Review: Motorola Atrix HD

A little less than two years ago, Apple’s iPhone 4 made its debut with a display of unrivaled clarity. The Retina display’s pixel density of 326 pixels per inch gave it a sharpness that no Android phone could match.

Just this past May, the HTC One X made its U.S. debut, complete with a beautiful display packing 316 pixels per inch. Finally, Retina-like quality could be had on an Android phone. But, like the iPhone 4S (which has the same screen as the now $100 iPhone 4), the One X is a premium product that wears a premium $200 price tag.

It was only a matter of time before such high-quality displays started trickling down to $100 Android handsets, but I wouldn’t have guessed it would happen this soon. With the arrival of the Morotola Atrix HD, which is available for $100 on-contract from AT&T, Android fans now have a modestly priced handset with a sharp, iPhone-like display.

The 4.5-inch screen really is a stunner. At a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and with a density of 331 pixels per inch, text looks crisp and images are rich with detail. Colors, while a bit bright and over-saturated compared to the One X and iPhone, are beautiful. Pixel artifacts like stair-stepping are indiscernible. Motorola calls the Gorilla Glass-topped LCD panel on the Atrix HD a “ColorBoost” display. If this is the future of Motorola’s display technology, it’s going to be a pretty one.

If you drop $100 on the Atrix HD, you can feel confident that you won’t tire of this display. But there’s more to the phone than the screen — the rest of the device delivers plenty of high-end features at a mid-range price.

The Atrix HD is essentially an evolution of Motorola’s Verizon-exclusive Droid Razr and Droid Razr Maxx handsets. At 0.33-inches, the Atrix HD is thicker than the Razr, but thinner than the Razr Maxx. Like the Razr line, the Atrix HD has a Kevlar back panel and contains a chassis made of a mix of metal and plastic that feels tough and looks good.

Inside you get a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor — a bump up from the Razr and Razr Maxx’s 1.2GHz dual-core Texas Instruments CPUs — and 1GB of RAM. This combination doesn’t disappoint. The Atrix HD is fast and responsive, easily handling games, apps, video playback and everything else I threw at it.

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