LG Lucid 2 (Verizon Wireless) review review:

Free, fast, and fitting for first-timers

The front-facing camera offers the same brightness meter, white balances, color effects, timer, Cheese Shot, and geotagging feature, but only two scene modes and three photo sizes (from 640x480 to 1,280x960 pixels). There's also a "beauty shot" meter that lets you adjust the brightness and blurriness of an image (useful for less-than-perfect selfies), and the option to save a photo flipped vertically.

Recording options consist of the same digital zoom, flash, brightness meter, geotagging, color effects, and white balance. In addition, there's audio muting and you can choose from six video sizes (ranging from MMS to full HD 1080p). Two more features are the "silly faces" mode, which will distort your face while the video records, and a background module, so you can change your background to outer space, a sunset, a disco, or your own custom image. Lastly, you can tap to capture an image while you record video.

Though front-facing video recording has fewer options, it still retains a good number of features: the brightness meter, silly faces and background options, white balances, live photo-taking, color effects, geotagging, and the audio muting feature. There are five video sizes (ranging from MMS to 720p).

Photo quality was good, and the camera would satisfy the needs of your casual, day-to-day picture taker. There was no lag between my moving of the camera and the viewfinder, and the time it takes for the shutter to snap and ready itself for the next photo was short. Pictures taken in outdoor lighting were clear and colors were true to life. Small details like several leaves from a bush or the motion of water were in focus. Understandably, photos in dimmer, indoor settings didn't look as good. There was a noticeable amount of digital noise and objects didn't appear as smooth or sharp, but were still clear.

LG Lucid 2 (outdoor)
In this outdoor photo, you can still see the details of the trees' leaves and the running water in the fountain. Lynn La/CNET
LG Lucid 2 (indoor)
This dim photo of our studio shows a notable amount of digital noise. Lynn La/CNET
LG Lucid 2 (SSI)
In our standard studio shot, objects are in focus. However, the flash gave a blue tinge to the white background. Josh Miller/CNET

Video quality was also respectable. Though I did hear a low, crackling noise during recordings that were either absolutely or nearly silent, in general, videos were decent. Colors were accurate, both still and moving objects remained in focus, and aside from the aforementioned buzzing, the audio from videos that had lots of noise was picked up well.

I tested the Lucid 2 in San Francisco. Call quality was good. None of my calls dropped, and audio didn't clip in and out. I did hear a bit of static with audio, but it was very slight and wasn't distracting. In general, audio was clear and maximum volume reached a reasonable level. Audio speaker quality, however, was poor. With media files (like music and videos), as well as phone conversations, the stereo speaker rendered noises tinny and harsh.

LG Lucid 2 (Verizon Wireless) call quality sample

Listen now:

Verizon's 4G LTE network clocked in with fast speeds, and data connection was consistent. Loading the CNET mobile and desktop sites, for example, took an average of 6 and 14 seconds, respectively. The New York Times' mobile site clocked in at 4 seconds, and its desktop site also took 12 seconds to load. ESPN's mobile site also took 4 seconds on average, and its full site loaded in 10 seconds. The 31.93MB game Temple Run 2 downloaded and installed in an average of 1 minute and 37 seconds, and Ookla showed me an average of 4.82Mbps down and 6.23Mbps up.

LG Lucid 2 Performance testing
Average 4G LTE download speed 4.82Mpbs
Average 4G LTE upload speed 6.23Mbps
App download (Temple Run 2) 31.93MB in 1 minute and 37 seconds
CNET mobile site load 6 seconds
CNET desktop site load 14 seconds
Restart time 32 seconds
Camera boot time 2.68 seconds

Powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, the device carries out simple, daily tasks swiftly. Actions like launching the camera (which on average took 2.68 seconds), quitting apps to return to the home screen, and switching from portrait to landscape mode were performed with ease. Shutting down and restarting the handset took about 32 seconds. As for the graphics-intensive games, Riptide GP, I've seen faster frame rates and smoother animation with higher-tiered devices, but the app never stuttered or froze during my gameplay with this phone. Furthermore, it was responsive to my tilting and rotating movements.

LG Lucid 2 (Ookla speedtest)
Results from Ookla's Speedtest.net app in San Francisco. Lynn La/CNET

During CNET's battery drain test, the phone lasted 9.42 hours for video playback. Anecdotally, its 2,460mAh battery was good and is an obvious improvement from the Lucid's 1,700mAh battery. It can last a few days without a charge, but that's with minimal usage and the screen brightness turned off. It has a reported usage time of up to 25 hours. According to FCC radiation standards, the phone has a digital SAR rating of 0.59W/kg.

Of Verizon's free handsets, the LG Lucid 2 is the best choice. With Android Jelly Bean under its belt, it is more up-to-date than the Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II and the Pantech Marauder, both of which run Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

I'd only suggest the Stratosphere II if you prefer a smartphone with a physical keyboard. Other than that, however, the Lucid 2 pulls ahead of the pack with its many good features and quality performance.

What you'll pay

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