The first dual core tegra 2 processor, the first fingerprint sensor on an android phone, the first phone that could transform into a laptop at the drop of a hat. And on a more personal note, one of my first android phones see the atrix came out when i was a junior in high school rocking the iphone 4.. It was a good phone for its time, but the more i started seeing friends with android phones like the htc evo, the more i wanted to try one for myself, so i got on craigslist and found someone who is willing to trade me their htc inspire. For my iphone, then after a few months decided that the 4.3 inch screen was just too big for me and swapped out again for this, the motorola atrix 4g. This phone didn’t have the inspires. Flashy aluminum build, but its plastic construction was still fine by me and it was much easier to pop the back panel off and access the micro, sd and sim trays, along with the 1930 milliamp hour removable battery. Despite these relics of the past, along with the capacitive navigation keys below the screen, the phone still feels reasonably modern in the hand, maybe that’s, thanks in part to the fingerprint sensor, on top of the shell, this wasn’t a great sensor by any means, but first iterations Rarely are and what seemed like a niche feature a decade ago is now table stakes in nearly every smartphone on the market.
Also way ahead of its time was the atrix’s qhd display coming years before quad hd became commonplace in other phones and uh. Wait i’m being informed that the queue in this phone’s display spec actually stood for quarter, hd that’s 960×540 well. Nevertheless, the tft panel on this phone was by all means fine for the time, and it looks pretty alright. Even now, though, i wouldn’t particularly recommend trying to use this screen outdoors it’s, just not terribly bright here’s. The thing, though, if you didn’t love the screen or felt like it, was a bit too cramped to comfortably type out an essay. You could dock the atrix into an optional lap dock accessory that instantly turned the phone into the brain behind a relatively thin and light laptop as a 16 year old kid in early 2011. This was insanely cool to me and as a 26 year old today, well it’s still really cool we’ve seen other executions of this idea from companies like asus and even samsung in a way through decks. But back then there was nothing like this and my desire for a lap dock was outweighed only by my lack of funds at the time to buy one see motorola charged 500 at launch for this empty shell of a laptop considering the atrix itself was only 200 On contract, with at t back when people were still buying phones on contract, it’s, no surprise that the laptop undersold and i was able to pick one up on ebay for about 80 dollars.
Still. I was excited to finally get to experience the laptop a decade later, but once i fired up the atrix, i ran into a few setbacks at the time. The android 2.2 platform later updated to 2.3 gingerbread, felt modern and fresh, but even in 2011, the company’s moto blur software overlay was a bit of a disaster. It gets even worse in 2021, though, because you need to sign into your motoblur account to even get past the setup screen. Well, that’s. Fine! I figured i had a motoblur account at one point, so i was just gon na reset the password and be on my way, but you can probably guess where this is going. Moto blur hasn’t existed in years and neither have its servers, which means you can’t sign in you, can’t reset your password and you can’t create a new account. I was pretty determined at this point to get into the phone anyway, though, so, with some help from my friend sam contreras, we found a way to bypass the moto blur prompt, so here’s this whole convoluted process. First, you have to take out the battery. You put it back in you, press and hold volume down and power and let the phone boot into its little fastboot system. So you get here, you wait until you get past there. You go scroll all the way down until you get to boot. Android! No! Bp hit up on the volume buttons to cold boot linux, and then you wait and everything is fine from there every single time.
So here it is moto blur in all its glory i’m, getting a wave of nostalgia just swiping through the interface remembering little details like these ugly icons and the feeling of using capacitive buttons and wait. What just happened for whatever reason when bypassing the moto blur login screens, the atrix, refuses to stay on for more than a minute or two at a time before it restarts and inexplicably disables, the swipe to unlock portion of the lock screen. The only solution i’ve found was the same bypass method from earlier. Take the battery out reinsert it hold power and volume down to access a special menu, choose boot, android, no bp and squeeze out another minute or two of nostalgia. In that time i was at least able to grab a few snaps from the camera and well cameras weren’t great back. Then i don’t know what you’re expecting images were: hilariously, grainy and dark compared to shots from a modern phone, and you had to use separate apps to capture photos and videos. Still, i was thankful at the time that this phone even had a front camera something my previous htc inspire had lacked now because of these software issues, i didn’t get much of a chance to finally try the laptop after all, but this was at least an opportunity To check out the hardware which feels shockingly nice, even by today’s standards, the keyboard is satisfyingly clicky and honestly feels better than my 2018 macbook pros keyboard, which isn’t really saying much and the trackpad is reasonably spacious as well.
On the back, you get dual usb a ports next to the barrel, connector for charging and the left half flips up to reveal the micro, usb and hdmi connectors. You slot the atrix onto there’s a bit of give to the chassis if you’re, a particularly heavy typist but really i’d, say that my only major complaint with the hardware is that the screen doesn’t tilt back quite far enough motorola. If you’re listening and planning on putting out a 10th anniversary, atrix well first off you’re a few months late to the game, but, secondly there’s your tip for the lap dock, i guess before we wrap up entirely. I want to mention that i did try out a few custom roms from xda to try and get the atrix up and running properly. I was very surprised by how many were still available to download, even years after they were first published, but the ones i tried. Still ended with the phone rebooting after a few minutes each time, so i think i may have just gotten a lemon, but you know what that’s? Okay, because this sort of retrospective video isn’t really about seeing how well the software is held up over time. You’Re. Obviously not going to use android 2.3 in 2021, even if any modern apps still supported it. Instead it’s just nice to revisit one of my favorite phones from the early days of android and one of the phones that kicked off my love for the platform.
To begin with, if you want to see another one of my earliest android phones revisited, i made a video a few months ago on the htc, inspire and alex has a recent video. Looking back at the galaxy s2, you can watch those videos by clicking the cards on screen but make sure you subscribe before you go if you enjoyed this video and want to see more like it in the future.