LG Gram Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Very light; Vibrant display with thin bezels; Intense and customizable sound; Comfortable and stylish keyboard; Long battery life

The Cons

Design doesn't wow; Lid wobbles when you're using touch-screen; Average performance; Pricey

Verdict

The LG Gram is a very light 14-inch laptop that provides a gorgeous display, awesome sound and long battery life, but it trips up on performance.

It's rare to see an LG laptop in the wild, but the new LG Gram could very well change that. For $1,550 (starting at $1,050), this 14-inch ultraportable boasts a gorgeous display, clicky keyboard and very long battery life. LG's 2.2-pound system packs a sonic punch, too. Unfortunately, the lid wobbles when you use the touch-screen, and the laptop's performance isn't quite what we would expect at this price. Overall, though, the LG Gram is a great multimedia laptop that you can take anywhere.

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Design

The LG Gram has a very minimalist gray exterior, and it's too dull for my tastes. The chassis is crafted out of a metal alloy (nano carbon with magnesium), and the only thing worth noting is the silver Gram logo protruding from the center of the lid. When I pressed on the lid just slightly, it bent more than I would have liked. The bigger issue is that the hinge doesn't provide enough resistance; as I touched the display, it wobbled, making the touch-screen function kind of a turnoff.

On the plus side, the bezels are practically nonexistent around the display, which makes the content pop, and the chassis still manages to fit the tiniest webcam at the top of the lid (no nose cam here, as on the Dell XPS 13).

The island-style keyboard on the Gram looks really neat, and its techy font reminds me of something from a Bourne movie. The keyboard does look a little odd, however, because it doesn't dip into the chassis; it's simply flat. And the touchpad practically blends into the chassis as well, but thankfully, it doesn't have the same metal texture.

At 2.2 pounds and 12.7 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches, the LG Gram is the lightest consumer laptop among its competitors. The HP Spectre 13 is the thinnest, with a 0.4-inch chassis, and the Huawei MateBook X Pro is the heaviest, at 2.9 pounds. The Dell XPS 13 9370 is among the thickest, along with the LG Gram, at 0.6 inches.

MORE: Ports Guide

Even though the LG Gram is thin, it has a decent amount of ports. Starting on the left, there's the power jack, one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port and one USB-Type C port. On the right, there's a secure lock slot, one USB 3.0 port, a headphone/microphone combo jack and a microSD slot.

Display

The LG Gram's 14-inch,1920 x 1080, IPS touch-screen display is bright and colorful, and the glossy panel didn't exhibit too much glare.

When I watched the official trailer for First Man on this screen, I was captivated by the vivid imagery of the shuttle spinning out of control just above the Earth's atmosphere. The planet glowed with a blue, ominous color that felt beautifully dangerous, and when Ryan Gosling turned his crisply imaged, dreamy face toward the camera, I could make out the peach fuzz on his forehead.

The LG Gram's 14-inch,1920 x 1080, IPS touch-screen display is bright and colorful, and the glossy panel didn't exhibit too much glare.

According to our colorimeter, the LG Gram's panel covered a solid 128 percent of the sRGB color gamut, giving this display a decent lead on the 112 percent premium laptop average and the Spectre 13's 111 percent. The XPS 13 and the MateBook X Pro covered 117 percent (130 on 4K) and 124 percent, respectively.

MORE: Laptops with the Most Colorful Screens

At 307 nits of brightness, the LG Gram just climbed over the 305-nit average and crushed the Spectre 13 once again (247 nits). However, the XPS 13 and the MateBook X Pro both proved brighter, averaging 372 nits (415 on 4K) and 458 nits, respectively.

Keyboard, Touchpad & Touch-Screen

Despite having really low travel of 0.9 millimeters, the LG Gram's backlit keyboard is stylish, comfortable to use and decently clicky. I just wish the backlighting were set on a slider as opposed to either a low or high setting. I hit 64 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which isn't far from my 68-wpm average.

As I drew a demonic cow in MS Paint, the LG Gram's touch-screen panel worked well to accurately track my finger, but as I stated before, the screen is annoyingly wobbly.

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The 4.0 x 2.6-inch touchpad is smooth to the touch, clicky with a subtle sound and responsive to all the major Windows 10 gestures.

Audio

Thanks to the DTS Audio app, the LG Gram's speakers were epic and intense as they filled a medium-size conference room with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." The soft, hypnotic vocals were accurately represented during the intro, and even more so when the next verse brought in the rhythmic keyboard. A major highlight was toward the end of the song, when Freddie Mercury sang his heart out while the fierce guitar solo, bass guitar riffs and thumping percussion synchronized to create a magnificent listening experience. With the customizable treble and bass, LG gives you complete control over the sound.

Performance

The LG Gram can handle all your needs, from juggling over 30 tabs in Google Chrome to blasting Queen while stomping some fools in Overwatch. This is all feasible due to the LG Gram's 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage and Intel UHD 620 graphics card. However, there are stronger notebooks for a cheaper price.

