LG announced its new slate, complete with specs, ahead of IFA, but the tradeshow is our first opportunity to see the G Pad 8.3 in the flesh -- or in the aluminum package, as it were. The company is positioning this tablet as the first full HD tablet in the 8.0-inch category, and as the device best optimized for one-handed use. Specific as those distinctions may be, they do sound pretty appealing.
First thing's first: the G Pad 8.3 in our hands today is not the final version that will ship at the end of the month. LG likely has some software kinks to work out, but it's safe to say that today's model gives us a good idea of what consumers can expect. The G Pad is part of LG's flagship G series line, which includes high-end handsets like the Optimus G Pro and the recently announced G2. As such, this guy looks like a bigger version of its smartphone siblings, which is to say it looks quite nice. The bezels are almost non-existent, and the backside features a silver aluminum backing -- it's a nice contrast to the Pad's black or white plastic finish. The 8.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 IPS panel provides the vibrant colors and excellent viewing angles that you'd expect; we've seen similarly high caliber displays on other LG devices like the Optimus G Pro.
At 338 grams, the G Pad is extremely light; a rep made sure to point out that some paperback books even weigh more. Less weight means the tablet is easier to hold in one hand -- even with LG reps talking up the device's featherweight footprint, we found it surprisingly insubstantial. More than the weight, though, the device's 126.5mm width makes it quite comfortable to use. And guess what? It can also fit in a jacket pocket, which may or may not improve your life dramatically. LG utilized data collected by the Korean government about the average hand size in order to arrive at an optimal width for the tablet. We found the slate quite comfortable to grasp with just one hand; it didn't feel like a stretch to grasp across the device.
LG G Pad 8.3 hands-onSee all photos
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Digging down into the hardware nitty-gritty, you'll the LG logo along with a camera on the front face. The left side is completely clean, while the right edge is home to the power button and volume rocker. The top houses a mic jack along with a micro-SD card slot and an IR blaster, while the bottom edge has the requisite micro-USB port. The rear-facing camera sits on the G Pad 8.3's backside, along with two speaker grilles. Interestingly, both of these are located on the right side of the device, which means gripping the tablet in portrait mode won't completely muffle the sound (it's also optimal for watching video in landscape mode -- assuming you have the tablet propped up.
None of the specs outlined today are a surprise, as LG already lifted the curtain on those details at the end of August. Still, it's worth mentioning that the 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 seems to run Android 4.2.2 quite smoothly, if our hands-on time is any indication. Patrick Hong from LG's mobile product planning team told us that the company chose the Snapdragon 600 over the 800 in order to minimize battery drain and higher temperatures when the device is pushed to its limits.
As nice as the G Pad 8.3's hardware may be, LG's pre-loaded software is arguably more significant. We got a taste of several new productivity and multitasking features at the LG G2 launch, and the Pad 8.3 boasts even more. In addition to KnockOn and the QSlide app-multitasking found on the G2, there's QPair, which lets you pair the tablet with any Android smartphone (the app will be available in the Play Store).
To get connected, you launch the QPair app on both devices, hit the start button, connect via Bluetooth and click the next button. Once the two are paired, incoming calls to the phone will show up on the tablet as well, letting you reply with a decline message. Texts will arrive on both your phone and tablet, too, and messages sent from the Pad 8.3 will still show up as sent from your handset. Also useful: an Internet via Phone feature activates your handset's WiFi hotspot to let you access the internet on your tablet. Barring some connectivity issues in the convention center, these features seem to work well. To be able to hand down a verdict with more authority, though, we'll need to get our hands on a review unit. To tide you over until then, we have a preview video below.
Zach Honig contributed to this report.