Large, attractive display
Processor performance is just ok
No discrete graphics
Modest battery life
About the LG Gram 16
Here are the specs of the laptop we tested:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-1260P
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
- Memory: 16GB
- Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe solid state drive
- Display: 16-inch 2560 x 1600 IPS LCD
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Wired connectivity: 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4, 3x USB-A 3.2, 1x HDMI, 1x 3.5mm combo audio, microSD card
- Webcam: 1080p front-facing
- Battery: 80 watt-hours
- Weight: 2.64 pounds
- Size: 14.91 x 10.19 x 0.7 inches
The LG Gram 16 is a large laptop, but its specifications have more in common with its smaller competitors. The Intel Core i7-1260P is a common choice among thin-and-light machines and, unlike many of its peers, the Gram 16 lacks discrete graphics. That might be ok on its own but, when paired with premium pricing, it holds this big laptop back.
What we like
It’s a featherweight
LG’s Gram laptop line is built around one key trait: Weight. Every design decision chases the goal of shaving every gram of excess heft, and LG achieved that here with a laptop that weighs just below 2.5 pounds.
This dramatic difference is easy to notice when you hold each laptop. Laptops like the MacBook Pro 16 and XPS 17 feel unwieldy when you lift them from a backpack or off a table. The LG Gram 16 seems more balanced and svelte, though it’s just as thick as its competition. The LG Gram is just slightly thicker than the MacBook Pro 16, which is 0.65 inches thick, and a bit slimmer than the Dell XPS 17, which measures 0.77 inches in girth.
The Gram 16’s weight is especially remarkable for its size. This laptop weighs about as little as most 13-inch laptops, yet packs a far larger 16-inch screen. This makes the laptop easier to travel with, of course. An extra pound might seem trivial, but it’s noticeably less taxing when carrying a bag or backpack for more than a few minutes, especially if you have to walk a long distance to get to your departure gate.
All of that is good news if you travel frequently but don’t like the smaller, more cramped screens of most thin-and-light laptops.
The big, matte display is easy to see
People who travel frequently will also like the LG Gram 16’s display. The base models have an IPS screen with 1920 x 1200 resolution, while my review sample was upgraded to 2560 x 1600 resolution. (But neither supports touch input.)
First the bad news: The display can't match the quality of Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR or the OLED panels found on competitors from Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung. It’s not as vibrant or immersive when viewing a high-resolution video or playing a game.
But what the display lacks in flair is excused by the ease of use. It has a matte finish instead of the glossy, mirror-like surface found on most competing laptops. Brightness is fairly high, as well, reaching 376 nits. The display is easy to see in bright rooms or near a sunlit window.
It’s also a crisp display. 2560 x 1600 resolution isn’t 4K but it packs almost 190 pixels per inch, which is more than a 27-inch 4K monitor and roughly 30% better than a 1080p display of similar size. Fonts are sharp and high-resolution video has a detailed, rich look.
LG has embraced the move to a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is taller than the more common 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. This adds a bit of extra display space and makes multitasking easier, as two windows fit better side-by-side. Most competitors have switched to 16:10, as well.
The keyboard is excellent
Laptops like the LG Gram 16 have me tempted to go big with my next laptop purchase. Many small laptops have good keyboards, but there’s no beating a big, spacious keyboard layout—and the Gram 16 has gobs of space. It’s even big enough for a Numpad! The Numpad keys are smaller than the others, though only by a hair, and the layout doesn’t miniaturize the Backspace or Enter keys, either.
The key feel is great and provides a surprising 1.65mm of key travel. That’s more than the Dell XPS 17, which has 1.3mm of travel, or the Apple MacBook Pro 16, which has a 1mm of travel. Longer key travel provides more tactile feedback and avoids a harsh, abrupt bottoming action.
The standard, white keyboard backlight isn’t as impressive, however. It’s dim, allows significant light leak around the keys, doesn’t look evenly lit, and offers just two brightness settings. The backlight does the job but looks less attractive than most competitors.
Still, the LG Gram 16 has an outstanding keyboard. The laptop’s long key travel is an undeniable advantage over the competition and will satisfy anyone who spends long hours writing on a laptop.
A good mix of ports
The LG Gram 16 has a wonderful mix of new and old connectivity.
Two Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4 ports provide excellent compatibility with modern devices. They support Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode, so you can use them to charge the laptop, connect an external display, or add a USB-C dock.
Yet the Gram 16 also has two USB-A 3.2 ports, a full-sized HDMI-out, a MicroSD card reader, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack. You’ll have no problem connecting older devices that lack USB-C.
Wireless connectivity is also solid, with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard and Bluetooth 5.2. Wi-Fi 6E can reach speeds quicker than wired Gigabit Ethernet when used with a Wi-Fi 6E router.
What we don’t like
Basic, inexpensive design
LG’s efforts to shave weight are successful but come at the cost of build quality.
