Mobility

Product of the Week: Motorola Atrix 2, the smartphone to replace a PC

In this inaugural episode of the Product of the Week, we look at why the Motorola Atrix 2 is a great bargain for prosumers and businesses.

The Motorola Atrix 2 may be one of the most underrated smartphones on the market. It combines a lot of high-end features with a great price tag ($99 base price) and has the unique value proposition of Motorola Webtop for docking as a laptop or desktop. That's why it's our pick for Product of the Week in our inaugural episode of this new video show.

Learn which types of users can benefit from the Atrix 2, the pros and cons of the product, what it means for business and IT, and the information you should know about it the Atrix 2 that you won't find in other reviews. Watch the first episode of this new weekly series. You can also find a quick summary below.

Who's it for?

If you want to do everything possible with an Android smartphone, then the Motorola Atrix 2 is a strong candidate because of its mix of multimedia capabilities and business readiness. Its Webtop software lets you dock it into a laptop or desktop experience and surf the web with Firefox or connect to the corporate network using the Citrix client. The Lapdock can replace a tablet or netbook for some highly mobile users. This phone is also for power users who are looking for a bargin, since it starts at US$99.

Pros

  • Loaded with high-end features
  • Great price, starting at US$99
  • Thin but sturdy hardware with a nice feel
  • Motorola's Webtop docking experience
  • HSPA+ capability (but don't call it "4G")

Cons

  • Webtop software still has performance issues
  • Its 4G is really "faux G"
  • Uninstallable AT&T apps (a.k.a. "crapware")

Product of the week: Our approach

If you're looking for a quick two-minute summary of a new consumer product, then this isn't the series for you (check out CNET Reviews). This show will do a deep dive on a product and look at where and how it makes sense to use it for business. The format is highly conversational and each episode will be about 15-20 minutes. You'll occasionally see an episode the week a product comes out -- when we get early access to a product -- but more often than not, the Product of the Week will be a product that has been on the market for at least a couple weeks so that we can get our hands on it and really use it before making a determination about it.

Since we're just getting started, we'd like your feedback on this format. Does it work? What else would you like to see? What are you looking for in a thorough product review?

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

36 comments
pgree
pgree

Video is not needed, wastes bandwidth and may be restricted in some workplaces. I enjoy reading short fact based text articles here, not watching videos. You can have them, but please always include a text synopsis of the video.

willygirl
willygirl

thanks for the oppertunity to view the product,some have forgotten that there are still it people who are trying utilize your time and research to see whats new.thanks.

randmart
randmart

Count one more vote for no video. What an inefficient way to transmit words. Give me a tight text article every time instead.

dhmariano
dhmariano

Until they develop a normal-sized keypad for the smartphones no way are PCs and tablets going to be replaced by smartphones. Why can't they just be smartphones? I think the tablet has a better chance surviving the future.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

It has to be understood exactly.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

So why do I need all of this driver stuff?Isn't it just in the BIOS?

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

If you have built in speakers and microphones it could work. Somehow it converts your network DSL files to ordinary AT&T files.I'm studying this one.

stupid user name
stupid user name

Hmmm. Will there really be 50 good products in 2012? Or is this a way to build up advertising revenue?

stupid user name
stupid user name

If I'm restricted to AT+T, then it's "No Deal". I remember their arrogance over the years, esp, with long distance. I refuse to do business with them. And I hear their network sux anyway.

carolannie
carolannie

same issues. I can read a lot faster than I can listen. If you do a script, then I can decide whether to spend the time watching (technical details are usually better demonstrated than talked about).

cmollenhau
cmollenhau

not a great deal. get a computer. get a phone. you can do more with a phone and a computer than this thing. does that make sense to get this to replace your computer if you can not do AT LEAST the same with it???

draku.zeos
draku.zeos

I don't normally watch video reviews, but I respect Jason's opinion and I think his review of this product was very helpful, balancing pro's and con's. This is precisely the sort of review I'm looking for on new tech. And to those who feel they can't watch a video review at work, well, that's what earbuds/headphones are for. I work in a tech oriented business and this sort of thing is considered very normal. If you work in a business where wearing earphones isn't considered normal, well, be the first ... it ought to be and will be soon enough.

cmollenhau
cmollenhau

If all this phone does is give me access to citrix services or web access, I fail to see the "wow" factor. I can do this with other phones already. duh. I want a phone that is a real computer, that can run windows office applications without the internet if needed. Heck even google apps you need the internet. duh. we end users want FLEXIBILITY! NOT to be forced to do our work over the internet, but use the internet WHEN WE WANT TO. I want to work without the internet sometimes! Get with the program.

