Please find my updated thoughts on the tablet right at the end of this review. Thanks
My very first touchscreen smartphone was the LG Viewty back in the old days. In some ways i always believed that LG will come back one day with a bang ( even if they lost there dominance in the last few years ). My affair with LG started off when I took the plunge to buy the LG G2 after brilliant reviews online from various tech sites. That phone, which I still own , impressed me so much that I couldn't help Googling LG Products. As a result I found the LG G Pad 8.3 ( I still had the Nexus 7 2013 on me then & I was very happy with it ) & it took me again by surprise. Aluminium back with beautiful build quality on a tablet under £200 & I was like wow. I have owned the G Pad for over a month now so let's find out what else did I find that forced me to sell my Nexus 7
Build Quality ( 5/5 ) :
I own a fourth generation iPad as well so I am fully aware of what quality tablets are in terms of build quality. The G Pad is a very slim tablet for its size. The back is made from Aluminium & plastic but the actual area which comes in contact with your hand is mostly aluminium. The feeling is almost the same as holding an iPad mini in your hands. I was pleasantly surprised how it was clearly superior in build quality to my Nexus 7 which was in my other hand ( not to say that the build quality on Nexus 7 is bad by any means but not premium ). It's the only Android tablet I have ever known ( apart from the recently announced Huawei Media Pad M1 ) which comes close to the build quality of an iPad. The power button & volume rocker have nice feedback to them as well. Tablet also comes equipped with a micro SD card slot which is a bonus as you can expand the limited in built 16GB memory by another 64GB on top. Camera at the back is 5 MP which is more then adequate for casual photography followed by a 1.3 MP front facing camera which is about average for a tablet of this class. The tablet is also equipped with an IR blaster to use the tablet as a universal remote control. Expandable memory & aluminium back casing with premium build quality made me look at my Nexus 7 twice. At this point I was trying hard not to let my Nexus 7 go.
Screen Quality (4.5/5 ) :
It's an IPS LCD Panel with resolution of 1200*1920 & pixel density of 273 ppi. Screen is more then Full HD & there is little to complain here as compared to the other tablets in this budget. Colours are bright & vivid and viewing angles are brilliant as well. When compared to the Nexus 7 screen I did find out that the contrast levels on the G Pad were slightly lower then the ones on the Nexus 7. What I mean to say is that when brightness is turned up on both tablets the Nexus 7 seems to be the brighter tablet. But personally speaking I keep my brightness levels at around 70% and that is more then enough for me before my eye balls pop out and I go blind. In my 6 months with the Nexus 7 I had to constantly bring the brightness levels down as it was hurting me a lot of times specially whilst reading or browsing on the tablet. With the G Pad I can turn it up to 70% or even 80% and the brightness doesn't hurt and you still get a very good quality experience from the screen. I personally think LG has done this purposely to a) reduce the strain on the battery resulting in good battery stamina b) make it a pleasant experience on the users eyes. All in all you will find the screen to be gorgeous and a pleasure to look at whether watching videos or browsing the web.
Performance (4.5/5) :
Presence of a Snapdragon 600 chipset along with a healthy amount of 2GB RAM makes this tablet fly like anything. Performance is smooth & fluid if not perfect. There are some hiccups on the software side of things like slight lag in the widgets section when scrolling around looking for widgets but goes away after a while. Change of orientation from landscape to Portrait mode has slight delay to it but still very manageable. After unboxing my tablet & connecting to my wifi I instantly received an update which certainly helped the performance quiet a bit. Existence of Knock-On feature to turn the screen on/off by double tapping is something I loved ever since I had the G2. It's great to see LG keeping it on the G Pad as well as it just makes your life so much easier. You simply don't have to start looking for the power button when you want to turn your tablet on or off. G Pad comes with Android version 4.2.2 Jelly Beans which is not the latest & greatest version of Android but does the job remarkably nevertheless. KitKat update 4.4.2 is due sometimes in March - April time & I will update my review accordingly. In comparison the Nexus 7 comes with the latest KitKat 4.4.2 version of Android already. To me personally Nexus 7 wins here being a Google device of course but the question you have to ask yourself is - Are you not getting all you want from a tablet even with 4.2.2 Jelly Beans version? Yes I am because my tablet runs smoothly with a very good performance ( if not Nexus 7 equalling ) & decent battery life without any hiccups. I frankly can wait for KitKat as long as the older version is not a hinderance in my day to day use. The story is the same with my LG G2 ( Review on Amazon ) which is also running the same older version of Android & gives me world class battery life with swift performance as compared to some of my mates who have Galaxy S4's being updated to KitKat resulting in battery drains & performance bugs making the phones nearly unusable. I would rather have LG work on the updates & fork out the bugs before delivering the update to the customers.
