Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

Summary: The Atrix 4G and innovative laptop dock impressed me enough to get my "CES best of show" designation, so is the pair worth $499?

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The ToyBox tells us the details about the Motorola Atrix 4G superphone including pricing and shipping dates. The Atrix 4G and innovative laptop dock impressed me enough to get my "CES best of show" designation, so is the pair worth $499? The answer is a resounding "maybe".

First the details as provided by The ToyBox: the Atrix 4G will hit AT&T shelves on March 6, with ordering available Feb. 13. The phone will sell for $199.99 with a 2-year contract with AT&T. The laptop dock, basically a shell for working with the phone, will be available bundled with the Atrix for $499.99. That's a hefty price and even though the bundle is cool as can be, it gives pause to the decision to pull the trigger on the purchase.

The laptop dock has no memory, processor nor storage onboard. It is essentially a shell that looks like a thin, light laptop, and contains a laptop screen, keyboard, battery, oversized trackpad and ports. There is a dock behind the laptop display (see photo above) that accepts the phone. Once the Atrix 4G is docked, the "laptop" provides easy interaction with the phone, which becomes the laptop processor, memory and storage. The phone also supplies connectivity to the AT&T "4G" network. The laptop dock has its own battery for all-day computing, and even charges the phone while docked.

The ideal candidate for the Atrix/ laptop dock bundle is a professional who frequently travels. This user carries a laptop anyway, and replacing it with the thinner, lighter dock will result in a package easier to carry. The Atrix 4G laptop software lets the user interact with the phone, and run all apps on the full screen of the laptop. Business users are likely to work with Microsoft Office documents, and since several apps exist for Android that provide that capability the Atrix bundle should fill that need.

The primary issue is the $500 price tag for the bundle, which is a significant investment. The phone alone is $200, so the laptop dock is in essence a $300 limited notebook. Some folks will have a problem with that, since a full Windows netbook can be purchased for that price. Others may find the easier travel to be worth the price of the dock. It shouldn't be overlooked that Android apps are much cheaper than netbook apps, especially programs like MS Office, and the price comparison should take that into account.

There is no question the Atrix 4G and the laptop dock is the coolest thing to come along in a while. That may tip the scale to the purchase for some who find that a desirable trait. A multimedia dock can be added for another $190 that turns the phone into a HD set top box, connecting to the TV in the hotel room on business trips. Kind of an all-in-one solution for the tech aficionado.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Laptops

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18 comments
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  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    The prices of these accessories have greatly reduced my interest in the device, essentially these addons are what set the Atrix 4G apart from a very large pack of Tegra 2 slate phones coming soon, but that's meaningless if they're priced too high to be considered.
    Ghaleon_R
    • Specially when a $5 cable can provide the same functionality

      @Ghaleon_R At $500, the "neat" feature is no longer that "neat".
      wackoae
      • Atrix is no more than a netbook

        interesting device, but everyone agrees. 500 is way too much.

        ATT wants to make up for lost money on the iPhone. Or Motorola needs to ramp up their market loss. This is not the way to do it.

        In three months, they will have all kinds of competition. The time to sell, and sell a lot is now. Not when everyone else is doing the same.

        200 for the phone an 100 for the dock.. great. 200 for the phone and 200 for the dock. not really.. 300 for the dock. Come on, its not even a netbook!

        ATT is missing the a bull target thats a foot away. Thats soo foolish.
        Uralbas
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    I expected the laptop-dock to be closer to the $200-300 range (non-contract/bundled) -- I guess I was kidding myself!

    Unless they added a lot of polish to the web-top interface, I don't see business people using the laptop dock as a replacement (even on short trips). In the CES demos, the web-top software was just too limited. They provided a decent web-browser, but to access any good applications you had to use the "Phone Terminal" app (for lack of a better term).

    Then again, it lines up with Google's vision that apps and data should be moved to the cloud and that we don't really need a whole lot of power / storage in our computing devices.

    If other companies are like mine though, we have way too many legacy apps that require a Windows environment... even the sales guys have to tether into our network via their Windows PCs at some point. If you compare it at the bundle price ($300), then it's probably on par with the other net-tops.... but if you compare it at the $500+/- stand-alone price, you can get a lot more for your money by buying a stand-alone laptop.
    josh@...
    • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

      @josh@... my understanding is the MOT folks are using these instead of laptops in conjunction with Google Apps.
      msanto00
    • You should try to get rid of as many legacy Win32 applications as you can

      every year. Sooner or later, you will have a lot simpler, safer, more functional infrastructure.
      DonnieBoy
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    A very innovative product that will not reach its potential because of price.
    Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • Not that innovative

      @ptorning The same exact functionality can be provided by using standard interfaces and a $5 cable.
      wackoae
  • Just for me???

    This statement is me:

    "The ideal candidate for the Atrix/ laptop dock bundle is a professional who frequently travels. This user carries a laptop anyway, and replacing it with the thinner, lighter dock will result in a package easier to carry. The Atrix 4G laptop software lets the user interact with the phone, and run all apps on the full screen of the laptop. Business users are likely to work with Microsoft Office documents, and since several apps exist for Android that provide that capability the Atrix bundle should fill that need."

    I travel frequently (finding even my netbook a pain to carry); primarily use Google Apps for Business; OpenOffice and the Microsoft Web Apps Notebook / Desktop OneNote combination. My contract is up on an old Verizon Smartphone and I usually find myself paying for Boingo on the road, or Goingo in the air (or whatever they are called).

    I am thinking the Atrix / Lapdock is perfect for me. What am I not considering.

    My alternative was a Xoom / Bionic combo - that is more expensive.
    HeartStrong07
    • How is the Xoom cheaper when it cost $700??

      @KACarter07 NT
      wackoae
      • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

        @wackoae No, I was saying the Xoom / Bionic would be more expensive but obviously, the Lapdock is no Xoom
        HeartStrong07
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    Too expensive.
    Considering I can get the phone for $199.
    Sorry but the laptop dock is not worth it.
    Maybe the whole shooting match for $299 with a 2yr?

    :(
    rhonin
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    499 for everything right out of the gate is pretty damn reasonable if you ask me, especially considering Matthew Miller thinks the LG G-Slate or G-Spot or whatever the hell its called will ring in around $550 PLUS a 2 year contract, and that's not nearly as multi-functional as this. Besides, it will probably drop to 399 after a month or two.

    The true predictor of this thing's success will in-fact be the usefulness of the Webtop operating environment. If it's too clunky or too neutered, it won't sell at any price.
    Playdrv4me
  • LMAO... nt

    ...
    doctorSpoc
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    Remember too that this combo does to require a separated data plan, just the tether package, saving about $40 a month over a netbook plan.
    alpster1
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    I was pumped to get this as I am eligible for ATT upgrade with unlimited data plan. no way now! MAYBE get Atrix and keep my netbook. Disappointed with ATT!!!
    flyfishermandmc
  • RE: Is the Motorola Atrix and laptop dock worth $500?

    It would make sense if the $500 comes with a year-long data package; lest add another $40 times 12 months ($40x12=$480) for data along ontop of the cost of the phone and shell.
    orobi
  • Yeah, it's worth it

    I think its worth it... certainly worth a lot more than any tablet on the market.

    I'm doing an experiment to see if I can make the Motorola Atrix my full time PC. http://ronrule.com/2011/03/19/motorola-atrix-pc-replacement/
    ronrule