Motorola Atrix 4G vs iPhone 4: Comparison Guide

Following the recent announcement that the iPhone 4 will no longer be exclusive to AT&T, the company has had to change strategies. In order to compete with Verizon, AT&T will be forced to provide a more diverse selection of smartphones starting with the Motorola Atrix, an Android-based touchscreen device scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2011.

However, despite its impressive specs, the Atrix will still be judged on how it performs versus the iPhone brand. This guide compares the virtues and shortcomings of each phone.

Screen Quality

With Apple’s proprietary Retina display, the iPhone features a brilliant 640 x 960 resolution on a 3.5-inch screen. The pocket size phone is small enough to carry around easily and large enough to showcase photos and browse the Internet. The Atrix has a larger 4-inch LCD screen with a 540 x 960 resolution. Listed as the world’s first 24-bit, qHD display, the Motorola will also come with an expansion module that allows it to dock with a keyboard and an 11.3 inch monitor.

  • Motorola Atrix 4G – 4.0-inch LCD display, 540 x 960 resolution
  • Apple iPhone 4 – 3.5-inch Retina display, 640 x 960 resolution

Slight Edge: Motorola Atrix – While it’s true the iPhone 4 boasts the best resolution of any smartphone, at these sizes the difference in resolution is imperceptible. The Atrix qHD display offers a larger screen that is also said to reduce glare when working both indoors and outdoors.


Every year new and faster processors are introduced onto the market, so it’s no surprise that the iPhone’s 1GHz A4 processor will eventually become dated. However, few expected this to happen so quickly, as smartphones like the Atrix are set to roll out new dual core 1GHz processors this year. Having two cores and twice the RAM as the iPhone 4 will allow the Atrix to perform multiple tasks and applications at the same time.

  • Motorola Atrix 4G – Dual-core 1 GHz processor, 1GB RAM
  • Apple iPhone 4 – 1 GHz A4 processor, 512MB

Big Edge: Motorola Atrix

Operating System

The Motorola Atrix will run Android 2.2, and promises an upgrade to Android 2.3 by end of the year. The Apple iPhone 4 runs iOS4.2, largely considered the best operating system for smartphones last year. Apple has also been diligent in providing updates to the software since its initial release.

Slight Edge: Motorola Atrix – While the debate over which OS is better often comes down to personal preference, the iOS suffers from a number of technical deficiencies, such as the inability to update firmware over the wireless network. Furthermore, Android provides active widgets such as live Twitter or Facebook streams, and Android 2.3 promises to provide an even more interactive and open UI.


The Android Market has grown exponentially over the last year, with over 100,000 applications in December of 2010. Comparatively, the Apple App Store still has the largest share, however, with over 300,000 applications currently available for the iPhone 4.

Big Edge: Apple iPhone 4


Both the Motorola Atrix and Apple iPhone have front and rear facing cameras with similar specifications and can record HD video at 720p. They can each do video chat at 640 x 480 pixels. However, the iPhone 4 can only video chat with phones that use the Facetime app, limiting the service to owners of other iPhones.

  • Motorola Atrix 4G – 5-megapixel, LED flash and autofocus
  • Apple iPhone 4 – 5-megapixel, LED flash and autofocus

Slight Edge: Motorola Atrix – The specs are the same, but the restrictions placed on the iPhone 4 make the Atrix more attractive

Storage Space

The iPhone 4 comes with either 16 or 32GB of internal storage. The Motorola Atrix, on the other hand, will ship with only 16GB of internal space. However, while the iPhone 4 has no expansion slots, The Motorola Atrix will be equipped with microSD slots that will accommodate up to 32GB of added space.

No Edge: Tie – Although the iPhone 4’s lack of expansion slots is disappointing, having to purchase an additional microSD card increases the implied cost of the Atrix.

Verdict: The Apple iPhone 4 was easily the best smartphone of the previous year. However, with a larger screen, a dual-core processor, and a more open operating system, the Motorola Atrix outclasses the iPhone 4 by almost every practical measure. In addition, with a user-replaceable battery, Adobe Flash support, and a docking keyboard, the Motorola Atrix has the versatility and freedom that will make it the early favorite of 2011.

