With new devices rolling out on what feels like a daily basis, making the decision of which device is worthy of signing the next two years away with can be a daunting task. While the push is towards the evolving and new technologies such as 4G LTE and others, that doesn't mean they are for everyone. LG has hit before with some great devices like the LG Spectrum among others, and they are back at it again with the LG Lucid.
Could a device that launches with Gingerbread and promises Ice Cream Sandwich in the future be your next device? Could you put aside the fact that the display isn't 720P, or are these not things you are needing and just want a reliable Android device? Either way, let's hit the break and check out how the LG Lucid stacks up, and if it may just land in your pocket or purse.
Over the years I have tried, really really tried to find an Android device that I loved. Not so much on the software side, but more so on the hardware side of things, and I think that time has come. The LG Lucid has one of the best in hand feels of any phone that I have used to date, and the build quality feels exceptional. The perfect combination of weight to size makes using this device an enjoyable experience, and the layout of everything is just as good.
LG has done some minor appearance tweaks on this device that make it not only look great, but also function very well. Starting with the front of the device you will notice that the screen takes up a larger portion of the real estate, there is only a small area up top where they have their logo, a front facing camera, and a nearly hidden speaker. Down below is the obvious Verizon branding and the four capacitive buttons. With LG minimizing the amount of extra space on the front of the device, they have eliminated the need for an overly tall device.
Wrapping from the left side to the right side of the device LG has placed a silver plastic inlay, which provides a very nice look to the device. On the left side they have the micro-USB charging port at the bottom, and a volume rocker about 3/4 of the way up. Both of these sit underneath the silver line so looking from the top of the device you can barely notice them. On the right hand side they have the power button at the top and the rest is just smooth without any buttons. The placement of the power button takes a few times to get used to, but after using it for only a few minutes I instantly loved the placement.
The top of the device has a nice rounded look to it, and on the left hand side there is a 3.5mm headphone jack. Along the bottom you will see the cut out to open the battery door, in which they have placed the microphone. Attention to small details like this is what makes the device look and feel so great.
Flipping the device over you will instantly notice the red and black diagonal stripping pattern that LG has laid into the battery door. One gripe about the battery door is that the slick surface attracts finger prints so easily, and for people like myself that will be sure to drive them nuts. At the top you will notice a 5MP camera in the center, and spaced to the left a decent sized (for a phone) flash. Aside from the normal LG and 4G LTE branding there isn't much else to the back except for the speaker down the bottom.
Removing the battery door will reveal the 1700mAh battery, the micro-SD card slot, as well as the micro-SIM slot for the 4G LTE SIM card.
What's under the hood
Packing a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 4G LTE radio into a device sure sounds like a recipe for success, right? While some would argue that 1.2GHz isn't the most powerful processor, or that some other spec should have been bumped up, keep in mind it isn't all about the specs.
You will have about 1.5GB of space to put your applications on, and this is due partially to the rather large OS that comes due to the bloat that is installed. The processor is more than sufficient to move you around quickly, get in and out of applications and animations without much overall lag.
Verizon's 4G LTE network packs a serious punch, but as we know punches cause injury, and the battery is what receives that injury. LG has put a 1700mAh battery inside the device to defend it a little, but the LTE network is power hungry, and loves to guzzle through the battery. Though I have noticed some pretty good times on the battery, and standby to be pretty good, experiences with this will definitely differ with each of your use cases.
We all have our own feelings about "skins" on Android, and whether you love them or hate them, we should all give credit where it is due. Being a fan of various skins, and being able to see their advantages and disadvantages, I think LG has done a great job implementing a bunch of added features along with keeping a nice clean look.
LG has launched the Lucid running Gingerbread, Android 2.3.6, and while many of you may automatically dismiss the device because of this, that wouldn't be a favorable decision. LG does plan to update the Lucid to ICS, the question at this point is just when exactly it will land as an update. This said, let's take a look at what LG has done on the software side on the device to make for the best experience.
The Lucid is almost identical to the Spectrum in terms of software, with the exception of a few differences. First off you will notice that the Lucid features five home screens which they have already preset some widgets and icons for ease of use.
Adding items to your home screen is a customized experience on the Lucid, instead of popping up a menu in the middle of the screen for what to add, the options pop up from the bottom. From here you can add widgets, which LG has a few of their own already installed, shortcuts, folders, or change the wallpaper. Once you select a widget you will then be able to select the size (if applicable) and then add it to the screen.
Pulling down the notification bar you will notice that at the top there are quick access icons to various settings, and these can be defined by you. Directly below there is a Wifi button which will show what network you are connected to, and tapping this will bring you right to the Wifi settings of the device.
Unlike the Spectrum, LG has left four different themes in this device, each of them offering a unique set of icons and wallpaper to match. The themes available are:
- Optimus (the default theme)
- Playworld (cartoonish theme)
- Opart (dark styled theme)
- Cozywall (professional styled cartoon theme )
Being able to change the look and feel of the device without needing to root the device and load a custom ROM is definitely something that many will enjoy.
Jumping into the app drawer you will notice the applications broken down into categories which can be minimized and maximized. While they do pre-organize the applications for you, the applications can be moved around to your preference and placed into folders which make sense to you. In addition you can change the view of the applications into an alphabetical list if preferred with just a few clicks.
Being a Verizon branded device it is quite obvious that there will be a laundry list of applications that come pre-installed. Included applications on the device are:
- Amazon Kindle
- Backup Assistant
- Let's Golf 3
- Mobile Hotspot
- My Verizon Mobile
- Plants vs Zombies
- V Cast Tones
- VZ Navigator
- Share Genie
- Google Search
- Polaris Office
This is quite unfortunate, and we hope at some point Verizon realizes that we want the space on the device to install applications we want, not what they think we want.
When it comes to cameras on Android devices there appears to be either cameras that work well enough to get the job done, or cameras that just stink. The Lucid features a 5MP camera that captures some rather nice images, and while it may not be perfect, they turn out a lot better than other Android devices I have tried.
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Could a device that launches with only a promise of an Ice Cream Sandwich update be the one for you? Combining a great overall build quality with a stylish design, the LG Lucid is no device to simply overlook. The 1.2GHz dual-core processor is no joke when it comes to power, and the 4G LTE (if available in your area) is a great thing to have.
While packing nearly every spec you could wish for in a high end device, the Lucid is currently sitting with a price tag of only $79 (after a $50) rebate, and this is about 1/3 the cost of most other high end devices. The Lucid is definitely worthy of a look, take it for a spin, and see if the device is right for you.