Today we're looking at the LG Gram, which belongs to our favorite category of laptops: high-end slim and light machines. This latest version of the LG Gram has been around for a few months, and you may have seen some reviews of the 15-inch flagship model. However, when LG asked if we were interested in reviewing the grief, we specifically requested the smaller 13-inch entry-level model. After all, many buyers are interested in the cheaper configurations that they can easily carry around with them.
Most of the hardware here is no surprise: We'll look at an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, although you can configure the system up to the i7-8550U. There's also 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, a 13-inch 1080p display and a huge 72 Wh battery. All of this brings you back a touch under $ 1,000 or so on Amazon.
However, the main feature of the LG Gram is not the internal hardware, which is similar to many other laptops at this price. The main selling point is portability, especially weight. The LG Gram 13 weighs only 965 grams, which is well below the typical 1.2 to 1.4 kilograms for a laptop of this size and class. It immediately stands out. This is by far the lightest laptop I have in hand with this hardware version. So if you value portability, the grief is an outstanding option.
The weight is the reason for the portability of the gram. The overall dimensions and space requirements are similar to other laptops. LG opts for slim but not invisible frames around the display. Fortunately, this approach to the bezels has allowed the webcam to stay above the display, eliminating the nostril view like the Dell XPS 13. At 15mm thick, it isn't surprisingly thin either, but roughly the size of other laptops and has the same thickness. Allows the laptop to have a full-size HDMI port and two full-size USB ports.
Speaking of connectivity: You also get a USB 3.0 Type-C port and a microSD card slot as well as a proprietary charging port. It's disappointing that the Gram Thunderbolt 3 doesn't include the 13-inch models – this feature is limited to the larger 15-inch version – and it would have been nice if it had been charged via USB-C. We're not sure why LG chose a microSD card slot over a full SD card slot, since microSD isn't nearly as useful on a laptop like this as a full SD card.
With such a light laptop, you are probably surprised at the build quality. The entire case is made of a magnesium alloy, similar to Microsoft Surface devices. However, it doesn't feel as structurally great as other premium metal structures, and the design isn't particularly visually interesting, whether it's good or bad. For the most part it is a simple, functional design and for many buyers it will be perfectly fine.
In terms of durability, LG states that the laptop is made up of the MIL-STD-810G test suite with bumps up to 20 G and drops over 1.2 meters. The keyboard area is somewhat flexible, but no more than a typical ultraportable. The real weakness that we found was a significant flex on the display assembly. It feels weak and weak in this area, which is a by-product of weight loss. However, we don't think this is a big problem unless you like to bend the display in your free time.
The keyboard and trackpad are both a standard thing for a laptop: nothing overly surprising, but also not a blatant problem. Each key has a solid, albeit slightly rubbery response with an ultrabook-level range. Not quite as clickable as our favorite HP laptops, but we typed a long document on this laptop and had no issues with the answer or layout. The trackpad is big enough, very responsive and the sensitivity level is perfect for power users.
If you like to use your laptop's built-in speakers, I avoid the gram. The speakers are not good, and the design with the floor fire can easily be blocked if you use the laptop on your lap. Probably another area that was affected when losing weight. However, a fingerprint reader is integrated in the power switch and works very well. We want more laptops with fingerprint readers.
The display is a fairly typical ultra-portable panel: it's a 13.3-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a simple 60 Hz update.
Our test device was equipped with a touchscreen, but the basic model at Amazon was not. The touch model is a bit more expensive and offers a slightly shorter battery life due to the digitizer.
The display performance is decent with a peak brightness of 311 nits, a contrast ratio of 1030: 1, and acceptable viewing angles. LG appears to have calibrated the panel to a reasonable, if not perfect, standard, with a CCT average of 6613K, a grayscale average of DeltaE of 3.22, and average DeltaEs between 2.5 and 3.0 via the Saturation and ColorChecker To have achieved tests. DeltaEs below 1.0 are absolutely accurate and everything below 2.0 is very good. The gram is just outside of these readings and is certainly better than other laptops I've looked at.
If you want to calibrate the display of the LG Gram 13 with software such as the CALMAN 5 from SpectraCAL, you can achieve very solid results. Without affecting brightness or contrast ratio, we pushed DeltaEs broadly below 1.0, improved the gamma and improved the temperature behavior. This is about as good as you can hope for this type of ad. By maintaining 98% sRGB coverage, images still look fantastic.
The only real downside we noticed on the display is the uniformity. Even then we only speak of a DeltaE deviation of around 3.0 at the bottom. There is no clear problem with the backlight, it is just a small bump in the backlight. Not a big deal and in general we are quite impressed with this display.