A great tablet struggling to find a value proposition
It’s hard to say we weren’t surprised when Google seemingly randomly put two new Google Play edition devices up for sale on December 10th. The LG G Pad 8.3 (along with the Sony Z Ultra) is a new device in Google’s quasi-Nexus line that takes proven hardware from major manufacturers and loads it up with new software the way Google intends it.
Now of course the LG G Pad 8.3 isn’t the first Google Play edition device, it is simply the first tablet to adorn the title. But in many respects, the story is much the same. The LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition is to the Nexus 7 what the HTC One and Galaxy S4 GPe’sare to the Nexus 5 — a more expensive device option with a few unique hardware differences and software features to differentiate it.
The question really stands then, is the LG G Pad 8.3 GPe worth the extra dough over a formidable competitor, the Nexus 7? Read along with us after the break and see what the first Google Play edition tablet has going for it.
A refreshing metal build that looks and feels great.
Adding the Google Play edition naming to this tablet hasn’t changed the hardware in the slightest. And that isn’t a bad thing — we really enjoy the plastic and metal exterior of the G Pad 8.3 as a refreshing differentiator from the plastic- only builds of other tablets. The only difference you can notice with the GPe version is that (at the time of writing) it is only available in black, not white.
You’re getting a solid brushed metal back plate that bleeds over onto the sides, rounded out at the top, bottom and edges near the screen in a hard matte plastic material. Just to clear up any potential confusion, LG is clearly positioning the G Pad 8.3 as a portrait device, with power and volume rockers at the top of the right edge, Micro USB on the bottom and a headphone jack up top.
The hardware isn’t flashy, but simple and effective.
There’s no denying that the G Pad 8.3 feels great in your hands. LG made a huge deal about it being designed specifically to fit the range of an average hand for touch targets, and while we’re not so sure about all of that, there’s clearly some great ergonomics at play here. It’s curved just the right amount on the edges to make it easy on the hand, while also providing enough texture to grip in one hand for reading.
It’s the combination of materials, build quality and ergonomic design that make the G Pad 8.3’s hardware both simple and effective. It isn’t flashy, but rather classy, with just a few bits of flair that make it feel a cut above other tablets.