LG Optimus Pad review

Full review: LG's Honeycomb tablet with a 3D camera

Image 1 of 2 LG Optimus Pad side
LG Optimus Pad side
Image 2 of 2 LG Optimus Pad
LG Optimus Pad

The LG Optimus Pad is here and ready to take on the bad boys. And with its dual 5-megapixel 3D camera, it could very well jump ahead of the pack

LG’s gone for a different approach to rivals, along with an 8.9-inch screen, the Optimus Pad includes dual 5-megapixel stills camera for capturing 720p 3D movies. It comes in a WiFi and 3G version and includes 32GB storage.

While it’s certainly innovative, the 3D camera also screams “this device needs gimmicks to stand out”. But is the LG Optimus Pad a one-trick-pony - albeit a 3D one?

LG Optimus Pad: Design

First impressions of the Optimus Pad are underwhelming. It’s well built, but at 12.7mm deep it’s chunky next to the 8.8mm iPad 2 and doesn’t feel as premium as the Motorola Xoom. At 630g, it’s a reasonably weight to hold with one hand

Along the bottom are HDMI mini and micro SD slots. Surprisingly it doesn’t support DLNA though. Slide off the cover on one side to access the Sim card compartment.

LG Optimus Pad: Screen

Dig deeper and you’re rewarded with a very fine, 8.9-inch, 1280x768 screen that can be held vertically with one hand. We really like the 8.9-inch size which sits somewhere between the PlayBook and Xoom, although it’s clearly designed to be used horizontally.

The screen is the right size for watching movies comfortably, ably handling motion in our HD test clips, with detail and sharpness on par with the Asus Eee Pad, if not quite as good as the iPad 2. Off-angle viewing is respectable, though we did find that colour balance was oversaturated, with a slight greenish tint which other Honeycomb tablets – like the Motorola Xoom or Asus EeePad Transformer didn’t have, we hope this is due to our early sample model. Located on either side, the stereo speakers are laughably quiet, very much suited to viewing for one.

LG Optimus Pad: OS

Running Google’s Honeycomb OS, the interface is a joy to use. Honeycomb might not be as instantly simple to use as iOS, with a few quirks. Instead of solid buttons you get touchsensitve Android home, back and multi-tasking keys, the latter displaying open applications you can quickly swap between.

Neat features include being able to drag apps and shortcuts directly onto a homescreen via an overview. Powered by a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, responsive multitouch controls ensure it never feels slow. Multitouch controls work well and you also get Flash support, For more serious uses there’s Polaris, which lets you edit Office documents, although in portrait orientation the virtual keyboard feels a little squashed to use.

LG Optimus Pad specs

  • OS: Android 3.0 Honeycomb
  • Processor:1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra
  • RAM:1Gb
  • Storage: 32GB internal
  • Screen: 8.9-inch 1280x768
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, aGPS, 3.5mm jack, HSDPA 7.2Mbps
  • Camera: 5-megapixel/ 2-megapixel
  • Video:1080p at 30fps/VGAli>
  • Dimensions:244 x 150 x 12.7mm/621g
LG Optimus Pad: Camera
Five-meg stills are the good – far better than many tablets we’ve seen - colours are natural, yet sharp and it deals with high and low contrast situations pretty well. 1280x720p 30fps video is smooth with natural colours if a bit soft, 1080p footage is a bit blocky, but accompanying audio is loud and clear. We do feel that tablets are not ideal for shooting video and stills.

Because the screen isn’t polarised you can't actually see the 3D effect when shooting. Instead choose from four views: Mixed, Anaglyph (you can wear glasses) Single and Side by Side views, along with a depth control. To view the footage you need a 3D TV or to use the You Tube 3D channel.

3D stills and video are fine, not quite up to the standard of a camcorder or camera, but that’s hardly surprisingly. You can use depth controls to adjust the intensity of the 3D effect.

LG Optimus Pad: Battery

Because our sample was very early, we weren’t able to properly text the battery accurately and LG has yet to confirm any information.

LG Optimus Pad: Verdict

We really like the LG Optimus Pad: it’s quick, portable and intuitive to use. However while we applaud LG for striking out and including a feature as unique as 3D, it won’t have universal appeal and it is bound to push up the price. LG has yet to announce pricing, but it’s available for £699 online, which seems a huge premium to pay – especially considering you can get the Asus Eee Pad Transformer for £379.

LG Optimus Pad launch date: TBC link LG

LG Optimus Pad price: TBC, but available for £699 on pre-order online