LG Gram review – Is this lightweight laptop the perfect MacBook Air replacement?

LG Gram review – Is this lightweight laptop the perfect MacBook Air replacement?

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Battery life is exceptional on the LG Gram and is by far one of its most appealing features (Image: Express Newspapers)

LG GRAM • £1,349 (as tested)

  • FOR – Thin and lightweight design • Beautiful display with thin bezels • Incredible battery life
  • AGAINST – Unjustifiably high price • Does not feel built to last • Bizarre speaker placement

The LG Gram is a smart laptop with a clear ethos; target a demographic that is craving incredible portability and supremely capable performance.

LG Gram has been specifically engineered to target the same market Apple went after when Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air in 2008.

That is because there is still a huge number of people that want to be incredibly productive on the go without having to resort to a tablet form-factor.

For the most part the LG Gram ultimately achieves its lofty ambition, but it certainly stumbles enough while doing so that this laptop is certainly not for everyone.

Design

The LG Gram certainly lives up to its name; the version with a 13.3-inch display tested for this review weighs in at just 0.96kilograms.

The laptop is so lean that it’s easy to throw it in your bag and forget it’s there.

But while LG should be applauded for trimming the fat that could spill this laptop over the kilogram mark, it certainly comes with some compromises.

The LG gram is made of what the South Korean technology giant calls a “premium nano carbon magnesium full metal body”.

And while the firm insists the materials used are tougher than other laptops around and has been keen to boast of its capable performance in durability tests, we are not so convinced.

LG Gram review

The placement of the speakers on the LG Gram is incredibly bizarre (Image: Express Newspapers)

The LG Gram is extremely lightweight and the texture of the metal used certainly feels premium.

There is, however, a noticeable flex in its shell that immediately dampens any feeling of quality and replaces it with concerns of longevity.

Pressing the function keys at the top of the keyboard resulted in the entire top-half of the laptop moving down and then back up again with it.

Similarly when the laptop is closed the top can similarly succumb to a light press.

While the chassis always gives off the impression it will revert back to its intended shape after being flexed, it ultimately serves as a reminder that no laptop manufacturer has yet ousted Apple on a pure design front.

The screen on the LG Gram is a pleasant surprise; the 1080p display is vibrant and colour production is great.

LG Gram review

The laptop is so lean that it’s easy to throw it in your bag and forget it’s there (Image: Express Newspapers)

While the IPS LCD panel is not going to topple the Retina technology present in Apple’s line of MacBook Pros on pure resolution, it is surrounded by minimal bezels on the sides and top that make consuming content extremely satisfying.

Watching YouTube videos or movies on the LG Gram is an absolute treat and the minute bezels provide awesome levels of immersion.

The keyboard on the LG Gram is everything you would expect from a lightweight laptop; it provides great travel distance and keys are spaced out as they should be.

One of the greatest features about the keyboard is the built-in fingerprint scanner under the home button that, combined with Microsoft’s signature Windows Hello functionality, mean we never had to resort to typing in our passcode to unlock the LG Gram.

Placing your finger on the power button to gain instant access to the lean laptop is not only incredibly fast, but it’s also one of the most user friendly and intuitive moves present on the LG Gram.

The trackpad on the LG Gram proved to be very hit or miss during our testing with it struggling to detect nuanced finger movements every so often when trying to highlight a particular word on a web page for instance.

LG Gram review

The LG Gram is extremely lightweight and the texture of the metal used certainly feels premium (Image: Express Newspapers)

And there were several occasions where the trackpad seemed to prompt the cursor on-screen to skip around the display when attempting such precise actions.

Attempting to use right-click functionality on the device also seemed extremely inconsistent; there were times the suite of options associated with the double-finger press would instantly appear and other times the same movement would register as a left click.

Such lack of uniformity in registering button presses proved to be particularly frustrating the more we used the LG Gram.

The LG Gram offers a slick content viewing experience thanks to its vibrant display, however the laptop is not as commendable when it comes to firing out audio.

The speakers on the LG Gram sound loud and punchy when the laptop is on a hard surface.

However, the placement of them is incredibly bizarre; they sit on the bottom of the hardware, meaning when watching video from our lap audio sounded muffled and quiet.

LG Gram review

The LG Gram is a smart laptop with a clear ethos (Image: Express Newspapers)

And our confusion behind such an idea was heightened by the fact a noticeable gap exists on the surface of the device next to either side of the keyboard that could have been a much better home for audio consumption.

Such a decision adds to an air of inconsistency surrounding the laptop that is disappointing considering its design has laudable amounts of ambition.

The LG Gram does come packing a variety of ports that are greatly appreciated.

Two USB 3.0, a single USB-C, HDMI and a microSD port are featured in addition to a headphone jack.

