The tablet is well made and even sort of beautiful, but youâ€™re only ever supposed to care about the display. Even the microSD slot (a much-appreciated feature for a tablet with just 16GB of internal storage, even though you can’t actually write to it from the Google Play Edition model) is hidden underneath a port flap, and all buttons, ports, and speakers are painted the same black or white as the G Pad itself. All LG wants you to see is the G Padâ€™s 8.3-inch, 1920 x 1200 display.
Itâ€™s one of the better screens Iâ€™ve seen on a tablet, big and crisp and colorful. Itâ€™s not particularly bright and can thus be hard to see outdoors, but for virtually every other use case it works beautifully. Touch response is good enough that the operating system feels like itâ€™s moving underneath my fingers, and even though itâ€™s not technically as sharp as the Nexus 7â€™s smaller, same-resolution screen, itâ€™s very nearly as good to my eyes. A display this good makes me want to use the G Pad 8.3 more.
The 7-inch 16:10 Nexus 7, the 8.3-inch 16:10 LG G Pad, and the 7.9-inch 4:3 iPad mini. What is the optimal size and aspect ratio for a tablet? I don’t think there is one definitive answer. Instead there are many answers and they all depend on what you want to use a tablet for. This is what I use my 9.7-inch 4:3 iPad (3) for: read, write, draw, and occasionally watch TV shows and movies. I read some e-books, PDF documents, but most of what I read is content off of webpages using either Instapaper or Readability. (Yes, I hate ads, chrome, links, etc. that unnecessarily slow down everything.) I read in portrait orientation about 90% of the time, but reading in landscape orientation is doable. The iPad is great for reading.
The second thing I do is write, which is what I am doing right now. I prefer writing in portrait mode, but when my iPad is propped up using the Incase Origami Workstation and I want to listen to music at the same time I rotate it in landscape mode. The main reason for that is pushing the Home button in portrait mode isn’t very comfortable. If I’m not listening to music, I turn the iPad upside down.
The third thing I do is draw. I want to draw more but just don’t have the time for it. Drawing might be too sophisticated a word for what I actually do; doodle would be a more accurate description. I am currently testing the Pencil by 53 and about 80% of the time it’s a joy to use with 53’s Paper iPad app. In my opinion the 4:3 aspect ratio of the iPad is perfect for drawing. And if you draw a lot and you’re in the market for a new tablet, I would recommend the larger 9.7-inch iPad to the 7.9-inch iPad mini.
Finally, I watch TV shows and movies on the iPad. It’s either Netflix or Amazon, but more on Netflix because I think there are more movies I want to watch on Netflix than on Amazon. Watching movies or TV shows on the iPad isn’t a great experience. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. No one I know watches TV in SD anymore. Actually, scratch that: I do know one good friend who does, but he’s an anomaly, I think. He watches in SD because he wants to record as many TV shows into his DVR as possible. Sports is the only exception; for sports it is 100% HD even for him. For my friend the iPad’s 4:3 aspect ratio would be a perfect fit for SD. I watch in HD whenever I can and that means black bars on top and bottom. If it’s a movie that can mean really thick bars top and bottom. If I watched a lot more TV and movies a 16:9 tablet would be best and the 16:10 Nexus 7 and LG G Pad would be very close to best.
So, is the LG G Pad for you? It depends on what you want to do with it. But what seems to be evident is the display is superb.