The LG Lucid for Verizon Wireless targets first-time smartphone users looking for speed. Not only does this $79 Android phone connect to Verizon's 4G fast LTE network, it also provides quick access to the camera and other apps right from the lock screen. The Lucid also sports a bright 4-inch display and dual-core processor. Read on to find out if this handset measures up to the value-priced competition.
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Click to EnlargeWhile the LG Lucid is coated in glossy plastic, it doesn't look or feel cheap. Plus, this phone is lighter and more compact than similarly priced Android phones.
Gorilla Glass protects the Lucid's 4-inch display, ensuring that it can take some abuse. A chrome LG logo sits along the top of the phone, across from the front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera in the right hand corner. A Verizon insignia rests at the bottom next to four capacitive touch buttons (Menu, Home, Back and Search).
Click to EnlargeA slim sliver band runs along the sides of the phone that bulges slightly at the top. Although it's an interesting design note, a number of people asked us if the Lucid was an antiquated flip phone. A small sliver stud sits on the top left side of the phone, mirroring the power button on the right. Yes, it's a nice accent, but we foresee many users repeatedly pressing the faux button expecting something to happen. A glossy black volume rocker and a microUSB slot also sit on the left side.
The black-and-magenta striped rear panel is the Lucid's most eye-catching feature. A 5-megapixel camera and a LED sits along the top of the panel with a slim long speaker at the top.
At 4.7 x 2.5 x 0.45-inches, the 5-ounce Lucid is smaller and lighter than the 5 x 2.6 x 0.4-inch, 5.6-ounce Motorola Droid Bionic. The 5 x 2.6 x 0.5-inch HTC Rezound outweighs both devices at 6 ounces.
Display and Audio
Click to EnlargeAt 610 lux, the Lucid's 800 x 480 NOVA display is one of the brightest we've seen. It shattered the 304 lux category average for Android smartphones. We pitted the Lucid against the Samsung Galaxy S II (AT&T) 213 lux display, and immediately noticed the Lucid's brighter picture and deeper, richer colors.
During the YouTube trailer of "Mirror Mirror," the Lucid delivered deep blacks with bold, luscious reds, blues and golds. However, Snow White's usually clear complexion was marred with unsightly pixels, as was her sky-blue dress. While the Rezound's 4.3-inch display was just 278 lux, it has a much higher resolution of 1280 x 720.
Audio left something to be desired. We listened to a variety of tracks, including Selena Gomez's "Love You Like a Love Song," Ludacris' "How Low Can You Go" and Guns N' Roses "November Rain." Vocals sounded rather muted, while bass lines and synthesized instrumentals were distorted. Slash's guitar solo on "November Rain" was tinny and slightly grating.
Click to EnlargeBoth the LG and the Swype keyboard on the Lucid provide light haptic feedback, but Swype trace technology let us send texts faster. However, when we had to do more deliberate typing, we preferred the LG keyboard due to its large keys and generous spacing.
Software and User Interface
The LG Lucid ships with Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) with the promise of an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) update sometime in the future. Similar to the LG Spectrum, LG heavily skins Google's OS on this device, but there are some pretty nifty features.
Click to EnlargeFirst, the Lucid has four shortcuts on the lock screen that lets you launch directly into the camera, phone, messaging or voicemail with a downward swipe. We appreciated this convenience, but wished we could customize this screen.
Widgets for Yahoo! Weather, Google Search and Dialer are preloaded. Icons for Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Apps sit at the bottom of the display in an omnipresent clear panel. Mini-notifications for email, updates, signal strength, battery life and a clock sit in the top system bar. Swiping down form the top of the display reveals the Notification Bar, which gives a full listing of recent activities and quick access to settings for Vibrate, Bluetooth, GPS, Airplane and Wi-Fi.
Click to EnlargeApplications on the Apps page are separated into seven categories (Communication, Verizon Wireless, Media, News & Search, Tools, Applications and Downloads), which should apeal to smartphone novices. You can rearrange, delete or remove categories to make searching for apps a little easier.
The Lucid integrates a number of gestures to make using the phone more intuitive and includes a link to watch tutorial videos. Like HTC phones, you can flip the handset over to mute incoming calls, but you can also use this move to snooze your alarm or mute video playback. And if you tap the sides of the phone, you can navigate through photos without having to touch the screen. You can also move the cursor backward or forward when enterting text by tapping the sides of the device. These gestures worked well so long as we used significant force.
