When it comes to tablets, we're definitely in a golden age. From rock bottom Android tablets through to the highest of high-end models from Samsung, Apple and even Microsoft, a brand new tablet for everyone is just what the tech doctor has ordered.
The big question is which tablet is best for your needs, and while that will depend on your budget and what you want to achieve with your shiny new tablet device, there has never been a greater choice of great tablets to choose from.
One of the latest to hit the market is LG's 10.1-inch G Pad (V700), designed to do battle with Samsung's mid-range Galaxy Tab 4, Apple's powerful yet affordable 16GB iPads, existing and forthcoming Google Nexus tablets, various Asus and Acer Androids and the 8-inch and larger Windows tablets on the market.
The first thing you notice when looking at the G Pad is that it's screen is very mid-range. It's nowhere near as sharp and clear as the amazing Super AMOLED display on the much more expensive and ultra-high end Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or the Retina-class displays on any of the iPads.
It's also nowhere near as sharp or colourful as the images in the slider above seem to indicate. It's not a bad display and it does the job, it's just not what you'd call an amazingly display, making it obvious that LG chose to use a cheaper screen that produces duller colours in order to presumably reach the price point it wanted, while encouraging greater sales than when compared to a model that costs twice the price.
The resolution is 1280 x 800 with a PPI (pixels per inch) of 149, which is in stark contrast with LG's G3 Android phone which has a beautiful Quad HD display that stuns with sharpness, resolution, clarity and a whopping 538 PPI.
Given that you'll be looking at the screen more than anything else you'll do with your tablet and this becomes something you'll have to consider closely, given the breadth and depth of choice in today's tablet market at all the price points you can imagine.
That said, the screen does an IPS or in-plane switching, so what it loses in sharpness it makes up for in wide angle viewing, although this is to be expected these days as IPS is a well established and definitely desired feature.
Next up is the casing. Rather than being metal as was the case with LG's G Pad 8.3, you get a soft-touch plastic, whether the standard black or the cooler red colour that is, at least for now, a Harvey Norman exclusive.
The case has rounded edges and feels good in the hand or hands, which is a good thing, but it doesn't "wow" the way Samsung's Galaxy Tab S, the iPad Air or even Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 tablet does.
Essentially, we have a mid-range tablet with a mid-range screen and a mid-range case, which sets up an inescapable mid-range conclusion.
The processor is mid-range, too - a quad-core, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon. Happily, however, this particular chip delivers pleasing enough performance, which is great as some of the cheaper Androids out there use lesser chips that are more prone to stuttering.
Qualcomm obviously has much faster processors at more than 2GHz in its Snapdragon 800-series, but as a much more expensive processor the 800-series chips are reserved for the high-end tablet space the G Pad 10.1 doesn't compete in.
The 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 chip within is at least accompanied by Android OS 4.4.2, with LG's Optimus UI that looks similar to that on the LG G3 smartphone, with the same kind "flatter" styling that has become so prominent on iOS.
So, now that we've firmly established the G Pad 10.1 isn't going to win the style, speed or looks stakes given it was never designed to do that, what are some of the features that make the G Pad 10.1 stand out?
First up is an 8,000 MAh battery, which LG says it good for 8 hours, but which GSM Arena clocked at offering over 20 hours of video playback and over 19 hours of web browsing. People seem to love the G Pad 10.1's battery life online, and we had no problems running out of battery when testing this tablet.
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Second is the G Pad's ability to pair with Android smartphones running Android 4.1 or better. LG's software is called QPair 2.0, and by using Bluetooth, the G Pad can notify you of incoming calls and SMS messages, among other features we take a quick look at below.
Sadly this does not extend to being able to answer phone calls on your G Pad as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S does with the Samsung Galaxy S5, or the iPad with iOS 8 does to iPhones running iOS 8, but it is still nevertheless a great little feature that brings some convergence between your Android phone and Android tablet experience.
To use QPair 2.0, you'll need to download the QPair app from the Google Play store (here
LG says you get the following features:
- Call notification: Call notification from your phone will appear on the tablet. You can check caller ID and send a decline message.