Battery Life (5/5 ) :
The G Pad is powered by 4600 mAh battery which is bigger in size then the one on the Nexus 7 ( 3950 mAh ). Battery life on both the tablets is the same from my experience whether you are watching videos or browsing the web. I was able to watch almost 4 full length English films ( approximately averaging 1 hr 30 mins in length ) with 23% battery still left. It's not iPad beating but in the Android world it's on the higher end sides in terms of results. Browsing gives you slightly more time with tablet lasting around 8-8.5 hrs approximately. All these results were very satisfactory & didn't make me think that getting rid of my Nexus 7 would mean giving up on a decent battery life.
I have to admit that selling my Nexus 7 was not an easy decision to make but I eventually did for the following reasons.
1. G Pad gave me the ability to expand my memory up-to 64GB where as Nexus didn't have no such option. Because I download a lot of films & TV Series so it was a big selling point for me. Now I can keep all my latest films plus Episodes of True Blood, Walking Dead,Supernatural & Teenwolf all at the same time without worrying about space.
2. The bigger screen of the G Pad ( 8.3") is definitely a plus & a bargain. Nexus 7 also costs the same with a smaller 7" screen & less premium build. The form factor of the G Pad is still brilliant as it's not wider like the iPad mini where your palm would stretch to hold it in one hand. G Pad easily fits in one hand because of the 16:10 screen ratio. Wicked thinking LG!!
3. Stereo Speakers on the G Pad are the loudest I have heard in a tablet of this class. They are cleverly located at the back of the tablet so that if you are playing a game holding the tablet in both hands they don't get covered as was often the case with Nexus 7. Speakers on Nexus 7 are decent but no where close to the Stereo speakers on the G Pad.
4. USB OTG support a rarity on Nexus devices ( including phones & tablets ) was the final nail in the coffin which totally convinced me to ditch my Nexus 7. It's dead easy to connect your USB Memory stick to your G Pad & transfer data back & forth at your own convenience.
On top of all these above mentioned points i was getting all this feature rich G Pad for the price of a Nexus 7. Some people might disagree to my arguments here for the sake of Nexus 7 & I wouldn't blame them at all if they did. Me personally living with Android over the years have found that Nexus Devices are meant for those people who want no compromise in performance with the most purest of Android experiences. But in saying so you don't get the commercial experience from a consumers perspective whereas your non Nexus device gives you more in terms of day to day use ( like helpful features ) & almost equally appreciable performance.
I have tried to keep my review simple & easy for all ages to understand. Please feel free to ask me anything which you are not sure of. My views are solely based on my own experiences & can differ from others. Thanks for taking the time to read my review & all the best :-)
Update 15th April 2014:
Finally the KitKat update arrived on my tablet a few days ago. The tablet is now more responsive and speedier then before. The lag on the widgets section has now been fixed and tablet seems to consuming less RAM then before. Knock-Code ( the advanced version and new name of Knock-ON ) is still absent and hopefully will be provided by LG in a future update very soon. Battery life is still good and hasnt been effected by the update. All in all i am happy with the KitKat update 4.4.2 and seems to be settling down well. Like always please ask any questions that you may have and i will be more then happy to help. Will update my review again once more updates hit the G Pad.
