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Unboxing and Hands-on: LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition

G Pad GPE

On Tuesday, Google and LG announced a Google Play Edition of the G Pad 8.3 tablet – the first GPE tablet device to ever be released by Google. Much like every other GPE device, the tablet comes running stocking Android, this time being Android 4.4 aka Kit Kat. It features the same specs as the regular variant of the G Pad 8.3 from LG, with its Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 5MP rear-facing camera, dual back-facing speakers, 8.3″ IPS Full-HD 1080p display, 4,600mAh battery, 16GB internal storage, and weighs 338g. 

After we have some decent time with it, we will be sure to get up a full review for those who are thinking about picking one up. They run at $349 right from Google Play, so it will cost you a bit more than a Nexus 7 2013. Regardless, from what we can tell so far, the device’s hardware feels fantastic, operation is smooth, and it’s stock Android. Can’t go wrong with any of that.

If you have any questions, hit us up in the comments down below.

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  • Barlog

    Has anyone bought one of these and been able to move files to the SD card? I got mine but after putting my new 32g SD card In it will not let me put anything on it. I’ve been looking in forums and it sounds like there is a problem with Android and writing to SD cards. Has anyone had any luck with a fix for this? I’m almost ready to return this if I can’t use the SD card without having to Root the device!

  • JD

    Does the IR blaster still work?

  • rg972

    Does this support GPS? It is not listed on the google tech specs? I have never owned a tablet. Is this a good size for web browsing?

  • Beaubo

    GPS raised the price $100 from black friday and $50 from LG at Best Buy and then removed special features originally included. Wow will this work on anyone?

  • Pedro Lavalle

    I bought an LG G Pad on newegg for 250 for cybermonday. I dont really like the battery or the web browsing stability -Lags a lot!- (even on chrome) I re-packed it and its sitting on my shelf ready to be returned (I have 5 days to return it) Could I turn it into a google play edition with everything working? or just return it? Thanks!

    • Anthony Walker

      I bought the tablet from newegg too and I was surprised how much the thing lags. The lag is even worse when I use my launcher of choice Nova. Hopefully, someone will post the GPE stock rom so I can flash it on my device. Also, LG’s UI appears to be worse than Samsung’s ugly UI.

  • Rich Robinson

    As of 4pm ET 12/13, the 4.4.2 update was sent to my G Pad 8.3 GPE. Not bad…

  • monkey god

    i waited months for a new Nexus 10 just for it to become the 8.3″ LG tablet. Talk about disappointment. Should i abandon all hope of a new Nexus 10?

    • JD

      I’d also really like to know this, if for no other reason than if this IS the “new Nexus 10,” I can count on it having a pretty decent accessory ecosystem.

    • Adam Yates

      I read an article basically stating Google is going back to the drawing boards for the Nexus 10. The Nexus family is supposed to be all about the latest technology, above-average specs, all with a very competitive price point. The original Nexus 10 was priced alongside it’s iPad competition, so it didn’t really fit the “value” aspect Google wanted. They have been in the works with Asus, Samsung, and LG trying to find the right balance of specs but keep the cost low. I too am waiting for the next Nexus 10, preferably with LTE support this go around.

  • M3D1T8R

    Dang why’d they have to put the USB plug upside down?!

  • GuestNo1

    Hello. As for the battery. Does it last longer in Google Play Edition than at normal G Pad version?
    Thanks.

  • Rich Robinson

    Received tonight. Stock – Running Nova Prime. First 2 hours initial thoughts:
    1. Benchmarks – Quadrant: 9276 (My G2 at the same time was: 17,378)
    2. The screen is bright, colors are clear, not noticing “yellow” tint
    3. Love the build quality. Fingerprint magnet with the aluminum brushed back. Feels light in hand. Great form factor
    4. Vanilla 4.4 Kit Kat on board. No NFC, Wireless Charging, or any LG Software enhancements (KnockOn/QPair)
    5. Sound is much louder than the Nexus 7 2012. Google Play Music & Hulu Plus sound great.
    6. Icon Pack looks beautiful
    7. Comes with a weak selection of wallpapers and it’s very hard to find one that doesn’t look distorted. No Kit Kat wallpaper.
    8. Impressed with the speed. I’m a G2 user and this feels comparable despite having the 600 vs. the 800 and a much lower Quadrant score
    9. Battery is not the same as the G2. It’s not bad by any means but is definitely pulling faster than the G2. I would compare to the Nexus7
    10. GPS is spot on. I know this is stupid but the G2 sometimes has issues so this was great to see.

