Motorola Atrix 4G vs. HTC Desire HD – Review

by Jerry D on February 5, 2011

The Motorola Atrix marks a dramatic change in mobile phone design, boosting the processing power and (in the US) cuddling up to 4G/HSPA+ networks. Even a powerhouse smartphone like the HTC Desire HD now looks outdated.

How much better is the Atrix? Take a look at the final score below and you’ll get your answer…

Motorola Atrix versus graphic Motorola Atrix 4G vs. HTC Desire HD   Review HTC Desire HD


The wireless options on the twin-core Atrix include 3G/HSDPA (14.4Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and EDR. It also boasts 4G (HSPA+) connectivity where available. As for the Desire HD, HTC has specified 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR/A2DP and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi as standard. (1-0)

Size & Weight:

Size matters. It’s not the most important consideration when buying a new phone, but nobody wants to lug around a small brick. The Atrix is the slimmer of the two phones with a depth of 10.1mm. The Desire HD is wider, measuring 68.0mm to the Atrix’s 63.5mm. Weigh the two phones and Motorola’s phone weighs 136g, while the HTC Desire HD is a heftier 164g. (2-0)



Motorola has opted for a 5.0 Megapixel camera in its new phone, which boasts autofocus, an LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging and 720p video capture. It supports a max resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels and also features a second, front-facing camera.

The 8.0 Megapixel camera on the Desire HD is an improvement on the lens in the Atrix and also includes autofocus, a dual LED flash, face detection capability, geotagging and 720p HD video recording. No front-facing camera though. (2-0)


Display size is usually an important consideration and the Atrix features a 4.0-inch (540 x 960) touch-sensitive LCD screen. The resulting pixel density of this handset is 275.25 pixels per inch.

In comparison, the Desire HD’s touch-sensitive S-LCD screen is 4.3 inches wide. But in this head-to-head, it suffers from a lower screen resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Compared to its rival, the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is 216.977.

What we have here is a smaller, higher-resolution display versus a bigger, but lower resolution S-LCD. All in all, this round is a tie. (2-0)


In terms of performance, the Desire HD packs a 1GHz Snapdragon MSM8255, one of Qualcomm’s a second generation mobile processors. It’s good and the built in Adreno 205 GPU gives the graphics a real kick. But here it’s facing a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, which incorporates a 1GHz ARM A9 Cortex CPU with Ultra Low Power NVIDIA GeForce GPU. (3-0)


Both of these handsets use Google’s Android software. The Motorola Atrix uses version 2.2 (Froyo) with MotoBlur. An update to 2.3 planned for later in the year. The Desire HD also runs 2.2, intertwined with HTC’s good-looking Sense UI. (3-0)


Storage-wise, the Atrix provides more space out of the box with 16GB. This compares to the Desire HD’s 1.5GB. Motorola’s hardware also has a microSD interface, which can extend the overall capacity to a whopping 48GB. The inclusion of a microSD expansion slot on the Desire HD bumps up the capacity to 33.5GB. Another point goes to the Atrix. (4-0)

Battery life:

How long will the batteries last? Motorola’s spec sheet lists 9.0 hours of talktime for its phone, which matches the HTC Desire HD. As for standby time, the phones can last for 250 hours and 420 hours respectively. (4-0)


Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.


The Atrix also includes GPS/A-GPS, Gorilla Glass, an HDMI out, supports 1080p capable video (via a post-launch software update), an eCompass, stereo FM radio with RDS and a clever laptop docking capability. The Desire HD is also well-specced, featuring: GPS/A-GPS, a g-sensor, digital compass, built-in FM radio, Dolby Mobile, DLNA wireless content sharing and integration. (4-0)

The Motorola Atrix 4G wins!

Motorola ATRIX 4G Motorola Atrix 4G vs. HTC Desire HD   ReviewIn 2010, the HTC Desire HD was a cutting edge phone. But the arrival of the Atrix shifts us from ‘smartphone’ into ‘super-phone’ territory. Not only does the Atrix have the most memory, support for 4G and a lightweight build. But it’s dual-core processor is ready for whatever application developers can throw at it.

See if these two phones make our Top 10 Best Smartphones list…

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