Sep 22 AT 8:51 PM Dustin Earley 21 Comments

Motorola Atrix 2 hands-on: slim, fast, no more PenTile display


Here at Android and Me, we’ve been paying close attention to the Motorola Atrix 2 for quite some time now. And for good reason. Way back when the device first leaked, when it was still being called the MB865 in late July, there was a lot of hype surrounding what was destined to be the GSM variant of the Motorola Bionic. Now, finally, the Atrix 2 has made its way into a full hands-on preview. So how does it stack up against it’s CDMA/LTE cousin? Any particular areas where the device really stands out? The answers may surprise you.

Specs wise, the Atrix 2 is only a mild improvement over the first. Instead of a Tegra 2, we’re looking at a 1 GHz TI OMAP4, along with 1 GB RAM, 8 GB internal storage, an 8MP rear camera, front-facing camera, 1735mAh battery, Android 2.3.5, Webtop compatibility and a 4.3-inch qHD display. All packed into a textured plastic shell at around 10mm thick. Sounds pretty similar to the Bionic, no? Well those similarities, as great as they are, pale in comparison to the differences.

First up, the overall feel. Chris Ziegler of This is my Next¬†got his hands on the device and wasn’t shy in confessing his love for the overall feel of the “Edison.” The textured plastic leaves you feeling like you’re holding a high-quality device, and the lack of a camera hump around the back makes for an even slimmer profile than you’d expect of a 10mm device. Compared to the Bionic, the 3mm drop in size apparently really makes a difference. And then there’s the display.

For quite some time now, I have loathed (LOATHED) phones that utilize PenTile screen technology. I won’t go too far into it today, but essentially, you can use funky sub-pixel arrangements in displays to give a screen a faux resolution. The orignal Super AMOLED display and Motorola’s most recent qHD displays both use PenTile technology. The results? Grainy text and terrible color rendering. Motorola is finally doing away with PenTile displays, starting with the Atrix 2. If you’re wondering just what kind of difference this will have on your device, spend a day looking at something like an HTC Sensation compared to a Bionic. Or a Nexus S (or any other Galaxy S device for that matter) compared to a Galaxy S II. In my eyes, the difference is night and day.

There’s no telling what may change before the Atrix 2 is finally released, but there’s good reason to believe it won’t be much. Now that you’ve seen and heard a little more about the successor to the original dual-core Android device, what do you think? Not enough of an upgrade? Or does the true qHD display have you wiping drool from you chin? Let us know in the comments below.

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Source: This Is My Next

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Jeb Johnston

    Wow, that’s actually a really disappointing sequel. Guess I will be staying with my Atrix one for a while.

    • Jeb Johnston

      Btw, I wouldn’t really call it an upgrade, to me it’s more of a downgrade.

      • Dustin Earley


        • npaladin2000

          Lower-end GPU, lower capacity battery…yeah, I’d call it a downgrade. BTW I love my PenTile display.

          • 666

            I’m pretty sure that the upclocked SGX 540 benches better than the geforce in the Tegra 2.

          • jivemaster

            The SGX 540 is indeed superior to Tegra. The only thing you’ll miss is the Tegra software library, which is a pretty big hit.

        • Jeb Johnston

          Smaller battery, smaller storage, still a 1GHz processor (Tegra 2 works fine for me) and doesn’t seem to keep the Biometric scanner, so yeah. I would say downgrade. I file the screen differences to the Retina vs Super AMOLED category. Both are still capable of achieving high end video display the UBER quality doesn’t interest me as much as a quality display with a quality set of features.

    • Cheyenne

      Agree, im waiting for the new iPhone 5. It will easily maul this dumbphone!!

  • Darwin

    The PenTile display on my orig Galaxy S and Atrix were the biggest let downs of those two devices especially after seeing an actual high res display like the iPhone. The Captivate also had non-working GPS but that’s another issue.

  • http://None CaribGrackle

    I’ll be waiting for the future next batch of Motorola phones, I’m sure Google are working along them in something cool and innovative.

  • Adam Newman

    Hear that? That’s the sound of angry Bionic owners after they read this article. I’m not sure why Motorola waited until now to get rid of the Pentile display. Oh well…

    • WickedToby741

      The Pentile doesn’t actually bother me at all. I suppose its probably because I’ve never been spoiled with anything better than the Pentile qHD display on the Bionic, but nonetheless I think it looks quite nice. Yeah, if you hold your phone mere millimeters away from your face you’re going to see pixelation but other than that I don’t see it so much, or at least not enough to even come close to bugging me.

  • Vofox

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  • anson

    i noticed that the usb and hdmi ports are upside down when compared to the atrix. does that mean that if i want to upgrade from my atrix i’ll need to get another dock? lame.



    • JCZ

      Pedophile? What’s wrong with you?

  • not a nit picker

    Yes, non-pentile trumps pentile but the original super amoled screen hardly results in “grainy text and terrible color rendering.” It is a beautiful display that is one of the best available. For me, I would still rather have a pentile super amoled display over a non-pentile lcd display. That’s one of the reasons my evo 3d is in the box (about to be sold) and my nexus s is in my pocket.

    • kazahani


      I’e used that Samsung Vibrant for over a year now, and I still think that my display looks better than most of the displays on new phones comming out today.

  • i hate this guy

    DOWNGRADE TEGRA 2 IS THE BEST PROCESSOR OUT FOR GAMING, GRPAHICS, SPEED, tiomap is like comparing a calculator (yes i said it) and a lg optimus 2x

  • Paul

    Wow, I never realized Motorola strayed from TI processors with PowerVR GPU’s. I never paid attention to the Atrix’s specs. Seems they’re moving back to TI. HTC never strayed from Qualcomm/Adreno right? Has Samsung strayed from their Samsung/PowerVR CPU’s?

  • Wolf

    I reluctantly gave up my atrix for the new atrix2 and glad I did.
    If you dog the new ph its cause you got stuck with 1st one. I raised hell over dicontinuing accessories for atrix til they let me send it back .
    I sbsolutely love the changes especially to android 2.3.6