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LG Gram 16 (2022) review: Slim, light and extremely impressive

This laptop's incredible lightweight design mixes with great ergonomic quality to create a true contender

Price
£1,291 exc VAT
  • Slim, light chassis
  • Great keyboard and trackpad
  • Great battery life
  • Decent Intel CPU
  • Other CPUs are faster
  • More screen quality available elsewhere
  • No SD card slot

The LG Gram 16 is the latest machine to emerge from a range that burst onto the scene in 2015 and changed the game with an enviable mix of feather-light design and impressive performance.

That’s not changed with this 2022 model. The 16in Gram still feels so light that you’ll think the box is empty when it arrives, and on the inside you’ll find one of Intel’s newest low-power processors.

The price might surprise you, too: this laptop pushes the envelope but it only costs £1,291 exc VAT. And when it squares up against machines like the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro 16, that’s an aggressive way to start.

LG Gram 16 2022 review: Design

Despite the Gram’s 16in display and relatively punchy internals, this machine weighs 1.19kg – a disarmingly low figure that’s truly impressive. It’s the kind of weight that means you just won’t notice the Gram inside your bag, and it easily undercuts the opposition: the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro 16 hover around 2kg. Incredibly, the Gram is even lighter than the MacBook Pro 13 and it’s lighter than Dell’s tiny XPS 13. The Gram doesn’t merely impress on the scales, either; it’s just under 17mm thick, so it’s slimmer than the Dell and not far off the 13in MacBook Pro.

The first concern with slim, light laptops is build quality, and hands-on time with the LG didn’t alleviate our worries: it’s easy to twist the display, and the magnesium alloy base flexes without much pressure. That’s certainly concerning, and the hollow metal represents a different approach when compared to the solid slabs of aluminium used on the Apple and Dell laptops. 

However, we’re confident that the Gram will cope with frequent travel. It adheres to the MIL-STD-810G standard, which means it’s been tested to withstand vibrations, shocks and drops alongside extreme temperatures and dust ingress. The hollow construction might feel weak, but this is a suitably strong notebook.

It looks good, too. The alloy is finished in a dark gunmetal shade, the display bezels are tiny and the body is slick and unfussy. It’s minimal and smart, and easily holds its own against the competition.

LG Gram 16 2022 review: Keyboard and trackpad

Inside the light chassis you’ll find a superb keyboard. The Gram is a little wider than the 15.6in Dell and 16in Apple machines, and LG has used the extra space to include a numberpad on this unit – an instant advantage over rivals.

There are other welcome layout touches: the power button in the top-right corner is flat to avoid accidental presses, and the F4 button doubles as a “secure key” shortcut that instantly disables the microphone and camera.

The buttons are fast, comfortable and satisfying, and they’ve got a solid amount of travel considering the Gram’s modest dimensions. The soft base means you’ll find crisper typing on the Apple and Dell laptops, but the Gram unit easily competes.

There are only a couple of layout niggles, including the single-height Return key, the narrow numberpad buttons and smaller function keys, but if you’re using this rig as your daily driver you’ll soon adapt.

The trackpad is great, too. It’s large and responsive, with a great clicking action and full gesture support. We’ve got no complaints there.

LG Gram 16 2022 review: Display

Above the ergonomic hardware is a 16in IPS panel with an anti-glare coating and a 2,560 x 1,600 native resolution. That’s a rock-solid specification – reliance on the popular, taller 16:10 aspect ratio means you get an extra bit of vertical space for web browsers and apps, and the resolution delivers crisp computing and more space for multiple windows.  

The panel’s brightness level of 368cd/m2 is reasonable and means the Gram is usable in most outdoor situations, and it pairs with a black point of 0.3cd/m2 for a contrast ratio of 1,227:1 – a solid result that ensures plenty of punch and depth.

LG’s screen delivered an average Delta E of 3.33 and a colour temperature of 6,830K. Those decent figures ensure you’ve got accurate enough colour reproduction for everyday workloads including some light content creation. Those results were bolstered by great sRGB and DCI-P3 coverage levels of 99.8% and 97.3% too. That said, if you want a laptop for demanding creative workloads you’ll want a screen with a Delta E rating of less than 2.

If you are looking for that kind of screen, the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro 16 are both better – and the former is available with 4K options, albeit for an extra cost.

If you prize screen space rather than colour accuracy, though, LG has innovation up its sleeve. The LG Gram +view shares the same 2,560 x 1,600 IPS panel as this laptop, but it’s an external display that sits inside a neat folio case that props the display up alongside the notebook. If you want to add a portable second screen to the Gram you can buy the laptop and screen together for £1,541 exc VAT – and the display costs £249 exc VAT if you’d like it on its own. We’ve given it the full review treatment here.

LG Gram 16 2022 review: Hardware and performance

Underneath all of that hardware is Intel’s Core i7-1260P processor. It’s a new chip designed for thin, light machines, so deploying this silicon inside the LG makes sense.