carlson1
carlson1

Looks like the masses have spoken. Don't waste my time in a video, get to the point and you can still be conversational. I didn't actually watch the video because the comments said it all for me. I can read quite a bit of information quickly so the video had better just enhance the information flow with pictures and/or demonstrations.

user support
user support

Don't have time for video reviews at work or video news stories at home. I have been changing my newsletter subscriptions more often or just ignoring them. Just my opinion but the enterprise (at least our enterprise) is not on pace with what is shown in this newsletter, Microsoft Office Suite and TR Dojo newsletters. We are still using laptops for employees on the road for over 300 days a year and management is still using Blackberry devices. We just upgraded to Office 2007 last year and are preparing to go to Windows 7 within the next year or two. All these tablets and smart phones look nice but the enterprise is looking for consistancy, stability and integration when they move forward.

parkerkael
parkerkael

I side with the Text Guy, for I too am one. (TR Dojo being one exception). When I am running through my emails and see an interesting topic from Tech Republic, I go in and read it and in a couple of minutes am done and go on.

laineybirdy
laineybirdy

I like the idea of an in-depth review of new tech with good information. However, there were waaaaay too many words in this. Could have been said in about 7 minutes. Many points were repeated several times and there was too much time spent on wasted words. Just get to the point and say what you have to say about the product in a succinct manner. It was very difficult to stay with this for the full 21 minutes. Love the idea - hate the presentation.

alextepes
alextepes

Every time I look he's saying an Android OS is going to replace a PC, it's like he intentionally writes articles to cause an arguement, phones will never be a PC, and he knows that, it would take him 4 hours to write a 20 minute review/post like this using a touch interface/Android lol I'm opting-out of emails, this is ridiculous and I don't wanna read BS anymore.

D.Alex
D.Alex

The flash video doesn't work in either Chrome, IE9 or Firefox 8.0.1!

air10
air10

This is a much better option used together. It also can be used with 32GB Micro SD Card.

PeterM42
PeterM42

...............of a video conversation between 2 people, one of whom is waving about a fondleslab, but actually not really giving the viewer a good understanding of what it would be like to use it. Drop this format ASAP!!!!

HENpp
HENpp

That marketing or advertising crapware is part of what probably keeps that price where it is. I think we are all aware of the alternatives. Those who are not aware of alternatives are probably not terribly bothered by the pre-installed apps. And the video makes for good, informative background audio. I did not actually watch the video; I listened to it while doing other things.

doug
doug

That was incredibly non-informative. Couldn't he at least hooked it up to the docking station? Let's see what I learned. Atrix 2 is very cool. Vendor installed apps are very bad. It was like listening to two guys talking in a bar.

dimonic
dimonic

I never do videos. I mostly read tech bulletins at work, and videos would be just awkward, and besides, I am a text guy. I mostly skip videos even on subjects that are near and dear to me, as I hate wating for the guy to get to the point I care about.

tsidio
tsidio

1. Atrix picked as one of the biggest tech flops of 2011. 2. 15 - 20 minutes review in flash - no way! 3. 5 minutes or less in HTML5, maybe, will depend on specific product that week.

rmj
rmj

I am surprised that you missed some low hanging fruit. VPN: PPTP L2TP IPSEC Using pre-shared keys or certificates. Encryption: Device and SD card. They caught my eye during my initial comparison of available products.

mfa
mfa

...or UNuninstallable? Crapware for me is a nonstarter.

Han CNX
Han CNX

I assume $99 is not the price un-locked, but only applies when you marry into AT&T? This dual selling practise seriously has to end some time you'd think, but is still going strong in the USA, supposedly a free market.. What's the un-locked price for the device?

bwexler
bwexler

As processors get smaller and more powerful, a real PC processor will fit in a phone. Mini projectors exist today and will improve. Several years from now a real PC replacement in a phone is possible and even probable. The OS will need to be more powerful than the current Android. Android 6? Linux? Windows 10?

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

He is an Apple fan boy. When this site started it was about helping IT Pros work in a business environment. Most business environments are STILL PC based. They need to go back to the old format and get someone to run it that has a clue.

alextepes
alextepes

If you used "supplement" rather than "replace", I wouldn't see you in this light.

Plant Doctor
Plant Doctor

Glad I shut it off at 1:31 when they hadn't even begun to mention the product, just compliment each other on this garbage.

carol.fuhr
carol.fuhr

I'm way too impatient to even sit through the intro to a video; they talk much slower than I can read. Give me text every time.