Motorola Atrix Vs Samsung Galaxy S 2: The verdict

We compare the two hottest dual-core handsets to find a winner...

Which one deserves a space in your pocket?

The dual-core phones are here. The next wave of smartphones are built with a much brawnier and brainier architecture than before, and the extra processing power gives way to a host of new features.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Buds review: amazing Galaxy S10 freebie, not a must-buy

Here we have two prime examples of this new wave: the Motorola Atrix and the Samsung Galaxy S 2, both of which are already prime candidates for phone of the year, and both of which appear atop the T3 Hot 100 2011. But which one should you buy? We've pulled them together for a head-to-head.

Reading time? About 10 minutes. Deliberating time saved in the phone shop? Limitless. Read on, dual-core pioneer…

Motorola Atrix Vs Samsung Galaxy S 2: Build

Motorola Atrix | Motorola Atrix Review
Solid and well built, the Atrix 2.2 and exudes a restrained air of competence and power, a bit like a top-class bodyguard. It dresses all in black like one, too. It runs Android (2.2) - Froyo - overlaid with Motoblur, offering excellent Twitter and Facebook integration and useful Motorola widgets.

The four-inch, 960x540 touchscreen is responsive, bright, with bold colours. There's less fine detail than on the iPhone 4, but the slightly larger size and very pure whites do go some way towards making up for that. The speaker on the back ridge musters an excellent volume level. Quality is also good, if not exceptional, through the 3.5mm output.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 | Samsung Galaxy S 2 Review
Pick up the phone and the first thing you notice is how light it is – it's just 116g. Measuring 8.49mm, it's incredibly slim in comparison to 9.9mm for the original Galaxy S; 9.3mm for theApple iPhone 4 and 8.7mm for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. While the Galaxy S2 will certainly fit into the tightest jeans pocket, the compromise is build quality - the body just feels cheap and uninspiring.

Things don't improve when you remove the wafer thin back to insert a sim - we'd be seriously worried about snapping it. Controls are limited to volume on one side, power on the other, MHL port, which serves a dual purpose of charging via USB and outputting to HDMI, and a 3.5mm jack on the top, Samsung includes a range of streaming options including DLNA.

Motorola Atrix Vs Samsung Galaxy S 2: Processor

Motorola Atrix | Motorola Atrix Review
The dualcore Tegra 2 processor never feels slow. You can quickly swap between browser windows, maps, games and video playback without any problems. At the moment there aren't many games or apps that make the most of the extra processing oomph, although it handles Samuari II Vengeance very well - with smooth motion. Dock the Atrix in the Lapdock or HDMI-connected Multimedia Dock, select the Webtop mode and things get seriously next-gen. On the bigger screen, app shortcuts are arranged along the bottom. You can also add bookmarks or web apps; settings are accessed in the top corner.

You can read and edit email attachments using Quick Office, access web-based apps such as Google Docs and Sugar Sync and access a full Windows desktop. The docks also give you a full-screen Firefox browser. This works a treat on both our 42-inch TV and Moto's 11.6-inch Lapdock, streaming, YouTube and BBC iPlayer at speed over Wi-Fi. Motorola's slick Entertainment Centre also makes a good fist of showcasing your phone's media files.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 | Samsung Galaxy S 2 Review
The Galaxy S2 has a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor. In use the phone feels incredibly quick – one of the fastest smartphones we've used. Indeed, whether you're browsing a web page or swapping between applications it never feels slow and seems to manage all your tasks with gusto. During our tests it loads web pages over WiFi quicker than the iPhone 4 - loading a content-rich website like - replete with Adobe Flash banners and carousels - in just 15 seconds.

This isn't an Nvidia Tegra 2 chip, so we couldn't download games designed specifically for this (such as Samurai II: Vengence THD), but there are a decent selection of games to play on Android as is, and it won't sturggle to run any of them. We defy anyone to not enjoy Shrek Karting with the 3-axis gyroscope, and it ably handles speedy gameplay. Photo processing and editing on the phone is also speedy, with no noticable lag across the whole user experience.

Motorola Atrix Vs Samsung Galaxy S 2: Camera

Motorola Atrix | Motorola Atrix Review
The 5-megapixel camera capture 720p movies, they're a little soft and although colours are bright, the colour balance notivably shifted a couple of times depending on the light, although this could be because of our sample was early.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 | Samsung Galaxy S 2 Review
Samsung has boosted the camera resolution from 5-megapixels to 8-megapixels, instead of a dedicated shutter; you tap the virtual shutter, which is fairly quick if not quite as nippy as the offering on the iPhone 4. Stills results are pleasing; the S2 is pretty good at controlling noise and colours are very natural. The S2 shoots HD video at 720p and 1080p at 30fps and results are good; it's smooth, with natural colours, although perhaps lacking a little definition.

Motorola Atrix Vs Samsung Galaxy S 2: Verdict

This is a race without a clear winner. As with most tech purchasing decisions, your phone of choice should depend on what you plan on doing with it. The Samsung Galaxy S 2 is a solid, hard-working dual-core phone that's probably a better all-round general smartphone, if only because it's thinner, lighter and its camera produces better results than that of the Atrix.

The Atrix, on the other hand, blows the Galaxy S 2 out of the water with its extra features. The fact that the Atrix can be turned into a proper computer or media centre shows how dual-core tech in phones will be used in the future - as much more than just phones. It's impressive, but if you don't think that you'll purchase a monitor and dock, or the bespoke laptop dock, then it's a wasted effort. Although that's not to say that it's not a brilliant phone in its own right.

At the end of the day, the winner of this particular dual-core head to head is you: you really can't go wrong with either, so long as you buy with your needs in mind. Made a decision? Let us know on the T3 Twitter feed.