LG Electronics is well-known worldwide for its household appliances, televisions, smartphones, even computer accessories—indeed, just about every other type of consumer-oriented gizmo, except tablets. Late in 2013, though, following the lead of HiSense, Vizio, and a few other TV makers, the South Korean electronics giant entered the highly competitive tablet free-for-all with its own compact Android slate, the $349.99-list G Pad 8.3 Tablet. (That’s as opposed to the Google Play Edition of the G Pad 8.3 that we’re reviewing here; they are slightly different models.) As the name, suggests, the G Pads have an 8.3-inch screen. (We classify tablets with screens from 7 to 9 inches as “compact,” and 9.7 to 11 inches as “standard” or full-size slates.) Unlike most players in this ever-widening field that have debuted budget-friendly slates in the last 12 months (among them HP, Dell, and Asus), LG’s G Pad 8.3 is a premium device, and priced accordingly.
In fact, aside from the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, which lists for $399.99 and sells online for about $330, the original G Pad 8.3, at its debut, was one of the costliest compact Android tablets that had shown up in a while. You weren’t just paying a premium for a vanilla tablet, though; like the Galaxy Note 8.0, this Android came with several operating-system enhancements, spearheaded by LG’s QSlide and Slide Aside features, which allow you to display and work in more than one app at a time. Where this compact slate fell short of the Note 8.0, though, is that the latter also comes with Samsung’s highly functional S Pen stylus, as well as several productive S Pen-enabled apps plenty slick enough to warrant its higher-than-the-norm price.
In addition to the standard G Pad 8.3, LG also makes a Verizon-ready LTE model (which we’ll be reviewing soon after this model) and a $349.99 Google Play Edition—the subject of this review. The G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition is the first non-Nexus tablet distributed by Google (you can buy it direct), joining the ranks of some illustrious smartphones, such as the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Motorola Moto G, and the Sony Z Ultra. Like the G Pad 8.3 that preceded it, this Google Play version of the tablet is thin, light, and attractive, and more info
it’s relatively powerful, to boot. However (like other Google Play Edition devices), it comes with a stock (unaltered) build of Android, in this case Android 4.4 (a.k.a. “KitKat”).
So, what does it mean for a tablet to be a “Google Play Edition”? An advantage of being a Google Play tablet, aside from running a plain-vanilla build of Android (which many users prefer), is that the tablet will automatically receive updates of the latest Android software well before most other Android tablets will. Also, it’s optimized for the latest apps, and you get more Google cloud storage for your content than do owners of other Android devices. On the other hand, you don’t get QSlide and the other multitasking features that the original G Pad 8.3 came with.
What you do get, though, is a comfortable-to-use, durable 8.3-inch tablet, with a great-looking full-HD (1,920×1,200) display, that runs on a cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (which we’ll discuss in the Performance section later on). It also has a pretty good sound system for a slate. In fact, besides the above-mentioned Galaxy Note 8.0, only one other compact slate we’ve handled can boast the build quality of the G Pad 8.3: our 2013 Editors’ Choice recipient, Google’s own Nexus 7 (2013 Edition).
The problem we see for this G Pad, however, is that it sells for about $120 more than the 16GB version of the Google Nexus 7. Now, granted, the screen is 1.3 inches bigger, but aside from that and its MicroSD slot for expanding storage, we don’t see $120 worth of additional value here—even if this is the only “Google” tablet (including the big-screen Nexus 10) that allows you to bump up its storage capacity.
That said, the G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition is, in a word, a sweet tablet. Aside from the lack of HDMI-out for connecting to HDTVs and, as mentioned, stylus support, it has just about everything you could reasonably ask for today in a compact slate. But does it have enough to justify its price?
Let’s put it this way: We don’t think that most buyers will be disappointed with it. But then, we can say the same about the less-expensive Nexus 7, as well as the more versatile, S Pen-enabled Galaxy Note 8.0. While we really do like this G Pad, it’s up against some rather stiff competition.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.