Apr 7, 2014
LG Electronics has been on a tear lately. It has made itself quite well known in Android circles; its Optimus line represents one of the most encompassing smartphone collections, and being tapped by Google to help create the Nexus 4 definitely pushed the South Korean electronics house to the front of the Android pack. Being tapped to make the sequel Nexus 5 all but reinforced its status as a premium device maker.
I just got the opportunity to review the LG G Pad 8.3, which is the company’s entry into the mid-size tablet space. At first glance, there isn’t a whole lot to not fall in love with.
The device is pretty light, quite thin,and looks sleek in the black and gray trim. The screen is rich, with a hint of framed bezel that is thicker at the ends; the front-facing, 1.3 MP camera balances out the 5 MP rear one at the back. There are two speaker grills in the back, and the Verizon-branded review unit sports a micro SD port at the top (right between an infrared emitter and standard headphone jack), which allows the internal 16 GB be supported by an external 64 GB. It’s light, at just under 12 ounces, and is shaped at 8.54 x 4.98 x 0.33 inches, which makes it infinitely wieldable. The volume rocker and “on” button are on the right, while the microphone and USB port are nestled at the bottom.
Turning on the unit is what gets the party really started. LG advertises an HD screen, and it surely wears the crown well, with warm, rich representations that actually make one want to hold the device and stare. The 273 ppi, 1920 x 1200 pixel screen is rendered exceptionally well. In action, the G Pad is pretty snappy, which is what one would expect from a 2 GB RAM Android 4.2.2 device rocking a quad-core Snapdragon 1.7 GHz chip. Setup was easy, and I was able to get the wi-fi and bluetooth 4.0 low energy going fairly quickly. The included GPS, Miracast and VZW 4G functionality are welcome connectivity options.
Software wise, the G Pad offers Google Apps and the power of Google Play. While I’ll always prefer raw Android, LG’s skin is fairly unostentatious, even if there are some VZW/LG bloatware to contend with. I did like the Qpair idea, in that it helps to connect to standard Android devices, and the ability of the tablet to interface with some LG electronics.
So… what’s the “Jamie Foxx screeching stop sign” pause moment? It just might be pricing, which seems to be hovering around roughly $300 to $330 online. Not too unfair of a price considering what one is getting, but with the Android OEM race to the pricing floor, excellent tabs like the G Pad might get lost in all the cheapness. I also thought the battery life was jut okay.
Still, it’s one of the better tabs I have looked at, packs a lot of functionality in its purposefully slender frame, and is backed by the coolest kid on the block.
It’s hard to say no.