Joining Verizon's mid-range tier this Spring is the LG Lucid 2. This is actually my first time with an LG device that is skinned. The only other LG device I've used is the Nexus 4 which of course is stock Android. The Lucid 2 is actually free from Verizon with a new 2-year contract. The specs on it aren't the best, but for the price, they are pretty good. It's a 4.3-inch 960x540 resolution display. That's qHD. It's running a dual-core Snapdragon S4 which is clocked at 1.2GHz and has 1GB of RAM with 8GB internal storage (around 3.1GB free) and it does have a microSD card slot. It also has a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a 1.3MP front-facing camera. All of which we'll get more in-depth into the rest of the review.
The design of the LG Lucid 2 is actually quite nice. I haven't always been a fan of LG's lower-end device designs. But the Lucid 2 feels pretty good in the hand. Also the back of the device is textured making it easy not to drop it. On the left side of the phone there's your power button, at the top you've got the headphone jack and a microphone, on the right-side there's the volume rocker and the bottom has the micro USB port. On the front there's your 4.3-inch qHD display along with your front facing camera up top with Verizon and LG's logos. At the bottom you've got 4 capacitive buttons. Back, Home, Recents, and Menu.
The display may sound like it's bad, but it's actually not that bad at all. I've definitely seen worse displays from 2013 devices. It's qHD but it's also an AH IPS panel. Lately, I've seen that LG really knows display tech. The display on the Nexus 4 is really nice, and so is the one on the Lucid 2. Now don't expect the display to blow you away or anything, it's still qHD, which is below 720p. But it's not the worst thing in the world, especially for a mid-range device.
It's running Android 4.1.2 - Jelly Bean along with LG's custom user interface. Which their custom skin isn't all that bad. It has some tweaks and features I wished the stock Android launcher had. For instance you can switch your app drawer between 4x5 or 5x6. I prefer the 5x6 because it means less pages to go through. Additionally, much like Touchwiz, you can add the battery percentage into the status bar, and you have quick toggles which can be edited. But unfortunately you can't completely get rid of it. Then there's Verizon's persistent wifi notification that won't go away. It's pretty annoying to me. You can see it in the screenshot down below.
Another thing I noticed, from the time I hit the power button until it actually turns on is a few seconds. Which to me means lag. Now this could be the software's fault or it could be the year old Snapdragon S4 they put in the device. Either way it can get annoying for some people, but after a week or so of using it, I've gotten used to it. There's also quite a bit of settings, but it's not too bad compared to other skinned devices I've reviewed before, and will review soon.
The Lucid 2 comes with it's fair share of bloat. Both from LG and from Verizon. Of course, did you expect it not to have any? You can see in the screenshots above exactly how much bloatware comes with the LG Lucid 2. Quite a bit of the Verizon added bloatware is removable or at least you can disable it.
It comes with 8GB of storage, a little less than 4GB that you can actually use. So it's definitely a good thing that it does have a microSD card slot. It uses about 4.29GB of space for the system and other, which is actually shown in the settings. Which is not normal.
Surprisingly, the LG Lucid 2 has a 2460mAh battery inside. Which you'd think would give the device quite a bit of battery life right? Well you're right. I was able to consistently get around 24 hours of use out of the phone before it died. All my testing was on Verizon's network as well. So on Wifi you should see around 30 hours or more. Which is quite good in my opinion. It is a removable battery, so if needed you can probably pick up an extended battery for it. I was quite surprised at how long the battery actually lasted and how large it was. In comparison, the 5-inch Galaxy S4 has a 2600mAh battery, the 4.7-inch Nexus 4 has a 2100mAh battery, the 4.7-inch HTC One has a 2300mAh battery and the 4.3-inch HTC First has a 2000mAh battery. So good job to LG for putting in a pretty heft battery for this mid-range device.
The call quality on the Lucid 2 is pretty good. About as good as every other Verizon phone I've reviewed over the past 6 months. Everyone was able to hear me clearly, which is always a good thing.
The LG Lucid 2 runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network. Depending on my location, I was able to pull down between 4mbps down and a max of around 35mbps down. Which is a pretty big range. But it was often stronger than the HSPA+ network on my Nexus 4.
Basemark measures the frame rate on the device. It scored about 8FPS. Which is pretty low, almost accurate for a low-end device. But kinda expected on the Lucid 2.
The pictures don't look too bad. But remember it is a 5MP camera and this is a mid-range device, so don't expect HTC One quality pictures out of it.
- Build Quality: for a mid-range device, the Lucid 2 feels pretty high quality. Not quite HTC One quality, but much better than some other mid-range devices on the market
- Storage: Sure you only get less than 4GB of on-device storage, but it does have a microSD card slot. So you can add another 32GB of storage (I think it supports a 64GB microSD card, but not 100% sure on that)
- Battery life: It is phenomenal. I'm not sure how else I can describe it. But it is great, and I've had no complaints with it at all
- Not Global Capable: Meaning that I cannot throw in a SIM from another carrier if I'm leaving the country and want to use my Lucid 2 in that country.
- Storage: It is a double-edged sword in this case, as not everyone wants to buy a microSD card. But LG kinda forces you to with this device.
- Screen size: It does feel perfect for most people, but many others may think it's a bit small since it is 4.3-inches.
So should you buy the LG Lucid 2? Well first let's answer a few questions. Are you looking for a mid-range device? Are you looking for a device that will be updated for 2 years? Are you looking for a free device? If you answered yes to all those questions, you're device doesn't exist, but this one is pretty close. In the past LG has been pretty bad with updates, but they are working to change that. This is a mid-range device so it won't get as much attention as their Optimus G Pro, or any of their L3, L5, or L7 devices. But for the price, it's a great device. So if you want a mid-range device or a free device and you're on Verizon, go ahead and pick up the Lucid 2. You won't be disappointed.