LG Optimus Pad review

Reviews Ben Griffin 12:46, 9 Aug 2011

We review the LG Optimus Pad, a 3D-equipped tablet with a 8.9-inch display and Android Honeycomb

Rating: 
2
Pros: 
Portable size, Good display
Cons: 
Ludicrously pricey, 3D is pointless, Android 3.0 app support limited, Performance can be iffy, Feels cheap
Verdict: 
The LG Optimus Pad does what most Android tablets do, but its 3D extras do not even begin to justify its insanely high price

For this review we're going to wade in with a negative as opposed to our usual compliment sandwich, and for very good reason. That's because the LG Optimus Pad is expensive. We're talking £750 expensive, which isn't a figure we can push to one side until the end.

That's a whole lot of money to spend on a tablet, a device notoriously known to be anything but essential, even if it has a 3D camcorder. The need for 3D glasses helps little - wearing red and blue shades on your commute will do anything but improve your social life.

It's not all negatives for LG's tablet though. If we forget the price for one second, the 8.9-inch display is both colourful and clear. We also love its wide, thin proportions for general use and portability, as it's somewhere between the bag-filling iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the 'mini-tablet' older Galaxy Tab.

Pop the hood

Under its plastic casing that somehow equates to 621g in weight is a dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB of RAM and a GeForce GPU for graphics. The result is a relatively slick experience. Apps load up quickly and it's possible to run multiple tasks without grinding to a halt. There are moments of jitter though, so it's not quite up there with the iPad 2 and the HP TouchPad for sheer user interface smoothness but close enough.

You get Android 3.0 as the operating system. Like with all Android tablets, it's not perfect for larger displays but it still does the job. There are three buttons at the bottom that deal with multitasking, going back and returning to your home screen.

You also have a dedicated apps button in the corner to jump to everything you have on the device, as well as a Google Search bar and space for your own selection of apps, shortcuts and widgets. Android is very customisable so you can fine-tune your experience to however you want, especially with apps out there designed to do remove restrictions.

According to LG, the UI on the review sample we have isn't complete. This means there may be some sort of LG user interface bolted on to the consumer devices, which may or may not change the experience. Considering the device is already on sale though, we assume an undiluted Android 3.0 is what you get, which is no bad thing. It works relatively well on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Motorola Xoom.

LG Optimus Pad

Office pal

Unlike the HP TouchPad, you can edit and view documents on the Optimus Pad, which isn't too difficult with the keyboard. Typing on an Android smartphones can be difficult but with all that screen to use, the experience becomes more pallatable.

The Android Market has a boatload of applications so within minutes we had TweetDeck, Google+ for Mobile, FaceBook and YouTube on the go. There are over 200,000 to choose from, so there should be something on there you will find useful or interesting.

There's plenty of games to enjoy as well, including Kairosoft's Grand Prix Story and Rovio Mobile's Angry Birds. Interestingly, Grand Prix Story seemed to stutter during races, which was a tad annoying. It was also bizarre we couldn't play the game in landscape, as the buttons at the bottom cover the lower part of the display.

At this time, there are few apps designed for Android 3.0 so expect the odd quirk and not much of a visible performance gain from most apps. Hopefully in time developers will make more use of it.

Specifications

Typical Price £749.99
UK Launch May, 2011
Network N/A
Phone Style Touchscreen tablet
Thickness 12.7mm
Length 243.8mm
Width 150mm
Weight 621g
Built-in Memory 32GB
High-speed Data HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G
Screen Size 8.9 inches, 768x1280 pixels
Screen Colours 16m
Camera Dual 5-megapixel with autofocus
Designer Lens No
Camera Resolution 2560x1920 pixels
Zoom No
Flash LED flash
Video Resolution 1080p at 24fps (2D), 720p at 30fps (3D)
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP4/DivX/XviD/H.264/H.263/WMV
Song Storage 32GB
Radio No
Speaker Yes, stereo speakers
Video Calling Yes
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games No
Battery Standby Up to 273 hours

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