LG Lucid (Verizon Wireless) Review
The LG Lucid for Verizon Wireless is a powerful Android smartphone at an unusually low up-front price.
(4 out of 5)
- Dual-core processor
- Supports 4G LTE data speeds
- Bright screen
- 1080p video recording.
- Mediocre reception
- Runs older Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS.
The LG Lucid ($79.99) may be a budget Android smartphone for Verizon Wireless, but it never seems inexpensive. It wasn’t too long ago that 4G LTE data, 1080p video recording, and a dual-core processor were considered high-end, even if cutting edge handsets are just now moving past those specs. That makes the Lucid (check price) a good choice if you don’t need the absolute fastest speeds or latest features, but don’t want to miss out on anything important either.
Design and Call Quality
The LG Lucid measures 4.69 by 2.45 by 0.45 inches (HWD) and weighs 5 ounces. The shell is made entirely of glossy plastic, and appears completely black from the front. There’s an attractive, maroon-colored fade on the tapered back panel that gives the Lucid a classier, more translucent look, at least from that angle.
The 4-inch IPS glass capacitive touch screen is made of Gorilla Glass, and sports a typical-for-Android 800-by-480-pixel resolution. The display is suitably bright and colorful, if not as vivid or with as deep blacks as a Super AMOLED panel. The Lucid supports plenty of gestures, including flipping the device to mute the incoming call, snoozing the alarm, or pausing video playback, as well as tapping on the sides of the device to advance the cursor in either direction while typing; I had trouble triggering the side motions, though.
For typing, you get a choice of either LG’s default keyboard or Swype. Typing in portrait and landscape modes was easy in my tests, but the predictive text still needs work. For the typo “laxy,” I saw five initial suggestions, none of which were “lazy” even though the z is right next to the x, and it capitalized words automatically that weren’t proper names.
The Lucid hits dual-band EV-DO Rev A (850/1900 MHz) and single-band 4G LTE (700MHz) speeds with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. The phone also works as a mobile hotspot for up to 10 devices over LTE, or five over 3G, with the appropriate data plan. Voice quality was good, with a full, loud tone in the earpiece, and clear transmissions through the microphone. Reception was an issue during my tests; I heard plenty of dropouts and computerized syllables, whereas calls to the same numbers with an Apple iPhone 4 on Verizon in the same spot didn’t exhibit these problems. Calls sounded fine through a Jawbone Era headset ($129, 4.5 stars) and voice dialing worked well over Bluetooth. The speakerphone was a disappointment, with only average gain and an unusually tinny and harsh timbre. The 1700mAh battery is good for a solid 6 hours and 43 minutes of talk time.
Hardware, Android, and Apps
The dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 CPU and 1GB RAM is now standard fare for current Android phones. Our benchmark tests pit it roughly equivalent with comparably equipped dual-core Android phones—which means fast, generally speaking, except for occasional sluggishness in the user interface and in scrolling up and down Web pages, which we’ve seen on plenty of Android devices. The poor reception noted above may play a role with data speeds, too—I saw an average of 7Mbps down and just 1.5 Mbps up in a series of tests, which is several Mbps lower than what the more-expensive LG Spectrum ($199.99, 3.5 stars) achieved.
The LG Lucid is yet another of a slew of phones hitting the market with the older Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, which is frustrating. Verizon promises an upgrade to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), but hasn’t set a date yet. There are five home screens you can swipe between, and LG’s customized notifications bar offers one-touch settings for the phone’s various radios. You’ll also find LG’s collapsible categories in the main menu, which helps if you like grouping icons, but it can’t be turned off if you don’t.
As far as bundled apps, LG throws in a copy of Polaris, which is a document-editing suite for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Verizon also preloads Netflix and Kindle apps, cordons off its bloatware into a single menu category. You also get Google Maps Navigation for free, voice-enabled, turn-by-turn GPS directions. The Lucid shares media wirelessly to DLNA-enabled devices, though I don’t know how many people actually use this feature. You also get access to Google Play (formerly the Android Market), with its 400,000+ array of third-party apps, as well as books, music, and movies.
Multimedia, Camera, and Conclusions
There’s 4GB of free internal storage for media, plus 1.34GB of free system memory for installing apps. There’s also a microSD card slot underneath the battery cover; my 32GB SanDisk card worked fine. Music tracks sounded clear through Samsung Modus HM6450 Bluetooth headphones ($99, 4 stars), and the modified music player displayed huge album art screens and a jukebox view in landscape mode. Google Play Music is preloaded, which gives you access to millions of tracks, cloud-based storage, and inexpensive MP3 purchases. Our standard suite of test movies played smoothly in full screen mode and looked vibrant at resolutions up to 1080p, and including H.264, DivX, and XviD files.
The 5-megapixel auto-focus camera features an LED flash, face tracking, and geotagging, but no image stabilization. Test photos looked sharp, albeit with a slightly cool cast. In lower-light settings, focus was a bit softer, and details were lost in dark areas, but the amount of noise was acceptable. Recorded 1920-by-1080-pixel and 1280-by-720-pixel videos played smoothly at 29 frames per second, although they looked a little dark, and the lack of image stabilization made the 1080p video in particular look a bit jumpy. You can record and edit 1080p high-definition videos right on the handset using Video Producer, a basic moviemaking app, and there’s also a front-facing camera for video chats.
It’s tough to fault the Lucid purely on specs. For a budget-priced Android phone, it’s quite impressive, and closer to what was called high-end just six months ago, even if it falls a bit flat with voice calls and LTE data speeds. Consider this: The Lucid absolutely destroys the Samsung Illusion ($79.99, 3 stars), which has a much lower resolution screen, a single-core processor, and lacks 4G LTE support. On the other hand, the LG Spectrum bumps the Lucid’s display to a stunning 1280-by-720-pixel, 4.5-inch panel and includes a faster processor, but it exhibited uneven voice quality and overall performance in our review. Our favorite touch-screen phone on Verizon remains the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx ($299.99, 4.5 stars), which offers insanely long battery life, a slightly larger and sharper screen, and a thinner overall design, although it’s considerably more expensive than the Lucid.
Continuous talk time: 6 hours 43 minutes
By Jamie Lendino, PCMag