The first true Google Play edition tablet from LG and Google

We've been using the LG G Pad 8.3 for a while now, and we've been excited to get a look at this one since Google announced it yesterday afternoon. LG makes one heck of a tablet, and their display technology is legendary, so what happens when you pair Google's Android with it should be really interesting.

So far, it has been. LG strays pretty far from the vanilla Android experience, so these two stop feeling the same the minute you turn them both on. The Google Play edition feels "darker", and pretty sparse. Designed to be fortified with applications from Google Play's app store, out-of-the-box Google Play devices seem bare-boned. That's a good thing for many, and an easy to overcome issue for everyone.

G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition

What we see though, we like. The great hardware of the G Pad runs the Google experience rather nicely. Everything seems snappy and smooth, and the great display makes it all look outstanding. The black version with its brushed aluminum back is sure to have a good many admirers. It's thin and light, with the perfect-sized bezels to keep hold of everything. 

The Nexus 7 has some serious competition, and we think plenty of folks will think the price difference is worth it. On the specifications side, the G Pad has an 8.3-inch 1920 x 1200 display, a Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage with an SD card slot. The Google Play edition carries the exact same specs as the original.

At $349 for the Wifi version, you're spending about $120 more than you would on a equally spec'd Nexus 7. That's not pocket change, so you have a decision to make. We're going to help, as we look at the LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition over the coming weeks. 

 

Reader comments

LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition unboxing and hands-on

108 Comments

Dope. But I would still get a N7 if I was considering a tablet. The price is just too good and you don't loose performance either.

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N7 screen size was disappointing for me. I find G Pad screen size and proportions to be just prefect. Right in between N7 & N10. I think it's worth it at that price!

~Lone androider in a tribe of sourapples~

Wish there was no SD card slot, had LTE, S800, 32gb min. But yeah typical Google plane Jane.

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Read his whole comment. He would like more internal storage in lieu of an SD card.
That's not taking options away, that's replacing an option with another.

Are you really so gullible to think that they'd take out a microSD slot and give you more storage? They'd probably just offer a 32gb version but then charge almost $40-$50 more for it. Flash storage is cheaper for them to add than a MicroSD support.

Think about it, would you rather want 32gb internally and no SD support, or 16gb internally, but with the ability to have 64gb from SD. Most MicroSD cards are $10-$30.

This is the correct answer.

There is no advantage to internal more storage unless you are really installing THAT many apps. SD is just fine for media, which is the bulk of the data for most people. I have never needed more space for apps, I have needed more space for photos and videos books, and comics and whatever.

This is an LG tablet... Google has nothing to do with it. But I guess you can hate on them if you really need to.

Posted from my pure Google Nexus 4 using the AC app.

But that micro SD slot might be a deal maker for some. My Nexus 7 is only 16 gigabytes and now that I am close to reaching that I really wish my Nexus have an expansion slot.

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Was certainly a deal maker for me. Even though I bought the regular LG during the 50% Newegg deal. Now have a 64gig card in it.

I don't know. Is the SD card really that big a deal if you can't actually write to it from the tablet? It's the biggest annoyance with the GPE S4 since the 4.3 update.

Ding Ding we have a winner. Unless you root and use a script to make the SD card the primary card, what good is it? Google doesn't support apps2sd, so basically your using it to only store movies.

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I've had probably 15 tablets now and that's.... about all I use my sd card for anyway... 64gb card full of music and movies.. apps get stored on device. Not really sure what the problem is with that. BTW I love my gpad 8.3 I have the regular version but I'll be flashing a GPE rom as soon as one comes up. If I don't flash CM11 first.

I've had probably 15 tablets now and that's.... about all I use my sd card for anyway... 64gb card full of music and movies.. apps get stored on device. Not really sure what the problem is with that. BTW I love my gpad 8.3 I have the regular version but I'll be flashing a GPE rom as soon as one comes up. If I don't flash CM11 first.

And that is one of the reasons that ASOP sucks.

There are more but a GPe edition usually does more harm than good.

Sure it is fine for a device that is specifically made to be GPe, like a nexus, but to ruin and S4, One, etc is wrong

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My phone can beat up your phone. It's bigger, badder and has more moves. If worse comes to worse, it also comes with a sword.

Define "ruin," please.

Disclaimer: You know I have to play this game with you, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Yeah I know.

Ruin is taking intended things out for the sake of ASOP.

App2sd on the sgs4, knock knock, things like that.

