The LG G2’s edge-to-edge display finds its way into LG’s 8.3 inch gaming, movie marathon, surfing, and reading tablet – the LG G Pad 8.3.
8.3 is the tablet’s display, diagonally measured, but you won’t notice that; instead, as with the LG G2, the G Pad’s stunning screen will own you – crisp images and fonts, vibrant colors without a hint of over-saturation, full HD movies without stutter, graphic intense games with no lags. Images tend to be on the cold, bluish side but that’s ok by me. And besides, you won’t notice that unless you’ve been taking pics on your smartphone for a long time, and if you prefer warmer tones. Anyway.
The LG G Pad 8.3 is light, thin, and fits just right in your hand – in mine at least – and this only encourages constant use of the G Pad, which is fine, since its 4600 mAh battery lasts and entire day, and even until the next. Play a full HD movie, pause that, get back to your game, oh wait stop, take a picture of your lunch, upload to Instagram and check out Facebook while you’re at it, and now back to that movie. Rinse, repeat.
Better buy a tablet stand (see above) as you’re going to catch up on season after season of your favorite shows on the G Pad. Oh by the way, the speakers on the back are loud. Good loud. Not tinny loud. If you can get a Bluetooth headset you can pair the G Pad with, by all means go. Of course, doing it via the old fashioned audio jack works, too. [Demo game play video below shows you how good the audio is.]
The non-removable back has a metal plate for added sturdiness, so that the entire device, despite the large screen and hard plastic frame, barely flexes. It’s not as solid as an iPad Mini but place the G Pad side by side against other Android tablets and you know you’re getting something worth your money – it’s thinner, lighter, the screen is better, it plays anything, and the battery lasts forever.
273 pixels per inch (ppi) really makes a difference.
But you’ll want to get a screen protector if you have kids and cats around. Just to prevent scuffs on the screen. Also, that wonderful display plus the rear camera may tempt parents to keep taking videos of their kids and pets and then showing them off. So better invest in a high capacity microSD card (the internal 16GB won’t hold out for long if you keep shooting videos, or if you use the G Pad as your Torrent station).
Unboxed: Tablet, charging plug and charging cable, related literature.
The LG G Pad 8.3 is not a big phablet but a small tablet, so it doesn’t have phone functions like call and text. It’s not a Fonepad, it’s a G Pad. It wants you to do all your phone stuff on your phone and leave the games, long reading, pets and kids pics for showing off, True Detective and Arrow catching up on, endless surfing, and to some extent, spreadsheet work and writing, to the G Pad. Put your phone in your pocket or on the desk, prop your feet up, and relax, on the G Pad.
Above: my first ever quick hands on video review. I do not have yet the mental stamina to keep talking on and on. I’m learning though. Do be forgiving. 🙂
Let’s hit the specs.
Great display, crisp images and fonts, vibrant colors with natural color reproduction. The display can be so bright that its max settings hurt my eyes when reading in pitch darkness.
Viewing angle test: passed.
Very responsive, despite how many apps you load up and run and switch back and forth from. You will know this more if you’ve handled other lesser spec’d tablets. Speaking of responsiveness, games are wonderful! See game play demo video below.
Phenomenal battery life. As in. See screenshot below.
Loud and clear-enough speakers when in a quiet room. (You did watch the game play demo above, right?)
One of the small details LG got right is the pull-out-to-reveal microSD card tray. That means the microSD is not exposed unlike with other tablets where the slot is uncovered. Exposed means the card can fall off.
Thin and light. You’ll appreciate this when you’ve held other thicker tablets. I keep repeating that because I have manhandled other tablets.
Speaking of other tablets, the one on the right is the ASUS MemoPad 8 (forthcoming review). The MemoPad is slightly thicker and longer than the G Pad and its display has a lower pixel per inch count, not to mention it’s lower spec’d. But it is cheaper, around P10k. Just a little more buys you a great deal more.
Reasonable price given the specs, performance, sturdy build, and display. (That gray market price tag is really tempting me.)
Speaking of prices and choices. Above are the G Pad, Lenovo Vibe Z (forthcoming review), and Sony Xperia Z1 (forthcoming ‘Is it still any good?’ review). Do you really need a tablet or a phablet? The price of either phones above is enough for the G Pad plus a decent midrange phone. Remember that. Lastly, for comparison, here’s our review of tablet with unique physical features and priced like the G Pad but performs nothing like it, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10.
