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.
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.
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.
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.