The LG G Pad 8.3 has good battery life, and an excellent display but is let down by LG's software overlay.
Design & display
The LG G Pad 8.3 is comparable in size and weight to most of its competitors, particularly the iPad mini with Retina display.
It weighs 338g and measures 8.3mm thick, and the slightly smaller width compared to the iPad mini means it is comfortable to hold and use single-handedly.
The G Pad 8.3 is constructed largely from plastic but LG has incorporated an aluminium panel on the back that gives it a two-tone look.
Build quality feels surprisingly sturdy, despite the entry-level pricing. The matte, white plastic on the sides and the back feels durable, and there are no moving parts, rattles or creaks.
One annoyance is the position of the rear, dual speakers. When using the tablet in portrait orientation they are both located over to one side of the device, and when using the device in landscape with the power and volume keys on top, it's too easy to muffle the speakers with your hand.
The volume and lock keys on the right side do feel a little spongy and could have been raised more, but we like the small indent on the top of the volume rocker. This makes it easy to feel when pressing the buttons blindly.
The G Pad 8.3 has an 8.3in IPS touchscreen. The display has a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels, which gives it a pixel density of 273ppi.
It displays crisp text, bright, accurate colours and performs relatively well in sunlight. The glossy screen is very reflective, however, especially indoors under fluorescent lighting.
Software & performance
The LG G Pad 8.3 runs the 4.2 Jelly Bean version of Google's Android operating system, but LG has skinned the interface with a number of its own features.
The most notable and useful is QPair, which links the tablet to any Android smartphone via Bluetooth and an LG app.
It allows users to receive call and message notifications on the G Pad 8.3, including the ability to reply to messages directly from the tablet. However, you can't answer the calls on the tablet and can only receive the call notification.
Q Pair also enables immediate activation of the wireless tethering feature, and has a feature called "recent app sticker" that displays a small notification of the last used app on the tablet when you switch to the phone, and vice versa. It's not something that's really useful.
The G Pad 8.3 borrows a feature called "knock on" from the G2, allowing users to unlock the screen when you double-tap it quickly, and lock it again when you double-tap the status bar or an empty area on the home or lock screens.
It's a great feature that's let down by LG's poor implementation — it doesn't work every single time, frustratingly leaving you tapping on the screen.
QSlide apps are also included, allowing users to watch a video, browse the Web, write a memo, dial a phone number, write a text message, see the calendar, use a calculator and more, while another application is open.
They're of more use on a tablet than a smartphone given the larger screen size, but we still found it easier just to use the regular multitasking menu (holding down the home button) to switch between apps. LG's designers really need to put some more thought into the UI, especially if they want to target first time tablet users.
The G Pad 8.3's 1.7GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM make is a snappy performer for most basic tasks, and we didn't experience any significant lag or slowdown during general use.
Cameras and battery life
The G Pad 8.3 comes with 16GB of internal memory but a microSD card slot obviously allows users to expand the on-board storage.
The G Pad 8.3 is a Wi-Fi only tablet, so there's no 3G or 4G models available in Australia.
The G Pad 8.3 has a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls. Like most tablet cameras, LG seems to have considered image and video capture an afterthought.
We found the G Pad 8.3's 4600mAh battery easily lasted for two full days before requiring a recharge, though excessive users may have to reach for the charger every night.
The G Pad 8.3 is available now exclusively through JB Hi-Fi and will stay as a retail exclusive until early 2014. It's available in a single, white, 16GB model and sells for $399 outright.