Update 07th July 2014:
Just a couple of days ago the Knock-Code finally arrived on the tablet. Like LG promised & it was delivered. LG have been really impressive with updates since late 2013. My LG G2 phone gets updated regularly & so does my tablet. Performance is still top notch & battery life is still decent. Keep up the good work LG!!
on 5 March 2014
I spent a fairly long time researching android tablets before purchasing this one. The reviews on the 'net sold it for me, especially as I couldn't find one in the shops to try out first.
First of all, this is a great value tablet, it can be bought for £180 or less now and at that price I don't think anything else comes close. Secondly, the screen is amazingly sharp, the sample videos made me say 'wow'! It is actually sharper than my eyesight! Thirdly, the specs are very good, it works fast, much quicker than my old Pentium 4 desktop for browsing and facebook. A tiny bit of lag sometimes but not much. Finally it is well put together, it feels solid, the metal back is nice and it does look like some care has been put into it, for example the seams where the metal back meets the plastic are tight and even, even the mains charger looks high quality.
I got the chance to play with some other tablets such as the Nexus 7, Lenovo and Galaxy tab. The Nexus was beautiful, nice to hold, fabulous screen and even nicer to operate than the LG. I can see why people rave about it. But its smaller than the LG, more expensive and no micro SD slot which I need. I've always liked Samsung products but the Galaxy tab was just not in the same league, a bit unresponsive and sometimes needing more than one tap to open some apps. The Lenovo was really nice too, but its screen is simply not as good as the LG.
Personally I haven't had any issues with screen brightness or any yellow tint but this may only be noticeable when compared side by side with another device. In fact I turned the brightness up to max to use the tablet outside in the sun (I could just about see the screen ok but to be honest I wouldn't want to use it for long in bright sunlight), when I brought it indoors I forgot to turn the brightness down and nearly blinded myself! (ok, a slight exaggeration but it is plenty bright enough indoors for me). Another reviewer said it took a while to charge, but I found it only took about 3 hours to fully charge from almost empty using the supplied mains adapter. Charging from a pc usb port takes longer. Battery life about 8 or 9 hours but I don't use it constantly so in real use it needs a charge about every 2 or 3 days.
Reviews seem split on the speakers, some say they give a good sound for its size, others seem to regard the sound as pretty poor. I have been into hi-fi since the late '70's and I can tell you that it is physically impossible to get decent sound from small speakers. You need to move air to get decent volume and bass, and for that you need a big speaker. The demand for small slim devices mean that speaker designers have to try to achieve the impossible, and when you see how small the speakers in a tablet have to be it is a wonder they produce any sound at all! So don't expect 'room filling' sound from any tablet, plug in some decent headphones and enjoy.
A very nice android tablet, well worth checking out. I don't think anything at the moment offers the same specification and features, and an 8 inch screen for anything near the same value for money.
UPDATE 9 April 2014.
Mine got the KitKat upgrade today. Took about half an hour to download then it upgraded itself and then asked me if I wanted to update the apps. Just over an hour in total. Not noticed much difference so far, to be honest I don't know why some reviewers slagged it off for only having Jellybean when the differences are so slight hardly anyone will notice. But it is good to know it has bang up to date KitKat android now. Just another reason to put this tablet at the top of your shopping list!
on 2 January 2014
UPDATE TO REVIEW 13/06/2014...
The screen responsiveness is amazing, and I now get really frustrated with the Tesco Hudls and my Samsung phone. Kit-kat 4.4.2 update arrived and the tablet feels even smoother and first impressions are that it is much more memory efficient than previous OS. At first I thought battery had also improved, but now two months down the line, I'm pretty sure it's no better, or marginally worse. Not a gamechanger though.
The big problem with Kit-kat remains the inability to modify files on the Ext SD. Hang your head in shame Google - and to a lesser extent LG for not warning their customers about this. The fix remains workable - move docs you want to edit to a My Docs file on the internal memory and use that as default folder for word, excel etc type apps. That doesn't help with modifying details on MP3 though where the online database misses a field and albums are split up. In order to update those, it's back to the laptop, unmount SD, stick in laptop, copy over the modified MP3, remount SD in tablet. Pain in the backside.
