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Sunday, September 8, 2013

LG G Pad 8.3 hands-on review: A crack at the Nexus 7, Galaxy Note 8.0 and iPad mini

LG's latest stab at the tablet market is the G Pad 8.3 which will compete with the iPad mini and Nexus 7. Here's our hands-on review of the LG G Pad 8.3 from IFA 2013.

The name of the G Pad 8.3 signifies not only the size of the screen but how thin it is, 8.3 mm. The tablet joins the G2 smartphone in the G Series of products and has a similar and stylish design, but doesn't have its buttons on the back. We prefer the black model over the white alternative, but both have a predominately aluminium rear cover.

That 8.3 in screen has a Nexus 7 matching 1920 x 1200 resolution but spread over a larger surface area means it has a lower pixel density (273 ppi). Nevertheless, it looks great in its Full HD IPS splendor and despite the large screen is easy enough to hold one handed.

Driving the G Pad 8.3 is a snappy 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor and a healthy 2 GB of RAM. We happily didn't notice any major signs of lag.

The G Pad 8.3 has 16- or 32 GB of internal space and has one up on its key rivals - a microSD card slot for up to 64 GB more. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is an alternative which has expandable storage.

The G Pad runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a few additional features from LG. 'KnockON' allowing the screen to be switched on with a double tap which is super handy. 'Slide Aside' is a handy although slightly unnecessary alternative to the built-in Android multi-tasking. You can slide three apps off to the left with a three finger gesture and get them back with the opposite.  'QSlide' allows you to load up multiple, what are effectively small apps, which can be made transparent while you work in the background.

An app called QPair allows you to, er, pair the tablet with a smartphone and use it to manage calls and messages received on the smartphone. You can even have a fully-fledged phonecall on the G Pad itself and fling files between the two. We weren't able to test this out at IFA.

There are two cameras which are good but nothing overly special, 5 Mp at the rear and 1.3 Mp at the front. The G Pad 8.3 doesn't have NFC on-board but it has an arguably more handy feature which is an infrared transmitter meaning you can use it as a remote control for your TV.

We'll test battery life fully when we get our review unit but things look promising with a 4600 mAh battery.

The G Pad 8.3 is undoubtedly LG's best tablet to date but we're still waiting for a price which is going to be a key factor in the competitive market. We're also waiting for a release date so we could well have an iPad mini 2 by time the G Pad 8.3 arrives.  

Follow Udara Madusanka and @netudara on Twitter.

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