Review: G-Slate a powerful, but pricey iPad competitor

Apr 22, 2011 By Mark W. Smith

Another day, another possible iPad killer. This week we have the G-Slate, from LG and wireless carrier T-Mobile, the first 4G-enabled tablet to run on Google's superb Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system.

The G-Slate is the second major contender set to try to topple the iPad's overwhelming supremacy, following the Motorola Xoom's February release on the Verizon network.

The G-Slate, released Wednesday, is $529.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and a two-year contract with . The tablet costs $749.99 without a wireless contract.

ATTRACTIVE SPECS

It's a beautiful widescreen package that is exactly what we've come to expect from these Android tablets.

Fast. Powerful. Feature-packed.

The G-Slate has two 5-megapixel cameras on the back that allow for 3D or HD video recording, a front-facing camera for video chat, 32 GB of internal memory and an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1 GHz processor.

The 3D video recording is more a gimmick than anything, but it's a fun gimmick. The tablet comes with one pair of 3D classes to watch your video back. Videos can also be sent out via HDMI to an HD television.

The G-Slate will connect to a WiFi network or T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, which the carrier is calling 4G. It's a souped-up version of the carrier's that it says will bring much faster download speeds.

In my testing of T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, I regularly saw download speeds approach 4 or 5 megabits per second in metro Detroit, a definite increase over regular 3G speeds.

Verizon's superfast 4G network will soon come to the through a free hardware upgrade, which will bring consistent speeds approaching 15 megabits per second.

The one downside I found with the G-Slate's hardware was that it felt heavier than it should. At 1.3 pounds, it's just .03 pounds lighter than the iPad even though its footprint is considerably smaller.

SOFTWARE STILL LACKING

The Android tablet ecosystem is still lacking a significant, polished app presence, however. The number of tablet-optimized apps has increased a bit since the Xoom's release, but don't expect more than several dozen.

That pales in comparison to the Apple iPad, which has well more than 65,000 apps designed for the tablet's larger screen.

The overall Honeycomb experience is still very slick, though. The home screen widgets, which we first saw with the Xoom, are a great way to see information at a glance. Things like e-mail messages, calendar events and Web bookmarks display directly on the home screen, saving you a click or two to see what's inside.

One of my main beefs with Android, though, is still very much present on the G-Slate: the Gmail inbox is still inexplicably relegated to a separate app than all other e-mail accounts.

The G-Slate does have support for Adobe Flash video after a software download, although the experience is often a bit choppy.

PRICE GAME

The biggest customer repellent built into the G-Slate will almost surely be its price.

The G-Slate, along with other Android tablets, charges a purchase-prohibitive premium to buy it without a 2-year wireless contract.

If you're fine with your home's WiFi connection - as millions of iPad customers are - you'll have to shell out just shy of $750 for the 32 GB G-Slate. That's $150 more than a similarly outfitted iPad.

As great as these Android tablets are, that's a high bar to clear.

Motorola hasn't released sales numbers, but analysts expect the Xoom to ship just 300,000 units this quarter, while the is expected to sell as many as 60 million units in 2011.

Competition can only be good for the tablet market, which is in dire need of some serious contenders to shake the iPad's dominance.

Unfortunately we're still waiting.

Explore further: Electronic gadget for shaking hands over the Internet

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Inside Motorola's Xoom: Plenty of horsepower

Feb 25, 2011

Motorola's new Xoom tablet computer has enough power under the hood to challenge Apple Inc.'s iPad, according to analysis by market researchers IHS iSuppli, but buyers might be disappointed to find that it ...

Review: Xoom emerges as first real iPad competitor

Mar 02, 2011

Motorola's Xoom has been hailed as the most likely tablet computer to rival Apple's iPad - the first with the goods to compete against the uncontested leader in this nascent but rapidly growing market.

Recommended for you

Electronic gadget for shaking hands over the Internet

6 hours ago

Takanori Miyoshi at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology, has developed an innovative gadget that enables people to 'shake hands' over the Internet, irrespective of ...

Ear-check via phone can ease path to diagnosis

Dec 18, 2014

Ear infections are common in babies and young children. That it is a frequent reason for young children's visit to doctors comes as no consolation for the parents of babies tugging at their ears and crying ...

Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

Dec 18, 2014

Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what?

BlackBerry launches Classic in last-ditch effort

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones—and most smartphone customers—have embraced touch screens.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
not rated yet Apr 22, 2011
$750 is a stupid price
By the end of the year Honeycomb machines will be selling for under $300
rexalfielee
not rated yet Apr 23, 2011
That is the price of freedom. Freedom doesn't come cheap but it does offer stuff that Apple can't, ability to alter software & the software available is a lot cheaper...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.