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Review: LG G Pad 8.3

By Leigh D. Stark | 8:14 am 06/12/2013

LG hasn’t spent much time in the tablet area, but that looks set to change, as the company takes what it learned from the G2 smartphone and applies it to an 8.3 inch tablet that you can take anywhere you go.

Features

LG’s first tablet in ages, the G Pad 8.3 — also called the V500 in some places — brings with it a host of features aimed at taking on the competition, some of which feel at least on paper like a page out of LG’s smartphone book.

Staring with the screen, LG is using an 8.3 inch Full HD IPS panel in the G Pad 8.3, providing a resolution of 1920×1200 (just slightly higher than Full HD), and offering a pixel clarity of 273 pixels per inch, 10 pixels higher than the Retina-grade panel used in the iPad Air, though obviously with a different sized screen.

Underneath this screen is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, lower than the 800 used in the LG G2 smartphone, and the same processor as what HTC used in the One and One Max, and Samsung used in the Galaxy S4 from earlier in the year. This processor is a quad-core chip clocked at 1.7GHz, and is paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, the latter of which can be expanded to support more storage through a microSD slot found on the top under a flap.

Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” is the operating system used on this tablet, and it comes with LG’s own overlay supporting multiple homescreens, customisable shortcut dock, editable soft buttons, and more.

Connectivity is all relatively standard for a tablet (and indeed, some smartphones) with 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi included, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, Miracast wireless display technology, GPS, and the microUSB port at the bottom for charging the G Pad and transferring data to and from the tablet. Infrared is also included, meaning this tablet — like some smartphones out there — can be used to control TVs.

LG has included two cameras in the tablet, with a 5 megapixel module on the back without a flash, and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera.

There are few buttons on the G Pad 8.3, with merely a power button and volume rocker on the right edge, while the buttons for using Android are all on-screen soft buttons, and can be modified to match your preferences of colour, order, and if LG’s extra apps are included in the layout.

The G Pad 8.3 battery is rated at 4600mAh.

Performance

LG’s smartphones are improving, and now its time for the company to take a swing at what it’s like to make a tablet.

So what does LG have in store for the public with the G Pad 8.3?

Encased in a shell of plastic and metal is a screen measuring 8.3 inches diagonally and capable of displaying a Full HD resolution of 1920×1200, slightly higher than Full HD, in fact.

The screen is probably one of the more stand-out features, as it pushes higher than the regular 1280×800 we see on tablets, which is little more than high definition, and has been used on pretty much every tablet for a number of years.

It’s nice to see something higher in this tablet, and with 273 pixels per inch, it’s a good looking tablet that won’t strain the eyes much at all.

The viewing angles add to this, as they appear to be good from most angles, and provide a clear and colourful image from either portrait or landscape, whichever you prefer.

For the operating system, it’s Android all the way, hardly a surprise since nearly every manufacturer goes this way for its tablets, but for the overlay, it’s exactly what LG showed us in the G2 smartphone.

Just like in that device, the strength of LG’s incarnation of Android lies in its ability to be tweaked, modified, and customised to the person’s liking. It’s not like Samsung’s Australian version of TouchWiz where you can’t modify the shortcut dock, and it’s even more customisable than what Google offers on the stock Nexus devices.

Basically, LG is offering the “do whatever you want” solution, allowing as many as eight icons in the shortcut dock, the chance to modify the soft button bar that Google uses, the knock-to-wake feature we saw on the G2, and a customisable drop-down menu.

The downside to this highly playful Android overlay, however, is that it might be a tad daunting to the first time user. That said, we’re particularly keen on the shortcut dock which at least lets you throw whatever you want inside, and teaches other manufacturers a thing or two about what should be possible.

But just like all Android devices, you can change this if you so choose, and with other homescreen replacement tools out there, such as Aviate, Espier’s iPhone mimicry, and Chameleon’s customisable grid layout, among others, it’s not like there’s a shortage of ways to make the tablet look more like it fits in your life.

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Price (RRP)

$399

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Charged by the microUSB standard and not something proprietary; Very versatile overlay to Android, making it a tablet tweaker's dream, just like the LG G2 smartphone; Comfortable in the hands with not just plastic, but also metal incorporated in the design; Storage is expandable;

Product Cons

LG's QPair phone linking solution works with any Android phone via the app, but it doesn't do enough; Remote control functionality isn't anywhere near as extensive as what appears on LG smartphones;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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