Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 LTE

One of the best tablet choices available on the carrier, so long as you're alright with the inevitable Verizon cruft

LG's rethought and refreshed take on Android tablets, the G Pad 8.3, is coming around on five months old and is generally a known quantity at this point. That's not stopping LG from releasing a new variant of the tablet toting Verizon LTE though, and (aside from being tied to a single carrier) it's a cellular-connected version that many have been clamoring for since the original WIfi-only version was announced.

Luckily for us, Verizon hasn't mucked with things too much, and you're going to get the same solid G Pad 8.3 experience with this version as you would with any other. You won't be charged too dramatically, either — Verizon is asking just $199 with a two-year contract for the G Pad 8.3 LTE, or a modest $299 going month-to-month. At those prices with these specs and features, this may be one of the go-to tablets on the carrier. Read along and see how we feel about the combination of LG's tablet and Verizon's network.

The same great hardware

Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 LTE

Aside from some inevitable Verizon branding on the front, back and in the software, this G Pad 8.3 is the exact same externally as the original and Google Play edition versions. The tablet is a little heavier than many of its 7-inch counterparts, but you're getting a fantastic build quality and metal back to show for it. On the front you get the same great 1920 x 1200 display, and around the edges and back you have buttons and speakers in all the right places. A quick note is that the Micro SIM lives under the same flap on the top as the SD card does, if you're looking to put your own SIM in.

Some extra Verizon software

Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 Software

You'll find 15 Verizon-installed apps here, and you can't uninstall a single one.

As you'd expect with a device purchased from a major U.S. carrier, the G Pad 8.3 LTE has a few Verizon touches in the software. The first offenders here are Amazon apps, which come on most Verizon devices, and consist of seven different installs — not just Play Store stubs — that can be disabled but not uninstalled. Verizon then includes six of its own apps, and although My Verizon Mobile and Mobile Hotspot are useful none of these six can be uninstalled either. You then have a few odds-and-ends like iHeartRadio and Polaris Office 5 installed, along with the handful of LG apps that come standard on every G Pad 8.3.

The end result is 10.3GB out of the 16GB storage being available for you to use, and if you're the kind of person that wants to manage an SD card the G Pad 8.3 LTE supports those as well for additional storage.

Aside from the apps, the software is identical to what you'd find on the Wifi-only model right from LG. QSlide, Slide Aside, KnockON, Quick Memo, QPair and the rest are all here, toting the same Android 4.2.2 build number as well. You can still configure the on-screen buttons as well, although you're stuck with a set of pre-configured buttons to choose from, none of which removes the menu key. You probably know already how you're going to feel about LG's software customizations before picking up the G Pad 8.3 LTE, and the good thing to know here is that things don't change on this particular model. If you haven't had an opportunity to use an LG device lately, be sure to check out our in-depth reviews of the latest devices.

Network quality

Verizon LTE network speedtest

We're always hesitant to comment on network quality, because not everyone reading this lives in the same city (that'd be weird town, wouldn't it?). The best we can provide is anecdotal observations of the network in the cities we know and compare it to other devices on the same network — as long as everyone reading takes this with a grain of salt, we think that these kinds of observations can be useful.

All that being said, Verizon's is still having serious issues with its network in the downtown core of Seattle where I live. Going further, be it a coincidence of the time or not, the G Pad 8.3 LTE performed on the lower end of what I've experienced on other Verizon devices as well. Speeds in the middle of the day during the work week — aka the most saturated times for the network — were under 1mbps down and up, with nighttime speeds pushing around 5mbps down and up, but never above 10mbps in my tests.

Only you know what Verizon's network looks like where you live — just check before you buy.

At the daytime speeds, the device is pretty much unusable for anything requiring an active network connection — web pages take far too long to load, and don't even think about trying to stream music. At night things were just fine, and I didn't notice the network speed taking any specific hit to the performance of any task on the G Pad 8.3 LTE.

Although it may not be a huge issue now in 2014, it is also worth noting that the G Pad 8.3 LTE doesn't support Verizon's 3G network. Just like the Nexus 7 LTE for Verizon, you're going to have LTE and Wifi (of course) as your only network connection options. Whether or not Verizon likes to admit it, its network does still have plenty of areas that consist of only EVDO 3G coverage, and folks taking their G Pad 8.3 LTE to those areas will be hunting for Wifi. This issue gets smaller and smaller with each LTE tower upgrade, but it's definitely something to keep in mind — again, only you know how Verizon's network is where you live.

Still a top tablet offering on Verizon

Even with the few issues that Verizon has introduced to the G Pad 8.3 LTE, considering the tablet options on the carrier it still stands out as one of the best choices available right now. The standout tablet that gets ahead of it is likely the Nexus 7 LTE for most — it comes in $50 higher than the G Pad 8.3 LTE at $349 off-contract, but is just $49 right now if you want to sign away two years of your life. It has competitive hardware and screen quality, weighs less and is a little easier to use in your hands overall — and the software may be a plus for many as well.

The G Pad 8.3 LTE stands out with great build quality and a larger screen than the Nexus 7 LTE, and if you're a fan of (or are just familiar with) LG's software offerings it may be the leading choice when you head to Verizon for a tablet purchase. You can buy the LG G Pad 8.3 LTE from Verizon for $99 on-contract (promotional price) or $299 off-contract right now.

 

Reader comments

Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 LTE review

28 Comments

Wait is this right? You are saying I can buy this tablet contract free for only $299?? That's cheaper than the WiFi option at $349.

