Introduction

The LG G Pad 10.1 tops LG's recently revived tablet lineup but does so by virtue of sheer size rather than merit. The G Pad trio shares a Snapdragon 400 chipset with 1 GB of RAM and screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Not exactly the kind of specs to make this trio a trifecta. And considering the 10-or-so-inch tablet segment is brutally competitive - it's where the iPads are, along with Lumia, Xperia Tablet Z, Samsung Notes, Pros and the S line - the big one of the G Pads isn't the most likely to make it big.

Yet, the G Pad 10.1 has a place in LG's plan. It's not thrown right in the thick of action but stands as an affordable alternative to cheap no-brand tablets. The screen resolution and chipset help it stay within budget but a few extras over the compact model are worth noting.

For starters it has twice the storage at 16GB while retaining the microSD card slot. The battery capacity is also doubled at 8,000 mAh and the camera on the back has seen a resolution bump to 5MP. The G Pad 10.1 actually shares many of its specs with the middle child, LG G Pad 8.0, but adds another 2.1 inches of screen diagonal.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1 offic1ial photos

Compact tablets are the money-makers, at least on the Android side of the aisle. As for the 10-inchers, there's a clear line between midrange (the likes of the LG G Pad 10.1 and the standard Galaxy Tab lineup) and premium.

For what seemed like an eternity, LG wasn't interested in tablets until the G Pad 8.3 finally emerged last year. A blend of great hardware, craftsmanship, solid screen and commendable ergonomics, it went squarely against Apple's minis and did well enough to earn itself a Google Play edition.

So why go, all of a sudden, for a 10-incher and not upgrade an already solid package from last year? Well, maybe that one is coming in due time but for now LG has an affordable, big slate to offer to first-time tablet users or budget-minded upgraders.

Key features

  • 10.1" 800 x 1280 IPS LCD display, 149ppi
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat with a modern, flat Optimus UI
  • Qualcomm MSM 8226 Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1GB of RAM, quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7.0 processor, Adreno 305 GPU
  • 5MP camera with 1080p video recording, 1.3MP front camera
  • 16GB of built-in storage, microSD card slot
  • 8,000mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Dual speakers aren't stereo
  • Only a Wi-Fi version at this time

There's just not enough screen resolution for the size of the G Pad 10.1 and this is by far this tablet's biggest downside. Even held at arms-length, the sub-200ppi could make you cringe at the sight. Still, the IPS matrix does make up a little by offering good viewing angles. And if you want a 10-incher with network connectivity the G Pad 10.1 won't do, not yet anyway.

On a positive note, you get the still fresh Android 4.4.2 KitKat right out of the box, skinned with the new, minimalist Optimus UI. Timely updates are less than certain for non-flagship devices so it's always good to start right to a fairly recent build.

LG G Pad 10.1

The LG G Pad 10.1 at HQ

Bottom line, if you need a bigger screen but don't insist on top-tier specs, the G Pad 10.1 is a reasonable choice - at half the price of the latest iPad or a ten-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S.

But whether LG have a good enough contender is a question that needs more than just a glance at the specs. The next chapter covers the design and build, moving right along.

Retail package

What you get in the retail box of the LG G Pad 10.1 is a microUSB cable and a standalone 1.8A A/C adapter that should be able to charge the 8,000mAh battery back to 100% in reasonable time.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1 retail package

Design and handling

LG has settled on a simple design for its 2014 G Pad lineup. All of them feature a button-less front and a plain plastic back. The plastic is matte and soft to the touch, which we like and the edges are curved with rounded corners for a more comfortable grip.

The LG G Pad 10.1 (our unit is Red) looks much like a Nexus 10 tablet, albeit with slimmer bezels top and bottom. It weighs less than the Nexus but more than most of its 10-inch competition at 523g. It's nice and thin though at just 8.9 mm.

The rear cover wraps around the sides too reaching all the way to the front glass, resulting in our unit in a subtle red trim - in nice contrast with the black front.

.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1

While mostly flat the back panel is slightly sloping towards the soft edges. It feels nice and grippy and we like how smooth it feels to the touch. The back feels vulnerable to scratches so do be careful with it.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Around back

Unlike its smaller siblings, the LG G Pad 10.1 isn't as comfortable to hold. It's not that it doesn't fit nicely - it's just a little large and heavy to be constantly hanging on your arms. Reaching to the center or the top corners of the screen isn't an easy task either.