    I was shocked when I ran the Quadrant benchmark next to the G2 at first. But after playing around and throwing many apps on, I did not notice one bit of lag. Twice though AnTuTu shut the tablet completely off which I’ve never seen before. Other than that I’ve been impressed with it. Lots of customization to get it similar to my Nexus but now that it’s complete, time to enjoy. Ask any questions…

    • M3D1T8R

      Thanks for the report!

    • hyp224

      I bought 2 LG G Pads from Newegg. 1st one has yellow band on top of the screen. The 2nd one has yellow tint and excessive light bleed on the bottom (when read on bed with lights off). The screen I am compare with is hardware calibrated Apple Cinema Display to 6,500K.

      I have tried those “Display Adjuster” app. That makes it better, but causes lags.
      What the app does is overlay a blue color on top of everything.
      That overlay causes problems, lags, and not knock-screen-to-turn-off.

      Built quality is just “OK”, no way an iPad mini killer.
      The back is super slippery. Unlike iPad’s metal back with some kind of coating.

      I have always under the impression that LG make top IPS screen,
      And G Pad are fitted with the top quality IPS panels.
      After 2 devices…. with that kind of screen quality…. it never worth $350+tax+ship.
      It feels like those no-name, super cheap Chinese made tablet.

      • hyp224

        Here is the picture

        • Rich Robinson

          Sorry to hear about your “yellow” G Pads. I can see in the picture that it is clearly much more yellow but I can’t replicate that with my GPE. I have mine at 40% brightness to conserve battery and while I find it to be a little dark, it’s not bad by any means. When I put the brightness on auto or much higher it becomes very bright and comparable to my Nexus 7 2012. I tried the same search as you. Pictures are to follow.

          • Rich Robinson

            No Blue Line on my GPE like above

          • Rich Robinson

            Side by Side comparison with Nexus 7 2012. Sorry these aren’t high-def. Had to scale them down to attach. I find the GPE GPad to have a better screen and cannot honestly notice a “yellowing” difference. The Nexus 7 2012 at full brightness is more bright than the GPE at it’s full but auto they are equivalent to my eye. … Also to note, I still have my screen protector on the GPE that it came with as new ones have not yet arrived. The Nexus 7 2012 has no screen protector.

          • Rich Robinson

            Lastly, in regards to the “Chinese made tablet” comment – I can’t say I agree with that. The back is Aluminum Brushed and it is semi-slippery coming from a Nexus but not drop-worthy. I have an iPad and an iPad mini in the house (wife & kids) and the back feels very similar to the iPad aluminum gloss back. I don’t find the tablet “cheap” either. The screen quality I find to be very good (watched a tv show on HuluPlus last night) and it just feels more of a natural size vs. the 7″. Only real negatives so far is no NFC and being a G2 owner not having KnockOn. The Quadrant benchmark is 3x as fast as the Nexus 7 2012 so for me it’s a nice upgrade. The price is a bit of a hurdle as I believe it should be more around $300 vs. $350 but for timely updates and vanilla android, I’ll sacrifice the extra $50.

          • Brian R

            Hey Rich, just a quick question – you said the battery life on the G Pad GPE wasn’t bad, but how is it compared to the iPad mini? Would you be able to use it for at least 2 days with moderate usage? (reading books for 2-3 hrs/web browsing for 2-3 hrs)

          • Rich Robinson

            Brian, I’ve had the G Pad since Thursday at 5pm so I can’t say this would be an accurate reading of the battery. I used the G Pad nonstopnonstop Thurs night. It came with 70% and around 11:30 it was at 48%. I watched 1 TV show on HuluPlus, customized the tablet, read a magazine on it, & opened many apps to view and login. Yesterday, I played with it at work for about 30-45 min showing it to colleagues and such. Went home and played with it from 8-11 in and out. Put it on the charger with 72% left.
            Battery seems good and slightly better to the Nexus 7 2012 which I had used previously on a regular basis. If I touch the iPad Mini it’s to helphelp my kids with a video or app. It’s a nice tablet but not my taste so I can’t compare. Being a G2 owner I feel I’ve been spoiled with outstanding battery life. So far, the G Pad has been impressive. I would say 2-3 hours for two days would probably be no problem for it without a charge.

    • artifact911

      Question: Will it let you install apps to the SD card?

      • Rich Robinson

        Picking up one today. Coming from a Nexus, I hadn’t needed one. I’ll let you know shortly.

