Long battery life; Fast LTE speeds; Starter mode simplifies Android for first-time smartphone users; Excellent camera performance
Relatively dim display; Exterior becomes hot while playing games
Verizon's LG Lucid 2 offers fast LTE speeds, long battery life and a Starter mode that's great for first-time smartphone users.
Getting a smartphone with fast 4G LTE speeds doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Case in point: LG's Lucid 2. This handset for Verizon Wireless --which is free with two-year contract -- offers users all-day battery life and a Starter mode that simplifies the smartphone experience, making it great for first-time smartphone users. Find out if this freebie is worth the commitment.
Below the display are four Android buttons: Settings, Recent Apps, Home and Back. The four-button style is a bit old school, as most handset makers have offered just three buttons since Google released Android Ice Cream Sandwich. We generally prefer three buttons, as four makes the lower half of the phone look too crowded.
LG wisely chose to do away with the slippery, glossy-coated rear panel found on the original Lucid and replaced it with a textured, removable black panel, which gives the Lucid 2 some needed grip. A 5-MP camera and LED flash, as well as a silver LG emblem and Verizon 4G LTE logo, sit on the back of the phone.
At 4.1 ounces and 0.39 inches thick, the 4-inch Lucid 2 feels extremely light. That said, it's slightly chunkier, though lighter, than the 4.3-inch Motorola Droid Razr M, which is 4.4 ounces and 0.32 inches thick.
Our biggest criticism of the Lucid 2 is that the screen just isn't very bright. With the phone's brightness turned up to 100 percent, the handset registered only 281 lux on our light meter. In contrast, the Motorola Razr M provided a brightness rating of 449 lux, and the average smartphone's brightness hits 374 lux.
Take the Lucid 2 outside during an afternoon with heavy cloud cover, and you'll still have trouble viewing the display. What's disappointing here is that LG's first-generation Lucid offered an impressive brightness rating of 610 lux. What's more, the Lucid 2's viewing angles are rather shallow, as the screen quickly washes out at angles greater than 40 degrees.
The Lucid 2's brightness becomes even more of a problem during heavy usage. When the handset's overheating feature kicks in, it automatically reduces the screen's brightness, making it even dimmer.
LG positioned the Lucid 2's speaker along the back panel, so the audio becomes muffled when you place the phone on a flat surface with the screen facing upward. When you hold the Lucid 2, however, the audio is loud enough to fill a small office, and surprisingly clear for a budget smartphone. When we listened to Fiest's "The Bad in Each Other," guitar riffs and drum crashes were easily audible, though much of what we heard had a slightly tinny sound.
LG loaded the Lucid 2 with its own keyboard, complete with a Swype-like tracing function and handwriting recognition. The tracing function worked surprisingly well, accurately inputting last names and other proper nouns without our having to save them to the Lucid's dictionary. We were equally impressed by the handwriting feature, which was able to quickly translate our chicken scratch into coherent sentences.
Swiping down from the top of the screen reveals the Notifications menu, which offers shortcuts to LG's QuickMemo app, as well as the controls for the handset's Bluetooth, vibrate and other functions. The bottom of the screen includes shortcuts to the Lucid 2's Dialer, Contacts, Camera, Messaging and Apps Drawer.
Overall, we found Starter mode to be helpful, though we preferred the Easy Experience mode found on AT&T's Pantech Discover. That phone made icons easier to read and tap.
On the Quadrant benchmark -- which tests a phone's CPU, graphics and I/O performance -- the Lucid 2 scored 5,884. That's better than both the category average of 3,049 and the Droid Razr M's (1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor and 1GB of RAM) score of 4,495. The Lucid 2 made an even better showing on the Benchmark CPU test, scoring 4,932; that tops the Razr M's score of 4,641 and the category average of 3,358.
The one place where the Lucid 2 stumbled a bit was in the graphics department. On the An3DBench graphics test, the handset scored 7,149. That's barely better than the category average of 7,127, and below the Razr M's score of 7,335.
You might want to think twice before scratching your gaming itch on this phone. The Lucid 2's bezel got disturbingly hot when we played a game for more than 15 minutes. During an extended playthrough of "Super Monsters Ate My Condo," the device reached a scorching 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The quad-core-powered HTC One, on the other hand, reached 105 degrees.
The Lucid 2 comes with 8GB of onboard storage, which can be augmented with an additional 64GB of space via the phone's microSD card slot.
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Camera and Camcorder
Images taken using the Lucid 2's 5-MP rear-facing camera were sharp and boasted vibrant colors. Radiant greens from a trio of freshly blossomed trees stood out starkly against the gray facade of a nearby office building as the bright yellows of taxis passed in and out of the frame. A 1080p video offered equally crisp visuals and colors that popped off the screen. Images taken using the 1.3-MP front-facing camera were slightly blurred, making it difficult to make out fine details.
The Lucid 2's powerful Video Editor app was especially useful, giving us the ability to edit video clips, add transitions and sound effects, stitch scenes together and embed text.
LG File Share gives users the ability to send and receive files from compatible devices via Wi-Fi Direct, while LG's QuickMemo lets you snap a screenshot of the last thing you were looking at and write on it using your finger. Unfortunately, we found the feature too difficult to use with our fingers due to the Lucid 2's relatively small 4-inch display.
4G LTE and Web Browsing
Battery Life and Call Quality
Call quality over Verizon's voice network was clear during test calls made to a landline. The caller barely noticed the background noise while we were standing on a busy street corner, and we had no problem hearing him.
Pricing and Value
Verizon is currently offering the LG Lucid 2 for free to customers who sign up for a two-year contract with the carrier. Verizon's recommended Share Everything Plan offers 2GB of 4G LTE data, as well as unlimited text and voice, for $100 per month.
If you're a first-time smartphone buyer and don't think you'll use the Lucid 2 to access the Web frequently, you can always move down to the 1GB plan, which costs $90 per month.
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|Phone Display Size||4.3|
|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Android 4.1|
|Networks||1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA, 700 MHz LTE|
|Data||EV-DO Rev. A|
|CPU||1.7-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus|
|Processor Family||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus|
|Memory Expansion Type||microSD Card|
|Display (main)||4.3-inch qHD AH-IPS display|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth 4.0|
|Front Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Camera Resolution||5 MP|
|Talk / Standby Time|
|Size||4.8 x 2.5 x 0.4 inches|
|SAR Rating (Head)|
|SAR Rating (Body)|