LG G Pad 10.1

Handling the LG G Pad 10.1

Single-handed operation is a no-go with the LG G Pad 10.1, even in portrait mode. Anything above a couple of minutes will leave your hands a little sore - it would make sense to get yourself a dock or a flip cover that can hold the slate in position.

Controls

The top of the LG G Pad 10.1 (landscape) is where most of the physical controls are. There you'll find the power button and the volume rocker. If you use the slate in portrait mode those will be impossible to access but in landscape mode both are just below your left-hand fingers.

LG allows you to skip the power button altogether by enabling the double tap to unlock feature, which is also coupled with Knock Code, which can set a knock pattern. The double tap looks both ways - it will lock the screen too.

Next to the power button and volume rocker is the IR blaster, to remotely control a TV or set top box.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad top

The bottom features no controls whatsoever.

LG G Pad 10.1

The bottom

The left side of the LG G Pad 10.1 has the microUSB port for charging and PC connection. It also features the 3.5mm headphone jack, the microSD card slot, which has its own plastic flap and the microphone. There's nothing on the right side.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Left and right

The back is where the 5MP camera lens but no flash whatsoever. There's a speaker in each bottom corner - each speaker has its own amplifier but they don't produce stereo sound. The thing is they're not perfectly spaced and easily covered by your palm when holding the G Pad 10.1 in landscape.

We would have preferred the speakers to be facing front.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

The back of the G Pad 10.1

LG is asking half of what a top class 10-inch slate would command which has resulted in some cutbacks. For starters, the finish is neat and simple - no premium materials. The speakers aren't stereo and the screen is far from the best in business.

The good thing is the G Pad 10.1 doesn't presume to be anything more than it is. We like the build quality and the feel.

10.1" HD display

The 10.1" display on the LG G Pad 10.1 has a resolution 800 x 1280px, which results in a pixel density of around 149ppi. That's about as low as you can get these days - not the sharpest screen by far. Things look soft even at a distance and you can't expect the best browsing experience at this resolution to size.

The IPS matrix of the G Pad 10.1 does allow for great viewing angles, which is at least something. Some of its direct rivals fall short by providing regular TFT panels.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1 display

The pixel arrangement of the LG G Pad 10.1 is a classic RGB matrix, with equally sized red, green and blue subpixels to each pixel.



Our display test shows the LG G Pad 10.1 is still a little dim, especially compared to its tablet competition but is an improvement over the Pad 7.0 we reviewed recently. Contrast was a different story, though - the Pad 10.1 didn't impress with particularly good numbers here and it shows when the screen is in front of your eyes - things look a little washed-out.

Blacks aren't very deep either, in fact the Pad 10.1 scored lowest in this regard.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 0.27 223 832 0.49 406 821
LG G Pad 8.3 0.09 100 1112 0.33 345 1047
LG G Pad 10.1 0.16 112 679 0.59 445 759
LG G Tab 7.0 0.1 98 946 0.45 404 898
Apple iPad Air 0.19 181 968 0.53 508 964
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 0.29 266 906 0.56 515 917
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 210 382
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet - - - 0.45 484 1076


Battery life

The LG G Pad 10.1 has a pretty big battery on board. The 8,000mAh unit is tasked with carrying the 10.1-inch screen and Snapdragon 400 chipset through thick and thin - and is doing well, if not great.

We ran our traditional tests and the G Pad 10.1 returned some solid numbers. The video player ran for more than 22 hours before the tablet needed a recharge. That's among the best we've seen, certainly the best in our 10-incher tests.



The web browser returned an equally-impressive 19 hours and 23 minutes. That's insane - here's how it stacks up against some of the tablets we've tested.

Web browsing

  • LG G Pad 10.1
    22:12
  • Apple iPad Air
    12:49
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    12:22
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
    12:05
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
    8:42
  • Asus Nexus 7 (2013)
    6:57
  • LG G Pad 8.3
    6:53

Video playback

  • LG G Pad 10.1
    19:23
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    18:42
  • Apple iPad Air
    10:10
  • Asus Nexus 7 (2013)
    9:03
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
    8:25
  • LG G Pad 8.3
    7:40
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
    7:07

Keep in mind that the hardware setup isn't the most power-hungry. We test at 50% brightness and not at maximum volume for the video test. And we're not trying to downplay the great battery performance LG has managed to pull off here.

