LG’s latest swing of the bat in the tablet market is the G Pad 8.3, designed to take on the iPad mini with its stylish curves and aluminium finish, and the Nexus 7 with its pricing, does it compete with the two? Let’s find out in our full LG G Pad 8.3 review.
Let’s start off with the thing you notice first about the G Pad 8.3 or any device for that matter, how it looks and feels. The G Pad is referred to as 8.3 for two reasons, first of all that’s the size of the screen in inches and it’s also how thin it is in millimetres.
The G Pad has a similar look to the LG G2 smartphone, although it’s absent of those oddly placed buttons on the back and it also has a brushed aluminium finish on the back, which looks very nice on the black variant but, not as nice on the white one.
As well as the brushed aluminium on the back it has a plastic border running around the top and bottom, with the camera, microSD card slot and headphone jack housed in the top border. The rest of the device is made from plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap and definitely doesn’t feel like a tablet that is retailing at below £200.
In fact, the G Pad feels very sturdy and high quality and the aluminium back makes it easy to grip compared to some other similar sized tablets and can easily be held in one hand. The back of the G Pad attracted finger print marks pretty easily and after a short period of time using the device, it was in need of a wipe to make it look a little less grubby.
The tablet’s performance is another area in which you wouldn’t believe you’d paid less than the 200 quid mark, as it is very nippy, it jumps in and out of apps quickly, the whole experience feels very smooth as well, and in the time I used it I barely noticed any lag or app crashes.
Under the hood of the G Pad is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7 GHz helped along by 2GB of RAM and also has a Adreno 320 GPU. On benchmark test platforms AnTuTu and Quadrant it scored 24,965 and 8,986 respectively, both of which are pretty decent scores, but nothing too impressive, which reflects the G-pad’s performance, I had very little to complain about, but certainly wasn’t blown away.
The G Pad has another little trick up its sleeve, it ships with 16GB of on-board storage but also has the capacity to increase the storage up to 64GB via the microSD slot, something the majority of the competition don’t offer.
LG’s Pad comes out the box running Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), but has now received the update to 4.4 KitKat, something you will be prompted to do upon setting up the device. The G Pad 8.3 also has some neat tricks up its sleeves, such as double tapping the screen to wake it up and double taping again to lock it – Knock On, something which also features on the G Flex, G Pro 2, G2 Mini, basically the entire G series and some of the mid-range L series, feature that I will explain later in the software section.
You’ll find yourself using this feature a lot, not because the power button is hard to reach, just because it’s so handy, I even found myself double tapping my Nexus 7 which doesn’t have the feature.
The G Pad is void of NFC in its connectivity list, but has something a lot cooler, with its quick remote app, which allows you to control your TV or any other device which uses an infra-red remote.
The G Pad follows after the Nexus 7 in regards to its non-removable battery which measures in at 4,600 mAh opposed to the Nexus 7’s 3,950 mAh, the G Pad has an extra 1.3 inches over the Nexus 7 so it’s natural that it’ll have a larger battery, but is larger better?
In some tests the G Pad lasted over eight hours of looping a HD video continuously, I managed to get some pretty good usage out of it, a single charge with pretty heavy use could last me a full day, which is pretty similar to what I got out of the Nexus 7, so it would be hard to call which one of the two was the clear winner here.
LG G Pad 8.3 also has quite a lot of battery saving options built into the software, enabling the power saving options will lower the brightness among other actions which will help you get longer out of the battery.
Cameras are never a strong selling point of any tablet, they’re not intended to be used for taking photographs and the cameras usually serve as nothing more than for video calling or perhaps taking a quick snap of something.
The G Pad is no exception to the rule, LG didn’t unnecessarily inflate the price by adding over the top cameras onto the device, there’s a 5 megapixel camera with no flash LED on the rear and a 1.3 megapixel one on the front.
The rear camera is capable of capturing video in full HD 1080p and comes out looking pretty good with some nice detail and colour reproduction. The front facing camera can churn out video in 720p for all your selfie taking and skype call needs.
There’s all the software additions built into the camera you’d expect in a modern smart device such as; HDR mode and some pretty nifty features like taking a photo when you say “cheese”.
The LG G pad’s screen may be lower resolution or have less pixel density than some of the competition the Samsung Tab and Nexus 7 to name a few, but it still looks extremely high-end and doesn’t have any problem out-putting crystal clear 1080P video.
As you can probably assume the G pad’s screen size is 8.3 inches, which is marginally bigger than than the Nexus 7. The G pad’s screen resolution is 1,920 x 1,200 which looks sharp and has tons of detail.
The G pad’s screen has a pretty wide viewing angle, nothing above or below average, I wouldn’t suggest trying to watch it from the corner of a room.
The G Pad 8.3 now comes running Android 4.4 KitKat, but you will have to update the OS when you set-up the device as out of the box the G Pad is running 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The G Pad comes with LG’s skin on top, although it is on one of the least intrusive skins I’ve seen and closely resembles stock Android.
G Pad’s interface is more or less identical to that of the LG G2, although LG’s skin works better on a bigger screen as it looks a lot less cluttered. knockON is the feature mentioned earlier where you can wake and sleep the device simply by double tapping on the screen, it’s a big game changer as you’ll probably never use the power button again due to how simple knockON is.
As well as knockON, LG has another inventive app called QSlide, it works in a similar way to Samsung’s Multi-Window allowing you to open multiple apps simultaneously, and makes the ones you aren’t using invisible while you work in a different app.
All of the additional LG features can be toggled on and off in the G Pad’s notification bar, depending on which ones you want to use.
The LG G Pad 8.3 is a fine tablet, indeed it ticks a lot of boxes in all the right places, it’s well designed with some high-end materials, yet it isn’t too heavy or chunky to hold in one hand. It comes rocking a nippy processor, a healthy amount of RAM and two decent cameras on the front and back.
The list of good features and high-end specs doesn’t impact on the price either, the G Pad retails at below the £200 mark, something that massively sets it apart from the iPad mini and puts it on par with the Nexus 7.
If you want the stock Android experience and updates to the latest version of Android as soon as their available, the Nexus 7 is for you. If it’s a bigger screen and some extra features that stock Android can’t offer is what you’re looking for then this tablet is for you.