LG Gram review

For the most part the LG Gram ultimately achieves its lofty ambition (Image: Express Newspapers)

Performance

For the most part the LG Gram is a comparable performer, as long as you know of its clear limitations.

The version tested in this review came packing an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

Moreover the hardware featured a 256GB SSD for fast storage.

LG Gram is perfect for anyone looking to do some web browsing while putting together a Word document and listening to Spotify.

For that reason the laptop is surely a perfect companion for students that do not need to indulge in intense video or photo editing.

LG Gram review

The keyboard on the LG Gram is everything you would expect from a lightweight laptop (Image: Express Newspapers)

And the LG Gram is certainly not a gaming powerhouse either with the device unable to run battle royale hit Fortnite on the lowest resolution and graphics settings possible at a steady frame-rate.

But it’s hard to fault the LG Gram for not being able to deliver on every front with a design that is so thin and lightweight.

For everything the South Korean tech giant’s laptop has set out to do, it mostly delivers.

But during our testing of the device there were a few instances where the product appeared to chug.

These were typically during moments we had an array of Google Chrome tabs open, had Spotify playing in the background with Slack and a Word document all running at once.

But for the most part the LG Gram was a very capable performer and we enjoyed using it.

Battery life is exceptional on the LG Gram and is by far one of its most appealing features.

We struggled to get the battery down at Express.co.uk even during our most intense testing.

The LG Gram can easily last users several days of using Google Chrome, checking emails and producing Word documents.

And the battery on the hardware also failed to take a hit when on standby, meaning percentages were typically where we left off when we last put it away in our bag.

LG claims the Gram can achieve up to 22.5 hours of battery life on a single charge and while it did not reach that number with our usage, the time the product can be used before needing a change is very impressive and the South Korean technology giant should be commended for making this laptop last.

LG Gram review

Things start to fall apart for the LG Gram when it comes to price (Image: Express Newspapers)

Price

This is where things start to fall apart for the LG Gram.

The unit we reviewed was the cheapest version of the product available and it comes in at a jaw-dropping £1,349.

LG Gram is also available in 14-inch and 15.6-inch screen sizes that cost even more.

The 14-inch model with an Intel Core i5 comes in at £1,399 while the souped up i7 version retails for a staggering £1,549.

The single 15.6-inch variant, that is only available with an Intel Core i5, is priced at £1,449.

LG Gram review

LG Gram is also available in 14-inch and 15.6-inch screen sizes (Image: Express Newspapers)


At a starting cost of £1,349 it is almost impossible to recommend the LG Gram

Such price tags are incredibly steep and neither the design or performance of the laptop are premium enough to justify such lofty amounts.

In comparison, customers can pick up the baseline MacBook Pro currently offered by Apple for £1,249.

This comes with a 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

The MacBook Pro is renowned for its performance and would be capable of video editing, photo editing and a more enjoyable gaming experience than the LG Gram overall.

And picking up Apple’s lauded product would also be a no-brainer for those that enjoy macOS more than Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

Moreover a score of other laptops running Windows 10 are available for similar price points but offer greatly-improved performance, even if they do sacrifice some of the thin and lightweight nature of the LG Gram that makes it appealing.

The ASUS ROG Strix GL703GM-EE063T gaming laptop weighs a more hefty 2.95kilograms, but it does come with a lush 1080p display running at 120Hz, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, 1TB hard drive with a 128GB SSD and an 8th generation Intel Core i7.

And this retails for £1,299.95 on John Lewis.

Additionally Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Laptop line in addition to Google’s Chromebook products all offer great performance for a lower cost than the LG Gram.

And specifications on the LG Gram are also confusing somewhat with the 14-inch version being the only one to feature an i7 processor.

LG Gram review

The whopping prices of the LG Gram mean it will surely be drowned out by its competition (Image: Express Newspapers)

Verdict

The LG Gram is an incredibly capable laptop delivered in a thin and lightweight package that also flaunts commendable amounts of battery life.

Moreover the product seems to know exactly who it is designed for and what that audience needs from a laptop.

But the whopping prices of the computer mean it will surely be drowned out by its very comparable competition that deliver products at figures substantially lower than the LG Gram.

If the South Korean tech giant were to cut the baseline model of the product down to around the £800 mark it would make it an absolute steal.

This would also put it in a much better position to capitalise on the incredibly high demand for portable performance that made the MacBook Air one of the most popular products in Apple’s lineup.

A much lower price would also mean inconsistencies of the device such as the speaker placement could be overlooked in favour of everything the LG Gram does right.

At a starting cost of £1,349 it is almost impossible to recommend the LG Gram.

If you can pick up the device in a sale it is certainly worth the investment, but at the moment it is not a cut above its rivals to justify its asking price.

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