LG Lucid 2 Review

The LG Lucid 2 is our favorite free phone on Verizon. Could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but for those on a budget, it gets the job done.
The LG Lucid 2 is our favorite free phone on Verizon. Could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but for those on a budget, it gets the job done.
The LG Lucid 2 is our favorite free phone on Verizon. Could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but for those on a budget, it gets the job done.

Highs

  • Powerful processor
  • Good rear camera
  • MicroSD and removable battery
  • Great price (free)

Lows

  • Ugly plastic design
  • Low resolution screen
  • Only 8GB internal memory

We spend a lot of time reviewing super fancy, high-end smartphones at DT, but for every one of those, there are half a dozen cheaper, smaller phones that just don’t get noticed. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad – at least, not anymore. Buying a budget Android phone used to be an exercise in horror, but as we’re beginning to learn, even the cheapest smartphones these days are pretty damn decent. With that, we’d like to introduce you to the LG Lucid 2, Verizon’s latest “free” (with a two-year contract) phone. You may want to check it out.

She ain’t pretty

Let’s face it. If you want a cheap phone, you’re going to have to give up a few of the finer things. In this case, one of those finer things is a good-lookin’ chassis. The LG Lucid 2 isn’t dressed in today’s threads. It looks like it comes straight out of 2010, with a hard rectangular design and cheapo plastic case. The back has a ribbed texture to it and the phone has silver muttonchops on both sides, but nothing about this is going to impress you or your friends.

But she’s comfortable

… you don’t lose any functionality with a lower resolution.

So the Lucid 2 is most definitely not a looker, but maybe she’s really funny? Not exactly, but she is comfortable to hold. With a medium-sized, 4.3-inch screen, the Lucid 2 is comfortably held by a wide range of hand sizes, from dainty to daunting. The placement of the power button on the upper right and volume toggle on the left makes it easy to push her buttons as well. LG has also included four haptic, light-up navigation buttons on the bottom of the phone, saving screen space for actions like Back, Home, Recent Apps (multitasking), and Options, which is the Android equivalent of a right mouse click.

Who needs pixels?

These days, high-end phones sport insanely high-resolution screens with 440+ pixels per inch (ppi) and 1920 x 1080 pixel resolutions. They’re so dense that you couldn’t make out a pixel if you tried. While that’s good and sexy if you’re in the league of a $200 device, a phone doesn’t need that many pixels. The LG Lucid 2 has a 960 x 540 pixel screen, which is a little low for our spoiled eyes, but we haven’t had much to complain about. A few of the menus are a little larger than we’re used to, but you don’t lose any functionality with a lower resolution. Viewing angles are fairly wide, though the screen does ever so slightly dim and discolor a little more than usual if you hold it at a near 180-degree angle. But who really does that, anyway?

She’s an Android

Usually, opting for a low-end phone means giving up a lot of new software features, but LG has packed Android 4.1 into the Lucid 2, which means the ole gal is fully compatible with all the new apps in the Google Play app store and has some new features like Google Now (Google’s Siri) built in.

LG has given the Lucid its usual makeup, which spruces up the look of the user interface a little. There are downsides to this, but not many unless you’re the type of person who wants constant updates to your phone or the ability to modify it extensively. You’ll need a Google Nexus 4, if that’s your bag. One particularly nice aspect of LG’s interface is that when you charge your phone, animated water bubbles on the bottom of the homescreen and slowly rises up as your battery fills up. It’s a nice, quick way to know how much of a charge you have.

LG has done a great job of not loading the Lucid 2 up with bloatware as well. She’s a lean phone, with a few basics, like all the Google apps, a few Verizon apps (can’t get away from that), and some helpful apps like a task manager, an Apple-like Note taking app, and Polaris Office, which lets you open Word and Excel-like files. Amazon’s alternative app store is also installed, which is a fine option if you’re looking for some variety (it has good deals on apps and games).

One annoying thing we did encounter is LG’s desktop software, which seems able to connect to a PC just fine (for transferring files), but completely inept when you try to hook it to a Mac.

Healthy specs

Though you’re never going to get everything for free, the Lucid 2 is surprisingly powerful for a free phone. It runs on a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, which isn’t a whole lot different from top of the line models in mid-2012. With 1GB of RAM, you’ll be in pretty good shape, even if you’re running a taxing app or game. We’ve noticed some slowdown when using the Phone calling app, but the delay appears to be by design, not due to an overtaxed CPU. On the Quadrant benchmarking test, the Lucid scored an impressive 5,800, which is about 15 percent higher than the One X or Galaxy S3 – two huge phones last year.

lg lucid 2 rear facing 5 megapixel autofocus camera and camcorder with led flash macro

There are a few downsides. At only 5 megapixels, the rear camera is a little weaker than many new phones (top-of-the-line designs now pack 13 megapixels) and we wish LG put in more than 8GB of internal storage, though you can up that by inserting a microSD card. There is also no NFC in this phone, but most other important sensors and features like GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer, a digital compass, and Micro USB charging are present.

