With the Gram 16, LG offers an attractive concept: an ultra-light laptop weighing just 1.2 kg with a large 16-inch screen.
It's been a long time since we've seen a laptop signed by LG and the manufacturer has taken a daring gamble with its Gram: to offer one of the lightest laptops on the market. The 14-inch model weighs less than 1 kg on the scale, while the 16-inch model we're testing here weighs barely 1.2 kg. To offer such a light weight, LG probably had to make some concessions, but the device remains Intel Evo certified and therefore logically delivers high-end performances. Let's see what this computer has in its belly and if it was able to convince us.
The LG Gram is a sober and elegant PC dressed in black. Despite its slim and light design, the magnesium chassis is MIL-STD-810G certified, which means that it is resistant to shocks, pressure and dust. The edges are unfortunately made of plastic (probably for weight reasons), but they remain thin and do not affect the aesthetics of the computer.
The keyboard and touchpad are pleasant to use and have an adjustable backlight on three levels (only). There is a set of classic functions on the top of the keyboard, as well as an on-off key that acts as a fingerprint reader to quickly unlock the computer.
The webcam, without Windows Hello, films in HD (720p) at the most. The image is therefore not extraordinary and already quite smooth in full light. When the brightness comes to miss, the quality degrades much and the image is really noisy.
Despite its ultralight intentions, the LG Gram does not forget the connectivity. On the menu: two USB-A ports, two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, and a mini-jack. A microSD card reader is also part of the package, even if their usefulness remains rather limited today. Access to networks is done through recent and fast standards that are wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
To open the PC, you have to be patient and remove all the rubber pads under which the eight Phillips screws are hidden. Inside the chassis, there is only one fan for lightness, a battery that can easily be changed and, pleasantly, a free slot for an NVMe SSD, in addition to the already installed replaceable SSD. On the other hand, the RAM is unfortunately soldered. Generally speaking, we notice that LG has optimized the various elements to gain in lightness. The components are distributed on two small printed circuit boards, linked together by a thin layer. The battery does not occupy all the available space and some parts without components of the motherboard have been cut.
The single fan delivers a controlled sound volume, since when fully loaded on a game, we noted barely 33.1 dB, which makes it one of the quietest computers we have tested. Temperatures also remain contained, with a heating point in the center of the keyboard of 38.9°C and a little over 43°C at the air outlet.
Our model is equipped with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. We know this CPU well from testing it many times, but we have to admit that it lags a bit here. This is the price to pay for the PC's thinness, unique ventilation and quiet operation. While the processor's thermal envelope is 28W, it throttles regularly to keep from getting too hot and its operating frequencies take a hit. Thus, with the Handbrake video processing software, the frequency curve shows waves and their average is "only" 2.2 GHz. Some processing times were therefore quite long, on Handbrake or Blender for example, even though the processor does well in absolute terms and could be used, from time to time, for demanding programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom.
It is possible to improve the performance of the PC by activating the "Perf" cooling mode in the integrated LG Control Center software. The result is a gain of about 15% depending on the software used, but the ventilation will be slower and therefore more noisy. We therefore advise against using it for office tasks.
In games, the Iris Xe chip did well with 38 fps on Diablo III (graphics pushed to the max) and 60 fps on Overwatch (low quality). This is enough to help you out with not too recent or not too demanding titles.
The LG Gram's 16-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600 pixels) screen suffers from several flaws that weigh down its rating. If the contrast ratio of 1400:1 is rather correct, the colorimetry lacks precision. The delta E of the screen is 4 (slightly above the recommended 3), the average color temperature is a little too cold (7300 K) and the gamma is not very stable with dark grays too blocked. A calibration probe should however allow to correct all this.
From left to right, the gamma curve, color temperature and delta E. To gain in lightness, LG has coated its slab with a thin Plexiglas which gives a very marked effect of brightness. With an average reflectance of nearly 59.7%, one of the highest in our test bank, beware of the lights reflecting on the screen. Unfortunately, the low maximum brightness of 350 cd/m2 will not compensate for this. The 30 ms afterglow is too high, even if the impact is negligible in office, but good point, the occupancy rate of the screen is 83.5%.
With speakers nestled under the chassis, the sound can sometimes be slightly "blocked" by forearms resting on the computer. But even without that, the LG Gram doesn't deliver high-fidelity sound. As is often the case with thin chassis, bass is absent; midrange and treble lack precision, while stereo space is really limited. In short, we recommend you to use headphones or a speaker.
The headphone output is quite correct with a low distortion of 0.01%, a good dynamic range of 98 dB, and a very limited crosstalk at -65 dB, even if the power reserve could be more important. The output power of 125 mVrms prohibits the use of high impedance headphones, but remains sufficient to connect consumer models.
As you can imagine, the LG Gram is easily transportable. With 1.2 kg on the scale, it is lighter than many 14-inch PCs and can be carried with one hand without any problem. That's handy for mobile workers who can enjoy a lightweight computer with a large 16-inch screen. Add to that a compact 293-gram USB-C charger, though it's not as convenient as the blocky models.
The PC also held its own on the battery life front, achieving 9:01 hours of video playback on Netflix via the Chrome browser, screen set at 200 cd/m2, headphones plugged in, volume at 50 percent and Bluetooth disconnected.
The LG Gram 16 is an atypical PC that benefits from an appreciable lightness, especially if you have to transport it regularly. Very quiet in use, it is globally good, but suffers from some notable defects. Starting with its average screen, whose slab is too reflective and poorly calibrated. As for its performance, it is limited, due to a design that, by default, focuses on low noise.