USB on The Go feature greatly expands storage (as if the microSD card slot didn’t already do that) or at least allows transferring of files – favorite pet pics or movies your friends have in their collection of USB thumb drives, for example. USB OTG also means you can plug in a USB keyboard on the G Pad to get some work done.
Wireless storage app (see below) allows file moving and copying between the tablet and your computer. You can even remotely delete folders on the G Pad from your computer. It’s a built-in Airdroid.
Doesn’t get uncomfortably hot despite heavy gaming and 1080p video marathons.
Speaking of video marathons, you should get a back-stand like this or a protective sleeve/case with a stand.
Q Pair – pairing the G Pad with your LG G2 or another Android via phone-installed Q Pair app – is good. First, because you can lose yourself in the G Pad, so you may need an indicator that someone texted and called your LG G2. Second, because the app can be downloaded and installed on non LG Android phones. (But this isn’t for everyone, as you’ll get two notifications if you’re phone is nearby, and I want to keep things on my phone on my phone and not have them leak into my tablet.)
Feature bloats like Q Slide (floating mini apps), Slide Aside (mark 3 apps you can switch back and forth from via 3 finger swipes), and Smart Video (which pauses a video played in LG Video Player when you look away from the screen, and which doesn’t work on my tests) are still feature bloats, which, thankfully, can be disabled and ignored.
Slide Aside remains a clumsy implementation of good intentions (fast app switching).
Outdoor visibility (contrast) is only okay despite max brightness, but only when compared to AMOLED displays.
The rear camera is not as good as the one on the G2, but is definitely capable. Still, low light shooting is risky with or without flash. But then it’s rare to find a tablet with a good rear camera. But the selfie front cam works where it matters – the beauty shot feature.
White balance when shooting indoors, and without daylight ambient light, doesn’t always adjust well. On the LG G2 rear camera, this shot doesn’t look like dull dead meat.
With uneven ambient indoor lighting, one of the best ways to get a decent macro shot is to go HDR. But I doubt parents and non-techies will want to experiment with the rear camera settings.
Beauty Shot: Only G Pad touches my skin. Who touches yours?
You wish, sometimes, that the speakers on the back were instead on the front, for those moments when you really must share a cat video or a movie trailer with a friend while you’re in a noisy heap.
Slightly cupping your hands like this redirects the sound from the speakers toward you.
The Optimus UI of LG is getting tired and uninspired, so that the G Pad UI looks like a biggie sized G2 minus the rear buttons. The G Pad is just begging to be overlaid with a launcher with custom icons and wallpaper.
Speaking of boring UI, the LG G Pad 8.3 comes with LG SmartWorld app, which allows you to download free themes, wallpapers, fonts, keyboard themes, and more.
This last part is a matter of preference: the G Pad neither has LTE nor call and text features. I have no problems with either. 7 to 8 inch tablets make awkward phones anyway, unless you have large spider-like hands.
If only the LG G Pad 8.3 had an available protectice case that’s this beautiful to see and hold. Maybe it does, I haven’t searched yet. But if you’re on a budget, a simple bonnet/beanie (see below) will do, temporarily.
You can choose the buttons config of the capacitive keys at chin of the G Pad. You can go minimalist, with just three, or go all out, like this…
And this is still the best way to annoy attendants at appliance centers, Quick Remote:
The LG G Pad 8.3 is soo-perb. The real allure is that arresting display. The screen and specs and battery life are great as they are. What else is a great tablet but the splendid display and fast/responsive UI and apps and nearly two days of battery life?
And you’ll want to ignore that SRP of P17k and go gray market a-hunting, where the G Pad is priced at P13.5k. It’s just too bad Christmas, and the attendant bonus, is not here yet. Another 8 incher Android up for review is the ASUS MemoPad 8 which sells for an SRP of P10, and goes for about P500.00 less in the gray market. So, for just a bit more you can get a great deal more with the G Pad.
By the way, if you’re giving the LG G Pad 8.3 as a graduation gift, make sure that kid deserves it. Because tablet is simply wonderful.
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