LG Lucid 2 Review

April 26, 2013
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Sure, you can find the occasional deal for a super-phone, provided you sign up for a contract–assuming you can sign up for a contract. What about the rest of us? Those of us with bad timing or bad luck? For a long time now, the zero-dollar smartphone has been a “get what you pay for” (I hate that phrase) sort of deal. Are times finally changing?

If you’re signing up for a new contract with Verizon, you can pick up the LG Lucid 2 for the low, low cost of absolutely nothing. But is it worth it? To find out, read on.

In a hurry? Check out the video review or jump to the conclusion at the end of the article.

Specs

  • 4.3-inch display (960 x 540, 256 ppi)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus chipset
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core Krait processor
  • Adreno 225 GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal storage (expandable via microSD)
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera
  • 1.3 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,460 mAh battery

Build Quality & Design

Like a lot of other recent phones from LG, the Lucid 2 has a very rectangular body. Those who prefer their corners rounded may not be super impressed, but as someone who has always preferred the clean look of sharp edges, I like the design for the most part. The silver highlights around the power button and volume rocker weren’t very attractive to me, but the device might have looked a little too simplistic without them.

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The general quality of the build feels solid, especially for a phone that manages to stay on the fairly light side, though I’d be careful about dropping it. To that end, LG has given the removable backing of the Lucid 2 a rougher texture, which should help users keep a grip on the phone during use. I didn’t test the wireless charging backing (which is sold separately), so I can’t say whether or not this provides a noticeable difference.

Display

We wouldn’t blame you for looking at the resolution and thinking that if it isn’t even 720p, it’s not worth your time, but despite the relatively low pixel count, the LG Lucid 2 packs a surprisingly nice display. With a 4.3-inch display size and 960 x 540 resolution, we’re looking at a pixel density of 256 ppi. Not the sharpest we’ve seen, but still not bad.

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No pixelation was readily apparent, and text and images were rendered very sharply despite the lower pixel density. As a result, the text and icons might appear slightly oversized, but this didn’t present itself as a problem during testing. Colors are very vivid–nearly oversaturated, actually–but images are well represented. Black levels were fairly good and the display was bright enough to be visible in bright sunlight.

Performance

We’ve seen these dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets enough by now to understand what kind of performance we should expect. To make sure the LG Lucid 2 held up we started off with our go-to benchmark, AnTuTu. We ran a total of 10 benchmarks over the course of two days under differing conditions. When all was said and done, the final average score was 11,686. We also attempted to run Epic Citadel, which ran once and crashed, never to run again, even after reinstalling.

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In real-world use, we found that the LG Lucid 2 lived up to our expectations. Attempting to slow the phone down by quickly scrolling through home screens and the app drawer was unsuccessful, and with the exception of a few first-run issues, apps launched very quickly. The Adreno 225 isn’t the most powerful GPU, but the few games we did try ran well, and we didn’t notice any hiccups or slowdowns.

Software

The LG Lucid 2 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, skinned with the same overlay that we see on most every LG phone. While a lot of our readers and viewers prefer stock Android, LG’s overlay is a lot more customizable than TouchWiz or HTC Sense. If you need more customization it’s always easy enough to install a custom launcher.

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When it comes to the preinstalled software, there is definitely a good amount of bloatware scattered amongst the occasional useful app. Verizon has included an awful lot of stuff that many users will likely never touch, but there are some useful apps included as well. A file browser is always welcome, and the version of Polaris Office 4 included is actually usable, unlike the crippled versions that ship with some phones.

A large pile of Amazon has been dumped all over the LG Lucid 2 as well, which may be handy if you do a lot of shopping, but we would still prefer it if this could be removed.

Camera

What do you say about a mid-range smartphone camera that hasn’t already been said about a thousand other mid-range smartphone cameras before? This one is actually fairly usable as long as the lighting is good. Outdoor pictures, for example came out very well, providing that the phone was held steady during the shot. Low light performance is nowhere near as good, but that is the case with many cameras, even on high-end phones, with rare exceptions.

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The 5 MP rear-facing camera features 1080p video capture, while the 1.3 MP front-facing camera captures 720p video. The video is generally fairly useful, though the sensor takes a very long time to auto-adjust to different lighting conditions. This is very noticeable in videos, and while it isn’t the only problem with the video (there is some jerkiness apparent in 1080p), it is definitely the most prominent issue.

Battery

Packing in a 2,460 mAh battery paired with the power-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset, the LG Lucid 2 has some very nice battery life. During 8 hours of heavy testing, including benchmarking and other CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks, the battery dropped from 100 percent to around 30 percent. During a full day (around 16 hours) of “normal” use, including plenty of switching between networks and different service areas, the phone still had 20 percent when it was finally plugged in for the night.

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If that wasn’t enough, the LG Lucid 2 also has a removable battery. Those who want to look for an extended battery or carry a charged spare can do so to their heart’s content, although the stock battery should be enough for most people. Unless, of course, reviewing phones is your job or something crazy like that.

Video Review

Conclusion

To echo my sentiments from the video review just above this, the LG Lucid 2 would have had to do a lot wrong to not earn itself a recommendation, given the fact that the phone costs nothing but a two-year contract. Yes, the camera isn’t the best and there are certainly better performing phones out there, but for the price, this is definitely something worth considering if you’re already looking at a two-year stint with Verizon.

What do you think of the LG Lucid 2? Any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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