A phone/tablet is a synergy between software and hardware. They work together to make a device work as intended.

These GPe devices are like putting a square peg in a rectangular hole. Sure they fit and work, but they do not take full advantage of the whole.

Love my n7, the n5 is not bad. Those were intended for pure vanilla.

GPe devices are OK, but the phone doesn't live up to potential.

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My phone can beat up your phone. It's bigger, badder and has more moves. If worse comes to worse, it also comes with a sword.

Ok, fair enough, brother. I see what you mean, and to a point, I actually agree.

It would make more sense for the device to be modular, with the user choosing whether they want a Google Play experience or a Samsung/HTC, etc experience at the initial startup of the device.

I'm all for choice. But, as the costs of the originals and the GPE devices are the same, there isn't too much advantage to choosing the GPE over the original, unless the user heavily favors the stock experience.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Yeah I mean to each his own, but you cannot expect a feature from the SGS4 to make it to the GPe edition because in essence you are talking about two totally different phones.

Now if we went modular, you could still have the great camera on AOSP, or smart stay or whatever with most everything else being stock.

Either way choice is good. If you want to go either route it is not like you are wrong, it is just preference.

Although I love the idea of having the latest version of Android as soon as its out, I wouldn't trade my Sony ROM for my Xperia Tablet Z for anything. So I guess I kind of agree with you. This LG GPAD 8.3 is an awesome tablet for the features and price. A great portable size, with a great readable screen and good power to back it up. I'm one of these rare folks that prefer a 10inch tablet and I wouldn't trade my Xperia Tab Z for anything. It feels like a Ferrari of tablets.

Oh and the normal GPAD ROM is pretty cool on its own as well.

Yup only using it to store movies is the goal! And music, and photos...and PDFs...
There are people out there that don't have 500 apps on their devices thus not needing apps2SD support. Pop the card in the machine, drag and drop, take it on the road with you.

Ding ding, we have an opinion. Why wouldn't you want the ability to store movies, pics, music, etc? And actually, my phone now stores a ton of files from certain games on the card. Saves me space on the main storage. I don't see how you could possibly make an sd card slot a negative. Your opinion is not one I respect on this subject.

It's fine to not care if it has a microSD card slot, but to say you'd rather them remove it is strange. If you don't intend to use it, just ignore it. You're not required to use it. It's like saying you wish your phone didn't have a compass because you don't use it for navigation. It doesn't hurt to have it anyway.

I think it's a big deal as you can cache Play music files on microsd cards, now. Throw a couple gigs in there for music and you have that much more room for apps.

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welp, Google play music was recently updated to support sd cards. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the Play movies app follow suit and maybe apps2sd but I feel like that's less likely as removing an sd card would break apps whereas your music/movies simply wouldn't be on the device anymore.

That's why the 32GB model exists. Sure, you might want an SD card if you need even more storage than that, but it's not too much of an advantage when you don't have apps to sd.

I agree with Phil having owned both colors of the G Pad I have yo say the black looks much better, the white version even though its the same materials seems to look cheaper, strange but true..

One question I do have for Phil, was both tablets on the same brightness setting? As you mentioned the GPE did look dark compared and the original I found to be dim and having to crank the brightness up to 65%.

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I've heard from reviews on the standard version that it wasn't as bright as some devices. You've found this to be the case as well? I don't think it will be an issue for me. My N7 (13) is the brightest device I've ever owned and while it's nice, it's also the first device that I keep below 50%.

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Yeah the nexus is super bright, if I remember rightly the G Pad maxes out at about 350 nits, the nexus 7 2013 maxes at around 550 nits, so quite a major difference

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"Nits" picking, brightness is very important when the tablet is being used outside in bright daylight, not as relevant for a Samsung Vampire though.

N7 2013 maxed out at 583 nits according to Anandtech, still waiting on their review of the Gpad to see where it stands in term of brightness.

Should have mine Friday. I'm excited to compare it to my 7. I have a feeling that it'll fit in next to it rather than replace it. Either way, I'm stoked! This is a whole new form factor for me.

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The website says they won't ship until sometime between now and Friday. My receipt says the same. How do you figure you will have yours by Friday?

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I ordered mine a couple hrs after they went live on play store Tuesday...chose 1 day shippining...said would leave warehouse 12/13 but it actually shipped the same night I ordered 12/10...received it earlier today 12/11...already bootloader unlocked, rooted, and twrp installed.