I'm still pleased with the tablet and have lost count of the number of people who have complimented its aesthetics, but this issue has slightly detracted from the package IMHO.
The wi-fi signal is very much better than the other tablets and phones which we have, and it never disconnects, unlike my Samsung phone which specialises in wifi hokey-cokey. Noted on another review on Amazon that the backlighting becomes obvious at the bottom of the screen in portrait at 30% brightness. That was true and although it didn't bother me much, I did notice it when using Kindle app. However, I've just tried to replicate the problem for this updated review and can't manage to do so. Down to 10% brightness and with Kindle auto brightness either on or off I can't see the previously obvious backlights. No idea why but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth!
ORIGINAL REVIEW BELOW...
Build quality of the G pad is superb and it looks stunning. Very similar feel to the iPad mini but less wide and IMHO a fair bit easier to hold. The aluminium back is nice to the touch and it is extremely well balanced and light in the hand, which makes it perfect for e-reading. My last tablet was 7" and I love the extra screen real estate on this. Haven't noticed any issues at all in apps scaling up to larger screen from phone versions and I have about 80 installed.
USB 'on the go' works fine and no app required. It just automatically recognises the USB stick, which effectively gives you a huge extra dollop of memory for nothing, or for the trivial cost of a micro USB 'OTG' cable. Just remember to unmount the USB stick - I didn't and got an electronic slap on the wrist from my new toy! Although it doesn't have an HDMI out slot, you can get a Slimport adaptor to do the job regardless.
The screen was reported as lower ppi and brightness than nexus 7 and iPad mini. Can't say I've noticed any issues whatsoever. From my perspective it's pin sharp and even with brightness set at 40% to preserve battery and prevent eyestrain, the screen looks stunning and colours are vibrant.
Speed of the unit is superb. No lag anywhere, despite LG overlay on pure Android. It downloaded myriad apps and installed them whilst I was setting up a variety of other accounts and googling a couple of things. And it was like lightning throughout. There is a great task manager with the device and it tends to show 300-500Mb free at any given time. This unit is just so much faster than either my old tablet (HTC Flyer) or the Tesco Hudls which we have in the house.
The LG installed software is a mixed bag. I thought Qpair would be really useful but haven't used it in practice. Qslide is OK but generally I disable it, so that tells its own story,and the remote control is for me a bit useless as it will control TV and DVD / Blu Ray but I can't find a way to extend to satellite box or hi-fi (although have seen images online of it doing this, so a bit frustrating that I can't figure it out!). Double tap on / off is fine but not a great leap forward for mankind in all honesty and it can be a bit temperamental. The packaged notebook app (as opposed to the small memo app on Qslide) looks good but I still can't see past Evernote which remains my default notebook, backed up by Wunderlist for "to-do's". There is a great swipe keyboard built in but it's not enabled by default so you don't need to buy one - just enable it in settings.
Sound quality using the tablet as the source through hifi is IMHO a bit listless and lacking in detail, with noticeable drop in quality compared to uncompressed music on the CD player (which you'd expect). It's fine for Spotify background music, and sounds OK on headphones (Sennheiser earphones CX870 are a decent match - quite bright, lacking base, but they offset somewhat the slightly muddy sound from the tablet). I wouldn't want to rely on it as my sole source of music but I do plug it into the hifi when I'm feeling lazy and just want a playlist. Incidentally, it's noticeably worse as a source than iPod Touch 4th gen. Don't even think about playing music through the tablet's little speakers (not that it's any worse than any other tablet in that regard).
Battery life is decent. So far I've found 7.5 hours on constant wi-fi and installing apps etc for setting up the device, with screen on constantly. I think that's pretty good and acceptable for me. With intermittent wi-fi for checking emails and also reading with kindle app it's 9-10 hours. Again, absolutely fine. Although bear in mind that's 40% brightness. I also use Juice Defender Plus which helps, although there are also battery savers in-built.
