12
Dec
wm_IMG_2668

There's no need for a full review of the new Google Play Edition of LG's G Pad 8.3 - you're familiar with the software thanks to LG's own Nexus 5 and other AOSP devices, and you can check out Cameron Summerson's review of the retail version of the G Pad 8.3 for a look at the hardware. Aside from the "V510" badge on the tablet's legal tiny type, this is the same device, and there's not so much as a Google logo to tell the two apart. But it's paired with clean Android 4.4, which incidentally is the one thing that kept me from buying the standard version earlier this year.

wm_IMG_2636

8-9 inches is the "Goldilocks" tablet size for me, and for at least a few of you as well - not too big, not too small, just right. My favorite tablet hardware was (and in many ways still is) Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9, which has unfortunately aged out of the latest Android releases and apps and gone to that big Craigslist post in the sky. The G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition seems to be a suitable replacement, combining solid hardware, an ideal tablet size, and excellent LCD screen, and the best Android software you can get, which will be reliably updated by Google for at least some time.

wm_IMG_2665 wm_IMG_2668 wm_IMG_2677

The Nexus 7 2013 is probably the closest competitor to this Google Edition of the G Pad, though you could also throw in the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", the Galaxy Note 8.0, and the iPad Mini Retina. The G Pad has a bigger screen with identical 1920x1200 resolution, larger and louder stereo speakers, a MicroSD card slot, and not least, a vibration motor. (The Snapdragon S4 Pro in the Nexus and the Snapdragon 600 in the G Pad are so similar that it hardly makes a difference.) The Nexus has a smaller, lighter size, which is certainly a plus for some, better accessory support, it will almost certainly get slightly faster software updates, and it's a whopping $120 cheaper at the 16GB capacity, which is the only one offered for the G Pad GPE at the moment. If you're willing to spend extra you can also get the Nexus 7 in an LTE variant, which even the retail version of the G Pad does not have.

wm_IMG_2656 wm_IMG_2653 wm_IMG_2670 wm_IMG_2638

The G Pad GPE only comes in black at the moment, so ignore the photos of the fetching white version you've seen since release. The aluminum back panel feels premium, considerably more so than the Nexus tablets or any Samsung hardware you'd care to mention, but it attracts fingerprints like nobody's business. The 5.0 megapixel rear camera (sans flash) and 1.3MP front-facing cam won't win any prizes, but that's never much of a consideration for me where tablets are concerned.

2013-12-12 19.29.01 2013-12-12 19.30.27 2013-12-12 19.30.53

Software on the G Pad 8.3 GPE is Android 4.4 - nothing more, nothing less. Though it would have been nice to see it ship with 4.4.1 or 4.4.2, it will get there much sooner than non-Nexus tablets, and it's the only Google Play Edition tablet at the moment. Sadly the G Pad does not have access to the Google Experience Launcher so prominently displayed on the Nexus 5. Despite the G Pad's solid processor, Adreno 320 GPU, and 2GB of RAM, I can definitely see a bit of stuttering in the interface. I'm hoping this will be cleared up with a maintenance update.

wm_IMG_2684

Since LG's TouchWiz-style software additions were one of the sticking points in Cameron's review and many others, I'm sure the G Pad 8.3 GPE will find at least a few fans among Android purists, especially since it looks like we won't be getting a new Nexus 10 this year. It's on the pricey side, to be sure, especially when compared to Google's own Nexus tablets. But if you want its very specific screen size, expandable storage, and a clean AOSP experience, not to mention a safe bet on ROM developer support, I think it's a good pick. 

LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Severo Rivera

    What should I choose? A nexus 7 or this Google play edition 8.3?

    • Mado

      There's a lot of variables for that. Since software is ~90% similar, try some hands-on at a store, see how it feels. I currently use the first-gen Nexus 7 and I love it, because I am a heavy browser and reader, and don't use it much for gaming or video watching. A bigger tablet won't be that comfortable in comparison for that kind of use. So how would you use a tablet?

    • sri_tech

      Both are great tablets and if price is no concern for you then LG G pad would be great choice.

      LG did a tremendous job with the hardware. I would say its the best looking android tablet in the market now.

      Also, the extra screen estate will be very useful.

      • Derek Duncan

        I really love my moms Note 8 tab but the resolution is poor. This G Pad is excellent. If you have a Nexus 5 or larger android phone, the 7 inch Nexus doesn't seem too different for me really to justify it. Bigger makes a difference.

    • saltyzip

      Check the apps you want to run are compatible with the G PAD. In the UK apps like Sky Go are only supported on the popular phones and tablets. I hate these restrictions but it gives the app developers more control over the experience, at least until their developers are mature enough to write code that is screen independent.

      • shadowy

        It's no longer the case that only popular tablets are supported by Sky Go. There is a tablet app in the Play store which now supports most tablets.

        • saltyzip

          Good point, forgot to check the compatibility list for the tablet version. It seems all 7inch+ tablets are supported with exception to tf101 which is a tad old now.

    • Jillxz

      Don't get that Nexus 7. Its much too small. Looks like a large phone.