Got mine yesterday. Ordered when it launched. Not to bad. The screen isn't as bright, that's for sure but I really like the colors. I have noticed a bit of lag throughout the home screen when I'm using my chromecast. I wouldn't think that sounds effect it but that's the only time I see it. I am using Nova launcher so that could be the root of my problem. FYI, Nova gives transparent nav and status bar on home screen. Lock screen is still black. While it feels lighter than my N7, it also feels a bit cheaper. It doesn't feel bad by any means just not quite as sturdy. I've been keeping my brightness at about 70%, unlocked the bootloader, rooted it, downloaded several apps and made my it own. I've worked it pretty heavily since it arrived. So far, I'm not impressed with battery life. It's still early and I've not really sat it down so take that for what it is. My opinion. All in all, after a days use, I'm happy.

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Can't watch the video at work: Does. the GPE Pad have an IR blaster? If so, does it work out of the box?

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It doesn't have QRemote but I read that it gas the blaster just like the GPe S4 and One, just a case of grabbing your own app

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Does Knock-Knock still work on the GPE G Pad? Works great on my current G Pad.

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You would have to flash a custom kernel, if someone develops one. Then you could have sweep to wake or double tap to wake.

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@JerryHildenbrand

I know you can't say much about the N10, but is this what you have alluded to in the past. Wink once for yes and twice for no....

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After reading all these rumors of Nexus 8 by LG, Asus making the Nexus 10 and a Sony nexus phone it really wouldn't shock me to see the Asus tf701 Google Play edition, the nexus 8 turned out to be the G Pad GPe, the Sony nexus is the Z1 Ultra GPe..... So I reckon the Asus thing could have some steam behind it....

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Interesting how the N5 is still the only device with the Google Experience Launcher. Pairing 4.4 with the "stock" launcher is actually quite a different experience than the N5 with the GEL

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I hope that the N10v2 has that aluminum finish. Or does the original have it? I can't remember. lol I don't think I like the 8" tablet. I love N7 7" screen for e-books, and I like 10" screens for... well, tablet things. That's just me. That's a fine-looking tablet, though.

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Already have a N7 but I like the GPE GPad way more. The bezels are smaller and it's a size closer to the iPad mini. Looks like I'm saving up for it.

Sent via my Verizon Moto X

LG have done a great job with this tablet and no doubt the gpe will be smooth. The Nexus 7 equally is a great tablet and offers the consumer with value and a great user experience so perhaps hard to choose between the two.

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It's definitely a difficult choice. If I didn't already have the Nexus 7, I might choose the G Pad, because of the better hardware. The Nexus 7 does kill it on price, though.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Jerry have you noticed any performance and speed differences between the regular lg gpad and the gpe version. I am trying to decide between the 2 and right now the regular is on sale for 299.

I am interested in getting 4.4 kitkat but not sure at the expense of the few nice touches lg has put on there version. I also assume it will get 4.4 pretty quick anyways. I am just wondering if the LG versioned software is sluggish

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Kinda wish I would have got this instead of my nexus 7. A 8" screen for a tablet would be the perfect sweet spot for me. And that SD card slot! Sweetness...

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 or Nexus 7

Exactly what I thought when I played with one at my local best buy. I TRIED HARD to like it. Went back 3 times to check it out. But just couldn't convince myself at that screen size.

~Lone androider in a tribe of sourapples~

I'm probably in the minority but I think the 7 inch screen on the Nexus 7 is a little too small. I find it hard to use it for work and I think an 8 inch device is truly the sweet spot for work and portability.

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totally on the fence with this.. I LOVE my Nexus 7 Wifi edition.. I think the 8" (agree w/Josh) is a bit better size wise..not a huge fan of SD cards anyway.. they tend to get become corrupt. I would venture to say if I were to make a move I would buy an LTE version of another N7.. plus a huge fan of wireless charging and why LG did not build that in who knows; plus very limited accessories for the Gpad

I made a decision and i decided to sell the Nexus 7, the 8.3 screen is like the sweet spot, i love my G Pad, stuck a 4.4.2 rom on it today and its so smooth and fast, i picked up my nexus and it was so small, just felt awkward, the G Pad is so nice to hold, i was going to jump im for the GPE edition, but other than the low sound on the AOSP rom im more than happy, im sure the sound will get patch, i highly recommend people running out and buying a G Pad while they are cheap, rooting and sticking one of the roms on it because its drowning in awesome sauce!

