Hands-on review: CES 2016: LG Gram 15

LG hasn’t always been known for its laptops but it’s made some major headway in the states bringing forth two lightweight 13- and 14-inch models. Now with the Gram 15, LG says it has introduced the world’s lightest 15.6-inch laptop and with the Gram 15 Weighing in at 0.98kg (2.16 pounds) – the same as its 14-inch notebook – LG is pretty much on the money.

The new notebook is freakishly light and when viewed from the side it’s also bafflingly thin. Just to put the Gram 15 in perspective, the 11-inch MacBook Air weighs 1.09kg (2.38 pounds). The weight savings come largely thanks to the LG Gram 15 being made of a magnesium shell, which is considerably lighter than the aluminum alloy used by most laptop manufacturers.

LG Gram 15 review

LG’s minimalistic styling of the Gram comes at a refreshing and stark contrast to other laptop manufacturers. You won’t find any specially cut edges, soft touch paint or overbearing logos. The only bit of flair you’ll find on the Gram 15 is LG’s logo pushed over to the far top-right corner of the screen lid.

LG Gram 15 review

Though this lightweight alloy comes at the cost of some rigidity. While the laptop’s base feels nice and solid, the display is unsettlingly flexible, almost to the point of feeling flimsy.

LG Gram 15 review

That said, there are some things to like about the Gram 15’s design. Firstly, the bezels are slim all around the edges of the display and LG even moved the webcam to the hinge just to shave off a few millimeters of black border around the screen. All of these tweaks in turn makes the Gram 15’s footprint just a tad smaller than your typical 15-inch laptop.

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LG as also bumped up the resolution of the display to 1,920 x 1,080 given the larger screen. The display largely comes off as average with decent viewing angles and accurate colors, but nothing about it makes me smile with glee.

LG Gram 15 review

Despite all the nip-tucking this machine has seen, you’ll still find a set of full-size ports along the sides including two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, USB-C and a SD card slot. What’s more, there’s Intel Core I power bubbling under the hood with the choice of either an i5 or i7 processor. 8GB of RAM comes standard, leaving users with picking between 256GB or 512GB for their storage options.

However, there are still a few details being left in the dark as LG has been mum on expected battery life. The South Korean electronics firm has also yet to release the all too crucial pricing details and announced a wide availability window of sometime in mid-2016.

LG Gram 15 review

Early verdict

The LG Gram 15 is without a doubt the lightest 15-inch laptop in the world, but I’m concerned it may have sacrificed too much in the process of fulfilling this bullet point. The flimsy screen is inadmissible by today’s build quality standards and missing battery life claim isn’t comforting either.

In contrast to all my concerns, LG is on the right track with certain elements of the Gram 15. The minimalistic styling is a nice change of pace compared to other overly designed laptops and the screen bezels are a treat too.

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