As well as the head-turning Lapdock, you can also hook your Motorola Atrix up to your HDTV and turn it into an ad-hoc computer with the HD Multimedia dock, wireless keyboard and mouse. Motorola has also produced a little remote control as well for when you’re showing off your holiday snaps, slide show style.
What we like
The HD Multimedia Dock comes with three USB ports and an HDMI out. The HDMI connection is obviously for hooking up to your HDTV or monitor and the USB ports are for things like a keyboard and mouse, but we like that Motorola has left one free for things like USB sticks.
You can also pair up with Motorola’s own Bluetooth keyboard and mouse accessories, conceivably giving you even more USB space.
Motorola’s wireless keyboard that came with our Atrix review model is small, lightweight and compact and features a raised back that gives it a good typing angle.
Some of the keys felt a little flimsy, but they’re otherwise nicely spaced out. One specific thing that we did really like about the keyboard is that you get dedicated Android menu keys. I.e. keys for things like Menu, Home, Back and Search. This makes it easier to access the functions of your phone on the big screen with the simple press of a button.
Of course, you can always use your own Bluetooth accessories if you wish, or a combination of wired/wireless peripherals, however you want to roll.
As with the Lapdock, when you’ve hooked your Atrix up to the big screen via HDMI, it engages the webtop software.
Webtop is a Linux-based OS with a Windows/OS X style interface that comes with full Firefox and Facebook access installed, and still lets you access the functions of your phone.
So you can be doing things like Googling for train times or watching BBC iPlayer through a Firefox window while playing music on Spotify or looking for apps on the Android Market on the Mobile View screen – a window that maps your phone’s homescreen on to a separate panel.
Amazingly, Orange will be bundling all of this, the HD Multimedia Dock, the keyboard and mouse with all Motorola Atrix’s for an additional £50.
What we don’t like
Like the Lapdock, chances are you’d be using this set up mostly in the home. Chances are, you’ll probably have access to a computer or laptop in the home already.
In a pinch, a Motorola Atrix hooked up to an HD Multimedia Dock with a keyboard and mouse can function as a work/entertainment device in place of a laptop. But it’s by no means a replacement for a workstation or proper PC set up. At best, it’s a neat way of getting something extra and useful out of your smartphone. At worst, it’s something of a coffee table item, something to impress your mates with.
We mentioned in the like section above how you’re free to use whatever keyboard and mouse option you want thanks to the USB and Bluetooth connection options.
For some this might be just as well – while we generally liked the feel and set up of the supplied keyboard, some of the keys – particularly the tab and backspace keys – felt a little flimsy. Likewise the mouse is pretty basic and feels a little plasticky.
The maximum resolution output of the Atrix is also 720p. Nothing to be sniffed at by any means – the Atrix’s menus, screens and pictures still scale up nicely on big screens.
But if you’re the kind of person who obsessively has to have the best, highest definition option available, then you might want to consider the likes of the LG Optimus 2X which features full 1080p HDMI mirroring.
If you want an all-in-one way to conveniently show off HD videos shot on your Atrix or access the web on your phone on a big TV then it’s worth considering the Motorola HD Mutlimedia Dock. We like that thanks to the number of USB ports and the fact you can pair the Atrix itself with Bluetooth peripherals means that you can pretty much turn your TV into a Linux computer with Android bits bolted on.
At £50 a throw, the Orange bundle deal is attractively priced as well. The real question you need to ask yourself is do you need it?