updated 01:57 am EST, Sat February 15, 2014
LG G Pad 8.3 gets the stock Android KitKat experience
In the past couple of months Google has expanded the number of devices that it is selling through the Google Play Store. Joining its Nexus branded devices co-developed with Android partners is an expanded line of Google Play Edition devices all running stock Android. Among the updated range is the LG G Pad 8.3, which offers an appealing alternative sitting between the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 as it does with its intermediate screen size.
LG had established its credentials as a genuine contender in the Android segment as the maker of the popular Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones. Its close partnership with Qualcomm has also seen it the first to debut the chip designer's flagship Snapdragon processors in the past couple of years on its Optimus G and G2 smartphones as well, much to its credit. Although the LG has also tried to achieve similar market success with its tablets, it has until now failed to capture the interest of consumers.
The G Pad 8.3 is LG's best attempt at a tablet to date, though like most devices running non-stock versions of Android, it's LG skinned version of the Google OS tends to polarize opinions. While it adds some useful features such as QSlide that allows users to run multiple apps in separate windows, it can suffer from feature bloat. Further, as with all non-stock Android devices, it takes considerably longer to get the latest software updates.
The new Google Play Edition of the LG G Pad 8.3 offers a much cleaner and streamlined interface in running the latest version of Android, 'KitKat' 4.4.2. It uses the same launcher and UI familiar to users of the Google Nexus 7. However, at 8.3-inches, the 1080p IPS display offers substantially more screen real estate than the Nexus 7, while it's blend of plastic and aluminum offers a much more classy feel.
Compared to the Nexus 7, it also offers a more powerful Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz that is matched with 2GB of RAM. It also incorporates Qualcomm's Adreno 320 integrated graphics clocked at 400MHz, which offers good gaming performance. Unlike the Nexus 7, the G Pad 8.3 also supports microSD expansion up to 64GB, supplementing its 16GB of onboard storage.
For fans of stock Android, the LG G Pad 8.3 is shaping up as a tempting proposition, even at an asking price of $350 (or $81 north of the Nexus 7). Stay tuned for our full review in the coming days.