On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the LG Gram scored a modest 10,549, just under the 10,791 premium-laptop average. Yet, the MateBook X Pro (12,913), Spectre 13 (13,388) and XPS 13 (14,180) all did significantly better with the same processor.

The LG Gram can handle all your needs, from juggling over 30 tabs in Google Chrome to blasting Queen while stomping some fools in Overwatch. 

The LG Gram copied 4.97GB of multimedia files in 30 seconds, for a rate of 170 megabytes per second. While that may not seem slow, it's well below the 288-MBps category average. The MateBook X Pro didn't surpass the average either, with 283 MBps, but the Spectre 13 and XPS 13 completely sailed past it, at 339 and 508 MBps, respectively.

MORE: Laptops with the Best Overall Performance

On our HandBrake test, the LG Gram took 22 minutes and 55 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which is the near the 22:15 average. This time was even faster than the MateBook X Pro's 27:18 but was lapped by the XPS 13's 16:00.

Graphics

Overwatch is absolutely playable on the LG Gram. I averaged around 55 frames per second on Fraps while I creeped around as Reaper, blasting Tracers with my infinitely materializing shotguns.

The Intel UHD Graphics 620 earned a 67,989 on the Ice Storm Unlimited synthetic gaming benchmark. The LG Gram settled below the 86,538 category average along with the Spectre 13 (75,114) and XPS 13 (85,616), which have the same graphics card. The MateBook X Pro scored a high 116,359 due to its Nvidia MX150 GPU.

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The LG Gram ran Dirt 3 at a smooth 55 frames per second, which is above the playable 30-fps minimum. The Spectre 13 edged ahead, at 57 fps, but that left both of them below the 73-fps premium-laptop average. The MateBook X Pro, of course, performed much better, at 117 fps.

Battery Life

The LG Gram will pull you through your workday and then some. When I surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the LG Gram's battery lasted 10 hours and 46 minutes. This knocks out the 8:19 premium laptop average as well as the Spectre 13's time (5:16) and the Matebook X Pro's showing (9:55). While the XPS 13 with a 4K display lasted 8:23, the 1080p config beat the LG Gram, with 11:59.

Webcam

Considering the LG Gram webcam's miniscule size, I'm not surprised that the images came out incredibly dark. The lense isn't big enough to let in enough light. The overall quality was blurry and washed away most of the freckles on my face. Plus, the color on my red shirt felt dull and insignificant, and my navy shirt underneath registered as pure black. While shrinking the webcam was good for the bezels, it ruined the picture quality.

Heat

Despite the amount of power packed into this thin notebook, it remained incredibly cool. The underside measured a mere 89 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below our 95 degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad reached 90 and 81 degrees, respectively.

Software and Warranty

The LG Gram comes packed with a bunch of LG's own apps and bloatware. There's LG Control Center, which provides settings for the display, keyboard lighting, power management, Windows security and instant booting (this automatically starts your computer when you open the lid). The LG Update Center keeps track of system and driver updates. The LG Easy Guide and LG TroubleShooting app help you navigate the computer and troubleshooting techniques with tutorials.

There's also a DTS Audio app, which allows you to customize your sound with equalizer settings and options for Surround Sound, Bass Boost, Volume Leveling and 3D FX. Additionally, the LG Gram comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Configurations

The LG Gram I tested costs $1,550 and comes with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, an Intel UHD 620 graphics card and a touch-screen display. There is a less costly version priced at $1050, which drops you to a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-8250U and a 256 SSD. This particular notebook is also white and removes the touch-screen panel.

Bottom Line

With its barely existent bezels, vivid display and awesome speakers, the LG Gram is a solid multimedia laptop that's so light that you'll barely notice it in your bag. For $1,550, however, the performance isn't as good as the competition, and the loose lid undermines the touch-screen functionality.

If you want to get more for your money, you can save $50 and get the Huawei MateBook X Pro ($1,500), which comes with a better graphics card (Nvidia MX150), 16GB of RAM, a faster SSD and a more vibrant display. But if you prefer longer endurance in an even lighter design, the LG Gram is worth considering.

Credit: Laptop Mag

CPU Intel Core i7-8550U 1.8GHz
Operating System Windows 10 Home
RAM 8GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 512GB SSD
Hard Drive Speed
Hard Drive Type M.2 SATA SSD
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 14
Highest Available Resolution 1920 x 1080
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 620
Video Memory
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Wi-Fi Model
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4.0 x 2.6 inches
Ports (excluding USB) HDMI
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone/Mic
Ports (excluding USB) RJ-45
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
Ports (excluding USB) microSD
Ports (excluding USB) USB Type-C
Ports (excluding USB) DC-in
USB Ports 3
Card Slots microSD
Warranty/Support One-year limited warranty
Size 12.7" x 8.3" x 0.6"
Weight 2.19 pounds
Company Website http://www.lg.com