Motorola Atrix 4G vs Droid Bionic: Which has the edge?

Although there’s a lot of attention on the next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 5, expected in June or July, we cannot forget the upcoming Android phones as some of them look particularly impressive. Two of the most notable are both from Motorola but for different networks. They are both 4G handsets and both will have dual-core processors, but which one edges it?

The phones we’re thinking of are the Motorola Atrix 4G, which will be released on AT&T and the Motorola Droid Bionic to be carried by Verizon. We’ve already published many articles on these upcoming phones so hit the following links for more details. For the Atrix 4G some of our posts include first details from CES 2011, a look at the Atrix vs. the Verizon iPhone in a 3G vs. 4G dilemma, specs and video, and a promo video. We’ve also given you details of a release date in March with pre-orders available from February 13, and price details.

For the Droid Bionic we’ve had a look at the Bionic vs. the Verizon iPhone vs. the Thunderbolt, a brief appearance listed on Amazon that was then taken down and an estimated release date at the end of the second quarter. Specs-wise the Atrix 4G and Droid Bionic phones are very similar as we’ve already noted, but we’ve found an article that may help you make up your mind if you’re tempted to either of these imposing handsets.

Kevin Krause over on Phandroid provides a useful look at various 4G Android handsets, two of which are the Atrix 4G and the Droid Bionic. Krause notes that there’s a good reason why everybody seems to be talking about the Atrix 4G, which will be the first dual-core handset launched for AT&T. The Atrix will have a huge 1GB of RAM and with the useful extra of a laptop dock that means you’ll be able to use the phone just like a laptop. The Droid Bionic is the only upcoming 4G phone that bears the Droid branding but where it differs, compared to the Atrix, is that it only has 512MB of RAM and has no docking facility.

Out of all the 4G phones compared in Krause’s article (others include the Samsung Galaxy S 4G, the HTC Inspire 4G and the HTC Thunderbolt), the Atrix and Droid Bionic come out tops but Krause feels the Atrix just has the edge, mainly because of the docking facility. However of course, if you have no desire to use the phone in that way and would rather be with Verizon than AT&T then the wait for the Droid Bionic will soon come round. What are your thoughts on these two noteworthy handsets from Motorola? Are you intending to purchase either and if so which one and why? We’d be interested to hear from you so please send us your comments on this.

  • Bionic

    The Bionic because Verizon is way better than att and the ram is ddr2

    • Buck

      I believe the Atrix has DDR2 ram, as well. Anybody concerned about the lack of RAM on the bionic? How about lack of LTE on the Atrix?

  • CBTT

    seriously? the better handset to the poorer network?? dock and twice as much ram, the atix wins, send it to verizon! (where 4g is actually 4g, not 3.5 g)

    • flames8889

      The atrix does not have twice as much RAM. The bionic is ddr2 which put 1gb of RAM to shame.

    • Beno

      Where 4g IS actually 4g? That statement is not fully correct. Originally, the ITU required a technology to provide speeds beyond 100mb/s in order to be qualified "4G".

      Neither today's LTE at VZW, nor today's WIMAX at Sprint can live up to these specs, and also HSDA+ won't make it. So today there is, according to the original requirement specs, no such thing as a 4G network out there. Also not at VZW.

      The technologies which where supposed to be considered 4G are LTE Advanced and WIMAX 2. If you now think that VZW "is" 4G, because at least their network today is already called LTE, then you also need to consider Sprint as 4G, they are also on WIMAX already.

      BUT late last year, when everyone started to call their evolved 3.5G networks 4G, the ITU made a press release and adjusted their requirements. According to their press release in December 2010, the "old" LTE and WIMAX networks, as well as "evolved 3G" networks are now allowed to call themselves 4G.

      Therefore, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, TMobile, and I guess Metro PCS do offer 4G networks today in the US. And btw, it may be possible that other carriers will also go down the LTE path in the future. For example WIMAX can easily be migrated to LTE, think Clearwire is working on trying this. LTE, resp. LTE Advanced. Let's see what AT&T and T-Mobile will choose as their technology to go above 100mb/s… LTE Advanced will probably become what UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) promised to become and never did, a single standard which will be available everywhere. Will it really happen? I don't know, there will always remain issues to cover the colorful radio spectrum of this planet to make it truly universal.

  • Chris93036

    forgot to mention the atrix has a fingerprint reader and the different motoblur skins for both phones.. the skin on the Atrix looks like what juinor high kids will go for.

  • Stan

    Also isn't the Atrix a world phone as well???