As with Intel’s more powerful laptop and desktop parts, the chip uses P-cores that tackle tough tasks and E-cores to run the everyday stuff. In the i7-1260P you’ll find four multi-threaded P-cores that peak at 4.7GHz and eight single-threaded E-cores with a maximum speed of 3.4GHz. The CPU’s 28W TDP sits between older Intel CPU generations – it’s a more generous power envelope than previous low-power chips but doesn’t trouble the full-fat laptop chips.

The rest of the specification is more conventional. Intel’s familiar Iris Xe graphics unit handles basic photo-editing and casual games, and the LG serves up 16GB of dual-channel DDR5 memory and a 1TB SSD with great read and write speeds of 7,063MB/sec and 4,024MB/sec.

The new processor delivers great everyday performance. Its overall result of 143 is nearly twice as good as the score of 86 we registered from the low-power i7-1165G7 used in the preceding LG Gram 17, and it remains quicker than other laptops that extract more pace from Intel’s older low-power chips. That good score means the Gram has enough ability to run everyday work tasks, Office-based multi-tasking and browsers with loads of tabs.

It struggles with tougher workloads, though, and its Geekbench single- and multi-core scores of 1,551 and 7,479 highlight the Gram’s weaknesses. The Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro 16 might weigh more than the LG, but their i7-12700H and M1 processors score beyond 1,600 and 12,000 points in Geekbench. Those weightier portables are better choices for creative tasks, and you’ll get more power from the M1 and M2 chips inside smaller MacBooks, too.

And while the LG might be compact, don’t assume that this laptop is silent. If you run any moderate work tasks you’ll detect light fan noise, and the processor struggles to hit top speeds during prolonged workloads – more evidence that the Gram is well-suited to everyday tasks rather than intensive work.

If there’s one area where the Gram fights back, it’s battery life. In our video rundown test with the display set to 170cd/m2 and airplane mode deployed, the LG lasted for a mighty 16hrs 23mins before it ran out of juice. That’s a great result: hours beyond the LG Gram 17 we saw last year and roughly level with the Apple MacBook Pro. It’s also twice as good as the Dell XPS 15. You’ll easily get through a working day with the LG and it’ll handle your commutes too – and perhaps a bit more.

LG Gram 16 2022 review: Ports and features

LG has found room for good connectivity around the svelte Gram. The right-hand side has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 type-A ports, a microSD card reader and a Kensington lock slot. On the left edge you’ll find an HDMI output, audio jack and two Thunderbolt 4 ports that handle DisplayPort 1.4 and power delivery – with one charging the machine.

On the inside, connectivity includes dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, and the Gram adheres to the Intel Evo standard. It’s got TPM for extra security, and the 1080p webcam supports Windows Hello. Its imagery is crisp and colourful, and the camera has a status light so you know it’s activated. The webcam includes AI-powered features to track your face, lock the laptop when you leave and blur the screen if other people look at the panel. Those features all worked smoothly in our tests.

There are some areas where the LG disappoints, though. The Gram doesn’t have wired internet, and the speakers pair a muddy, dominant mid-range with a quiet, tinny top-end sound, so they’re only useful for background noise.

While you can pop the base of the machine off to access a second SSD slot, it’s tricky to remove the screw covers to get inside – and you can’t upgrade the memory because it’s soldered to the motherboard.

There’s a fair amount of bloatware on this laptop, too, from the nagging McAfee antivirus prompts and the multitude of Cyberlink apps to the numerous LG widgets that pop up a little too frequently.

While the Gram does include a good range of features, its deficiencies mean that its rivals overtake it in some departments. The Dell and Apple machines both have more USB-C and Thunderbolt connectivity alongside better sound, fingerprint readers and SD card slots, although both do miss full-size USB connections.

LG Gram 16 2022 review: Verdict

The LG Gram 16 might not tick every feature box, then, but it does get the job done in lots of key departments – it’s well-equipped, it’s got ample power for everyday workloads, and it combines a decent 16in display with a fantastic keyboard and a remarkably light chassis.

You’ll certainly want to look elsewhere if you need a work laptop with more power, an SD card reader or more accurate colours, but LG’s latest Gram is slim, intuitive and long-lasting – it remains one of the best lightweight laptops on the market.

LG Gram 16 2022 Specifications

Processor

2.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-1260P

RAM

16GB DDR5

Graphics

Intel Iris Xe

Storage

1TB SSD

Display

16in 2,560 x 1,600 IPS

Operating system

Windows 11 Home 64-bit

Connectivity

Dual-band 802.11ax WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1

Ports

2 x Thunderbolt 4, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x HDMI, 1 x audio

Dimensions

355 x 242 x 16.7mm (WxDxH)

Weight

1.19kg

Warranty

1yr RTB

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