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Media consumption is a bit hit and miss on the Motorola Atrix 2. Motorola includes a generic Music app instead of the much more common Google Music app, which syncs with an existing collection. The phone supports the most common file formats, including MP3 and AAC.
It's painfully obvious that AT&T wanted to steer US users clear of competing music services such as Amazon MP3, which isn't included. This bundled service, which is poorly rated by users on the Android Market, does let you purchase songs and then store them in the Amazon cloud for playback on any other device, including your computer.
The 8GB of internal memory is adequate for a few videos and songs, but we quickly ran out of space when we added a few movie files and TV show episodes at 700MB each - although you can expand this by 32GB with the microSD slot.
Motorola includes a music widget you can use for playing songs, but it's nothing more than a quick tool for advancing to the next track and pausing.
Music discovery isn't a strong suit of the Motorola Atrix 2, since there are few "music socialising" apps for finding new artists.
Sound quality on the Motorola Atrix 2 is good, but not great. There was a slight distortion effect when listening on earbuds that should not have been there, since we were using an expensive set by Ultimate Ears. Playback from the Motorola Atrix 2 speakers was poor and tinny, even for a smartphone.
However, Motorola gives you many options: you can connect the Motorola Atrix 2 to a Lapdock system that's like a laptop with no guts, but which does have a screen and keyboard. The Lapdock has built-in speakers that sounded about as good as most laptop speakers which is more than acceptable.
You can connect the phone to an HD TV using a Motorola cable that plugs into the phone. Playback over HDMI to a Sony HD TV sounded just as good as any other device we've tested on the same television.
One minor gripe about movies is that we really prefer the Samsung media Hub system for renting and purchasing Hollywood movies - it makes the process easier.
That said, the included Movies app, while generic and slim on features, at least offered a way to rent the movie Cars 2 easily, and the rental price can even be linked to your AT&T wireless account.
The light and thin phone worked well for movie watching, but we ended up preferring the Samsung Galaxy S2. The S2 has a brighter screen, and the movie Cars 2 popped in a richer colour treatment on that phone. The S2 is also thinner and lighter to hold, which helps for long movie-watching sessions in the car or on the bus.
We played every video format we could think of; the TV show The Killers in WMA, YouTube videos, ripped movies saved as H.264 and MPEG-4, and they all worked smoothly. We wondered why the show The Killers looked a bit dark, but the show tends to look that way on every device - including the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Motorola provides a quick way to access photos - there's a Gallery icon you can use to quickly find photos you've loaded onto the Atrix 2 or snapped with the camera. The app automatically shows photos uploaded to Facebook. There's also an included YouTube app.
Motorola doesn't include an FM radio app on the phone. DLNA is supported for streaming content to a supported device such as the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3.
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John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.
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