        • Rich Robinson

          Put a 16GB MicroSD into the slot and downloaded App MGR III from the Google Play Store. My device is currently unrooted. The app states the following: “The device does not have a real primary external storage, or the primary external storage is emulated. Moving app to SD function cannot be supported by this device.” Don’t have the time to research how to get this to work if even if it can. (I know music & videos will) but I wanted you to know…

          • Barlog

            I just got mine the other day and I can’t get my SD card to do anything either, this is the main reason I got this instead of the Nexus 7. I’m gonna call Google tomorrow and if they don’t have a fix for me I’m exchanging it

        • Barlog

          I got mine the other day and I’m having problems with the SD card, did you have the same problems?

  • anezarati

    that camera looks exactly like the one on the Nexus 4

  • zurginator

    Any chance in hell of using this as a phone (assuming BT headset or such)?

  • Jose Gomez

    Can you put apps on the sd card like the galaxy s4?

    • TheDrunkenClam

      Would really like to know how SD cards work (what they will and will not do) on a GPE/AOSP device?
      Can someone weigh in on this please?

      • michael arazan

        He’ll probably cover it when he does the final review, nothing get’s by them

  • Zach Garrison

    What size SD card will this accept up to? Is this better for reading than a N7 2013?

    • Rich Robinson

      MicroSD up to 64GB. 16GB on board – about 12-13GB avail initially

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Soooooooooooooooo THIS? Or the Original GTab 8.3? Feature wise anyone have the 8.3 Original that wants to weigh in witha software comparison? I love stock android but lets be honest, google doesn’t exactly have any unique features

    • Alexander Anteneh

      Samsung tablets lag. My dad has the note 8 and it lags way too much. The redeeming feature on the note 8 is the s pen. Although you can do two things at once on most Samsung tablets. I’d go for g pad if you don’t really care for multi window

      • jmsbwmn

        He asked for the time, and you told him how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. ;)

        • Alexander Anteneh

          Haha just trying to be helpful

    • http://mikelward.com/ Mikel

      I’m buying the GPE. I read that LG devices don’t have the standard softkey layout, and that even tho it’s customizable, you can’t turn the menu button into a recents button.

      Might sound like a trivial reason, but I want everything to work the same as my other Android devices without having to think about it.

      • Rich Robinson

        I have a G2 and now the Gpad GPE. The G2 has that option but I have not been able to find it on the GPE. I’m sure with root it’s possible, but the GPE is vanilla android just like a Nexus. Customization falls to LG skin

    • TheDrunkenClam

      Why would you want mindless gimmicks that just make the interface lag and delays android system updates?
      Those so called “unique features” are what is holding android behind.

    • jrgray27

      Okidoki. I have it.
      I’m a fellow tech freak and I have an Asus Tf700 Infinity, Nexus 7 (2012), and a
      Motorola Xoom amongst many other tech devices. But I love pure
      Google. The LG software/skin is trying to hard. It is just Blah to tell
      you the truth. Not really heavy but Blah. Samsung is the devil but has SOME
      useful side features. Wifi direct, Samsung Link, etc. Very few but a few at
      that (this is from my opinion of owning a S4 not Samsung tablet aspect but I’m
      assuming it has some of the same apps/features) . To me Asus just does it best
      and 90% of the apps they have are useful with a clean interface. I just think
      LG needs to refine a little especially graphically (GUI) and tone it down and
      simplify it and they’ll be fine. Not sure of LG reliability because this being
      my first LG device. But I look forward to the development working hard so I can have a pure Google experience. But the LG 8.3 isn’t terrible….
      So far but a pain to look at…

  • Ian

    What is “stocking Android”? And how might it compare to stock Android, other than you probably hang it by the fireplace with care?

    • Michael Pahl

      boo. go away.

      • Ian

        c’mon man, its all in good fun

  • rotard777

    just watched the 44 show and the gpe talk. I feel like you guys over looked the tablet aspect. No one buys a tablet on contract so if the gpe edition is the same price as the lg verison i would have to say it could make a very big impact. I havnt looked at the lg software or price but if its similar to the gpe than why bother? I suppose the mass market of consumers might not ever know the gpe edition exists and a lot of those buyers will just get the nexus7 because of the hype and widespread reviews. If you want the 8in you might get the lg, but if you love stock youll know there is a gpe edition and all of use love stock android with the variation of hardware. I think for GPE tablets its a great idea and could potentially sell a lot of tablets. will nexus 7 sales drop? unknown.
    Having a true android experience is amazing. First smartphone was the thunderbolt, broke that and used a droid 3, then a droid x in wait for the htc one. Im so glad i chose moto x because of the pure android experience and simplicility. Perfect for people who want to customize from the base and not try to mask annyoing features and apps. So in the phone aspect i have to disagree with what you guys said. Kellen himself said he loved the nexus5,motox and then after those the gpe s4. I feel like often the people who are die hard android fans are also the ones trying to keep unlimited, buying off contract anyways on carriers. Having a gpe and options is just a bonus for the true android lover. Maybe google is just trying to make us happy. Why youd get those over a nexus 5? unknown. But if the GPE were on verizon i feel like this topic would have gone a completely different way. Android fans will never be happy, but i feel like thats what makes the experience great, theres always change