Because it's relatively new there are fewer accessories than for nexus or ipad, but I see on here that more are arriving all the time, and the Duragadget neoprene case available on Amazon is a good fit.
on 29 October 2014
As the tablet market is mainly dominated by the iPad, it is hard for companies such as Samsung, LG and Asus to gain a reputation for great portable devices. Having owned an iPad 1st Generation since it was first released and an LG G Pad 8.3 for several months now, I'm finding it extremely difficult to seem why.
The main issue I found with the iPad was that I gradually started using it less and less due to the lack of app incompatibility (Apple left it on iOS 5). I found myself using it more and more as an internet device and less of a multimedia device. With only 16GB of internal storage I could hardly fit my music collection on it, let alone a few movies.
I decided as a result to buy myself an LG G Pad as I was familiar with the LG G2 and it had a full HD screen, micro-sd compatibility, and runs Android. Although uncertain of what to expect at first, I soon become pleasantly surprised by what the tablet had in store for me:
The tablet's 8.3 inch 1080p screen is great to look at. Although pixels are discernible if you look closely enough, they cannot be resolved from normal viewing distance. Colours are rich and slightly on the warm side, but that is not an issue. Having owned the tablet for 10 months now, I can say with confidence that I still have no scratches on the screen either, which must be thanks to the Gorilla Glass screen.
On the back the G Pad is adorned by a premium-feeling metal which is pleasant to the touch. Although flanked by plastic on the top and bottom of the back to improve wireless signal, the tablet does not feel cheap. The buttons on the side too are made of metal and feel responsive.
The insides of the tablet are sufficient for any tasks thrown at the tablet. My younger brother plays graphics intensive games on it with no problems, so I can imagine there's nothing that it can't handle. There is virtually no lag when using it either which is very much welcomed. The battery is one thing I cannot rave enough about. On a flight over to the US I managed to watch a whole season of Breaking Bad on medium brightness with a small amount of battery to spare. If this is not sufficient I do not know what is. Although I am not a constant user of this tablet (maybe use it for half hour stretches of time several times a day), I do manage to get 3 or 4 days of use without recharging. I have absolutely no complaints with the hardware of the tablet. If anything the included cameras are the bare minimum spec on any device, but I am yet to make full use of them.
The software is very functional too. The inclusion of LG's Split Window and QSlide apps may seem gimmicky, but they are the most sensible additions LG has made in the software. This allows for true multitasking, where multiple tasks can be achieved simultaneously without closing any apps. This was one of the hugest problems I found with the iPad: that screen is put to waste with just one app. I can now message on Facebook while watching videos on YouTube. Or Skype my friends while reading a news article. I don't have to put one app down to use the other. It just works.
Although the software does stutter from time to time, it is barely noticeable. The major fallback from the software really is its outdated look. There's just the lack of polish that you would expect from companies such as Apple, HTC and Google. If functionality is more important than aesthetics for you (as it is for me), then you're in for a treat.
So what exactly do I use it for? Most things really. Although I do use my MacBook for my work, I find myself resorting to the G Pad 8.3 for reading ebooks, watching YouTube videos, listening to music, watching videos and browsing the web. Its size is perfect and the screen is perfect for watching widescreen movies.
After having owned this, an LG G2 and a Nexus 4, I'd find it very hard to ever go back to using Apple's mobile devices. Although they shine in the aesthetics department, they just lack the functionality that people look for in phones and tablets. At much lower prices, products such as the G Pad 8.3 are undeniably much better value than Apple's offerings and I would not hesitate to recommend this device.
on 31 March 2014
I have been looking for a tablet for a while but didnt want to go through the Apple route. I ideally wanted a 10" tablet but since using my G pad its more than big enough. What really attracted me to the G pad was the fact you can plug a USB stick with an adapter and play films is just great helps out with the lack of storage which a SD card can help with. As others said the speakers are rubbish but if you use headphones if your watching a long film then sound is perfect. Id rate this 10 out of 10
on 30 March 2014
A 5 star machine except for it's speakers. A shame really. The speakers are well positioned for landscape film watching - take note other manufacturers who don't do this. But, and it's a big but, they sound dreadful. Tinny and painfully distorting at higher volume. Put headphones in and it's a different story.
