05
Sep
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We're back with another hands-on here at IFA in Berlin, this time LG's upcoming G Pad 8.3. This is LG's first tablet since the somewhat-disastrous G Slate, and it's a far more conservative approach to the tablet model. LG's pretty much stuffing the old Optimus G Pro's guts inside an 8.3" tablet's body, albeit with the G2's newer software.

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The G Pad 8.3 has a Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, an 8.3" 1920x1200 display, 16GB of internal storage, front and rear cameras, a 4600mAh battery, and a microSD card slot. It seems LG's new strategy in the tablet space is pretty much to play it safe - build a sleek, fast device with a great display and don't muck about with gimmicks (beyond the G2's). While I doubt this approach is going to get many people fired up about LG as an innovator, as far as I know the G Pad 8.3 will be the most powerful tablet in its size class.

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The full HD IPS display was vivid, bright, and the sharpness was outstanding. Considering a tablet basically is just a screen, in a sense, I'd argue it's a pretty important feather in LG's cap compared to the competition. Its Snapdragon 600 processor also puts it miles ahead of Samsung's Tab 3 line, and even a fair step above the more premium Note 8.0. It should also pretty handily out-benchmark the new Nexus 7, though real-world speed is obviously more complicated than a simple score.

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That said, the G Pad 8.3 felt exceptionally quick and responsive, much as the Optimus G Pro and G2 do. Whether you like LG's software layer, though, is a whole other question. On the G Pad it felt a little less intrusive, especially in the notification area, but I still can't say LG's software is anything close to pretty. While it does pack quite a few settings and even some nice extra features (like KnockOn - tap the screen twice to turn it off or on), I can't help but feel like LG is waiting for a major Android revision to overhaul its UI. If you're going the root and ROM route, though, the G Pad could serve as a pretty potent canvas for some customization.

The hardware seemed decent, and the G Pad itself is relatively light for its size. Most of the back plate is actually a thin piece of aluminum, which adds a bit of a premium touch. The tablet isn't particularly pretty, nor is it what I'd call ugly - it's kind of generic, in a way. Again, this just feels like LG playing the waiting game - it hasn't found a readily identifiable, iconic aesthetic for its devices, so it's all gentle curves and white plastic for now.

The G Pad 8.3's success will almost certainly hinge on pricing and marketing. If LG doesn't push it, it won't sell. If it's not priced competitively, it definitely won't sell. The tablet market is a tough one to break into, and LG's been out of it for quite some time now. Is the G Pad 8.3 the device they need to get back in? Well, they certainly could do worse, though I wouldn't exactly call it a breakthrough product.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Cory_S

    dat on screen menu button..

    • mpalatsi

      It's a "recents" button

      • swagswag

        no

      • Cory_S

        It's annoying when people correct you and they're wrong.

    • Peter Oliver

      Don't both this and the G2 come with the option to customize the software buttons to whatever you want? Pretty sure I've seen demos of that functionality.

      • Cory_S

        They have options... None of which entail a recents button.

  • Rolf

    If it just wasn't for the terrible LG stock rom.

  • wideopn11

    For the last time manufacturers, the people want front facing speakers.

    • Oobiewan

      I still don't see what's so damn difficult about understanding this and making tablets with F****** FRONT FACING SPEAKERS. Who the hell has to hear the sound on the other side? Next time, they'll start to put the screen on the rear side... :P

      • AlexP

        If they do it will then be the front side won't it?

        • Oobiewan

          yes, of course, I was kidding about that to express how absurd the situation is

    • Dee

      The question is, do we want the speakers built in the front and have a smaller screen? The tablet cannot have both, and have it be the size that it is right now.

  • Oobiewan

    Well, depending on the price and time of availability, I would definetly buy it. I want a tablet that is more than 7", but less than 10, and also good. The closest to that is the note 8.0 right now, but it's still samsung and still not full HD... So this really could be the tablet for me...

  • fabian

    300 euros and i'm sold. more? not so much

    i like the size and the specs but other that that it's just nothing extraordinary. so the price should be good..

    • Ugslick

      Same, but Im going for $300 CAD :P
      I've never had a tablet before, I've always found a phone functional enough, and a laptop for anything besides... But I might try this one out.

  • abhisahara

    What about "Q Pair, which will connect the tablet not just to LG's most recent flagship, the G2 β€” but to any Android phone that can download the Q Pair app from Google Play, once it's available.

    Once they're connected, you'll be able to get simultaneous notifications on the phone and tablet β€” and they're actionable. So if a phone call comes in, you can take in through the tablet. Or decline it. Or decline it with a text message."

  • angel_spain

    The knock-on feature is awesome. It's enough reason for deal with all the ugly power widgets from LG.

  • duse

    How do you do a hands-on of something like this and not mention that awful nav bar Menu button? I'd love to see a consumer press it while in an app that doesn't use it and wonder WTF is going on. They'll probably instantly put it down and just assume Android is buggy, unresponsive crap. Well, in the hands of companies like LG and Samsung, that's kind of true. With poor user experience like this and almost no marketing for Nexus devices I don't blame most consumers for picking iPhone.

  • Xyber

    Yup, the menu button TOTALLY kills the hook of the of the on screen keys, LG is trying to be too much like Samsung! IDK what is going to take to get a freakin RESENTS button on a UI. That is the whole reason I avoid the Galaxy line... the freakin MENU button!!!!! We are not on Gingerbread anymore... resents, resents, resents!

    • Kie

      So much resending >.>

    • iluvthesoftsoft

      Do you mean "recent"? If that's the case, the user only has to push the home button for a half second, and your recent apps are there. Pretty simple. The LG skin isn't so bad - it's a lot less demanding than Samsung's Touchwiz. Throw Nova on it, and you can make it look however you want. This is Android - customize it to fit your needs.

  • Dave Lindbergh

    It will sell well if they price it right. 8.3 inches is really the sweet spot for size - I have the Motorola Xyboard 8.2 - it's slow as a dog, but the screen size is perfect.

    $350 and under they'll sell one to me.