LG Optimus G-Pad 8.3 Australian Hands-On: Identity Crisis

LG isn't exactly known for its tablets, so you can imagine our surprise when we discovered the LG Optimus G-Pad 8.3-inch tablet on the stand at IFA 2013 in Berlin. What the hell is it, you ask?

The Optimus G-Pad 8.3 is pretty much what the name says: it's an 8.3-inch Optimus device very similar to the G and G2 devices, only supersized and even more supercharged.

The screen is full HD 1920x1080 resolution with 265 ppi, and packs a blitzing quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. That's all powered by a giant 4600mAh battery to keep you keeping on.

As far as design is concerned, it's very pretty. The back takes design cues from the iPhone 5 with a burnished aluminium finish on the rear panel interrupted by the two edges of different material (plastic in this case). The screen is bright and beautiful and it's straddling that perfect middle ground between small tablets and larger devices at 8.3-inches. Super-portable but still very effective for displaying your content.

And then it lost me.

When you go hands-on with this device, you can struggle to understand what it's actually for. Sure, it's a beautiful tablet in a very portable yet practical form factor that helps you get stuff done, and it has specs that can blitz the competition, but what's the point of difference? It doesn't really have one. It's just...a tablet. A bland piece of hardware.

You don't want to buy something that's kinda boring. You want to get excited every time you look at it, right? Because you understand what drew you to it in the first place and you still feel that sense of ambition when you think about what you can accomplish by bringing this device into your life! That's what you want, and that's what is missing on the Optimus G-Pad 8.3: it's soulless.

As far as nifty features are concerned, it does all the stuff your Optimus G or your G2 does: LG has also put in a few apps that you can use in a multi-window fashion. Notes, calculator and other apps can float above the window or app you’re currently using so that you can multi-task a bit better.

There’s also a nifty feature called QMemo — short for Quick Memo — which lets you doodle on your screen and annotate screenshots. Basically it’s LG’s version of the Galaxy Note. Shameless, but functional nevertheless. The new Optimus G-Pad 8.3 even comes with a case reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 8.0's smart cover. This thing is trying to be so many things!

Ultimately, it's meant to pair with your G2 in the same way that the BlackBerry Playbook paired with any of your other BlackBerry devices. It's an ecosystem-play. There's a control panel built into the G-Pad 8.3 that is specifically designed to talk to your G2 to glom onto its internet connection, send it files, mirror the screen and other stuff.

I think that's the ultimate problem with the Optimus G-Pad 8.3: it's just a bigger version of the Optimus G smartphone we saw a few months ago, which also suffered a bit of an identity crisis.

No word on an Australian release date or pricing just yet, but we'll keep you updated.

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