Connectivity

The LG G Pad 10.1 comes with a reasonable set of connectivity tools. So far there's a Wi-Fi only variant of the slate but perhaps LG will release an LTE option like it did with the 7-inch G Pad.

There's dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (not high-speed), there's a GPS chip (no GLONASS) and an IR blaster that can control a TV (or other IR-supporting devices via an app). USB On-The-Go is supported. There is no wired TV-out functionality such as MHL or Slimport or a dedicated HDMI port.

There's no FM Radio on board the LG G Pad 10.1. Finally, there's a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 64 GB.

LG has implemented its QPair app that pairs to an LG smartphone and can transfer notifications between the devices. More on that in the software part of this review.

Minimalist Optimus UI

The LG G Tab 10.1 is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat with the latest Optimus UI, which we saw premiere on the LG G3. Optimus UI is now more mature and has gone the flat, minimalist way with simpler, colorful round icons. The core way of navigating the UI is now much closer to stock Android and we like it the better for it.

Here's a quick look at how Optimus UI performs and looks on the G Tab 10.1.

The lockscreen looks similar to what we've come to expect from LG and its peers. There's a clock widget on the top along with six app shortcuts on the bottom.

You have the ability to add widgets by swiping to the right, and you can also double tap to wake the device at any time. LG gives you a choice of four unlocking effects.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

The lockscreen

Since this is an Android tablet you have the option to add other users to it. There three users you can add - a regular user with full rights, a restricted user for which you can select what types of apps and functions are accessible. There's no Kid's mode on the G Pad 10.1.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Adding a new user

You can enable more secure locks, including pattern, pin, password, or LG's own Knock Code that uses a series of taps to wake the device and unlock the screen.

LG G Pad 10.1

Knock code

Past the lockscreen, you're greeted by the familiar Android homescreen. As on most droids, you can have multiple homescreens populated by a wide selection of apps shortcuts and widgets, and even folders.

The navigation buttons are on-screen which ensures better response time and less chance of mechanical wear but also means you're effectively giving up part of your screen estate. The background behind the buttons is transparent and they obediently move out the way when you're watching a video or image so it's not that bad. Plus, the LG G Pad 10.1 lets you customize either white or black color schemes, and even add quick shortcuts for Dual window, QSlide and QMemo+, and even the notification bar.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

The homescreen • Button setup

LG's Smart Bulletin at-a-glance service isn't preinstalled on the LG G Pad 10.1 so the leftmost homescreen is just a regular homescreen pane.

A pinch zoom on any homescreen lets you see them all at a glance, where you can also remove any or set default. To populate any of them, simply hold a finger on to a blank area, and drag an app or widget from the resulting screen.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Managing the homescreen

The notification area is business as usual - a swipe down from the top bar displays a scrollable row of quick toggles, some sliders, and any notifications you may have. You can expand/collapse notifications with a two finger swipe, and dismiss them by swiping left or right.

The toggles have been redesigned to fit LG's new flatter look with rounded icons with cyan accents on a black canvas. It still looks overpopulated with sliders and QSlide shortcuts, and toggles taking up around 70% of the notification area and leaving only the remaining area for the actual notifications.

Holding down on a toggle in the upper row will take you to the relevant option in the settings, where you can also edit which toggles and sliders are shown.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Notification area

The app drawer also looks and acts the same. Aside from the usual alphabetical and chronological sorting of apps you can also rearrange the grid any way you see fit. Apps can be uninstalled directly in the app drawer, which is great for getting rid of bloatware (LG usually throws in a lot).

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

The app drawer

Getting to the recently-opened apps is done with the dedicated on-screen button. The interface shows a list of thumbnails for each app. You can swipe them away one by one, or use the close all option. There's also a shortcut to the special Dual window feature.

LG G Pad 10.1

Task switcher

Dual Window really shines on the bigger display of the LG G Pad 10.1. It allows two different apps to run simultaneously but unlike Samsung's Multi window there are only two apps allowed on the screen - no more.