I just got it a few days ago. It is a nice tablet. The screen is about half as bright as the Nexus 7 though. And it should be mentioned that it isn't the same hardware as the wifi version. The processor is a 1.5ghz Snapdragon 400(exact model as Nexus 7) vs the Snapdragon 600 1.7ghz in the wifi version.

I own a GPe version of the G Pad and I concur that screen brightness is a weak point, especially compared to my Nexus 7

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I got mine on the 6th (took advantage of their $49 special offer), so I've now had it for about two weeks. Overall, I really like it. Originally I thought the Knock-On feature was kind of gimmicky, but having used it for a while, it's quite nice (you don't have to go looking for the power button).

As for 4G, it has mostly been a good experience. My area has pretty good coverage and the only glitch I've encountered so far is while I was on 4G and had been browsing for about an hour it stopped making connections to anything. Toggling airplane mode seemed to reset it and it was fine afterwards.

One thing that owners of this tablet need to know is that the camera and light sensor are in different locations on it than they are on the WiFi variants. I had to get my screen protector directly from Verizon, because all of the others I'd found ended up with misaligned camera and sensor cut-outs. In fact, one vendor on Amazon notes explicitly that their screen protectors don't work with the Verizon version.

I had forgotten that the LTE model has a slower processor.

I did NOT know that it does not have 3G support; my Moto X (Verizon) drops into 3G all the time around where I live.

And, of course, you're stuck with Android 4.2.2 and LG's skin on top of it.

It might be worth adding the device to my Verizon account if (a) I had better LTE coverage, or (b) I could install a custom KitKat-based ROM on it. I know people are trying to root it and get a custom loader on it and once they do, I might consider it more seriously.

The ones on the back don't stand out much in person versus in the photos since they are matte black on black.

I've been thinking about picking up the wifi model for $225 (its been on sale for a few weeks around this price) but keep hesitating due to a couple of reasons. I played with a Gpad and Nexus7 side by side in a store and the Gpad screen is much dimmer. Also, I don't feel like 16GB is valid for internal storage on a device in 2014 - especially because you can't move games/apps to SD. I don't pick up a Nexus 7 (32GB) at the same price (been $229 for weeks) because the screen was significantly smaller than the 8.3 Gpad and my eye found websites in portrait view the font was too small vs. the Gpad was just right.
My hope is that a Nexus 8 gets announced soon. Give me the 8" size for comfortable web fonts plus Google's high standards on screen quality and we will have "my" perfect tablet.

Wow I didn't know both the G Pad and Nexus 7 mobile data access is LTE or nothing. That doesn't give one a lot of options especially in a spotty LTE coverage area.

Sorry but Id rather just keep my wifi only version and simply tether mobile data off my phone, LTE and 3G HSDPA.

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Just got this for 99 dollars with waived activation today. I think that's a limited time thing. Loving the tablet so far. If you have a LG G2 I'd recommend this tablet.

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Loving my g pad as I got it for the cheapest price. This is my seventh tablet (6 android and one ipad) and immediately my second favorite .... get it now!!!

Those speeds are atrocious for a metro area like Seattle. I wouldn't wish them on my worse enemy. Do better Verizon

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Can it be rooted? So slower processor then G2 and slower then n7. And 4 months well have the HTC neXus 8 on sale. Wait or buy tough call

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Besides the front camera and the light sensor being in a different location, the LTE version is also thicker. So it won't fit in many of the cases built for the wifi version. The cases that Verizon sells also are not that great, I took a look at them in the store this week. Very cheap build quality for the high price they are asking. I pre-bought a case and screen protector from Amazon before I found out about the extra depth and moved camera. It didn't even occur to me that they would make these changes to the design. So now I have screen protectors I can't use, and a case that my tablet won't stay snapped in.

Other then that I like it :)

Verizon's lte network, in general, is trash here on the shore of NJ as well. - 75dbm of lte, which will equate to all bars being lit, gives speeds of around 1mb download a 0.5 upload during evening hours, around 5pm. it's absolutely pathetic.

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Did anyone else get a software update on their Verizon LG G Pad? Mine happened last week some time but the link to the VZW support page was bad so I couldn't see what the update was supposed to bring to the device. I've had it for a couple of weeks but I guess it could have been one of those updates you sometimes get after purchasing a new product but the timing seemed off for that.

The release notes said only that there was a fix for the wireless hotspot. I also noticed it removed a couple of demo videos and mp3s that were on the tablet when I got it.

I have enjoyed the wi-fi version for several months now, but battery life on it is marginal. I am thinking of moving to the Verizon version, but I worry that the LTE will drain the battery even faster. Can anyone comment on battery life for this? Thanks.

Well I walked in to a Verizon with the thought of looking at how much it would be to add a gig of data to my current allotment. It turned out it would be $10 more per month but the sales rep told me if ai bought a tablet 1gb of data would be added per month for life. Essentially I'd be getting a tablet added to my plan for nothing so I chose the LG and I only paid $49 for it.

I upgraded online from Verizon iphone to a free windows phone, an online promotion was get a phone and get a tablet for $99. I went to a Verizon store, showed them the online promotion and the quoted trade in value of $100 for the iphone and they honored both. Ultimately i got this tablet and a phone for free. I never used an android device before, the more i use it the more i like it. I live Upstate New York and i have yet to experience any connectivity issues with Verizon. Wish i would have gotten the phone mate of the tablet instead of a wondows phone

I have had my tab for about 4 days. It randomly shuts down in a sleep type mode or sometimes it shuts completely down and I have to restart. Any thoughts? I have reset it twice with no improvements. I have the network version.