If you're running the CM11 rom that was just put out that had a sound and sd card issue there is a second nightly out already that fixes those issues.

yeah i got it, the top speaker is a lot louder than the lower one so that is a bug still but everything else seems to be working like a champ, i just got $225 for my 32gb Nexus 7 2013, i was quite happy with that, and now i have CM11 loaded im just gonna stick with this G Pad and not even bother buying the GPe version... quite happy

I have no issues with Micro SD cards myself, but many at AC do (for technical and security reasons). Personally I would rather have the option than not. Without the expansion option, 16Gb of internal storage effectively kills this device; perhaps that is why they kept the SD card.

LG have tried to make a very nicely designed stop gap solution a bit more desirable. It is nice - but IS IT a good option? I think not - something better is probably on the way.

Navigating the options in Android products is like a traversing a minefield in a blindfold while drunk. Any good choice you COULD make - kills off something you really want or need. I don't like the locked down Apple approach, but one can see why they do it.

No...I didn't say I only buy nexus products. Im saying if I have a choice I'm buying a nexus over most. I'm using a s4 right now thanks to Verizon.

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I still dont understand, why? just to say because is a nexus is bizarre, anything that is a GPE edition is also a Nexus, it gets updates within a couple of weeks of the Nexus devices, its pure android like the nexus devices, i love my nexus devices but.... ive found the GPe HTC One offers more than the Nexus 5 and the G Pad offers a lot more over the Nexus 7, then again i only paid $260 for my G Pad, so i didnt have the close to $100 price gap so i could see that being an issue for some

Not me ....sold a iPad for the nexus and glad I did ...made over $100 and got on a android tablet that I like. Win win ...

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Would really love some opinions about whether or not it's worth shelling out the extra cash for this thing over a nexus. Hopefully you guys will post something a few days before Christmas at the latest... Hopefully

My advice is to buy the regular G Pad as its cheaper right now, then stick CM11 of it and save some cash, that way you have 4.4.2 kitkat

Stock - Running Nova Prime. First 2 hours initial thoughts:
1. Benchmarks - Quadrant: 9276 (My G2 at the same time was: 17,378)
2. The screen is bright, colors are clear, not noticing "yellow" tint
3. Love the build quality. Fingerprint magnet with the aluminum brushed back. Feels light in hand. Great form factor
4. Vanilla 4.4 Kit Kat on board. No NFC, Wireless Charging, or any LG Software enhancements (KnockOn/QPair)
5. Sound is much louder than the Nexus 7 2012. Google Play Music & Hulu Plus sound great.
6. Icon Pack looks beautiful
7. Comes with a weak selection of wallpapers and it's very hard to find one that doesn't look distorted. No Kit Kat wallpaper.
8. Impressed with the speed. I'm a G2 user and this feels comparable despite having the 600 vs. the 800 and a much lower Quadrant score
9. Battery is not the same as the G2. It's not bad by any means but is definitely pulling faster than the G2. I would compare to the Nexus7
10. GPS is spot on. I know this is stupid but the G2 sometimes has issues so this was great to see.

I was shocked when I ran the Quadrant benchmark next to the G2 at first. But after playing around and throwing many apps on, I did not notice one bit of lag. Twice though AnTuTu shut the tablet completely off which I've never seen before. Other than that I've been impressed with it. Lots of customization to get it similar to my Nexus but now that it's complete, time to enjoy. Ask any questions...

Is there a GPE rom available anywhere...that the rest of us who dont have an GPE version could use?I dont want CM11...i would rather have the same experiance...so stock GPE 4.4.2. Any tip on where to obtain that would be much appreciated.

I'm really liking the look of this tablet, I've been wanting a tablet that gets the latest updates from google but the n7 seemed too small and n10 too big. I have two questions, any help would be appreciated.... Does anyone have a case for their g pad, and if so where did you get it from and how do you like it? I'm having a hard time finding a good selection of cases. And secondly, I know no one is a fortune teller or anything, but does anyone have a slight clue as to whether or not a white version of the gpe gpad will be released? I prefer a white color but really want the stock android experience vs the lg skin. Thanks in advance

Have had this a few days now and am just thrilled with it. Played with a Nexus 7 for a weekend and this tablet is definitely worth the premium price over it. At least get the non Google Experience version to save a bit. I thought this tablet looked good in photos but am twice as impressed when I'm holding it in my hands. I really hope they sell a ton of these, and the industry starts to make more 8"-9" tabs

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