The LG G Pad 10.1 remembers recent selections for quicker access, and lets you split the screen anywhere you want rather than the middle, top 3rd, or bottom 3rd.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Dual window

Besides Dual window, many apps have the ability to run in small resizable floating windows which LG has dubbed QSlide. QSlide applications can either be accessed from the notification area, or from within supported apps themselves by clicking the special shortcut icon.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

QSlide

Optimus UI is very useful and now offers a cleaner look. But it is still very complicated for the first-time adopter of Android, or even first-time LG users for that matter. The app drawer is filled with apps and settings, the homescreen is customizable in so many different ways - adding widgets from the app drawer or from the homescreen.

But once you get to know your way around Optimus UI it will empower you to get what you want from Android. Despite having only 1 GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 400 and not 600 or 800, the LG G Pad 10.1 navigates fluidly and there are almost no hiccups or unwanted stops to speak of.

Synthetic benchmarks

The LG G Pad 10.1 isn't made to brake speed boundaries with its Snapdragon 400 chipset, quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, Adreno 305 GPU and lowly 1GB of RAM. Still this hardware package should be enough to push things along without serious hiccups.

So let's take a look at the numbers from the various benchmarks that we use. We've broken them down into all-round benchmarks, CPU benchmarks, GPU tests and finally web browsing performance consisting of JavaScript and HTML 5 tests. These tests should give you an idea of what performance to expect.

Basemark OS II breaks down performance by single and multi-core speed and finally has an overall score. The Snapdragon 400 didn't really impress with its scores here and offers almost the exact performance as its smaller sibling, G Pad 7.0.

GeekBench 3 is a cross-platform test and measures the entire hardware rig. It saw the 10-inch G Pad 10.1 as a bottom of the table performer but considering its rich company the score isn't surprising.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    829
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    529
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    525

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    2394
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    1243
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    1141

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    7493
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    4873
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    4864

GeekBench 3

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    2881
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    2743
  • Apple iPad Air
    2388
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    1135
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    1115

The Adreno 305 is tasked with pushing the HD resolution of the screen, push the entire Optimus UI and isn't really built to manage to many pixels. The on-screen GFXBench Manhattan saw an unplayable score of 3.8 fps for the G Pad 10.1 while Basemark X shows a three-digit score against four digits from top tier competition.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
    4.7
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    3.8
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    3.8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    2.9

Basemark X

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    6875
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    822
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    807

We've already established that the G Pad 10.1 isn't made for heavy gaming and you should look more intently in the JavaScript and HTML 5 performance below. Kraken 1.1 shows a very poor score but that doesn't translate into poor browsing - things differ by a mere second or two between the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and the G Pad 10.1 in terms of loading speed.

HTML 5 looks much better for the G Pad 10.1

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    4777
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    14761
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    14794

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (Exynos)
    1515
  • LG G Pad 7.0
    971
  • LG G Pad 10.1
    949

For half the price of a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 or iPad Air you can't frown at the inferior performance in synthetic tests. Put in practical, real-life conditions the LG G Pad 10.1 does a very good job to hide its inferior hardware and provide a fast-enough operation.

Phonebook

The LG G Pad 10.1 isn't call enabled as there is no SIM inside. But it will allow you to manage your Google contacts through the Phonebook app. It has a split-screen view mode with the list of contacts on the left side and the contact details for the select person in the right pane.

You can edit contacts, add a variety of field to each person and add and edit groups of contacts, such as Favorites.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Phonebook

You can't call contacts but the G Pad 10.1 will enable you to write and email or check out a linked address on Google Maps and just about any other thing that doesn't require a cellular network.

We ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the LG G Pad 10.1 and it got a very good mark. You can find out more about our loudspeaker test here.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Microsoft Surface RT 61.7 60.2 64.2 Below Average
Asus Transformer Pad 59.3 64.6 67.0 Below Average
Sony Xperia Tablet S 64.7 61.8 67.1 Below Average
Apple iPad mini 2 65.7 62.1 72.3 Below Average
Google Nexus 10 68.3 66.1 67.8 Average
Apple iPad Air 67.9 65.9 76.6 Good
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 70.1 65.8 75.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 75.7 66.6 77.2 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 3G 71.7 73.2 75.7 Very Good
LG G Pad 10.1 71.6 73.5 77.5 Very Good


Email and text input

The LG G Pad 10.1 comes with two email apps - the traditional Gmail app and the LG Mail app. The latter has the added benefit of merging all your email accounts into a single interface with a unified inbox.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Gmail

It does lack in the design department, though. Gmail looks much more appealing.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Email

LG offers a wide array of typing methods, including split keyboard, voice recognition, handwriting recognition, and Path input, LG's take on Swype.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Keyboard

You have the added ability to raise and lower the keyboard to get more or less gaps between the keys. There's also a boatload of customization options, including a dark-toned keyboard, vibration when pressing a key, character bubbles on keypress, to name a few. LG can even update its word suggestion library, if you have the option enabled.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Keyboard

You can always go and install a third party keyboard but the provided LG one is among the best, most functional we've seen on a slate.

Gallery

The Gallery stacks photos and videos together in albums, which can be organized by the date they were taken or the source they come from. Location-based sorting is also available, or you can have the Gallery display just your videos - especially useful as the G Pad 10.1 doesn't come with a dedicated Video player app.

As usual, there is an array of available options at your disposal. You can share, highlight, and delete images, as well as set them as backgrounds, assign them to contacts, add them to a specific album, or print them.

Editing images takes you to Google's Photos app, used in lieu of a picture editor from LG.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Gallery

The gallery supports viewing your images in their full resolution. You can easily pinch-zoom to 1:1 magnification and beyond.

Video player

The video player on the LG G Pad 10.1 is basically a view-only-videos setting of the Gallery app. Controls-wise you get Play/Pause, fast-forward, and rewind buttons, in addition to a slider to scrub through the video. Scrubbing through the video doesn't give you the animated preview that we saw on the LG G3 and there are now captions either.

LG G Pad 10.1

Video player

Videos support subtitles and you hand pick the one you want. QSlide is also supported for the video player - you can pop out a video to watch as an overlay to any other screen on the G Pad 7.0, adjust the size of the pop up window and also its opacity.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

QSlide

Performance of the LG G Pad 10.1 was the same as the one on the G Pad 7.0, unsurprisingly. It didn't manage to output audio when we played AC-3 and DTS audio codecs in video and played to load MKV, MOV, WMV and FLV videos, AAC audio coding was fine along with MP3 and FLAC. AVI, MP4, MPG, DivX and Xvid videos weren't an issue for the tablet. 1080p was the maximum resolution at which it managed to play files.

Music player

LG's music player on the G Pad 10.1 looks and operates the same as its counterpart on the LG G3. Your music library is organized by various categories, with the Album view being the most interesting thanks to its large album thumbnails.

The Now playing screen will display the Album art and playback controls, which you can swipe to the sides for the next/previous track.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Music player

There's a robust equalizer on board, complete with a wide variety of presets. You can also adjust the playback pitch and speed.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Sound options

When playing a song, playback controls will appear in the notification center and lockscreen, although on the latter the album art is rather unpleasantly stretched.

Good audio output but on the quiet side

The LG G Pad 10.1 audio output is quite close to what it's smaller brother, the G Pad 7.0 delivered. The tabled showed performed nicely clean with great excellent scores in both parts of our test.

However it was the volume levels that let it down once more and caused it to miss on a perfect score. The LG G Pad 10.1 was below average when plugged into an active external amplifier and even quieter when used with a pair of headphones.

Check out the table and see for yourself.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
LG G Pad 10.1 +0.02, -0.08 -91.1 90.6 0.0029 0.0089 -93.7
LG G Pad 10.1 (headphones attached) +0.05, -0.07 -91.0 91.0 0.015 0.063 -76.8
LG G Pad 8.3 +0.14, -0.11 -93.8 92.9 0.0021 0.0082 -93.8
LG G Pad 8.3 (headphones attached) +0.29, -0.11 -90.7 92.7 0.0074 0.208 -53.6
LG G Pad 7.0 +0.02, -0.08 -93.0 92.8 0.0016 0.0081 -92.8
LG G Pad 7.0 (headphones attached) +0.04, -0.10 -93.1 92.9 0.0073 0.041 -89.0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition +0.01, -0.04 -95.5 90.6 0.015 0.016 -97.3
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (headphones attached) +0.01, -0.05 -95.2 90.5 0.0086 0.043 -70.1
Sony Xperia Tablet Z +0.11, -0.10 -87.0 89.2 0.033 0.030 -87.8
Sony Xperia Tablet Z (headphones attached) +0.21, -0.36 -86.6 88.8 0.114 0.233 -45.4
Google Nexus 10 +0.03, -0.04 -82.3 82.2 0.011 0.022 -81.4
Google Nexus 10 (headphones attached) +0.09, -0.24 -82.7 82.7 0.067 0.204 -77.9

