a phone that also takes good photography, you are better off looking elsewhere; the Atrix 2 doesn't excel in this aspect. Owners of the Atrix can forget about upgrading to the Atrix 2 since there are minimal improvements, specs-wise and in capabilities.
For S$699 (including GST), the Motorola Atrix 2 is an affordable option, one that is sold at SingTel, M1 and Newstead. If you know where to shop, such as checking our price guides, the phone can be had for less than S$600 at the point of writing.