LG Lucid Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Just a little bit over a couple of months ago, LG finally matched its competitors over on Verizon’s lineup by bringing to market the Spectrum – a device that brought some exciting features at $200 on-contract. For those on a tight budget and prefer something more form fitting in the hand, the LG Lucid seems to be all the things you find yourself dreaming about during those sleepy nights. At $79.99 with a 2-year contract, it’s more than half the price of its fully equipped sibling in the Spectrum, but fortunately for it, the Lucid retains much of the same hardware specs while flaunting a smaller shell. Literally a bundle of joy, let’s hope that it stays like that.

Design:

Departing from the usual design characteristics akin to the Optimus line, we’re especially relived to find the LG Lucid sporting a different design. At first, it bears some kind of conventional design, but after taking a peek at its sides, we’re instantly fond the entire package. Yes, it’s constructed out of glossy plastic, which tends to easily smudge, but we like the cool sparkly red pattern it’s flaunting in the rear. In addition, we like its solid construction, accompanying weight, angular cutouts, and comfortable feel in the hand – and it’s pretty compact for a device packing a 4-inch display!



You can compare the LG Lucid with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Somewhat prone to some accidental presses, its set of Android capacitive buttons are scrunched tightly next to one another and positioned very close to the bottom edge of the display. On the opposite side, we find its front-facing VGA (640 x 480) camera and tiny looking earpiece.


Complementing its chic appearance, we like how the circular sized dedicated power button is placed snuggly in the top right corner of the smartphone. Besides that, we also find its 3.5mm headset, noise cancellation microphone, volume control, microUSB port, and standard mic around its sides. Interestingly, there’s another circular button on the opposite side of the power one, but it does nothing and is simply there for aesthetic purposes.


Around the rear, the handset continues to impress us because it’s packing a 5-megapixel auto-focus snapper with an LED flash, and the ability to shoot 1080p videos. Prying off the rear cover, we’re granted access to its 1,700 mAh battery, microSIM slot, and spring loaded microSD card slot.



Display:

Instead of boasting a 720p display like the Spectrum, the Lucid tones it down by simply offering a reasonable 4” WVGA (480 x 800) IPS LCD touchscreen. Honestly, it’s still one sharp looking thing thanks to its 233 ppi pixel density, decent viewing angles, high contrast, and iridescent color production. Sometimes, we can get lost in the hype surrounding 720p and above displays, but seriously, we’re still enticed by the one on this smartphone.



LG Lucid 360-degrees View:





Interface and Functionality:

Underneath it all, the LG Lucid presents us with the usual customized Android experience that we’ve seen in many LG devices in the past. Specifically, it’s the latest version of the Optimus UI running on top of Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread – so yeah, it’s no Ice Cream Sandwich. In any event, it’s mentioned that an update will eventually come, but there’s no exact timeframe on its availability. Rather than mopping about it all, the interface has some additional enhancements to make it somewhat fresh. For example, it displays this cool new glass jar animation as the handset is charging, while tapping on the left/right sides of the phone with our palm allows us to move between photos in the gallery. Of course, it’s nice and all to have that functionality, but it isn’t as practical as just swiping stuff with our finger.


Again, we find ourselves having to adapt in typing up messages on a 4-inch display, mainly because we’ve been spoiled by some other larger handset. Exhibiting a decent amount of responsiveness, we’re still a bit cautious of our rate of input due to its smaller buttons, but nevertheless, the Swype keyboard seems easier to handle than the one from LG.


When it comes to email, the Lucid is more than ample to give us that great Gmail experience, but its sole limitation is the fact that its smaller display means more scrolling with longer emails. Aside from that, the experience is the same on any other Android smartphone.


Being a Verizon smartphone and all, the carrier’s presence is easily recognized in apps like V CAST Apps, Backup Assistant, My Verizon Mobile, V CAST Tones, and VZ Navigator. Additionally, there are quite a few preloaded third party apps as well – these include Amazon Kindle, Let’s Golf 3, Plants vs Zombies, and Netflix.

Processor and Memory:

Luckily, LG didn’t skimp out with the handset’s processing power, mainly because it’s running a dual-core processor just like what’s in the Spectrum. Specifically, it’s a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 CPU coupled with 1GB of RAM. With most basic tasks, it exhibits the usual responsiveness that we’re familiar experiencing, but when it’s tested by other processor intensive tasks, such as using a live wallpaper, some choppiness become evident with its movement. In the long run, however, the choppiness never becomes an aggravating burden – though, it’s simply just noticeable.