LG G Pad 10.1 frequency response

LG G Pad 10.1 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Camera

The camera app on the LG G Pad 10.1 also derives from the recent G3 but lacks some features due to its less-capable imaging hardware. That includes a 5 MP snapper on the back, complimented by a 1.3 MP snapper on the front.

Options are very scarce - you can say cheese to capture a photo, enable grid view, a timer and geo-tag your images but that's about it - there's no HDR, no filters, no other shooting modes - just a shutter and you're done.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Camera

The camera allows you to capture a selfie using the front-facing camera by placing your hand in front of the lens and making a fist. This will activate a 3 second timer and then capture a photo. The option is nice to have but it worked around 60% of the time and made us look a little idiotic to surrounding people.

The G Pad 10.1 creates good-looking images. There's plenty of detail in the 5 MP shots with good saturated colors and nice contrast. The tablet snaps photos reasonably quickly too.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1 camera samples

Focusing is fast, although not laser-G3-fast. White balance looks well across the frame and everything is in focus and sharp from corner to corner. In fact this is the only sud-weak point in the camera performance of the G Pad 10.1 - it tends to oversharp a little. The effect looks to enhance the images in zoomed-out position by giving them a finer edge but when you zoom in things look unpleasantly oversharpened.

Still some people prefer this approach - Samsung's cameras are getting rave reviews all the while abusing the sharpness to some extent.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1 camera samples

You can check out our pixel-peeping photo quality comparison below where you can pit the G Pad 10.1 against all the devices we've tested.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

LG G Pad 10.1 in our photo compare tool

Video recording

The camcorder doesn't have its own interface - it's just part of the camera app. Next to the photo shutter there's a video one as well. Videos max out at 1080p, more than enough for this kind of device in our view.

LG G Pad 10.1

Camcorder

The LG G Pad 10.1 takes good-looking videos, on par detail-wise with the slate's stills. Detail is good and colors retain their pleasant pop. Framerate jumps around 29 to 30 fps ensuring that things look smooth. Bitrate isn't low nor is it too high providing good detail and reasonably low-volume videos on the storage.

Audio is recorded in mono but at a high bitrate of 157 Kbps. It sounds nice but you'll get only 1 channel. Here's a FullHD video taken with the LG G Pad 10.1.

And here's an untouched 1080p@30fps sample straight off the device.

And just for the sake of further comparison here's the LG G Tab 10.1 in our video quality comparison tool. It does okay but really deteriorates in the low-light test.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

LG G Pad 10.1 in our video quality comparison tool

Built-in browser and Chrome

The LG G Pad 10.1 comes with two pre-installed browsers. Since this is Android, you get the standard set of Google apps, including Chrome, as pre-installed, but LG has also added its own Android browser.

The stock browser packs the usual features: Incognito tabs, Bookmarks, Find in page and Desktop view. There is no Flash support. Pages can be saved locally to read offline, but videos cannot.

Naturally, for a tablet, there's tab view on both browsers.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Browser

Google Chrome is now the most popular browser on Android (and many a PC as well). It has some advantages over its vanilla-flavored buddy, including switching between tabs with a wide swipe from either the left or right of the top bar.

Thanks to your Google account, Chrome can sync what you have open on other devices (desktops, tablets) with the phone. This feature also syncs your bookmarks and favorite sites and can remember passwords and login data.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Google Chrome

The Reduce data usage option sends web pages to be compressed on Google's web servers before loading them on the device to save data and speed up slow connections. This doesn't work for SSL-protected pages and Incognito tabs for privacy reasons.

