Motorola Atrix Teardown

February 23, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Motorola Atrix is currently the fastest Android phone on the market, packing an impressive assortment of specs: the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU, 1GB of RAM, and all the trimmings that one would expect to find in a flagship phone.

But the story doesn’t end there. This is also the most-repairable smartphone we’ve ever taken apart! The Atrix was definitely designed for repairability on the inside, just waiting for our loving hands to disassemble it piece by piece.

After all was said and done, the Atrix received a 9 out of 10 repairability score: there were no proprietary screws, you could replace the battery just by popping off the back cover, and the LCD wasn’t even fused to the front panel glass! Our only gripe was that the two central ribbon cables were soldered to several components (like the cameras and proximity sensors), making the cables costly to replace.

Teardown highlights:

  • The LCD is not glued to the front panel glass — something we haven’t seen in quite a long time. So the ~85% of people who drop their Atrix and shatter just the glass won’t have to spend their money on also replacing a fully functional LCD!
  • The Atrix’ back cover comes off easily, providing access to the user-serviceable battery and the microSD slot. There’s also instructions on the inside of the back cover showing how to remove the battery and reconnect the cover. We applaud Motorola’s drive to help its users with this procedure.
  • We didn’t encounter any VOID stickers or things of that sort while taking apart the Atrix, making it even more repair-friendly.
  • A dual-LED flash flanks the 5 MP camera (which is capable of shooting 720p HD video). A software update to be released soon will reportedly allow for full 1080p video capture.
  • Big players on the front of the board include:
    • Elpida B8132B1PB. According to Chipworks, the Elpida contains 1 GB DDR2 RAM, but also covers the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU residing underneath the package.
    • Qualcomm MDM6200 supporting HSPA+ up to 14.4 Mbps
    • Toshiba 16GB NAND Flash
    • Hynix H8BCSOQG0MMR 2-chip memory MCP
  • Two ribbon cables to rule them all: the first cable connects to the front camera, earpiece speaker, power button assembly, and top microphone; the second attaches the rear camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, pressure contacts for the headphone jack, and side volume buttons together. So you’ll have to replace ALL the components attached to that cable if just a single component fails.
  • What a decade can do for cables. We pulled a Parallel ATA cable from an old Dell PC and compared it to one of the Atrix ribbon cables. The PATA cable is 0.66 mm thick, while Atrix’ camera cable measures just 0.17 mm! And they’re routing several components through the same cable!
Final layout

Final layout

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