LG G Pad 7.0 review:

LG G Pad 7.0 is a supremely simple budget tablet

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The LG G Pad 7.0 starts at $150 and its simple design is comfortable to hold. It has an IR blaster, a microSD card expansion slot and an IPS screen with wide viewing angles. It also features dual-window functionality and comes in a 4G LTE version.

The Bad The Wi-Fi model has only a paltry 8GB of internal storage. The screen is slow to respond when switching orientation and the rear speakers are easily blocked when you hold the tablet in landscape.

The Bottom Line The LG G Pad 7.0 is a basic budget tablet that slightly outmatches its competition with a supremely comfortable build, modest software extras and bargain-basement pricing.

6.3 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0

The basic specs on the LG G Pad 7.0 wouldn't turn any heads on the street, but its low $150 starting price makes it a cheap thrill for bargain hunters.

A sharp IPS screen, an IR blaster (for remote-control capabilities) and the perk of dual-window functionality give it an edge over other cheap tablets and, though its bare-bones build oscillates aesthetically between minimalist and straight-up boring, it's exceptionally comfortable to use.

To be sure, the LG G Pad 7.0 is a budget tablet with some shortcomings -- the measly 8GB of internal storage on the Wi-Fi-only model is most notable -- yet its modest offerings are solid fare for its price range. If an upgrade to a faster processor and sharper screen is desirable, the Google Nexus 7 remains the best Android tablet for $80 more at $229; however, the LG G Pad 7.0 is a capable slate for casual use.

Editors' note: Since the LG G Pad 7.0 is a smaller version of the LG G Pad 10.1, parts of this review are similar to that of the 10-inch model.

Design

The LG G Pad 7.0 appropriately looks like the little sibling of the LG G Pad 10.1 . There's not much to its design; a smooth, matte back panel wraps around to the front bezels of the screen and it brandishes an LG (or AT&T) logo on the back. There are a headphone jack, IR blaster and microSD card expansion slot on the top edge, a power button and volume rocker on the top right corner and a Micro-USB port on the bottom.

Dimensions compared

Tested spec LG G Pad 7.0 Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 Toshiba Excite Go Google Nexus 7
Weight in pounds 0.65 0.61 0.78 0.66
Width in inches (landscape) 7.4 7.4 7.8 7.8
Height in inches 4.5 4.2 4.7 4.5
Depth in inches 0.4 0.35 0.43 0.34
Side bezel width in inches (landscape) 0.7 0.6 0.7 1

The tablet features a native portrait orientation and the dual speakers on the bottom half of the back help signify this. Unfortunately, when you're watching video in landscape mode, it's easy to block the speakers by holding the tablet.

When clutching the tablet in one hand, the rounded edges help your fingers conform to the curves, and the same goes for the corners; palms easily curl around the smooth arcs for a harmonious holding experience.

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The LTE model also has a slot for the SIM card. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The smooth finish on the back is comfortable to hold onto and feels nice in your hands -- like a polished decorative rock -- but lacks grip support. The matte surface also attracts smudges easily, depending on how greasy your hands are.

Features

The LG G Pad 7.0 runs on Android 4.4.2 with LG's Optimus overlay. The user interface offers a variety of customization options not typically found in budget tablets. It's a different experience from last year's G Pad 8.3 , but similar in the extent of its customizability, pretty icons and streamlined menus.

Most budget tablets don't allow you to change more than the home and lock screen backgrounds, but you can heavily tweak the interface of the LG G Pad 7.0 to your liking. You can choose from a variety of lock screen security options, change how the navigation bar on the bottom looks or select a fun screen-swiping effect. These are just some of the options and, though they seem trivial, if you're looking for a device for everyday use you'll probably appreciate the freedom to adjust how you experience the tablet.

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The recent apps function is tile-based and takes up the entire screen. Screenshot by Xiomara Blanco/CNET

QPair ships preloaded on the LG G Pad 7.0. An app that syncs most smartphones with the tablet for easy access to text messages, incoming phone calls and social-network notifications, QPair is useful when you're at home spending time on your tablet and don't want to additionally juggle your phone. Pairing works seamlessly and the G Pad 7.0 rarely had trouble staying synced.

The recent app function sports a slightly different look, with a tile-based approach that slightly resembles the Windows 8 interface. I didn't find it any more or less useful than the standard filmstrip look of most recent apps menu functions, but it is another distinct touch to the interface of the LG G Pads -- nothing extraordinary, just done differently.

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Screenshot by Xiomara Blanco/CNET

With an IR blaster on its top edge, the LG G Pad 7.0 can double as a universal remote control. The QRemote app comes preloaded on the tablet and makes setup nice and easy. I had the tablet controlling my TV, Blu-ray player and DVD player after about a 10-15 minute pairing process.

Multitasking with dual windows

Basic multiwindow functionality is trickling down to budget tablets, and the LG G Pad 7.0 offers its own useful yet simple dual-window capability. There's a dual-window button located on the navigation bar on the bottom of the screen -- it's located to the right of the recent apps button -- and its quick access makes using the function a regular habit.

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The apps that can be used in the dual-window mode are limited. Screenshot by Xiomara Blanco/CNET

When you touch the dual-window button, a menu pops up with a limited selection of apps you can run at the same time. If you like to stream YouTube videos while browsing the Web or responding to emails, this will suit your needs, but don't expect full-fledged multiwindow capabilities like you'd find on a laptop. This function is basic at best and useful for the most casual of multitaskers.

Hardware

The LG G Pad 7.0 houses a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU and Adreno 305 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB or 16GB of internal storage. It also offers a microSD card expansion slot (expandable up to 64GB), IR blaster and microphone pinhole.

Other features on the G Pad 7.0 include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 and S-GPS.

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