LG G Pad 8.3 full review
LG's latest stab at the tablet market is the G Pad 8.3 which is up against the iPad mini and Nexus 7 among others. Here's our full review of the LG G Pad 8.3 tablet. See also: What is the best tablet you can buy in 2014.
At 8.3in, the G Pad is one of only a few tablets to buck the 10in and 7in trends. Other devices in the niche category include the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and iPad mini with its 7.9in screen. However, it's close enough to 7in to be compared with that comparatively huge market.
When we first hear about the G Pad 8.3, a price of £259 was on the cards. We thought that sounded pretty good for a premium tablet, but things are even better now we come to review the tablet properly. You can get your hands on the device for just £199 meaning it matches the Nexus 7 2013 model. That's very good value for money when you consider the iPad mini Retina starts at £319.
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LG G Pad 8.3 video review
LG G Pad 8.3: Design and build
The name of the G Pad 8.3 signifies not only the size of the screen but how thin it is, 8.3 mm. The tablet joins the G2 smartphone in the G Series of products and has a similar and stylish design, but doesn't have its buttons on the back. We prefer the black model over the white alternative, but both have a predominately brushed aluminium rear cover with a plastic border at either end.
Although the tablet is designed in portrait mode, it's no problem to spin in 90 degrees into landscape for videos and games or if you just prefer that orientation.
The G Pad 8.3 doesn't feel like a sub-£200 tablet. Indeed, with that aluminium rear cover and nice build quality, it feels quite the opposite. The only moving part is a flap at the top which hides the microSD card slot.
Our main quibble with the design is simply that the tablet gets grubby with fingerprints quite easily, both on the glass front and the metal rear cover.
LG G Pad 8.3: Hardware and performance
That 8.3 in screen has a Nexus 7 matching 1920 x 1200 resolution but spread over a larger surface area means it has a lower pixel density (273 ppi). Nevertheless, it looks great in its Full HD IPS splendour and despite the large screen is easy enough to hold one handed.
Driving the G Pad 8.3 is a snappy 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor and a healthy 2 GB of RAM. It's using Krait 300 cores and an Adreno 320 GPU. It scored 1803 in Geekbench 3, 14fps in the GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex graphics test and 1226ms in SunSpider browser test. These are good but nothing to write home about.
Performance is good but it's certainly not flawless. The main problem we have with the G Pad in this area is the occasionally laggy loading time of the homescreen interface. It doesn't happen all the time but sometime when you quit out of an app, your app icons and widgets can take a second or two to appear, leaving you with just the wallpaper until they arrive.
Luckily this is not a constant issue and switching between apps, web browsing and other tasks are all smooth.
Although there's just 16 GB of internal space on offer, storage is a plus point since the G Pad has one up on its key rivals - a microSD card slot for up to 64 GB more. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is an alternative which has expandable storage.
It's unsurprising to see dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in although it's worth pointing out that the former doesn't use the latest 11ac standard. The G Pad 8.3 also doesn't have NFC but it has an arguably handier feature in the form of an infrared transmitter meaning you can use it as a remote control for your TV and other devices around your home – with exceptions, anything with a traditional remote control.
It's fairly easy to setup and the QuickRemote function is a standalone app as well as getting its own section of the notification bar which can be switched on and off.
The G Pad 8.3 has 16- or 32 GB of internal space and has one up on its key rivals - a microSD card slot for up to 64 GB more. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is an alternative which has expandable storage.
The G Pad runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a few additional features from LG. 'KnockON' allowing the screen to be switched on with a double tap which is super handy. 'Slide Aside' is a handy although slightly unnecessary alternative to the built-in Android multi-tasking. You can slide three apps off to the left with a three finger gesture and get them back with the opposite. 'QSlide' allows you to load up multiple, what are effectively small apps, which can be made transparent while you work in the background.