It seems like the quest for making the most thin and light or most portable laptop never seems to end between all manufacturers, but all too often this results in sacrifices in some form or another. Whether it be the removal of ports, or crappier sounding speakers, there always seems to be some sort of catch. LG has been trying to fine tune this mixture over the last several years with their Gram lineup of laptops which aim to be loaded with the necessities while being super light compared to their competitors all while having outstanding battery life. I recently got to try out the latest LG Gram 14, sporting the latest chipset from Intel. In short, this is nearly everything I wanted in a laptop and is nearly perfect in almost every way.
Starting with the unboxing experience, LG packs the Gram 14 with a 45w USB-C powered charger along with a creative cardboard pen holder/calendar for those who choose to assemble it. No dongles here unlike previous years when LG used to offer a USB-C to Ethernet for the users who still rely on wired internet connections.
Immediately lifting the Gram 14, you will be shocked at just how lightweight it is, compared to every other competitor on the market. It almost didn’t feel real at first. Weighing only 2.2lbs (.999g), the Gram 14 is easy enough to carry around using only a single finger and your thumb, though I wouldn’t recommend it. I can’t imagine any scenario where weight and portability would be any concern with the LG Gram 14.
Internally, the LG Gram 14 is powered by an Intel Core i7-1260p, Intel XE integrated graphics, 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a reasonably spacious Samsung 512 GB SSD. You can also opt for models with an NVIDIA RTX 2050 dedicated graphics card for the first time in the Gram line up as well as getting as much as 32 GB of ram built in. LG has also packed a large 72Wh battery which LG claims will give you all day battery life, though in my testing gets over 10 hours of battery life. Still a great number in my opinion, however, it’s far from what LG claims.
“In day to day use, I found that the LG Gram 14 was competent in all tasks I ran on it.”
The port availability on the LG Gram 14, in my opinion, is darn near perfect, and I can’t imagine users wanting much more than LG has offered. Along the left side, you will find an HDMI 2.0 port (although it is unclear which version it is), two Thunderbolt 4 ports which support data transfer, display out and charging. You will also find the microphone and headphone jack running along the left side as well. Over on the right side, you find a MicroSD card slot, 2 USB 3.2 Type A ports and even a Kensington lock slot. While some users may want a full size SD card slot, I personally use MicroSD cards far more often so it fits my use cases very well. My only minor gripe would be wanting one Thunderbolt 4 and USB-A per side for ability to charge and use each port on either side of the laptop.
The screen is one of my personal favourite features of this year’s LG Gram 14. It is a 1080p IPS panel but unlike previous years with glossy screens, this year LG has opted to make the panel matte. I always enjoy using a matte display as it allows me to use my devices just about anywhere without worrying about glare from lights or sunlight getting in my way and making it hard to view what I am working on. I found colours to be quite accurate and all content I viewed was still very crisp and sharp to the eye. Brightness was also another impressive feat from LG. At minimum brightness, the screen was not eye-straining bright and thankfully was capable of getting plenty bright for when situations called for it.
This year’s panel is also a 16:10 aspect display over the 16:9 aspect of many other devices on the market. This thankfully results in much more usable screen space and I find I was able to get much more work completed while using the Gram 14 compared to my other laptops. While the panel is only 60Hz and even a slightly higher 90Hz would be a nice touch, LG likely did this to save even more battery life for the user. I am not overly bothered by this although, some users may want more for their hard-earned, money.
“The port availability on the LG Gram 14, in my opinion, is darn near perfect, and I can’t imagine users wanting much more than LG has offered.”
In day to day use, I found that the LG Gram 14 was competent in all tasks I ran on it. From the basics such as watching YouTube videos, to sending/reading emails, the internal i7 breezed through everything with minimal effort and never made a hint of fan noise. In heavier or more demanding tasks such as the occasional 3D game run over Steam, the LG Gram 14 surprised me with how well it could handle a variety of games.
Although only having the Intel XE graphics built in, I was able to get a steady 50+ FPS in American Truck Simulator and even similar results in GTA 5 in high settings! Quite impressive, in my opinion, given the smaller footprint and size of the LG Gram 14. While I certainly would not call the LG Gram 14 a gaming laptop by any means, those looking to play the occasional game should not have any issues here. While the fan was definitely audible in more demanding tasks, it was not so loud that it would be overly disruptive in more quiet environments.
Battery life is another strength of the LG Gram 14. Doing normal day-to-day tasks that do not require extensive CPU resources, I was regularly able to get 11 or more hours out of a charge with keyboard backlighting on, brightness at around 35% and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. Obviously much more demanding tasks will deplete the battery much faster but for the average user who wants to get away from their charger, the LG Gram 14 should be able to accomplish that job fairly easily. I feel this could prove beneficial for students who need a laptop for school but do not want to opt for an Apple MacBook.
Overall, I found my time with the LG Gram 14 to be very pleasing. I was able to easily do all my usual work load I put on my much larger gaming laptop while gaining much more battery life and also shedding much more weight and size as well. I often found myself reaching for the LG Gram 14 when it was time to hit the town and I wanted a computer to make sure I could continue work away from home if needed. I have no problem recommending this to anyone who needs a laptop for regular office productivity but who is also regularly out of the office and away from power outlets most of the time.