The modestly equipped LG G Pad 10.1 will be a disappointment to anyone with G3-level expectations. Far from the pinnacle of mobile tech that is the LG G3, the G Pad 10.1 is built to contend with a different breed of device. With that context in mind, the G Pad 10.1 makes a lot more sense and even stands out as a good value for an entry-level Android tablet at $249.99 (16GB). It matches up quite well with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 from a features standpoint, but retails for a full $100 less. It's a large-screen tablet at a small-screen price. If you're looking for a basic low-cost Android slate, this is a good place to start.
//Compare Similar ProductsCompare
Design and Features
LG ditches the metal casing of the G Pad 8.3 in favor of more unassuming soft-touch plastic. The G Pad 10.1 looks decidedly bland, but at least inoffensive—you won't find any faux-chrome here. The silhouette and curved lines vaguely resemble LG's higher-end devices, but at 10.27 by 6.53 by 0.35 inches (HWD) and 1.15 pounds it's on the chunky side. Along the top edge are Power and Volume buttons, with a barely noticeable IR-emitter for remote control functionality. On the left are the 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB port, and a covered microSD card slot. Around back are two small speakers that lack both volume and richness, producing rather anemic audio, even by tablet standards.
The 10.1-inch LCD isn't particularly impressive, and even though it shares the same 1,280-by-800-pixel resolution as the Galaxy Tab 4, it isn't quite on the same level. The viewing angle is solid, but maximum brightness leaves something to be desired. The 149ppi means text elements look especially jagged, while colors look a bit dull and I noticed more distinct color banding on the G Pad versus the Galaxy Tab.
This G Pad 10.1 a Wi-Fi only tablet that connects to 802.11b/g/n networks on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. Also onboard are Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS radios.
In a battery rundown test, which loops a video with screen brightness set to max and Wi-Fi on, the G Pad 10.1's 8,000mAh battery lasted 7 hours, 37 minutes. That's better than the Galaxy Tab 4's 6 hours, 33 minutes.
Performance and Android
LG went with a quad-core, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC, which is more or less the de facto choice for budget-minded Android devices. That's a good thing, though, as this chip has proven more than capable of delivering smooth performance for the price. Benchmarks results were right in line with the similarly equipped Galaxy Tab 4 and the G Pad felt mostly responsive in day-to-day usage. I noticed the occasional stuttering animation or slight delay for scrolling through websites, but nothing too egregious. The biggest annoyance was how long it could take to register an orientation change; it would only hang for about a second, but that's long enough to become tiresome after a while.
The G Pad runs Android 4.4.2 with the toned-down Optimus UI that made its debut on the G3. The same modern, flat look is here, and I prefer LG's skin to Samsung's TouchWiz. The G Pad also benefits from a litany of software tweaks that go beyond look or feel.
I'm a big fan of Knock On, which lets you wake the tablet by tapping twice anywhere on the screen, and Knock Code is a convenient security alternative to pins or pattern codes. The resizable keyboard makes its way from the G3 to the G Pad, and it just makes sense on large, touch-screen devices. QPair lets you pair Android phones running version 4.1 or later to the G Pad via Bluetooth to receive notifications and reply to texts or calls. It's a feature we liked on the G Pad 8.3 and continues to prove useful. Last but not least are LG's flexible multitasking options. You can do both split screen mode where each app occupies half of the screen or use QSlide to launch apps concurrently in small floating windows with adjustable transparency. It's not quite as smooth as it is on the G3, but it's easy enough to open up instances of Gmail and Maps to send off quick directions or browse the Web while watching a YouTube video.
Of the 16GB of internal storage, 10.82GB is available out of the box and our 64GB microSD card worked fine. The only pre-loaded app I'd consider bloatware is LG SmartWorld, which acts as a storefront for easily swappable themes, and even that is removable.
There's a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, both of which are pretty subpar. Images taken with the rear-facing camera look lifeless and overly grainy, and the lens is so narrow that everything looks way too zoomed in and tight. They're still handy to have for apps that make use of cameras, and good enough for Skype or Hangout video chats.
The LG G Pad 10.1 is a solid if underwhelming Android tablet that climbs the low-end ranks thanks to LG's software execution and aggressive pricing. You really can't beat $249 for a tablet this size from a large manufacturer. It's a suitable slate for media playback and casual app use, and works beautifully as a second screen for Android smartphone users.
The G Pad 10.1 is a far better value than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, but if you're productivity-minded, you'd be wise to check out the Asus Transformer Pad TF103C, which matches the G Pad in performance, but includes a useful keyboard dock, all for $299. If you want the best tablet experience around and can spend a good deal more, we still recommend the Apple iPad Air, our reigning Editors' Choice, while the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is our favorite Android pick.