  • trob6969

    Actually the atrix also has ddr2 ram…I don’t see why moto just doesn’t make the atrix available for BOTH networks. I’m sure they’d make a lot more money without the bionic.

  • Stefano

    I prefer Unlocked Phones – when I travel overseas,,,will the Bionic take a French SIM card or a German SIM card- Of course NOT.. Atrix 4G Blows away the Bionic

    • your other daddy

      your just a gay homo stefago

    • tino alvarez

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    • gaytonio fredreck

      i like your style. we should hang out sometime

  • robert

    I like the idea and quick set-up of the docking port with the Atrix, but I’m already using my BB Storm as my IP server for my laptop (I tether my laptop to my Storm with a mini USB cable–and currently I have unlimited date usage on Verizon).

    If Verizon decides not to carry the upcoming Storm 3 (and I’d prefer the eventual Storm 4 that will run on the QNS system and will be able to use Adroid apps–adaptability will become the standard in the next two years with smartphones–listen up, folks at Apple), I’ll then give the Bionic a try since I don’t see myself becoming an AT&T customer when I already have Verizon and dropped calls happen to others but not to me.

    • Buck

      Don't believe all the hype. I do a LOT of traveling and rely heavily on my phone. I'm on AT&T and the only times I've ever had a dropped call are when I'm making or taking a call in an area where I have no signal in the first place (in factories, out in the "boondocks," etc.). With that said, I'm not frequently in very large municipalities (I don't visit Chicago often, I've never been to Dallas or New York, etc.), and I think congestion there overloads AT&T's networks.

      I'm still trying to decide whether to go with AT&T or switch to Verizon, but it's because of cell coverage in my own house, not random dropped calls.

      • Ken

        Are you seriously trying to de-validate the reputation ATT has acquired for excessive dropped calls? Sorry, this has been well proven. Good for you that you happen to be in a strong ATT area, but I can assure you that isn't a luxury shared by all.

      • DE

        Well, trust me I probably travel more than you, to the tune of around 200,000+ miles a year as a truck driver (all my travel is on the ground, no flights). Trust me I’ve had them all, including in the old days Cellular One, and Verizon has the best coverage by far of any, Florida to Vancouver B.C., Florida to Maine, Maine to California, California to Florida, and all in between. BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!! So, no hype here, just the plain honest truth, VERIZON RULES!!!!

        • Buck

          I admit the scope of my travel is limited to the midwest, but my point is that unless you're in a major metropolitan area, the "random dropped call" issue isn't much of an issue. I'm not trying to defend AT&T. I fully admit that I frequently find myself in areas where my service drops to an Edge network, or where I just get nearly no signal. For those reasons listed, I'm going with Verizon, myself. I'll probably get the Thunderbolt if it ever gets released, because my AT&T contract was up at the end of January and I don't think I can wait another 2-3 months to give up this iPhone 3G (which I can't stand).

  • mark

    Im on the old i den with nextel. lookimg to go to verizen this would be like going in to the future for me .cant wait hope they hold tru to 2Q

  • Luke Queen

    I want an atrix phone on the verizon network….To put it bluntly…I want it all….What an exciting techno time it is to be alive!….2011 will be awesome by all measures…..Luke

  • Daishi

    Everything depends on plan prices. 4G won't be coming to my area before 2013, so what would be the point in getting and paying for a 4G phone without the service? Seriously considering the Droid X2 until 4G arrives in my area. About a two year wait sounds about right and who knows what crazy 4G phones will be available then?

  • 22B

    It’s a real dilemma, a real dillemma indeed. I really like the Atrix 4G but I also want to get my hands on the Thunderbolt. But I much rather go with the Droid Bionic. Why? Because it just has that extra mile quality over the Thunderbolt with the HDMI port. I would defiantly pick the Atrix, but two things are stopping me. One it has a 5 mega pixel camera. Second it runs on AT&T. Don’t get me wrong, I love the service it’s reliable. But I go off to spend time with my dad a lot too, so I wouldn’t get the benefits from the 4G or 3G. But on Verizon I’d be on full running 3G out there, and back in the city have that speedy 4G. But on the other hand the Thunderbolt dose have that skyp feature. Which I can use to my advantage. I’ll just really have to see which phone I want more in the end. Whatever of the two it’s just going to piss my pop off. (he has a Droid X :p)

  • Noname

    It’s hard to compare these phones. For my needs, I need the bigger screen and better camera of the Bionic. I have no use for a docking station or a laptop style station. That’s the reason I have a smartphone, so that I won’t need the big accessories. On the other hand, the Atrix does help people eliminate the need for laptops and home internet service if you MUST have screen real estate. Personally, I think it’s a nifty, but useless trick to promote phone sales. I say useless, but I do admit, I would use it on rare occassions, but it doesn’t make up for the smaller screen space and inferior camera that I would be using ALL THE TIME. What I DO like about the Atrix over the Bionic is the fingerprint scanner. All else on the phones are equal, except that images may be more crisp on the Atrix screen because of the smaller size, but when sharing photos to other devices, the Bionic reigns supreme. And oh, AT&T SUCKS!

