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The LG Optimus Pad: Useless or Sublime?

Feb 17 2011, 2:22pm CST | by , in News | MWC

The LG Optimus Pad: Useless or Sublime?
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Whatever the answer, that camera is FUN.

Seldom has a device been as perplexing as the LG Optimus Pad. This tablet is capable of both recording and playing in 3D. It has two big cameras on the back, in addition to a non-3D front-facing camera for video conferencing. The display is 8.9", but the form-factor is very different from what we've seen in other tablet models.

LG opted for a slimmer, longer tablet. It looks odd- even a little small, compared to a "traditional" slate. But the reason for the difference becomes obvious the minute you type with one. The Pad's slimmer frame allows your fingers full coverage of the keyboard. With either hand around either edge of the tablet, your thumbs will still be able to reach the middle of keys.

What seems perfect in theory is somewhat less ideal in practice. As comfortable as the Pad feels, the keyboard is still a touchscreen keyboard. And it isn't a particularly good touchscreen keyboard either. With fingers positioned normally, I'd end up tapping or smudging the Number key every two or three words. The keys are small too, and hitting the wrong one is especially easy for those of us with big hands.

If you're into 3D, you'll find this tablet an excellent media consumption device. The screen looks great and, glasses aside, so does the 1080p 3D. But where the Pad really shines is 3D recording. I didn't expect to like it- tablets generally make terrible cameras. I've fiddled with a dozen tablet cameras over the last few days, but the Optimus Pad is the only tablet I actually enjoyed recording with.

For whatever reason (likely its narrow frame) the Pad is a ton of fun to record with. Using it makes you feel like some sort of space explorer from the future, while at the same time not feeling uncomfortable or awkward. Extended use is still uncomfortable, but the same is true with any of the 3D-capable camcorders out on the market now.

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