Other apps

LG's QMemo app, which was created as a response to Samsung's Notes application, is present on the G Pad 10.1 in the form of QMemo+. QMemo+ features a plethora of improvements, including the ability to add location and weather info to your notes, draw and add text to nearly any type of screenshot or picture, as well as share and save your notes via a wide range of media.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

QMemo+

Utilizing the IR blaster is QRemote - it allows you to control either a TV or set-top box, or both using the slate and this software. It will guide you through a quick setup process where you select the manufacturer of your TV tech and when you're done - it's lounging time.

LG G Pad 10.1

QRemote

Naturally, there's the usual array of productivity apps on the G Pad 10.1. There's the tasks app - it organizes your tasks and time and you can have multiple lists of tasks. Each task can have a reminder attached to it. The clock app has alarms, a timer, a stopwatch and the world time - nothing out of the ordinary here. The Calendar offers a variety of views - day view, week view, agenda view (where your appointments are listed one by one), a month view and a year view.

The calculator can handle easy calculations but can also go into scientific mode in landscape.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Tasks • Clock • Calendar • Calculator

The G Pad 10.1 is also equipped with a File Manager that divides your contend in categories - music, pictures, video among others. It supports copy, paste and move operations as well. There's also a Weather app that supports multiple locations and will display a visualization of what the weather is at your location. Finally, there's an old-school voice recorder that shows you a decibel reading, cool.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

File Manager • Weather • Voice recorder • Qpair

LG's own QPair app will allow you to sync notifications between your LG tablet and your LG smartphone. QMemos are also transferred between devices and you can see recent apps and setup internet to your tablet through your phone.

You can also use QPair to find your tablet or _phone_ by sending a ringing signal. And while the feature is nice to be connected through QPair your _phone_ and tablet will be close enough as is.

Google Maps, Google Drive and Google Play are all preinstalled on the G Pad 10.1 and so is LG's Smart World store. It has exclusive apps, many free apps and games and also themes for the UI and keyboard. Not all content is available for every country, though.

Overall LG has equipped its G Pad tablet with all the software you'd need, perhaps a little more even. We can't think of anything more a user might want from the G Pad 10.1 in terms of productivity but you can always resort to the Google Play store if need arises.

Final words

Going for a 10-inch tablet but not in the mood to splash out? Maybe you just want a big screen to idle the hours away on the couch or you feel your 5" smartphone isn't doing your YouTube feed any justice? The LG G Pad 10.1 has got you covered - it's reasonably priced and an adequate performer.

LG isn't making a big fuss over its latest G Pads and that may be a mistake. Perhaps the company fears their less than stellar record with tablets will come back to haunt them, or perhaps the current G Pad lineup is supposed to just fill in the blanks in the lower midrange before an upgrade of the G Pad 8.3 hopefully turns up.



Not that LG should be shouting from the tallest of rooftops about the G Pad 10.1. It's not exactly rocking the most impressive of specs. To be fair though, the LG G Pad 10.1 proved, there goes that word again, adequate all around. The screen is keeping it in 2012 but there's enough to turn a bad rap around - KitKat for starters, extra-solid battery backup and an IR blaster if you will. KnockCode and some other proprietary software features are also worthwhile. Snapdragon 400 will do for browsing or light gaming and the price is right.

Key test findings:

  • A tad too heavy
  • Practical design; soft-touch rear finish has a nice feel to it
  • The display lacks sharpness, not too bright and quite reflective
  • The IR port and the 1080p video recording makes a difference against the competition
  • The dual speakers on the back are quite loud
  • Battery life is superb
  • Performance is adequate
  • The camera image and video quality is ok
  • Optimus UI is responsive and comes with a set of proprietary features such as KnockCode, QMemo, Qpair and Dual windows (but no Kids Mode)
  • The default video player supports subtitles but won't play videos with AC3 and DTS audio tracks

If LG cuts the price a tad more or secures nice carrier deals, they may have a winner on their hands. The asking price of $250 isn't the best deal you can get - but definitely not a no-no if it's readily available. LG needs to sell their 10-incher and sell it now, before the window of interest closes.