Out of the box, its internal memory breaks down to 4GB of storage, with another 1.32GB reserved strictly for apps. Thankfully, we can supplement its capacity by throwing in a microSD card up to 32GB in size.

Internet and Connectivity:

Blazing through the air waves, the LG Lucid and its 4G LTE connectivity is able to load our web site in under 20 seconds. There’s no arguing about its lovable data speeds, but as far as the total package is concerned, we find the web browsing experience to be alright for most things. Of course, we like that Adobe Flash support grants us that desktop-like experience on the smartphone, but it’s a tad bit choppy with its navigational controls. Certainly, it’s not all that bad, but it’s something that visually stands out more than others.


Despite being limited to Big Red’s network, as opposed to being a world device, we do like the fast LTE speeds we’re able to obtain on the Lucid. In fact, it’s able to deliver maximum download and upload speeds of 12Mbit/s and 6.5Mbit/s in our location. Moreover, it features the usual suspects of connectivity items such as aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot functionality.



Camera:

For what it’s worth, we’re gladly accepting of the quality produced by the Lucid’s 5-megapixel auto-focus camera. Certainly, it doesn’t put out marvelous masterpieces, but it handles a wide range of shooting conditions with enough good visuals to keep us content. However, we do notice that its shots appear to be underexposed – though, as a whole, we’re still content with them.



Sadly, we’re not as favorable to the 1080p video recording quality on the LG Lucid. Well, we like that it offers 1080p recording to start off, as opposed to being limited to 720p only, but its quality is diminished by the ungodly amount of artifacting going on. Usually, we see it most prominent when panning very quickly, but with this, it’s everywhere we look – even when shooting something still!

LG Lucid Sample Video:



Multimedia:

Although it’s nothing new, we’re still fond of the Optimus music player, mainly because it complements its conventional look with its 3D carousel interface in landscape. More than ample with its volume, it sounds rather irritating at the loudest setting because of its overly sharp tones. And no, there are no equalizer settings to fine tune its output.


Overlooking the fact that we’re dealing with a diminutive screen versus the ridiculously large ones we’ve been playing around with of late,  the LG Lucid is actually great for watching videos. Using our test video that’s encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 resolution, the experience is delightful thanks to its sharp looks, punchy colors, and smooth playback.

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In order to share multimedia content with other devices, the handset relies on its DLNA functionality since there is no physical connection.



Performance:

In what we consider to be none other than a test of patience, we find ourselves struggling to listen to our callers because there is a distinctive amount of muffling heard through the earpiece. Moreover, voices tend to exhibit some levels of squeakiness at the loudest setting. Thankfully, our callers had an easier time on their end of the line, as they were greeted with clear voices. Turning our attention to its speakerphone quality, the same imperfections heard through the earpiece are evident again.

During our time using the handset in the greater Philadelphia area, we didn’t experience a single moment where it dropped phone calls or 4G LTE connectivity.

With its 1,700 mAh battery, it’s able to pull out 500 minutes of continuous talk time on a single charge, which edges out the 8 hours rated by the manufacturer. Equally as impressive, especially for a 4G LTE device, we’re able to get a solid one day of normal usage with a full battery in the tank.

Conclusion:

A year ago, owning a Verizon 4G LTE smartphone meant having to fork over a load of moolah, such as the case with devices like the Samsung Droid Charge and LG Revolution when they were initially launched. Over time, as we’ve seen mostly in the last few months, there has been a transformation where devices became more affordable – and that’s the case we see here with the LG Lucid. Frankly, it’s not that phone we think about as we’re lucidly dreaming at night, but rather, it’s just one of those handsets that has a balanced appeal to it. Factoring in its attractive body, high spec’d hardware, and oh-so affordable $80 price, it’s well rounded enough to attract the attention of most people.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android Version: 2.3.6
Kernel Version: 2.6.35.11-perf
Build Number: GRK39F

LG Lucid Review:





Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Attractive design
  • Still a high-spec’d smartphone

Cons

  • Lots of artifacting with its 1080p videos
  • Poor calling quality

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

User Rating:

7.7
3 Reviews

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