Monday, December 19, 2011

Motorola Atrix 4g Lapdock

So its been six days that I've had the laptop for my Motorola Atrix 4g. If you're unfamiliar with what this critter is, here's the link to Moto's website about it. Its basically a fancy little netbook chassis that you hook the phone to in order to get a bigger screen, a trackpad, and a keyboard.

Impressions

The lapdock and the Atrix 4g are a taste of the future. They're not THE future but its a step in that direction. I'll explain that in a little bit. First off, my impressions.

All around, this is a nice device. Quality is good. Typing is pleasant and quick, though like all netbook form factors, you need to train your fingers for the smaller keyboard. The trackpad is responsive and not overly so. The mouse buttons below the trackpad feel cheap but function fine. Screen is nice and bright and of good quality. The screen is a bit too glossy for my taste but I'm a matte screen sort of guy.

There is a battery built into the lapdock to power the functions that are separate from the phone. I've heard conflicting reports about the amount of charge the onboard battery can hold but it seems to be somewhere between 6-8 hours. It also charges the phone while it is docked.

I've really enjoyed this device. I've always wanted a netbook and the Google Chromebooks were very tempting since I've gone nearly all in on the Google cloud. This device helps me split the difference. You basically just get a Firefox browser on the webtop mode of the Atrix phone. There are some other integrations but the browser is mostly what you get. There have been a few things I miss about not having things like a native office suite to read files that are resident. You get used to it. You learn early on how to work around the limitations.

I've seen the future and this ain't it

I think in the end, this is something only a technologist like myself would appreciate and enjoy. It is a taste of the future though. Here's why: This is the ultimate identity consolidation.

We have all these devices in our lives and each one has a little piece of us on it whether it is a wallpaper, a photo collection, music, remembered passwords, etc. Sure, there's cloud services that allow you to sync or make these parts of our identities available to multiple devices. These are workarounds to some extent in my opinion. The Atrix paired with the lapdock is a slick thing. Your identity and experience is seamless. Everything on your phone is automatically on your laptop and vice versa.

This is the future of personal computing devices. Not just services that consolidate your identity across devices via cloud, but actual unification on a single device. It makes sense that it is a smartphone. They're the most personal of computing devices! With multicore processors, lots of memory, a built in data connection they're just as powerful as most "good enough" solutions.

Final thoughts

I'm pleased with this purchase. It was a refurb unit with 2 day shipping for $80. Worth it for the charging capabilities alone. I will probably use this device a lot, it satisfies a need I had for a netbook/notebook of my own that wouldn't be missed if I took it out of the house. The fact that its my phone just makes it all the better!