LG G Pad 8.3 review
- Decent, different design
- Double-tap wakes the screen
- Memory card expandability
- Unexceptional display
- No cellular version
- Average camera
The LG G Pad 8.3 is set to address this, with its display making it capacious without being too big. Just a little bigger, in fact, than the Apple's iPad mini with its 7.9-inch display. LG's tablet is more keenly priced than the iPad Mini Retina, too.
The G Pad 8.3 comes at a time when LG's relationship with Google is pretty good – the recent Nexus 5 smartphone has been a big hit for Google and it was made by LG, as was the previous success, the Nexus 4.
LG G Pad 8.3: Size and build
You can choose between black and white versions of the LG G Pad 8.3 and it's built in a pleasing combination of plastic framed-front and aluminium back. Even so, it's no match for the sophisticated metal build of the iPad Air or the warm, all-plastic casing of the Nokia Lumia 2520. But there's more of a design statement here than many tablets in identikit black plastic casings.
The size is manageable, though the super-thin iPad mini is still the winner for thinness and portability. The G Pad measures 216.8 x 126.5 x 8.3 mm, so it's 0.8mm thicker than Apple's tablet. More surprisingly, the iPad mini is only fractionally lighter than LG's machine with its noticeably bigger screen - there's only 7g in it.
LG G Pad 8.3: Features
LG has put some neat special features into this Android tablet, like the gorgeous lock screen animation to wake the tablet - as attractive as Samsung's transformational effect.
And you may have noticed that hardware manufacturers put the main Android buttons (Home, Back, Recent Apps) in different orders. This can be confusing if you're moving from one brand to another. LG gives you the option to choose which way around they go so you can stick with the arrangement you like.
And it's carried across a feature from the LG G2 smartphone. The phone is almost buttonless so to turn on the screen you double-tap it. The same process applies here - though it's worth noting that Nokia introduced the double-tap-to-wake process previously on the Asha 500 series affordable smartphone, before putting it on recent Lumia handsets.
Whatever, it works well here, too. The G Pad doesn't have an option to use it with a sim card but Wi-Fi performance is good. And although it only has a 16GB capacity, there's a memory card slot that is handy enough.
LG G Pad 8.3: Display
The 8.3-inch display is full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080), which means it has 273 pixels per inch. Sure, that's no match for the iPad mini with 324ppi, but it outguns many other tablets on the market. Screen brightness is decent enough and colours are reasonably strong, but this isn't an outstanding display.
LG G Pad 8.3: Camera
It's often hard to enthuse about tablet cameras, marred by the lack of ergonomic suitability of a big flat piece of plastic and glass to hold comfortably as you shoot stills or video. This is no exception, though the 5MP resolution of the rear camera is strong enough, and it shoots full 1080P video. Good enough if there's nothing else around, but hardly a standout camera.
LG G Pad 8.3: Performance
Although it's not slow, the G Pad's processor isn't the most powerful. It's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, and a 1.7GHz quad-core model at that. There are newer and swisher processors in other tablets but this copes. Just - you may feel it dawdles occasionally when multiple programs are running, but on the whole this is a reasonable-performance tablet.
LG G Pad 8.3: Battery
Tablets don't run out of juice by lunchtime like some smartphones, but this baby doesn't run for ever - youíll want to recharge at the end of a day, especially if you watch movies or use other graphics-intensive programs.
LG G Pad 8.3: Verdict
This is a good, but just not exceptional, tablet. It's well built and nicely designed, and LG has dressed Android without taking it over. It's good that the G Pad gets away from the standard 7-inch screen size, but it means it's right up against the iPad mini in comparison terms.
And since the arrival of the Retina display model, the mini shines a lot brighter than the LG G Pad can. LG at least has the edge when it comes to price and the additional versatility that a memory card slot offers.
LG G Pad 8.3 release date: Out now
LG G Pad 8.3 price: Wi-Fi only: £260 (16GB)