- SMS Message notification: Message notification from your phone will appear on the tablet. You can read the message and reply.
- SNS notification (simple notification service): Once phone receives an SNS notification, the same notification will appear on status bar of the tablet.
- QMemo transfer: If you save QMemo on the tablet, the same file will be saved to Gallery on the phone.
- Internet via phone: Connection will be established via Internet via phone (Wi-Fi hotspot). Phone data charges may apply.
- Recent app sticker: When tablet screen is unlocked, a sticker will display the last app used on the phone. Tap sticker to run the app. You can also run the same app on the phone. Make sure that the app is installed on phone and tablet.
We tested features like phone call notification and SMS notification, and what can we say - it works as advertised.
Next up is LG's Knock Code. This lets you use a series of knocks on the screen, even if the screen is off, to power-on the tablet out of sleep mode, and unlock it in one quick step. Up to four users can register their knock patterns making it easy to share the tablet with others in your family, with each account and all of its data kept separate from the others.
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It's a handy feature that most other tablets don't offer and a fast way to unlock and get going.
When it comes to the camera, we're talking a relatively basic 5 megapixel autofocusing camera on the rear, and a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front. When in the camera app, LG lets you tap anywhere on the display to focus and activate the shutter in a single step. Meanwhile, the front selfie camera lets you clench your hand into a fist, which then starts a three second countdown before taking the photo.
LG's smart keyboard is built-in, and while easily replaceable with other keyboards be it Google's own or swiping keyboards like Swype, among many others, LG says its own keyboard "helps to reduce input errors by tracking and analysing typing habits and intuitively 'knowing' what word the user intends to type", while also letting you adjust the height and keyboard layout to fit your hand size.
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Finally, LG has its own version of dual-screen multitasking, letting you run two from a very select range of apps at the same time, while even being able to drag and drop content from one window to the other.
Despite Knock On, the biggest "knock" against the LG G Pad 10.1 is the recommended retail price of $399, although this has already fallen to $349 at Harvey Norman. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 model sells for a dollar or so less at Harvey Norman and JB HiFi with a slightly better screen, half a gig more RAM, but a smaller battery and only a 3 megapixel camera on the back.
Given the LG G Pad's price drop to match the Galaxy Tab 4 pricing, it will really come down to personal preference in store, as both competing tablets offer features the other doesn't at what is now effectively the same price point.
LG's G Pad is a good mid-range tablet that will perform admirably at mid-range tasks. If you need a dramatically better screen or maximum oomph to play the most demanding games, then neither the G Pad or Galaxy Tab 4 would be your choice, but the premium end is not the space the G Pad (nor the Tab 4) are targeting.
Mid-range is as mid-range does, and if you were given this tablet, you would likely wish for a better screen while still being satisfied that it performed well enough for the everyday tasks you'd ask of this tablet, as well as offering QPair 2.0 to bring some welcome connected convergence between the Android smartphone and Android tablet experience.
It's a shame the G Pad doesn't come in a model with a 3G/4G SIM card slot, but again, it's just not meant to play in that higher-end space.
To conclude, it is a good tablet, but at this price point and with the features it offers, it isn't jaw-droppingly great.
More information from LG here
, although do note this tablet is cheaper in stores as listed above than LG's product page shows.
LG G Pad 10.1 (V700) Specifications:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 - 1.2GHz Quad-Core Processor
1280 x 800 (HD)
Viewing Angle (H x V)
178 degrees x 178 degress
4.4mm Narrow Bezel
Total Internal Memory
16GB (10.8GB available)
MicroSD Memory Slot
Support up to 32GB (MicroSD Cards sold separately)
1GB (DDR2L 533MHz)
Bluetooth 4.0 BLE
802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4/5 GHz)
Display multimedia contents onto other compatible Android display devices.
Share media wirelessly to DLNA-enabled devices.
QPair 2.0 Links to your Android smartphone so you can use both devices in tandem. Compatible with phones running Android 4.1 or later
up to 8 hours
Included in Box:
12 Months Parts and Labour
Android 4.4.2 Platform (Kitkat)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
260.9mm x 165.9mm x 8.95mm