Weight is part of the problem. Most people perceive heavy, dense objects as durable. The LG Gram 16 is the opposite—feathery, hollow, and insubstantial. It feels like the fake laptops used as props at a furniture store.
The laptop’s appearance only reinforces this impression; LG’s matte gray exterior borders on unfinished. It’s the same story inside, where a generic black keyboard barely contrasts against the surrounding gunmetal color.
Chassis flex is an issue. It’s most obvious in the flimsy display lid, which wobbles and warps as the laptop is open. The Gram 16’s lower half is more rigid but creaks and moans when you pick it up with one hand.
These unsightly problems may not harm the laptop’s long-term durability; The LG Gram 16, like most extremely light laptops, uses a magnesium alloy instead of aluminum, which means it can be strong without being heavy.
But the strength of magnesium alloy is little comfort when the chassis wobbles. The bottom line is this: The LG Gram 16 doesn’t feel as expensive or luxurious as other laptops in the same price bracket.
Performance is merely fine
Large laptops are often assumed to be more powerful than smaller machines. It just makes sense. More space means more room for hardware, right? Unfortunately, the LG Gram 16 bucks that trend.
The LG Gram 16 I tested had an Intel Core i7-1260P processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. This is capable silicon, but nothing you can’t find in a 13-inch or 14-inch laptop. Many 15-inch, 16-inch, and 17-inch laptops opt for the more powerful Intel Core i7-12700H or AMD’s Ryzen 6800U.
In Geekbench 5, which tests processor performance, the laptop reached respectable scores of 1643 in single-core performance and 8033 in multi-core performance. That’s better than the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED I recently tested with an AMD Ryzen 6800U processor with results of 1376 and 6841, respectively.
However, the LG Gram 16 falls behind a premium 16-inch laptop like the Dell XPS 17 with a Core i7-12700H processor. Dell’s machine scored 1702 and 11875, respectively.
LG’s laptop also fell behind in Cinebench R23, another processor performance test, where it hit a multi-core score of 6281. This is lower than the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s score of 8747 and way behind the Dell XPS 17’s score of 12672.
But graphics performance is what really sinks the LG Gram 16’s appeal, as all its configurations rely on Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. It reached a disappointing score of 3236 in our graphics performance test using 3DMark Fire Strike.
The Zenbook S 13 OLED, which has AMD’s new Radeon 680M integrated graphics, achieved a score of 5652. Laptops with discrete graphics are in another league, though; The XPS 17 with an Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card scored 14758.
This has implications for both 3D gaming and content creation. Rise of the Tomb Raider, a game that’s now over five years old, averaged just 12 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and High settings. Final Fantasy XIV is playable at 1080p resolution and low settings but sometimes dips below 30 fps in the game’s cities. Render times in Blender were lower on the CPU than when using GPU acceleration, as well.
The LG Gram 16’s performance is fine for basic use, of course. Web browsing, document editing, and streaming aren’t an issue. However, LG faces no shortage of competition with more capable hardware. Asus Vivobook Pro 16, for example, packs an AMD Ryzen 9 processor and Nvidia graphics at a similar price.
Battery life doesn’t live up to the hype
LG claims a battery life of up to 22 hours on its website. This is a brash claim based on a specific test scenario that’s not representative of real-world use. LG is not alone in such exaggerations, but an “average battery life” claim of 22 hours is among the taller tales I’ve heard this year.
The laptop achieved a more modest result of seven hours and 25 minutes in an automated web browsing loop. That’s a mediocre result, especially for a laptop that lacks discrete graphics and doesn’t use Intel’s more power-hungry H-Series processor line.
Real-world endurance fell in line with this test. The LG Gram 16 sips power when left idle, yes—but even simple tasks, like web browsing with many open tabs, can significantly shorten battery life. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving for an eight-hour workday without the charger in my bag.
Most large laptops have the same problem, but it’s a particular issue for the LG Gram 16. Its low weight hints at portability, yet it’s not efficient enough to live up to that promise. Those who care about battery life should look to buy a smaller Windows laptop or Apple’s MacBook Pro 16.
Should you buy it?
Maybe, if you want a big and light laptop
The LG Gram 16 has several perks, including an excellent keyboard and large, attractive display, but weight is what sets the laptop apart. It’s uniquely light for a 16-inch laptop which, in turn, makes it uniquely suited for travel whether you’re driving across town for a meeting or flying across the globe.
Yet it’s hard to justify spending over $1,500 on a laptop that lacks discrete graphics or a top-shelf processor from AMD or Intel. Acer’s Swift 3 16-inch, though not as light, offers a very similar user experience for over $500 less. The same can be said of HP’s Envy 17.
This narrows the LG Gram 16’s appeal to a niche. It’s certainly the most portable 16-inch laptop sold today, which should earn it some fans. However, most people will expect better performance than what the Gram 16 offers.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general-purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the Lead Editor of Reviews at Digital Trends, he has over a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect heirloom tomato.
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