The Bottom Line
- More Compact Than 10-inch Tablets
- Excellent IPS Based Display
- Expensive Without Two Year Contract
- Lackluster Camera Performance Particularly in 3D Mode
- 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (Cortex-A9) Dual Core Processor
- 1GB Memory
- 32GB Storage
- 8.9-inch WXGA (1280x800) Multitouch Display
- NVIDIA Tegra 2 Graphics Engine
- 4G HSPA+, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Dual 5.0 Megapixel Back Cameras With LED Flash and 2.0 Megapixel Front Camera
- Micro-USB, Mini-HDMI, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 9.6" x 5.9" x .49" @ 1.
- Android 3.0
Guide Review - LG G-Slate 32GB 4G 8.9-inch Tablet PC
May 4 2011 - While the majority of Android 3.0 tablets coming to the market have decided to use a 10-inch display, LG has opted for a slightly smaller 8.9-inch display that has a slightly lower 1280x768 display compared to the 1280x800 used by the 10-inch models. This gives the display a much sharper image than the 10-inch tablets. The panel itself uses IPS LCD technology over the more affordable TN that gives it very wide viewing angles with better colors. Brightness is good but the blacks and whites were not as strong as the iPad 2's display.
The main advantage to using the smaller display is smaller overall dimensions for the LG G-Slate. It drops a good half inch on the width and a bit less on the height compared to the Motorola XOOM. It still retains the same half-inch thickness but the back panel is manufactured out of plastic rather than metal. This gives it a softer feel that is easier to hold, reduces the weight at bit but gives it a less sturdy overall feel. One surprising aspect is the large Google on the metal plate in the middle of the tablet which is somewhat disruptive to the look.
Internally, the LG G-Slate doesn't stray that far off the standard Android 3.0 tablet specifications. It is only available in a single configuration currently that includes the Tegra 2 processor and graphics, 32GB memory and the 4G HSPA+ wireless for use with T-Mobiles high speed wireless network. This adds a bit to the price of the overall tablet with a retail price of $750 without a contract that is $30 more than the iPad 2. With a two-year contract however, the price drops down to a much more manageable $530. The downside is that this will lock you into a long term contract that can add considerably to the overall cost of the device.
Software wise, the LG-Slate is your standard Android 3.0 tablet. Very little has been changed from the basic interface that Google has developed. There are a few additional applications thrown into the mix though. This includes the 3D video recorder and playback software. The other big inclusion is the T-Mobile TV application. This allows for some limited TV viewing that is offered through the T-Mobile service but there is much better offerings available for both video quality and selection from the likes of Hulu and Netflix.
One of the big features that is touted on the LG G-Slate is the cameras. The interesting feature is the inclusion of two 5.0 megapixel sensors on the back of the tablet. This allows the tablet to be used as a standard camera for stills or video but the second sensor also allows the tablet to be used as a 3D video camera. Unfortunately, this is more gimmick that function. The video has to step down to 720p when recording in 3D and the default red/blue anaglyph rendering on the tablet isn't very appealing. Add to this a mediocre performance from all of the cameras in all conditions and this is certainly not a tablet that you want for the cameras.
While the LG G-Slate is slightly smaller than the 10-inch Android tablets, it seems to pack a similarly size and capacity battery pack. It ships with an internal 6400mA capacity battery. In video playback testing with only the Wi-Fi enabled., the tablet was able to achieve roughly nine hours. This is slightly less than what is achieved with the Motorola Xoom and a good hour and a half behind what the svelte iPad 2 achieves. Still, for most people this will be plenty of time for usage within a day. It should be noted that using the 4G networking features will decrease the overall running time of the tablet due to the increased power consumption.