Look and feel
With its glossy white bezel and metallic rear, the G Pad 8.3 looks quite slick. It’s light and comfortable enough to clutch in one hand.
Ease of Use
An 8.3-inch screen gives you more space to play with than the likes of the Google Nexus 7.
From its excellent multi-tasking abilities to its great camera tools, there’s a lot of value packed into the G Pad 8.3.
Although it’s not quite as powerful as the likes of the Nexus 7, the G Pad 8.3 still packs more than enough performance for multi-tasking and handling HD media.
Average at best, with 5 hours of video playback on full screen brightness, although dimming the screen helps.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/5/2013 12:57:40 PM
Ease of use
Bright, vibrant screen;
Plenty of apps and cool tools;
Average battery life;
Some features are basic or lacking
We’re huge fans of LG’s G2 smartphone, a great little multi-tasker which allows you to watch videos, check emails and browse the web all at the same time. Of course, the 5.2-inch screen isn’t quite spacious enough to comfortably run three or more apps side-by-side, so step forwards the new LG G Pad 8.3, which (as the name kind of hints) boasts a greater 8.3-inch display but is still comfortable to clutch one-handed.
Design: one-handed operation
Modern tablets tend to be either seven inches (Google Nexus 7) or ten inches (Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1), with a handful such as Apple’s iPad Air drifting somewhere between. The LG G Pad opts for an unusual 8.3-inch display, stretched with a widescreen aspect ratio. That gives you plenty of screen space to fiddle around with, but the narrow design also means it’s comfy to hold in one hand, with your fingers stretching across the rear. At 338g it’s also pleasingly light, so you won’t get achey arms either.
The G Pad 8.3’s glossy white bezels remind us of the Samsung Galaxy Tabs, but flip LG’s tablet over and you’ll find a faux-metallic silver back that combines well with the plastic edges. There’s only the tiniest bit of flex, and the tablet feels solidly constructed. You get a microSD memory card slot up top (to expand the 16GB of storage) and a micro USB port below, as well as power and volume buttons positioned on the right edge. If you’re not a fan of pushing buttons you can try double-tapping the screen to wake the device, another feature lifted from the G2, and just like on the phone it only seems to work a fraction of the time. Occasionally you’ll nail it on your first go, other times you’ll be bashing your tablet for ages like a mentalist.
Most modern tablets rock a quad-core processor, and the LG G Pad 8.3 is no slacker, with a Snapdragon 600 in place. It’s not quite the fastest Qualcomm chip around, but it’s nippy enough to handle multiple apps in Android 4.2. For instance, we saw no slowdown when playing videos at the same time as browsing the web or checking emails, using the useful Q Slide feature. That allows you to ‘fade out’ a video so it plays in the background while you interact with other apps in the foreground.
Battery life isn’t quite as impressive sadly, with the G Pad 8.3 turning in an average performance. Streaming video killed the tablet dead in five hours, although dimming the screen and restricting yourself to more simple tasks will stretch out to a full day of use. The brightness of the screen is one of the reasons the battery is sapped so fast, but it also means you can comfortably see what you’re doing even when it’s sunny (something that shouldn’t trouble us Brits for several more months).
As well as bright, the G Pad’s display is pleasingly vibrant to the eye. Colours really shine through, and there’s only a slight loss in brightness and tone when you tilt the screen. It’s a reasonably sharp tablet screen too, with a 1920 x 1200 HD resolution, although the iPad Mini with Retina display has it beat with a super-sharp 2048 x 1536 resolution.
Features: Too many to count...
As well as the excellent multi-tasking features, LG has spruced up Android with a colourful new look and a host of impressive features. Many of these come in the form of apps, such as the handy Quick Remote. This is a universal remote which you can link to your home entertainment systems, setting up different profiles for separate rooms in your house. It’s limited to TV, DVD and Blu-ray devices, but it’s still a good addition.
QPair is another mostly-useful app which allows you to quickly pair your Android smartphone with the G Pad, so you can receive notifications on the tablet and also jump on your phone’s mobile broadband to surf the web. It’s not quite as slick as we’d like – for instance, receiving a text message just adds ‘new text message received, check your phone’ to the G Pad’s notification bar, even though you can see the message and reply directly through QPair. You also can’t take calls through the tablet, only decline them. However, it’s still handy if you’re always missing texts and calls when your phone’s sat in your pocket.
There are too many other nifty apps to list, from the handy-when-abroad Quick Translator to the simple Video Editor which can be used to trim and spruce up your home movies. LG has also made sure the dual cameras are ably supported with some strong features, which we’ll cover next.
Camera: Dual shooters
A five-megapixel lens is housed on the back, near the top of the tablet, and it’s one of the better efforts we’ve seen on a tablet of late. In the ‘Normal’ auto mode, our photos were generally crisp, with realistic colours. Best of all, the camera is backed up with plenty of great tools, such as a VR Panorama mode that captures a full 360-degree snap of your surroundings, and a Continuous shot mode that keeps on snapping as long as you press the screen. The settings menu is also impressively deep, allowing you to alter the ISO and colour effects, and turn on features such as Geotagging and a voice-activated shutter. You can also shoot Full HD video, complete with anti-shake movement cancellation.
The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera can be used to conference online, and while the images captured are a little grainy, it’s fine for a quick Skype chat. You can even use the Beauty Mode to cut back some of the wrinkles and spots, if you’re trying to impress some web beau.
LG’s G Pad 8.3 may not be the most powerful or desirable Android tablet out there, but LG’s fantastic multi-tasking features means it’s great for getting several things done at once, while the bright and colourful screen is a fine way to enjoy media and more.