Print 20 comment(s) - last by theapparition.. on Apr 20 at 9:11 AM

Critics agree: It's a solid piece of hardware sporting an underdeveloped UI (Honeycomb)

As far as tablets go, most of the media and consumers will be interested in today's launch of RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet; we've heard about it for months, and we know what kind of pressure the device is under to perform for the company. Meanwhile, though, a tablet from a less-troubled company, LG, has been faring better with the critics.

Reviews of LG's G-Slate, which we found out about at CTIA, are coming in with a slightly better overall tone than those of the PlayBook.

Let's get some specs out of the way first. The G-Slate, which is coming to T-Mobile for $529.99 with a qualifying two-year contract (more on that later), features a 8.9-inch touchscreen with 1280 x 768 display. It runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb on a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor and is compatible with T-Mobile's 4G HSPA+. Differentiating it from other similar tablets is the G-Slate's ability to capture and play back 3D-video at 720p (or 1080p in 2D), though it does require 3D glasses to view, unlike the forthcoming HTC EVO 3D.

Rather than compare it to the obvious Apple iPad, most of the reviewers put the G-Slate head-to-head against the Motorola Xoom. Here's what Tim Stevens of Engadget had to say about the form factor: 

The plastic back definitely gives the G-Slate a somewhat less posh feel than much of the competition, but that decrease in luxeness comes with a strong benefit: it weighs 1.3lb compared to the Motorola Xoom's 1.6. It's just a hair thinner and about an inch shallower and, while it's a little unfair to compare a nine-incher to a ten in these kinds of metrics, in day-to-day use we didn't find ourselves missing that extra inch, especially since this is almost exactly as tall as the Xoom. We did, however, notice the reduced weight, and that decrease in width means it feels a bit better balanced in the hand.

Zach Epstein at BGR concurred:

The build is likely my favorite thing about this tablet. It’s remarkably solid and it has a very high-end feel. It can get a bit hefty during prolonged usage, but this also helps the G-Slate feel substantial and high-end. What’s more, there’s a reason the device is so heavy: the battery life on T-Mobile’s tablet is terrific. It doesn’t quite measure up to the iPad, I found, but I’m confident that the G-Slate will run for several days on a single charge. 

As for performance, the G-Slate fared decently. Vincent Nguyen of Slashgear had this to say: 

With the same underlying processor, the G-Slate’s performance is pretty much on a par with what we saw from the Motorola XOOM. That basically means a reasonably swift tablet experience with a few frustrating lag-points. The G-Slate lacks the silky page transitions and animations of the iPad 2, but is still capable of admirable speed nonetheless.

The biggest complaint that seemingly all could agree on was the software. The G-Slate runs a stock version of Honeycomb, which just isn't quite ready for its close-up in the mass consumer market yet. 


I won’t beat around the bush here… the G-Slate’s user experience is hurt tremendously by the sluggishness of the UI. LG may deserve part of the blame as the XOOM was not quite this bad when I used it last, but the bulk of the problem likely lies with Google. Android’s UI is not fluid, and the lag issues carried by most Android smartphones are amplified on the G-Slate tablet.


Beyond that we're talking straight Android Honeycomb, which means a massive slew of applications in the Market -- most of which haven't been optimized for tablets and just don't look right on this screen. The stock keyboard still needs work and overall there's some polish needed.


Honeycomb’s remaining rough edges and lackluster app availability could more easily be overlooked if the G-Slate undercut Apple’s tablet; without that, the price becomes another stick, which will be used against the tablet.

If you have a 3D TV and you want to record your own video for it, the G-Slate is cool. Otherwise, it's just another spec that drives the price point up, which Nguyen points out.

Speaking of price. That is also another downside to the G-Slate.

Epstein, again:

Without a massive marketing push, I don’t see the G-Slate going very far with average consumers. It’s also a bit pricey at $529.99 with a two-year data contract. I can see why T-Mobile priced it there — this price point lines up with Apple’s 16GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, and the G-Slate touts twice as much internal storage. Apple’s iPad doesn’t require a two-year data plan, however, and it also has ridiculous amounts of hype and hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and marketing to support it. The G-Slate, of course, does not.


It's $70 less than a Xoom and $200 less than a 3G iPad 2 with 32GB of storage. But, you only get that price if you already have or sign up for a T-Mobile voice plan. No voice plan? No rebate, so you're looking at a price of $630. Want to opt out of the data plan, too? Now you're looking at an unsubsidized price of $750.

The bottom line appears to be that the G-Slate is a solid piece of hardware, running an underdeveloped OS (which could be addressed with firmware updates), at too high a price. If T-Mobile lowers the price, though, it would be one to consider for Android enthusiasts.

