It's refreshing to see a little variety now and then.
That's why I was pleasantly surprised to get my hands on the LG Lucid.
Given the specifications, you wouldn't expect the Lucid to be all that impressive. It's got OK screen resolution — 480x800, compared to the 720x1280 or better resolutions sported by state-of-the-art phones. It's got a 5 megapixel camera, compared to the 8 megapixel devices now common at the top of the range.
But the processor is a decent 1.2 Ghz dual-core model, the RAM and storage are both sufficient, and it has 4G connectivity.
In practice, the camera is pretty good. It can take HD video and offers autofocus and a flash. The pictures are crisp, and the screen, while not breathtaking, is quite clear.
The Lucid, like most 4G devices, has a front-facing camera for video chat.
Most important, the phone is extremely responsive. LG seems to have done what is nearly impossible: Produce a midrange device that doesn't try to bite off more than it can chew — at an acceptable price point of $79.99 to boot.
Typically, midrange smartphones suffer from being either underpowered for the software they support or relatively powerful but lacking an important feature.
The Lucid doesn't seem to have those issues. It's perfectly capable of running every bit of software with power to spare, it's snappy, and it's not lacking in features that might make you pine for another phone the entire time you own it.
In terms of construction, the Lucid is sturdy but light and sports an interesting chrome bezel along the sides. It seemed a bit thick when looking at it edge-on, but it doesn't feel that way in the hand. The display is adequate at 4.0 inches and is protected by damage-resistant Gorilla Glass, always a nice feature.
One nitpick is that it currently runs Android 2.3 as opposed to the current Android 4.0, the manufacturer has indicated an upgrade to Android 4.0 at some point.
I don't usually recommend midrange phones, but with the LG Lucid, I'd break that rule; it's a great phone for people who are looking to get into a feature-rich smartphone without spending the seemingly ubiquitous $299.99 price tag that most new devices seem to carry.
At $79.99 from Verizon Wireless, the Lucid is something of a bargain considering the performance. It's not the most powerful phone on the market; it's not the fastest or the thinnest.
But it's probably one of the most balanced devices you can buy.