    So heres how score them:


    Screen size: -1

    Camera: -1

    Docking station: +1

    Fingerprint scanner: +1

    AT&T network: -1 (a phone is only as good as its network)

    Crisper on screen image: +.5


    Camera: +1

    Screen size: +1

    Verizon network: +1

    Fingerprint scanner: – .5 (I’m sure there will be an app for that, so only deducting 1/2 point)

    Docking station: -.5 (in my opinion, more steps backwards than forward)

    Final score:

    Atrix: -.5 Bionic: +2

    (i was being unbiased. I apoligize to those whome opinions differ. These scores are based on MY individual needs, especially being that part of my career depends on photo/video quality taken from my phone. Currently I use a Droid X. Hands down the best camera/video phone currently out.)

    My ideal phone would have the docking station option of the Atrix, the fingerprint scanner of Atrix, and everything else of the Bionic, but picking just one, being that scanning fingerprints and docking to stations is not an actual everyday useful function, nor has any function in operating the device itself, the hands down winner to ME is the Bionic. A tighter comparison would be the Atrix vs the Droid X.

  • Punaner

    Son of bitch. Now that I’m switching carriers they get the atrix. Slimmer sexier and more ram than the bloated bionic. Whatever. Thunderbolt works for now.

  • whatupyo

    1 gig ram is only usable while docked. 512mb when not docked…how does the atrix look now…

  • Bionic Boy

    I've never seen it in print, nor have I heard any AT&T or Motorola reps claim that the Atrix uses DDR2 RAM. Until this is proven, it's mere speculation.

  • jojo

    Just read article that bionic and all high end phones will be coming with atrix dock….hmmm

  • noname

    After doing more research, I found out that ALL Motorola android phones will receive a webtop, and also, the Bionic has the same memory as the Atrix. So you see, the Bionic does everything the Atrix does, just has a bigger screen, better camer, and more pixels.

  • TStephens

    Both phones use the same CPU and the same type of DDR2 ram. The difference it thatthe Atrix has an additional 512 Mb dedicated to docking applications. Unless its docked, it does not utilize the extra memory. Performance wise, both phones are the same. It comes down to whether you want to dock it to your laptop or decide you want a slightly different looking phone. Otherwise its comes down to which network (cough, cough,…Verizon) you would rather have. One phone does not "blow the other away".

    • Buck

      Very well-put. I agree with everything you've said. The only thing I'd add is that the Bionic does not have the additional 512 MB of RAM, when docked with webtop. If you're interested in docking (which I'm not), that gives the Atrix a little bit of a boost.

      Still, the network is the key, to me. I'm switching from AT&T to Verizon for more thorough coverage at home (I'm in a medium-sized, 200K people, metropolitan area but for some reason don't get good AT&T coverage in my house) and in more rural areas. With all that said, I'll probably end up with the Thunderbolt unless I hear about plans to release the Bionic in a month or so. I say probably because, though I've never used either, I'm leaning toward HTC Sense over Moto Blur based on countless reviews.

  • Noname

    AT&T phones are limited to 300kbps loading speed. They both have sane memory, both getting docking webtop/app, Bionic has bigger screen, higher quality screen, more pixels, 8mp camera, faster loading speeds… I’d say the Bionic BLOWS the Atrix away. The ONLY thing Atrix has I wish the Bionic did, is fingerprint scanner. But the Bionic just has so much more to offer.

  • jameskellynet

    The Atrix's webtop kicks ass! I can use my phone as an apple/google tv replacement esp when Netflix & hulu+ are out soon.

    There's no such 300kbps limit on my phone on AT&T.

    If you like Verizon then that's one thing, but network aside (which doesn't matter when you have wifi as in most spots), then the Atrix rules without question. If you're thinking of getting a TV box, just get the Atrix + webtop. Uverse integration is there too and I can watch tons for free.