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Tech Savvy: All in the (LG) Family Part 2

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This week we wrap up our tour of the latest LG devices courtesy of our friends at Verizon Wireless. Last week we got a look at the LG G4, a great device with great coverage, and this week we look at the beefed up versi...

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Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This week we wrap up our tour of the latest LG devices courtesy of our friends at Verizon Wireless. Last week we got a look at the LG G4, a great device with great coverage, and this week we look at the beefed up version - the LG GPad.

There are actually two version of the GPad, the 10.1 and the 8.3, as you can guess it has to do with what size the screen is. We got to take a look at the 8.3 version. In actuality there are pretty significant differences between the 10.1 and the 8.3, battery size, removeable SD, camera megapixel size, so if you're debating between the two, it's worth giving them a closer look.

OK, let's just dive right in.

The body of the GPad is primarily a plastic edge, but it does seem to have metal reinforcing it and on the back plate as well. It gives it a nice feel, and like the G4, it makes it very slim and lightweight. Weighing in at a hair over 13 ounces, it's easily under the one pound mark and is easily portable for longer periods of time. At just under 5 inches wide and 8.53 inches tall, the footprint is smaller than my iPad, which was already pretty svelte.

Screen size, if you remember, is measured diagonally from the corners of the screen, which gives it more of a widescreen type layout. This has gradually been the shift over the last few years, and it makes a lot of sense in terms of aspect ratios for videos and pictures.

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Despite its light weight, the GPad comes with a 4800mAh battery, that's roughly have the size of the 10.1 model, but still larger than the 3900 mAh battery in my Droid Turbo.

In battery testing it's easily outlasts most phones, in spite of having to power a larger screen. This, combined with the size, makes the GPad a real contender for those that travel frequently looking to cut down on devices. According to the manufacturer, users can hope for up to 25 days of standby time, and I'd estimate peak usage time around 14 hours - with moderate usage. Of course, the main question is how accessible you are you power on a regular basis as I'm willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of us are not in the habit of running devices bone dry every time.

The GPad comes with 16GB of internal storage, but it also has a microSD slot that you can add up to 128GB on top of that. The SIM card tray is located right with the microSD slot, which is a great space saver and seems to be the trend with many manufacturers now.

Like it's smaller counterpart the GPad comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box which is the most current version of Android. As I mentioned last week we can probably expect the update to Marshmallow to start dropping in the near(ish) future, but as with most Android updates, it can be a bit of a guessing game as to who will get the upgrade first, or at all. For the most part these devices should be at the top of the list.

All of these features are actually fairly standard, many of your high end devices have many of the same features, which really turns this into a game of personal preference, so here are a couple things that set this device apart and may pique your interest.

Full size USB. That's right - you read that correctly. Full. Size. USB. At the top of the device, there is a full size USB port, this is in addition to the micro USB at the bottom for charging. The full size port is a first for pretty much any mainstream Android tablet. There are some tablets, like the Surface from Microsoft, and some of the Archos tablets and other "off" brands, but many of the major players have opted to not pursue this simply because it wasn't the norm. For years mobile devices have tried to shy away from full size USB as a data option for any number of reasons. The full size was tough to fit into a mobile device, the speeds weren't as fast as people would have liked and, let's be honest, having more than one USB style would confuse people.

Here's the kicker - on an Android Device, it makes a lot of sense. For anyone that has used a File Manager, like Astro, or any number of other ones - having the ability to plug a full size USB flash drive in is incredible. With faster processing, higher display resolution and better apps for video and photo editing, this feature is a bit of a big deal. Even for sharing larger files, or in formats that can't normally be read on mobile devices, this is an astounding feature. Plus, if nothing else, it's additional storage opportunities.

Speaking of faster processors, this bad boy is packing a 1.5 Ghz octo-core processor. Octo, as in eight. AKA double what the standard in many devices in now. True, you do get to a certain point where for normal everyday use it's a bit overkill but c'mon, octo-core? Going back to the full size USB port, this is one way that the GPad is going to offset processor resources to keep it running smoothly. That and you get bragging rights to the only octo-core tablet on the mainstream market.

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Like the G4, the GPad has many of the same LG UI features, like the multitasking, gestures, dual windows and the LG Smart Assistant. I have always been a fan of HTC's Sense UI, Motorola's is pretty decent too, but LG's is slightly different. it reminds me a bit of Samsung's UI except they did it right. Don't get me wrong, I like Samsung devices, but their UI isn't my first choice - it looks nice, but it feels off. LG's UI is clean like Samsung's, fast like HTC's and reliable like Motorola's. Pretty good combo if you think about it.

The GPad boasts an 8MP camera, which is pretty standard for the majority of the mainstream offerings- slightly higher than the way tablets have grown. I did chuckle a little at the promotion that has people taking a selfie with the tablet. Really, I chuckle more at the idea of using a tablet for a selfie, but the reality is that this 8.3-inch screen isn't nearly as obnoxious as some of the other tablets as a photo device. Tablets in general are not generally regarded as photo devices - my Motorola Turbo has a 21 MP camera, it takes insanely good photos - same with my old HTC DNA, it also took great photos.

The GPad, like the G4, also has a robust camera that puts it right up there in the league of these other top tier cameras.

All in all the GPad is a great tablet, like the G4, and LG as a company, it's a bit understated as a product, I'm a little shocked that there isn't more mainstream hype about LG's products- they are an often overlooked player in the mobile device realm.

The GPad would be a great option for those that are looking for an "in-betweener" option, and I'd even go so far as to say (because of the full size USB) it should be a contender for business applications. Small businesses, sales teams, mobile workforces would all benefit from the features this device has to offer.

I'm on vacation next week, but I will be hard at work continuing testing for our disaster preparedness mini-series coming up shortly. We've got some great products we're putting to the test and I can't wait to share what we find with you.

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