    • Rich Robinson

      Great point retard777. The G Pad GPE is exciting in that it solves a consumer option by offering a vanilla android tablet that’s larger than 7″. For some, a vanilla android tablet with micro sd alone is a plus. For others, with no new Nexus10 on the horizon, this is ideal. Can’t wait to get mine later today

      • Jason Smith

        Nexus 10 already solved this, but admittedly it’s getting a bit stale at this point.

        • jmsbwmn

          The Nexus 10 is huge. Personally, it’s too large for me. The 7″ form factor is convenient for putting in coat pockets and stuff, but phones fit in your front pocket. The 8″ form factor is the perfect size for me, proven by my ownership of the iPad mini. I since sold the mini and have been salivating over the new iPad mini with the upgraded display, and while I still believe iPad apps are significantly better than their Android counterparts, I know that Android’s tablet app selection will catch up.

          Ultimately, my point is this: I prefer Android to iOS, and until now, there hasn’t been and Android tablet that makes me say “YES! This is the one!” I can now say that about this tablet. Good job, LG and Google!

  • KevinTimmons

    So it’s $349 off contract? I’m only kidding. I’m glad the selection on the play store is increasing, should be a nice addition.

  • r0l

    I don’t need an SD Card, but I need at least 32 GB on board. 32Gb and LTE and I might have buyers remorse on my N7 LTE 2013.

  • Rich Robinson

    Tim, thanks for this. With your initial thoughts, does the bigger screen size, micro sd, timely updates warrant a purchase as a replacement for the Nexus 7 2012 vs. getting a Nexus 7 2013 instead? Knock-On would have been great if it was left in but other than that are there any initial negatives? Screen brightness ok? Thanks…

    • Steve

      Also wish they had thrown in Q pair, So notifications would sync from phone. I looked at lg version. Best buy has it for 299. Software looks good to me. I was worried about sound, but it is good.

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      Hey Rich! Once I have a few days with it, I will gladly loop back and let you know what I think. As far as I can tell, both tablets are pretty great, but the hardware and display on the G Pad 8.3 are phenomenal. Although, the screen seems to be a little too dim for my tastes on the G Pad, while the Nexus 7 gets very bright. :)

      • Rich Robinson

        Got it tonight! Love the size compared to the Nexus 7 2012. The screen brightness on auto isn’t bad at all and the highest screen setting is very bright. I don’t think brightness is an issue. I’ll go into depth more after a few hours of playing. Build quality is fantastic and I’m not seeing any “blue lines” or something similar. VERY impressed so far! Only MAJOR bummer is that there is no NFC in this.

  • hyperbeatser

    8 dot 3 =P

    • Pedro

      I like the 3.5 inch millimeter phone jack.

      I say this knowing that I couldn’t speak extemporaneously for more than 7 seconds without double the goofs these guys put in a 3-10 minute video.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        extemporaneously….not many people would use that word. Where are you from?

        • Pedro

          That’s what The University of Texas edumacation will do for you.

          Then again, I didn’t think it was THAT uncommon. I guess that’s why I type/write and don’t speak publicly.

      • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

        How is saying 8 DOT 3 a goof? Dot dot dot!!! :)

        • jmsbwmn

          It’s not! CEO’s of tech companies use that vernacular sometimes, too. Although, you’ve got to admit that “point” is arguably more common. :)

        • Pedro

          Dot is fine.
          Inch Millimeter is a bit goofy, though :)

          • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

            I’ll give you that :P

  • htowngtr

    Just wish they had full LTE version

  • droidify

    I can’t wait to see if the screen has bright whites or if they’re yellow tinted. By the look of the Gmail icon and the google play widget, it is yellow like my G Pad. I think my super whites on my G2 has my eyes spoiled so now warm whites look like they’ve been peed on to me.

    • j

      There are apps that can perform gamma and color correction, however, if the screen is simply unable to display a color correctly, or cooler, then I would guess they’d be of no help.

  • DroidzFX

    How effective is it at stopping leaks?