Author Claire Dawson writes about mobile internet devices and technology for MobileBroadband.net. Her latest guide looked at free netbooks with mobile broadband.


26 thoughts on “Motorola Atrix 4G vs iPhone 4: Comparison Guide”

    1. rene says:

      i agree with you,
      this is about preference too, but in the book, iphone 4 in down the toilet, dated, and obsolete again that motorola atrix and that muscle hardware under

      1. Anonymous says:

        accept it people, but most artist and scientist love their product. why? we think different. we see things not the ordinary brain can. Atrix won by speed and the size of the screen? plain and simple people. iphone? its far beyond BEAUTIFUL than any phone there is. INSIDE AND OUT.

      1. realisticAndroidFan says:

        > Damn Apple fanboys.

        Stop acting like you're in Apple's jealous little brother in Apple's shadow. You're not making the Android fanboys look too attractive with this sentiment :`(

        1. adickhole says:

          wow. he was giving an example of y its good to compare the two and he added a little joke at the end. You shouldn't be so defensive. Damn fagot fanboys.

  1. Silly says:

    This article is ridiculous when Android has a couple of video conferencing apps and the iPhone has all of them including Skype video capabilities. You people make me laugh when you try to say FaceTime is the only video conferencing option. The iPhone easily has the best camera. Also as far as the OS well that argument is silly also when you talk about updates….for each Android is lucky to get 1 update while iOS will get several. For instance the iPhone 4 has already got a few since summer 2010.

    Another failed category by this blogger. Don't make a comparison between a old phone and a yet to be released phone unless you have the facts. Soon iOS (next couple of weeks) will be on 4.3 and most newer Android phones is still waiting for either 2.1 or 2.2.

  2. joe says:

    ok so the iphone 5 will come out soon with updated hardware but a tri core andrpid phone will come out early next year. SO in other words iphone will be a year behind android .

    As far as am concern apple had its time on the spot light . Its time to move to better things people. change is good.

    1. justin says:

      no actually iphones not comming out with a new phone for at least another estmaited year and a half due to the reales to verizon i work for att and i get every bit of info apple sends us they will eventually come out with a new phone but not this year i own an iphone and as for the atrix ive actually got to use one and to tell you the truth id rather have the atrix the screen is amazing and so is everything else

  3. David says:

    I think its nice to see comparisons like these. I know the Atrix isn't out and the iPhone4 is almost a year old but it will still be the phone the Atrix and any other phone is judged by the day it hits the market. Many people will have iPhone 3G and 3Gs and are waiting to see what happens when it's released and will like to see comparisons. Of course, if the Atrix comes out strong it will have to face comparisons to the iPhone5 soon enough. I say this as a iPhone3g owner who loves his phone but isn't blind to other options as well. I'm out of contract so these comparisons are helpful to feel out the market.

    1. dnjweb says:

      Agree. If you don't like the article, you don't speak for all of us. And since ATT is charging the same price for both, I want to make as informed a decision as possible.

  4. M-ezy says:

    What ever happen to complete control??? With root access you can make android's UI look and operate anyway you want. That's my biggest sale point between Apple and Google. Anyone can match hardware but UI and OS is the brains of any device. If there's going to be a comparison let it be that.
    Now if speed has anything to do with it than I would assume a dual core Atrix would out perform a single IPhone 4. That's what we all real want rite….? FastFast and Faster … 🙂

  5. tiger says:

    On the storage space I would give it the Atrix, for the simple reason that I already have a micro sd card and all I have to do is pop it out of my old phone and put it in the Atrix. and when the next phone comes out I can do the same thing. but with apple I have to use a computer to move all my file to and then back to a new phone

  6. dnjweb says:

    On a straight comparison; 16GB iPhone and Atrix w/ 16GB on board are same price. 32GB iPhone is $100 more. I can get a 16GB micro for substantially less than $100 and have 32GB or add a 32GB card, still for >$100 and have a total of 48GB storage. I think the Atrix is the clear winner in this category
    Otherwise, I agree with the article and thanks for helping me pull the trigger on this one

  7. adda says:

    As being a hardware engineer, i never liked Apple nor Google.