  • JoeDoom

    I wouldn't get this because there is a LG logo on the front. As meaningless as that might sound to some, it matters to me and is the reason I love the Nexus series.

    Plus that brushed aluminum on the back is a little out dated at this point.

    • https://google.com/+LateefAlabiOki Lateef Alabi-Oki

      Agreed! I can't stand conspicuous logos on products, especially in front of devices. That and no LTE is a deal breaker.

    • Thedelot

      HTC One plz!

    • mustbepbs

      Outdated? As opposed to what? Plastic?

      • PhillipCun

        The BRUSHED aluminum LOOK is dated is what he means.

  • Paul Tobeck

    At $299 this would be a maybe. At $350, no way in hell.

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      That's fair. The high prices are keeping a lot of people away from the Google Play Edition devices, which is understandable when the Nexus line is so cheap.

    • AOSPrevails

      You can get the retail Gpad for $299 at Bestbuy and flash CM 11 or Gpe Gpad ROM.

      • Derek Duncan

        you could, but CM11 has many things broken...

  • jonathan3579

    "The new Nexus 7 switches to Qualcomm’s APQ8064–1AA, a version with 4 Krait 300 CPU cores (yes, Krait 300, not 200) running at up to 1.5 GHz and Adreno 320 graphics." -Anandtech

    So with that being said, the processor in the Nexus 7 (2013) is a Snapdragon 600 albeit underclocked. The hypothesis is that Qualcomm wouldn't allow it to be named due to this reason. It's all a marketing thing, I guess.

    • Allan

      Clock speed aside though, I can't see why Qualcomm wouldn't allow it to be named a member of the S600 family. It may have lower core clocks, but it maintains Adreno 320 frequencies and runs LPDDR3 with almost 50% more bandwidth (the same as MSM8974).

  • Jeff Miller

    Finally someone giving this GE tablet some love. I currently have the N7 13 but had purchased the G Pad a while back and later returned it due to the software lag. The hardware on this tablet is really nice, I just may have to repurchase now that its stock Kit Kat.

    • Allan

      I can see why. 4.2 does not enjoy the same fstrim benefits as 4.3 and 4.4. You could just root and use LagFix.

  • miri

    "...and the best Android software you can get, which will be reliably updated by Google for at least some time."

    Aren't the GPE devices still updated by the manufacturer?

    • jonathan3579

      From my understanding, they give their code to Google and that's where the finishing touches are applied and Google releases the OTA.

  • NinoBr0wn

    I've been thinking of getting this. I'm coming from the original Asus Transformer, and while I would much rather have a 10 inch tablet, this one appeals to me for some reason. And 7 inch tablets aren't for me. Just not enough real estate to warrant actually using it.

  • leeznon

    I never liked the 7 inch Nexus. It's too small and phone-like.

    8 inches is perfect.

    • Never Hide

      That's what she said

    • Joshua Smith

      I wish it was 4:3 and 8-9 inches. I'd love for a clean android experience on an iPad shaped tablet, as someone who does more magazine reading, game playing, and web browsing than movie watching. (though all the games on Android would be built for 16:9/10)

      • Jillxz

        I agree. Add to that 32-64 GB and you would have the perfect tablet.

      • Sergio

        What's the benefit of 4:3 over 16:10? Both fit the same on your hand while the second offers you more screen to read, watch movies... What I want to see is tablets like this between 8-10" but with Mirasol/Pixel Qi technology.

        • Sunset Rider

          The previous poster nailed it.

          4:3 is better for web browsing and reading books/magazines. Anything that requires more screen real estate benefits from a 4:3 ratio.

          16:9 is better for watching videos, and that's it.

      • Lars Jeppesen

        Are you kidding?
        I take it you never watch tv shows, movies, youtube or other video sources on your tablet.

        4:3 is horrendous for video

        • gnsks

          But it's better for everything else.

      • Robert Boluyt

        I'd like to see a penalty for those who still produce 4:3 aspect anything. Some sort of public humiliation. 4:3 needs to die a horrible, painful death.

    • didibus

      I agree, I think 8 is better, like the ipad mini. But what's important is to make it easy to hold in one hand for using standing up, while big enough that you can do more than on a phone and still have nice screen space when using standing down.

    • Eryk

      you're awesome ;-)

  • Stephen Zipprich

    Thank you for mentioning the Samsung Tab 8.9 as a comparative size. I had that tablet until recently and don't really fancy getting the N7. I checked it out at BestBuy and it's just too small for me. Glad to see this is a comparable tablet in a size that seems just right for me.

  • sourabh sekhar

    7" tablets or 8" tablets are just not for me.I love tablets with 10" screens.They allow me to be far more productive IMHO.

    • neolid

      Sadly, N10 refresh is nowhere to be seen.

  • Sergio

    The screen proportions and bezels of this tablet are perfect for me, however I would still prefer a little bigger size, around 9". Being 16:10, it would be about as wide as the iPad mini which I can hold nicely with one hand.