Robust phone service

We’ve been testing the Lucid 2 on Verizon’s 4G LTE network in eastern Michigan. Here, which isn’t the best area for Verizon service, we’ve been getting about 7Mbps download speeds and 5.4Mbps upload speeds, though it varies. Call quality has been decent, but not stellar, though few smartphones (if any) provide a truly outstanding calling experience. We haven’t had any trouble hearing or being heard.

Few megapixels, but good ones

The Lucid 2 only packs 5 megapixels in its trunk, but she makes the most of them. The rear camera performed surprisingly well for a budget device, and seems to have many of the more recent enhancements LG has made to its flagship shooters. Pictures snap quickly and autofocus isn’t particularly slow. Extra features like HDR and panorama are also available. Many of our shots came out almost as good as they did on the iPhone 5, though the Lucid takes much longer (a couple seconds) to adjust from light to dark conditions. In certain conditions, we noticed the dreaded purple lens flare as well, but nothing too bad. For the most part, we’ve been fairly impressed with LG’s camera. The 1.3-megapixel front webcam is serviceable as well.

lg lucid 2 iphone 5 comparison image

Enough energy to last a day

Battery life is always a tough to judge. The Lucid 2 still needs to rest up at night, but with a 2,460mAh battery, she seems to be able to make it through a day, even in heavy use. We’ve been testing in an area with particularly sketchy Verizon service, so our battery has drained faster than usual because the phone’s always hunting for a signal. Even then, we’ve been able to get through a day.

If you need extra juice, the battery is removable and LG sells an extended battery that will help you out in a pinch.

She’s got the look

If you have eyes, it is obvious that the LG Lucid 2 is not the most glamorous phone available on Verizon. But with a price of free ($200 cheaper than many competitors), it’s not a bad choice for those on a budget. If you can spend an extra $50, we do like the Motorola Droid Razr M a lot, and it is similarly sized, but there isn’t much to dislike about the Lucid 2. She could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but all-in-all, we like what we see. The LG Lucid 2 is our favorite free phone on Verizon.

Highs

  • Powerful processor
  • Good rear camera
  • MicroSD and removable battery
  • Great price (free)

Low

  • Ugly plastic design
  • Low resolution screen
  • Only 8GB internal memory
Product Review

LG's new V40 has 5 cameras, but ThinQ twice before you buy

The LG V40 ThinQ has five cameras -- three on the back and two on the front. This makes it one of the most versatile camera phones LG has released to date, and it’s creatively fun to use. Read on for more in-depth analysis.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

Google Pixel 3 vs. Apple iPhone XS: Does Google’s A.I. take down Apple?

The Google Pixel 3 is here, boasting top-tier specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM, and some of the world's best artificial intelligence features on a phone. But can it take out the Apple iPhone XS?
Mobile

Master your new LG phone with these V40 ThinQ tips and tricks

With five cameras and awesome specs, the LG V40 ThinQ is one of the most innovative phones of 2018. While the V40 can get a great shot in any scenario, it's capable of so much more. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks.
Gaming

The Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox app can't do it all, but it does allow you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Product Review

It's got game. But the Razer Phone 2 is still crippled by its camera

The Razer Phone 2 will impress with its gaming prowess and 120Hz screen. But if you care at all about taking pictures on your phone, skip it. While Razer has improved the camera, it’s still short of the competition.
Mobile

Find out how to keep tabs on your phone with these helpful tracking tips

Need to keep tabs on the location of your cell phone or smartphone? Consult this guide for tips and tricks on how to track a phone, whether you're currently rocking Android, iOS, or something more old-school.
Mobile

Google’s new floating keyboard is so helpful, it’ll put you on cloud nine

Bezel-less smartphones look great, but typing isn't always so good, as grip can be more of a challenge. That's where Google's Gboard keyboard comes into play. It now has a floating keyboard feature to help out.
Mobile

Insane 5G Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 boasts a retro slide-up camera

Xiaomi will announce the Mi Mix 3 smartphone on October 25, and according to the company's spokesperson, it will be capable of connecting at 5G speeds and feature 10GB of RAM -- two world firsts.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Deals

Save up to $900 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.
Mobile

Huawei confirms it won't be selling the Mate 20 series in the U.S.

Huawei has released the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. With all-new Kirin processors, advanced A.I. brains, and an amazing triple camera, here's absolutely everything you need to know about the new Mate 20 series.
Mobile

eBay’s new Instant Selling program turns old smartphones into new money

With eBay's new Instant Selling program, selling your smartphone just got easier. Immediately after listing your device, you'll receive a voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a new phone through the site.