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LG G Pad X8.3 review:

A tablet worth the commitment

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The Good The LG G Pad x8.3 features a 4G LTE cellular connection. It has a full-size USB port, infrared blaster and it comes with a stylus. The MicroSD card slot expands up to 128GB.

The Bad The stylus isn't deeply integrated into the user interface. Gaming performance is slow.

The Bottom Line If purchased at the discounted price with a 2-year contract, the LG G Pad X8.3 is a solid tablet for everyday use on the go. For $299, the G Pad X8.3 isn't worth it, given that better options are only a few dollars more.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

Like smartphones, tablets are compact and easy to take with you wherever you go. Unlike smartphones, without a Wi-Fi connection, most tablets can't access the Internet. The LG G Pad X8.3 is one of the exceptions, featuring a 4G LTE connection through Verizon Wireless.

Though it looks like your average tablet from the outside, a closer look reveals what makes it unique; the 8.3-inch LG Pad packs a full USB port, IR blaster, and stylus. If you're not looking at high-end productivity-geared tablets, like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 , it's rare to find a model that offers one of these features, let alone all three.

What the LG G Pad X8.3 lacks in exciting design and cutting-edge features, it makes up for with practical extras; the IR blaster turns the tablet into a remote control, the USB port allows you to connect a flash drive full of your favorite content (instead of hogging space on your internal storage or microSD card), and the stylus makes writing quick notes and navigating the tablet easy, though it's not as integrated into the operating system like the aforementioned Samsung Galaxy tablet.

The 4G LTE cellular capability is a great addition, not just because you can Netflix wherever you get a cell signal, but also because you can pick up the tablet for a mere $129 with a 2-year contract through Verizon. Just note, if you cancel, you'll be charged $350 at most, with the fee reduced by $10 each month you have the tablet. When compared with other tablets in that price range, the LG G Pad X8.3 boasts better specs and performance. If you don't mind a long-term commitment to Verizon, the LG G Pad X8.3 is a steal at $129. However, at its retail price of $299, you can find something better.

Since it's a Verizon tablet, it is not available for UK and Australian markets. However, at its retail cost, prices convert to AU$406 or £192.

Design

The LG G Pad X8.3's standard design doesn't break the mold by any means. It's reminiscent of the simple LG G Pad , but with sharper corners and flat edges. That said, it's very comfortable to use; the thick bezels and flat edges provide your fingers with enough space to rest and it's lightweight, at 13.02 oz (369 g).

Tablets compared

Tested spec LG G Pad X8.3 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Nvidia Shield Tablet Dell Venue 8 7000
Weight 0.82-pound (369 g) 0.65-pound (294g) 0.86-pound (390g) 0.67-pound (306g)
Width (landscape) 8.5-inches (216mm) 8.4-inches (213mm) 8.7-inches (221mm) 8.5-inches (216mm)
Height 5-inches (126mm) 4.9-inches (124mm) 5-inches (126mm) 4.9-inches (124mm)
Depth .34-inch (8.6mm) 0.26-inch (6.6mm) 0.36-inch (9.2mm) .24-inch (6 mm)

The back features an aluminum panel with a metallic finish that's framed by a black plastic border that has a soft suede-esque feel. The aluminum panel gives the design a bit of personality, but functionally it has a pleasant feel that adds to the comfort level of the tablet.

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The back panel adds some pizazz to an otherwise homely design. Josh Mller/CNET

The included stylus is slyly tucked into a hole located on the bottom left corner of the LG G Pad X8.3. If you're not looking for it, you might miss it. The stylus itself is traditionally thin, super light, and about five inches long. It snugly and securely fits into its hiding place, ensuring that it won't randomly fall out while carrying the tablet around. It easily slides out easily once unlatched, however, individuals with very short nails might have some trouble taking it out of its sheath.

The top edge houses the IR blaster, full USB port, microphone pinhole and headphone jack. Around the corner on the right edge you'll find the power button and volume rocker, with the microSD card slot on the left edge and the bottom edge is home to the micro-USB port and stylus.

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The stylus slyly blends into the background. Josh Mller/CNET

Features

The G Pad X8.3 runs on a mostly pure version of Android 5.0 Lollipop with small tweaks to the UI. For basic multi-tasking, you can utilize the dual-window function. Not all apps are compatible, but the ones available, like YouTube, Chrome, and Verizon's messaging app, allow you to stream video while responding to e-mail or send text messages while browsing the Web.

Since it's a Verizon tablet, it comes pre-loaded with Verizon specific software, including the My Verizon Mobile, VZ Navigator, Cloud, Mobile Hotspot, and Message+ apps. The My Verizon Mobile app lets you keep tabs on your account, including data usage and billing, and the VZ Navigator is a Bing-powered GPS navigator with the option of voice-guided directions that provide real time traffic information. Though the app comes preloaded, to use the VZ Navigator you must pay $0.99 per day or $4.99 a month to use the feature.

lggpadx83screenshot.png
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Multi-tasking is nice, unlike my writing on the right. Screenshot by Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The Cloud and Mobile Hotspot apps are rather self-explanatory; Cloud allows Verizon customers to remotely store photos, music, videos, and other documents and access them from other devices and Mobile Hotspot turns the tablet into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Message+ app lets you send and reply to text messages from your tablet by linking it to your smartphone's phone number. The G Pad X8.3 also comes pre-loaded with LG's QPair app, which can pair any phone to your tablet and allow you to similarly screen calls and respond to text messages.

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The full-size USB port is a rare treat. Josh Miller/CNET

Though the full USB port doesn't sound like a cool feature, it's very useful. If you store your documents, videos, or music on a flash drive, you can easily pop it into the tablet and access all of those files. Without it, like most tablets, you have to connect the tablet to a computer to transfer the files, or load them onto a microSD card. You can also charge a device using the USB port, or connect a mouse or keyboard for extra functionality.

The other small -- but significant -- hardware feature is the stylus. It provides a PDA-like functionality that's useful for work or play. It help navigating the tablet or with typing, since the keyboard on the 8.3-inch screen might be small for those with larger hands.

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Stylish stylus Josh Mller/CNET

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