As usual, there are rivals that will readily steal the show and, as always, Samsung has a few too many of them on the field. The Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 and Galaxy Note 10.1 N8010 (2012) match the G Pad 10.1 spec for spec with equally-sized screens of the same WXGA resolution but a little steeper price tags. The regular Galaxy Tab is a tad more compact while the Note 10.1 has an S Pen and isn't afraid to use it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8010

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8010

Huawei's MediaPad 10 Link+ has a confusing name but is simple in its core. It brings an IPS 10.1 HD screen to match the G Pad 10.1 and that's about it - it's behind on processing power, it has a lower-res camera and a smaller battery. It has a gentler price tag as well, but is quite a handful at 620g.

Huawei MediaPad 10 Link+

Huawei MediaPad 10 Link+

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 is practically the same tablet in key areas like screen, processing, imaging and pricing. It's a little heavier but has a massive 9,000mAh battery to show for it. It also brings network connectivity to the negotiations and the built-in kickstand is a nice touch.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

With the LG G Pad 10.1 it's not the little things that matter but rather the big picture - the big screen, the big battery, the big money saved compared to what an Apple iPad Air or Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 would cost.

With Android 4.4.2 KitKat and that battery backup, the G Pad 10.1 is worth - at the very least - a look. There're better options out there but not too many in its price range.

Retail package

What you get in the retail box of the LG G Pad 10.1 is a microUSB cable and a standalone 1.8A A/C adapter that should be able to charge the 8,000mAh battery back to 100% in reasonable time.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1 retail package

Design and handling

LG has settled on a simple design for its 2014 G Pad lineup. All of them feature a button-less front and a plain plastic back. The plastic is matte and soft to the touch, which we like and the edges are curved with rounded corners for a more comfortable grip.

The LG G Pad 10.1 (our unit is Red) looks much like a Nexus 10 tablet, albeit with slimmer bezels top and bottom. It weighs less than the Nexus but more than most of its 10-inch competition at 523g. It's nice and thin though at just 8.9 mm.

The rear cover wraps around the sides too reaching all the way to the front glass, resulting in our unit in a subtle red trim - in nice contrast with the black front.

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LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad 10.1

While mostly flat the back panel is slightly sloping towards the soft edges. It feels nice and grippy and we like how smooth it feels to the touch. The back feels vulnerable to scratches so do be careful with it.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Around back

Unlike its smaller siblings, the LG G Pad 10.1 isn't as comfortable to hold. It's not that it doesn't fit nicely - it's just a little large and heavy to be constantly hanging on your arms. Reaching to the center or the top corners of the screen isn't an easy task either.

LG G Pad 10.1

Handling the LG G Pad 10.1

Single-handed operation is a no-go with the LG G Pad 10.1, even in portrait mode. Anything above a couple of minutes will leave your hands a little sore - it would make sense to get yourself a dock or a flip cover that can hold the slate in position.

Controls

The top of the LG G Pad 10.1 (landscape) is where most of the physical controls are. There you'll find the power button and the volume rocker. If you use the slate in portrait mode those will be impossible to access but in landscape mode both are just below your left-hand fingers.

LG allows you to skip the power button altogether by enabling the double tap to unlock feature, which is also coupled with Knock Code, which can set a knock pattern. The double tap looks both ways - it will lock the screen too.

Next to the power button and volume rocker is the IR blaster, to remotely control a TV or set top box.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

LG G Pad top

The bottom features no controls whatsoever.

LG G Pad 10.1

The bottom

The left side of the LG G Pad 10.1 has the microUSB port for charging and PC connection. It also features the 3.5mm headphone jack, the microSD card slot, which has its own plastic flap and the microphone. There's nothing on the right side.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

Left and right

The back is where the 5MP camera lens but no flash whatsoever. There's a speaker in each bottom corner - each speaker has its own amplifier but they don't produce stereo sound. The thing is they're not perfectly spaced and easily covered by your palm when holding the G Pad 10.1 in landscape.

We would have preferred the speakers to be facing front.

LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1
LG G Pad 10.1

The back of the G Pad 10.1

LG is asking half of what a top class 10-inch slate would command which has resulted in some cutbacks. For starters, the finish is neat and simple - no premium materials. The speakers aren't stereo and the screen is far from the best in business.

The good thing is the G Pad 10.1 doesn't presume to be anything more than it is. We like the build quality and the feel.