As you might expect, the Atrix 2 is compatible with all of Google's apps and services. That includes Gmail, Maps with Navigation, Voice Search, Latitude, Places, YouTube, and more. Motorola also took pains to make sure the Atrix 2 was enterprise friendly with ODE (On Device Encryption) and EAS (Enhanced Exchange ActiveSync). It also has IPSec VPN if you need to get on the corporate network while away.
The Atrix 2 comes preloaded with several apps aside from the stock Google ones. They include AT&T apps like AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, Live TV, and myAT&T. Motorola also threw in Qik Lite, Motorola Phone Portal, Quick Office, Yellow Pages, and ZumoCast, a Motorola-owned app that lets you share documents with your home computer. Most of these apps are nonremovable. You can get more apps via the Android Marketplace.
Connectivity options are plentiful with the Atrix 2. You get the usual Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth, as well as the ability to act as a mobile hot spot for up to five devices. As we mentioned, there's a Micro-HDMI connection, so you can view videos from your phone on the big screen. The Atrix 2 is also DLNA compatible if you prefer streaming your video wirelessly.
The Atrix 2 has an 8-megapixel camera, which is an improvement over the 5-megapixel camera on the Atrix. However, we still experienced quite a bit of shutter lag. It took around 3 seconds for the camera to focus and take a picture, which can be a problem for fast-moving targets. It does have a slew of different settings, however, like color effects, and special shot modes like macro, panoramic shot, multishot, geotagging, and more.
We were impressed with the photo quality. Images looked sharp, and colors were captured somewhat accurately. Low-light photos did require a flash sometimes, which often washed out images. The Atrix 2 also has 1080p HD video capture. The short video clips we took looked great, but they weren't completely free of artifacts and blurry images, especially if we were moving. The Atrix 2 has 8GB of internal storage, of which 4.4 is available to the user. It does come with a 2GB microSD card preinstalled. It supports up to 32GB cards.
Like the Atrix 4G, the Atrix 2 comes with the Webtop application that turns it into a portable PC when docked into an appropriate accessory. At the time of this review, you can use the Atrix 2 with the Lapdock 100, the Lapdock 500, and an HD station that you hook up to a separate monitor and keyboard. When docked, the Webtop platform will launch into a separate Netbooklike interface, where you can access apps like Firefox. For more on the Webtop platform and the accessories, please read our review of the Atrix 4G and our in-depth look at the Droid Bionic's Webtop accessories.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Motorola Atrix 2 in San Francisco using AT&T Wireless. Call quality was good for the most part. On our side, the audio was usually clear and had plenty of volume. However, we did notice the occasional crackle and distortion, so it wasn't perfect.
On the other end, friends said we sounded quite clear, but our voice had a surprising hollow quality to it. We could still carry on a conversation smoothly, though. Speakerphone quality was decent, too; in fact, callers couldn't tell we were on speakerphone sometimes.
Motorola Atrix 2 call quality sample
We're happy to say that the HSPA+ speeds on the Atrix 2 were very good. Using Ookla's Speedtest.net app, we averaged download speeds of 11.04Mbps and upload speeds of 1.09Mbps. They're definitely a huge improvement over the poor data speeds of the original Atrix. CNET's full page loaded in around 20 seconds, and the mobile site loaded in around 8 seconds.
The Motorola Atrix 2 is on the whole a rather incremental upgrade over the original Atrix. It has the same slab design, and since it still has a 1GHz dual-core processor and HSPA+ speeds, it's not that much faster. Yet, it does offer a number of improvements that should make Android fans happy. It ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the Motoblur interface is not as intrusive as before. The touch screen is also bigger and crisper at 4.3 inches qHD without the Pentile display. The overall phone feels nicer in the hand, and we like the image quality of the 8-megapixel camera. There are still the occasional hiccups like slow shutter lag and a slight screen flicker, but those concerns melt away when you find out the phone is very affordable at only $99.99 after a two-year service agreement.