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By Breathless on 4/19/2011 11:09:52 AM , Rating: 2
Too big to be a phone - too small to be a tablet...?

RE: Hmmm...
By InvertMe on 4/19/2011 11:10:47 AM , Rating: 3
Disagree. This is the perfect tablet size for me. Exactly the form factor I was looking for.

RE: Hmmm...
By MonkeyPaw on 4/19/2011 2:11:32 PM , Rating: 4
I wanted to try my hand at a tablet, but didn't want to blow $500+ on what is still a bit underdeveloped (especially on android). So I got a Nook Color and am running CM7 from the SD card. Less than $300 and about as fast as a gen1 Galaxy Tab. I figure it will hold me until the tablet market shakes out more, and then it can just be an eReader like B&N intended. :p

RE: Hmmm...
By nafhan on 4/19/2011 11:55:12 AM , Rating: 5
Steve sayeth "tablet screens shalt be 9.7 inches whilst smartphones shalt be 3.5 inches exactly, and should thou deviate from these dimensions thou shalt be ridiculed by thine brethern." :)

RE: Hmmm...
By theapparition on 4/19/2011 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
...and there was much rejoycing.

RE: Hmmm...
By Bubbacub on 4/19/2011 2:22:57 PM , Rating: 1
does nobody get the python references?

come on people!

RE: Hmmm...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/19/2011 10:16:44 PM , Rating: 2
does nobody get the python references? come on people!

You're kidding right? Judging by the ratings and the posting here, the average DT patron is 17-22 years old.

RE: Hmmm...
By Mitch101 on 4/19/2011 10:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
And you must spank them all. Then the oral s3x.

RE: Hmmm...
By Mitch101 on 4/20/2011 9:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
I guess that settles it no Monty Python fans. No one recognizes or likes castle anthrax.

RE: Hmmm...
By theapparition on 4/20/2011 9:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
There is too much peril there.

I'm OK, let me have a little peril.

No, it's too perilous.

Bet your gay.

RE: Hmmm...
By Sazar on 4/19/2011 12:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think we are seeing the growth of the middle-ground products like this and the Dell Streaks, the so-called phablets (phone + tablet).

RE: Hmmm...
By vignyan on 4/19/2011 1:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
or "tone" ;)

another fail on pricing
By kenyee on 4/19/2011 11:28:55 AM , Rating: 2
The Honeycomb ecosystem just isn't good enough right now and the slight bugginess and lack of true showcase retail space is going to make this another speed bump for the ipad :-P

I was really hoping the pricing would be better...that's what enabled android phones to overtake iphones...just sheer numbers of low/high/mid priced phones...

RE: another fail on pricing
By AEvangel on 4/19/2011 2:15:25 PM , Rating: 2
I agree the pricing is WAY too high for this type of device...also no one really wants to be tied down to a phone company for a's insane realistically I'm not going to use that much more data then I already do with my smartphone to make paying for a separate service plan justified.

By therealnickdanger on 4/19/2011 3:09:15 PM , Rating: 2
I love my LG Optimus S, it has fantastic build quality and performance... but this tablet seems ridiculous. The ASUS Transformer costs $399 and has nearly all the same guts as this thing. Does 4G hardware really cost an extra $200+?

By cknobman on 4/19/2011 3:26:26 PM , Rating: 5
This tab can suck it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

just like every other tab that comes out requiring the same.

Android Tablets
By StormyKnight on 4/19/2011 3:35:25 PM , Rating: 4
Until the lag on android-based tablets is completely eliminated you won't see me plop down a single penny for one. I'll not reward shoddy performance with these overhyped and overpriced toys.

By tng on 4/19/2011 11:07:25 AM , Rating: 2
I am sure that Apple will sue them soon for making something that looks to much like an Ipad......

RE: Apple
By Tony Swash on 4/19/2011 8:23:41 PM , Rating: 1
I am sure that Apple will sue them soon for making something that looks to much like an Ipad......

You think this turd looks like an iPad !!!!

Steve Jobs loves crap like this - it's just more road kill Apple can have fun driving over :)

By vision33r on 4/19/2011 8:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
The reason Android takes off in the phone market due to carrier incentives making the phone virtually Free to give away.

Tablets cost a lot of money to make and there aren't much carrier incentive to make the devices affordable.

Most people aren't going to to take a $500-600 guess with Android when the iPad has over 60,000 native apps and a huge ecosystem.

Honeycomb is also poorly designed, it is targeted towards geeks and novices just frown when they see something that mimicks Windows.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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