In almost every other way, one of the best tablets I've use. Nice size and format - sits well, and nicely light, in one hand in portrait, comfortable in landscape. The screen is sharp and has good colours, but could do with being a touch brighter. It is fast and buttery smooth to use, despite using the last generation Snapdragon 600 chipset and processor. At the price paid, I am far from unhappy about this aspect. Where LG have really excelled is in their take on Android. Although it's Jellybean 4.2.2 and still no upgrade to 4.3 or KitKat, the LG modifications are brilliant. From knock to turn on or off, to the multitasking options of three fingers swipes and Qslide apps which 'float' over whatever you run under it. There are also a number of useful included apps. Very good LG.
Size, shape and weight
LG added software and interface
MicroSD Card slot
Speakers (had to list it twice I dislike them so much)
Battery life could be a little better especially in view of Snapdragon 600 chipset
on 28 December 2013
Got the Lg G Pad 8.3 after Christmas as a little present to myself. I've been using Apple for most of my mobile needs and been very happy with them, tried an early Android device and didn't really get on with it so never bothered with anything else.
It was a toss up between this and an iPad mini with retina display, so I thought I'd give android another go. I was pleasantly surprised by this tablet, it felt really good to hold and it just felt balanced, no strain, no slipping, just comfortable and natural and the aluminium back makes it feel solid . The display is crisp and very smooth, very close to retina levels with beautiful deep and saturated colours (though not over saturated)and the 16:10 makes viewing of movies a delight compared to the 4:3 of the ipad mini. Its very quick to start and the Lg version of Jelly Bean is a pleasure to use, the 2 Meg of ram and quad core processor certainly do the business and breeze through everything I've thrown at it.
The addition of a micro sd slot was one of the main reasons for me choosing this over the Nexus and the ipad. I wont be putting loads of films on but its always nice to have the option of taking extra with you should you need it. The back does tend to warm up a little during heavy use but not to the extent where I'm concerned, there is also a warmth to the colour of the display, not off putting, but when comparing the same white against white on my pc there is a difference, but its not a deal breaker. All in all I'm glad I decided to give Android another chance, I still love my iphone 5s, but its nice to play the other side of the road sometimes.
on 30 April 2014
I've had this tablet more than 2 months now - don't usually leave reviews but because it's so good felt I ought to.
Overall I'm very pleased with it from all points of view. It's very responsive, didn't experience any lag. Battery life is decent to good, but could be better. Screen is a pleasure to look at. I've seen people complaining of brightness levels - didn't feel I need it's screen to be brighter than it is, I usually keep it around 50% and I'm happy with it, but then everybody's different.
What tips the balance for me, in addition to the fact that it is a very good functional tablet with a great screen, is that you can expand it's memory by adding a micro SD card. This is great and can be extremely useful. I would not consider buying a tablet without this feature.
on 9 August 2014
This is a great tablet, have kept it a few weeks now to evaluate first and can find very little to fault it.
The 8.3" screen is so much bigger than a 7" the extra is so worth having, does increase the weight of it though as it's a lot heavier than Samsung Tab3 7". Probably accountable by the larger battery in it which helps give it a very decent battery life.
Mine came with the latest version of Kitkat already installed so can't say if it's any improvement over the previous version as I had nothing to compare it to, but it does seem to run seamlessly it hasn't slowed down for me at all yet although I'm not really a hard user apart from a few internet browser windows open at once. Some of the factory installed features are great especially the side swipe feature, really handy for keeping windows open when doing other things.
The screen isn't the brightest but it is bright enough and the resolution is great, pin sharp.
The wi fi picks up and connects a lot quicker than some of my other devices and bluetooth also works well, but handier than the Samsung it shows up as an accessible drive when connect to my PC so don't need any special software to transfer files onto the G Pad memory card.
on 28 March 2014
Really good. Especially for 200 pounds. Less than that is a steal. Grab one. I got a 64gb card, a case with a bluetooth keyboard off Amazon for 20 quid and I'm away. Great screen, good battery life, fast processing, easy navigation, very happy.