    • Jillxz

      In a smaller tablet , I prefer the design , size , and the screen ratio of the iPad mini. Got'm all beat in looks and screen space.

  • Alekh Khanna

    Why not go for Nook HD+ at less than half the price ? Load CM10.1 on it and you're gold !

    • Ivan Myring

      Significantly worse CPU and worse design.

      • Alekh Khanna

        CPU worse, yup. Worse design ? Subjective. Value for money ? Definitely !

        • MindFever

          Value for money? No...just no . Nexus 7 FHD is a better choice in my view but that's a subjective thing

          • Alekh Khanna

            Very subjective. Personally, cannot categorize 7 inchers as tablets (specially since I read loads of comics on mine).

    • gnsks2006

      Kitkat is now available for the Nook HD+

      It's the best "big" tablet you can get for the money.

      • Alekh Khanna

        You mean an official update or via CM ? Battery tends to be tad better with official ROM.

  • Aleksandar Vasić

    Is there any chance that the original G Pad can be flashed with GPE image as-is? I'm sure this GP edition will never be available in my country but there are hints that original might be available soon.

    • AOSPrevails

      It was doable for HTC One and GS4 Gpe, it should be the same for Gpad. Better keep a tab on the xda.com G pad forum.

  • Yonko Tsenkov

    Can you do some performance comparison between the GPE and LGE? I don't care about general comment as in dah it has bunch of bloatware that slows it dah. Can you quantify the performance experience between the two? i.e. run a few benches, record a side by side video, etc.

    I have the LGE, and I am a Nexus beta tester for some of the most minimalistic rom/kernels out there, but I do not see optimus UI as restrictive and overblown, so far, as most reviews make it out to be. There are roms/launchers out there that make LG skin minimalistic. I haven't messed around with the stock kernel much but the device feels pretty responsive with occasional stutter but nothing the negatively affects the user experience. And I get about 2.25 days worth of use out of the battery with <1% of idle battery drain.

  • RantGirlRants

    I really have to disagree with the notion that the Nexus 7 2013 feels less than premium.

  • Jillxz

    I have been looking for a tablet that is just the right size and this one fits . But I will never buy it with only 16GB not even with an SD card slot. No , I want the on board 32 GB Too bad.

    • Max Headroom

      You are just wasting your money on a device with more on board gigs. With all the cloud storage and SD cards today, they should provide you with ample storage. 16 gigs should be more than enough to do anything you choose.

      • Jillxz

        No , I'm definitely not wasting my money. These Tablets are like computers , the larger your storage and Ram , the less likely your device will slow down . Believe me , I have had computers and phones with just enough ram and storage to get by only to have them slow to a crawl when you put a lot of stuff on them. I have learned from experience that you get what you pay for and I am paying the larger price for more storage. I don't use the cloud too much nor do I care to.

        • Max Headroom

          I have had a 16 gig for over 2 years now. The point of cloud and SD cards is to free space up, which allows your device to run smoothly. The ram is the only other spec that would be worth any additional money.

  • merman1983

    If this had been announced prior to Black Friday I'd have ordered one.

  • abobobilly

    I don't get it. Why there is a need of separate "google play edition" at all?

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    It's funny how this tablet is actually close to becoming a Nexus 8, especially since LG is one of the Google's Nexus program partners

  • Eryk

    8.0 inch tablet without 3G / LTE connectivity is a joke.
    seriously. is pretty much useless because it can't do things that your phone can do,
    so what's the point ? reading books or watching pre-downloaded videos ?
    so where's streaming, surfing the web, poking strangers on Facebook and all that fun ?
    pretty, yes. but so 2011.

    • Lars Jeppesen

      A tablet is 90% used at home where u have wifi.

      Tether with your phone on the out-of-house occasions.

      Facebook? say hi for me back in 2011 ;)

  • Rich Robinson

    Got it yesterday, love it so far, and it updated to 4.4.2 today. Not bad

  • Jeremiah R.

    After having both for 2 weeks, the extra 1.3" of screen real estate makes a world of difference (and being able to drop in a 64GB card for more storage). The G Pad is an awesome tablet, well worth the extra $70 (street price) over the Nexus 7.

  • lanister

    hey i just got my nexus 5 from uSA (my friend bought it from play store) it works fine in india..dont worry bout a thing ..iniatialy my wifi dint work but then i figured u have to put sim card to make it work. Rest all great..only thing that bothrs me is that battery could have bin a bit more. awesome fone ..low battry :(.
    see: etui galaxy note 3

  • Robert Boluyt

    Just ordered one of these this morning.

  • Eduardo da Silva

    It's true that Google Play Edition doesn't have full suport for sd card? I want to buy one G Pad, but Google doesn't sell it in Brasil, and i was thinking in transform a standard edition into Google Play Edition.

    • Jeremiah R.

      Incorrect, but I'd still get the regular G Pad over the GPE and save $50, provided you don't mind rooting. Kit Kat is coming out for the non-GPE in the next week.

  • nick

    On par with the new Samsung S tablets.

    ( http://goo.gl/ZDTX1N )

Quantcast