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LG G Pad 8.3 review: Gorgeous Android tablet and handy smartphone companion

LG continues to roll out excellent products and the G Pad 8.3 is an excellent Android tablet. The hardware if fantastic, the software is very capable, and the price is reasonable.

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Topic: Reviews
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1 of 30 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

LG G Pad 8.3 retail package

LG continues to release some fantastic products and the new LG G Pad 8.3 follows the exciting LG G2 while also serving as a smartphone companion.

The eight inch tablet market is growing and LG's latest offering is priced competitively while offering up some unique functions and features. If I did not already have a new 2013 Nexus 7, then this is probably the tablet I would be purchasing.

Hardware

LG announced the US availability of the G Pad 8.3 in and I have been using one for the last couple of weeks. THe first thing I thought when I took it out of the box was that the tablet is a more modern version of my HTC Flyer with the silver metal back and white plastic ends.

The LG G Pad 8.3 is an attractive tablet with a gorgeous 8.3 inch 1920 x 1200 pixels (273 ppi) display. LG took a similar approach to what they did on the G2 and have minimal side bezels on the G Pad 8.3.

The G Pad 8.3 is pretty large for a smaller tablet, I am comparing it to my Nexus 7, and the width (126.5 mm) is at just about the maximum span I have to hold it in one hand. There is nothing on the left side, the power and volume are on the right, the microUSB is on the bottom, and the headphone jack and microSD card slot are on the top.

Dual stereo speakers are positioned on the back and they sound great. I enjoyed watching movies and video content on the LG G Pad 8.3.

The rear camera is found in the top left of the back while the front facing camera is just to the right of center on the front above the display.

The G Pad 8.3 is quite thin at 8.3 mm and I enjoy holding it. Most of the back is metal and this material gives it a sense of high quality.

Software

The software is really where the LG G Pad 8.3 stands out from other eight inch tablets. The is unique because of its S Pen functionality. The LG G Pad 8.3 doesn't include stylus support, but just about everything you can do with a G2 you can do with a LG G Pad 8.3

Knock On, QRemote, Qslide, Slide Aside, and Quick Memo are all present on the LG G Pad 8.3.

The major new functionality we haven't seen until now is Q Pair. With this utility on your G Pad 8.3 and compatible Android smartphone you can view call notification on the tablet, get text messages and respond from the phone, receive social networking notifications, transfer QuickMemos, and more. It was handy to use the G Pad 8.3 while using various Android smartphone.

I am a big fan of the IR remotes found in some Android smartphones and am pleased to see it on the G Pad 8.3, along with the QuickRemote application.

Apps work in landscape and portrait while the device handled everything I threw at it with ease.

Usage and experiences

It feels like I have a $500+ tablet in my hand every time I pick up the G Pad 8.3. LG did a fantastic job with this tablet and it offers you everything you want in an Android device, along with a way to keep it in touch with your phone.

I was able to easily go a couple of days with pretty heavy use, including watching a couple of movies. Using all of the software on the G Pad 8.3 actually has me considering a G2 as a smartphone for myself.

Pros and Cons

To summarize my experiences and the specifications, here are my pros and cons.

Pros

  • Solid construction that feels much more expensive than the price
  • Beautiful display
  • Long battery life
  • Super fast performance
  • Many software enhancements, including phone connectivity

Cons

  • Bit overloaded with apps and utilities
  • Camera isn't great, but who needs one on a tablet anyway?

Pricing and availability

You can pick up the LG G Pad 8.3 now for $350. This actually is a decent price considering it is an eight inch tablet and priced $150 less than a comparable WiFi iPad Mini with retina display.

The competition

There are a few competitors in the growing eight inch tablet market, including Apple with two iPad mini versions and Samsung with their Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0. The LG G Pad 8.3 has a better display than both of the Samsung models and the original iPad mini. It's tough to beat the iPad Mini with retina display, but a 32GB WiFi model is priced at $$499 so that is a major factor in your decision.

Specifications

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM and 16GB flash storage memory
  • microSD expansion capability
  • 8.3 inch 1920x1200 HD IPS display
  • 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 4,600 mAh battery
  • Sensors include proximity, barometer, temperature & humidity, accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Dimensions of 216.8 x 126.5 x 8.3 mm and 338 grams

Conclusion

The LG G Pad 8.3 has a lot going for it, including solid hardware and functional software. If I could return my Nexus 7 or sell it for a good price, then I would buy the LG G Pad 8.3 for myself. I am not a fan of the name though.

I had a tough time coming up with any cons for the tablet. Rather, it does just what a tablet should do and serves as a great companion for your smartphone. I love that LG allows other Android smartphones the ability to download and use Q Pair with the LG G Pad 8.3 and think this will help them sell this tablet to more consumers.

Contributor's rating: 9.5 out of 10

Further reading

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Just a couple things in the box; cable and charger

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Here's the LG G Pad 8.3

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The back metal shell is impressive

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Camera, power, and volume buttons

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Top of the LG G Pad 8.3

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The G Pad 8.3 just fits in my one hand

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LG G Pad 8.3 and Nexus 7

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HTC Flyer has similar back design to G Pad 8.3

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QPair guide: Call notification

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QPair guide: Message notification

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QPair guide: Social networking notification

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QPair guide: QuickMemo transfer

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QPair guide: Internet via phone doesn't work for all phones

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QPair guide: Recent app sticker

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You need an Android 4.1 phone

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QPair setup and paired to my HTC One

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Received a text message

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Replying to a text message via QPair

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Typical G Pad 8.3 home screen

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Browsing on the G Pad 8.3

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Settings are very similar to LG G2 smartphone

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Notebook application

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Calendar in landscape orientation

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LG guide on the G Pad 8.3

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App launcher

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Widgets for the G Pad 8.3

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The notification slide is a bit busy on LG devices

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Customizing home screen panels

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Home screen also works in landscape

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