    Apple is basically for house wifes who don't know damn about computers. It takes away all the options and makes the s/w simple to use. The launch of Ipad was a joke that most people didn't understood. Apple recently stopped making its own processors and have started to use Intel to minimise cost.

    Google on the other hand has a habbit of tracking ip adresses and keeping a record. It them bombards us with advertisements. Android source code is freeware, whichis a plus.

    Motorola Atrix has excellent hardware configration, the cool thing is that the Android sourcecode is freeware. Its real easy to make our own applications for Android, while Apple does not legally allow metalling with the o/s. The new PSP will have duel core processors, which Atrix has.

    Windows CE was a failure, because they always tried to make it backward compatible which others are now ignoring. Microsoft lost the war in the last decade.

    I have iPhone 4 but i prefer BBerry over it, but Atrix is hard to resist.

  8. I think its nice to see comparisons like these. I know the Atrix isn't out and the iPhone4 is almost a year old but it will still be the phone the Atrix and any other phone is judged by the day it hits the market. Many people will have iPhone 3G and 3Gs and are waiting to see what happens when it's released and will like to see comparisons. Of course, if the Atrix comes out strong it will have to face comparisons to the iPhone5 soon enough. I say this as a iPhone3g owner who loves his phone but isn't blind to other options as well. I'm out of contract so these comparisons are helpful to feel out the market.

    I have read below article that explain very deeply about both products????
    Markeet Fight :: Motorola Atrix 4G Vs Iphone4!

    1. I would give the speed advantage to the iPhone. I don’t care how many cores it has if it still takes longer to scroll on a

      web page or move around in the OS. iPhone in the video was much smoother and data speeds as of today suggest the iPhone sees

      higher network speeds. Your spec category is completely useless and obviously from what we saw from your own result in the

      speed category, turned out a completely irrelevant category. The web browser may have flash, but the browsing experience

      isn’t as nice with all that lag, you could call this one a draw just for the added benefit of having flash. The OS category,

      I agree, the notifications on iPhone stink but it is also a very stable and smooth OS while Android despite having much

      better notifications has that annoying lag and slow response, Draw. Apps would seem to be definitely an iPhone win,

      everything on Android isn’t nearly as polished as their iOs counter parts, though I do like a lot of the tethering apps and

      freedom Android has, Draw. Screen is definitely a win for the iPhone, text is so much better and pictures look great as does

      video, the only one that you can say would be a draw would be SAMOLED just because of the colors and low power consumption,

      the difference in viewing angles is irrelevant.

      Specs: Atrix 4G (stupid category and not an indicator of performance as we can see in the video)
      Apps: Draw
      Screen: iPhone 4
      Speed: iPhone 4
      OS: Draw
      Browser: Draw
      Cameras(could be Specs): iPhone 4
      Build: iPhone 4
      Call quality, speakers: iPhone 4 (no audio note i have ever sent sound as good as the ones from my iPhone 4)

      Winner: iPhone 4

      Apple still has the best smartphone on the market. I have had the at&t iPhone 4 and the Verizon iPhone 4, Droid Incredible,

      Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Droid X and HTC Evo 4G and used the Nexus S and MyTouch 4G extensively.

      1. iPhone 4
      2. HTC Evo 4G
      3. HTC MyTouch 4G
      4. Samsung Nexus S
      5. Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Atrix 4G
      6. Droid Incredible
      7. Motorola Droid X

      If the Fascinate had Froyo it would beat out the Nexus S and MyTouch 4G, despite lack of front facing camera.

  9. I agree with you i have owned both now and the functionality of the atrix blows the iphone out of the water. I phone is still the nicest looking device out there right now.

    Apple wont do flash. steve jobs already said that. they are going to use html5…

    the iphone is good at what it does and it was revolutionary 5 years ago but things change. it is no longer a 1 os market and people need to realize that.

    I have read below article that explain very deeply about both products Fight????
    Markeet Fight :: Motorola Atrix 4G Vs Iphone4!

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