The LG Lucid comes preloaded with apps from LG, Verizon, Google and Yahoo. Many of the apps, such as Google+, My Verizon Mobile, SmartShare and Yahoo! Finance can't be uninstalled.
LG's Video Producer was the bright spot among the app flotsam. Using images and video taken with the phone's camera, we stitched together our own video creations. In addition, we could choose from six different backgrounds and add text overlays and a music track to make our movie slicker. Video Producer is fun and highly accessible.
Click to EnlargeCasual gaming favorites "Plants Vs Zombies" and "Let's Golf 3" helped kill some time. Third-party apps include Netflix, YouTube, Polaris Office, Richnote and Amazon Kindle.
Powered by a dual-core 1.2-GHz Qualcomm processor with 1GB of RAM, the Lucid can hang with some of the higher-end phones on the market. It scored 2,067 on Benchmark CPU, 304 points above the Android phone category average. Still, the Motorola Droid Bionic and its TI OMAP 4430 CPU scored 2,995 while the HTC Rezound and its 1.5-GHz Qualcomm MDM9600 notched a blazing 3,120.
When we tested graphical performance, the Lucid delivered an impressive 7,396 on An3DBench. That's well above the 5,933 category average. It was also enough to pull ahead of the Rezound and the Droid Bionic, which scored 7,331 and 6,990 respectively.
Despite having four open Web browsers, we were assaulted by zombies at a steady clip on "Plants Vs Zombies." Applications also opened swiftly, and the camera captured images at relatively fast clip for a phone at this price.
The LG Lucid comes with 8GB of internal memory that can be expanded to 32GB via the microSD slot.
Web Browser and 4G LTE
Click to EnlargeWhen we were surfing the Web, the LG Lucid delivered the consistently fast speeds we've come to expect from Verizon's 4G LTE network. The phone averaged speeds of 2.9, 4.2 and 5.4 seconds loading mobile sites such as NYTimes.com, CNN.com and ESPN.com. The desktop version of Laptopmag.com took slightly longer at 9.7 seconds. On Speedtest.net, the handset averaged download speeds of 12.9 Mbps. Upload speeds were just as swift at 7.8 Mbps.
Camera and Camcorder
Click to EnlargeSnapping shots using the rear-facing 5 megapixel camera was fairly quick, taking approximately a second in between shots. The majority of our test images of flowers in outside our neighborhood deli were fairly sharp. We were really impressed with the color accuracy: Deep crimsons and ochres popped.
The vivid color and sharpness continued in our 1080p video. Our test footage of NYC traffic yielded deep yellows and reds, and was sharp enough for us to read the ads on the taxis whizzing past. The camera swiftly adjusted for light fluctuations when we panned skyward and back down to street level.
Images taken via the front-facing VGA camera lacked the sharpness of the rear-facing camera, but still managed to deliver impressive colors. During our Skype chat, our caller reported a somewhat grainy image, but with little latency and clear audio. Video was fuzzy on our end and we saw about 1 second of lag when the caller moved. Audio was nice and loud.
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During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over 4G LTE), the Lucid lasted 5 hours and 4 minutes. That's 43 minutes below the 5:47 category average but better than many smartphones with LTE radios, many of which last under 4.5 hours. The Rezound lasted 5:02.
Read: The 10 Longest-Lasting Smartphones
During test calls to New Jersey and New York on landlines and cellphones, we heard loud, warm voices coming through the LG Lucid. Speakerphone quality was a mixed bag, delivering noticeable echoes during calls. A few of our callers complained that our voice dropped out at certain points, but mainly reported loud, clear audio.
Click to EnlargeThe LG Lucid packs a lot of good stuff into its small frame. For an affordable $79, consumers get a device with a bright and vivid display, solid 4G LTE speeds and features that make Android more approachable and fun for smartphone newbies. However, the HTC Rezound offers Beats-enhanced audio and a sharper 720p display for $49, making it the best deal right now on Verizon. Nevertheless, those who prefer something less bulky will find plenty to like in the LG Lucid.