LG gram 14 2-in-1 Review (2019)

Pitched by LG as an ultralight 14-inch laptop for Creative Users, the 2019 LG gram 14 2-in-1 ($1199+) is a 2-in-1 computer that can turn into a full-on tablet PC. The included e-pen is highly sensitive and comfortable to use. Data shows that people compare it with the Dell XPS 13 and the Macbook Air 2019, so let’s see what the LG gram 14 2-in1 is made of.

Specifications Highlights

LG offers a single configuration on its website, which makes it easy for potential users to navigate as they can focus on functionality instead of technical variations.  We’ll dive more into details as LG made interesting trade-offs to build a competitive product.

  • 14” 1920×1080 (~300 NITs), IPS LCD, Gorilla 5 glass
  • Intel Core i7-8565U 8th Generation
  • 16GB, 512GB SSD (Sata3)

We’re not aware of any plans to include Intel’s 10th generation CPUs, but if it was to happen, that would considerably change the performance profile, especially from a graphics performance standpoint.

Industrial Design

The magnesium chassis of the LG gram is the reason why the computer is so light. Magnesium is extremely light and sturdy, and that’s why it is more expensive to produce than Aluminum, although still cheaper than carbon fiber.

The Magnesium metal is ~30% lighter than aluminum, which is why it has become more popular in premium laptop designs. Some OEMs do build all-magnesium computers but most of them have a mix of metal and plastic, to lower the cost.

Design-wise, it has a clean look but probably won’t generate as much passion as other designs that may be more compact (XPS 13) or built with more expensive materials (Lenovo Carbon X1).

“THIS LAPTOP PASSED 8 MILITARY ENDURANCE TESTS”

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 has a footprint that is a bit (14%) larger than the Lenovo Carbon X1 2019. If you want something much more compact and don’t mind a 13.3” display, the Macbook Air is 17% smaller, and the XPS 13 is 40% lower.

This laptop passed eight MIL-STD810G tests, and this is rare enough to mention as the XPS 13, HP x360, or MacBook Air aren’t certified and may not be able to pass such tests. The X1 Carbon, X1 Yoga, and other Lenovo ThinkPad laptops pass 12 tests. Check our Lenovo Reviews if you’re curious.

The MIL-STD-810G Mil-Spec certification this laptop has means that it will endure U.S military battlefield storage and transportation. This is not the same as battlefield usage, but it does prove an objective level of toughness that many laptops cannot reach.

MIL-STD-810G is much more meaningful for computers than for phones because laptops mass is high enough that internal systems could be damaged by a bad fall. Also, mobile computers’ displays are more insulated from cracking (when closed), so that one is not a primary concern here. Breaking something inside is.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard has a standard key size. Keys are made of a plastic that doesn’t seem to retain fingerprint oil much, and they feel dry to the touch. The key shape is flat, so there isn’t anything fancy about them, and the ~1.2mm key travel is agreeable, with firm tactile feedback and very little noise.

Interestingly, LG doesn’t mention that its keyboard is spill-resistant, so we’ll assume that it is not. And by the way, the Power button on the upper-right doubles as a fingerprint sensor.

The ~10 sq-inch trackpad is very decent, but if you shop around, you can undoubtedly find more substantial sizes, such as the Huawei Matebook X Pro or the MacBooks. The bottom of the trackpad has a physical “click” and you can use the left/right sides to emulate the equivalent mouse buttons.

Ports

The good thing about not trying to be ultracompact us the number of ports available. The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 comes with a full complement of connectors, including a microSD card reader, and LG was kind enough to add a USB-C to Ethernet adapter in the box.

  • 1x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen1
  • 2x USB Type-A, USB 3.0
  • 1x Standard HDMI (1.4?)
  • 1x Flash Reader, MicroSDXC
  • 1x 3.5mm audio

Unfortunately, there’s no Thunderbolt USB-C, which means that full-size HDMI is your best way to connect a monitor. LG didn’t specify if the HDMI port was 1.4, so if you want to connect a 4K display at 60Hz you may want to do additional homework.

Thunderbolt USB-C ports are much more powerful as they can connect to multiple 4K monitors, along with external GPU, and super-fast storage. That said, not everyone actually use Thunderbolt to its full potential.

USB-C PD (power delivery) isn’t part of the mix as well, and LG is using a proprietary round connector for that purpose. It is a bit puzzling since the rest of the industry supports USB-C PD at that price range.

Sound / Speakers

Equipped with two speakers, the stereo setup of the LG Gram 14 is “okay,” but doesn’t impress with the sound, which lacks body and power. It’s okay for watching movies, but don’t expect to be blown away of lost in the audio immersion.

Display

The FHD (1920×1080) IPS LCD, with Gorilla Glass 5 and glossy surface, is the only option available to buyers.

The 96% sRGB color gamut is sufficient to accommodate some creative work and looks good in general, but the Dell XPS 13 and/or Lenovo X1 Carbon have better color rendering options with up to ~120% of sRGB coverage.

As for brightness, the LG display performs decently with 314 NITs. Both the colors and brightness are measured in our lab with a Datacolor Spyder X Elite monitor calibration device.

For most people, the LG display option is fine and well-priced, but individual users may be tempted to go for higher-end options with 2560×1600 or 3840×2160 resolutions and other options such as OLED, HDR10 or Dolby Vision.

Webcam

The 720p webcam is pretty standard, and not much to talk about. Images are comparable with many others in its category, and the image is grainy in dim lighting (30 NITs).

Unfortunately, PC manufacturers are not competing with webcams, and chances are that your phone’s selfie camera is probably better than most laptops.

Pen: included

The LG Pen is based on Wacom technology and can sense 4096 levels of pressure. I’m no designer or artist, but in my opinion, the pen feels great in hand and has two buttons near your fingers. There’s no “eraser button.”

The Pen’s AAAA battery is said to last for “up to” 18 months, says LG, and we like the fact that these batteries are straightforward to find in grocery stores and exist in rechargeable versions for heavy users.

Performance

Unsurprisingly, the performance of the LG Gram 14 is very similar to other computers equipped with similar (but not identical) CPU, and Intel integrated graphics, such as the X1 Carbon with i7-8665, but there are important factors to consider:

  • If you want higher graphics performance, a discrete graphics processor or Intel’s 10th generation integrated graphics unit can double the performance.
  • If you need higher CPU performance for things such as rendering, an Intel 10th generation processor, like the Core i7 10710U, can be significantly faster (+35%)
  • If you are considering the MacBook Air, note that it is underpowered, and you may want to look at the MacBook Pro for performance reasons.

Graphics/Gaming benchmark

CPU Benchmark

In this laptop, LG has opted for SATA3 as the SSD protocol, and it seems to have a significant impact when you compare it with PCI-NVME SSD drives. For example, the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 gets a speed of ~221 MB/sec in the PCMark 8 Storage test. In the same test, the Carbon X1 (2019) getts ~380 MB/s.

For disk-intensive applications, this is a difference worth noting, and probably one that can be felt in productivity terms. If your apps don’t use the disk that much, then the perceived difference will be mild.

Battery Life: Excellent

When it comes to battery life, the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 is an excellent performer, which fetches nearly 9 hours of continuous use (at 200 NIT brightness), while the recently reviewed Lenovo T490 gets a good 6h38mn although with a 2560×1600 screen resolution. Keep in mind that increasing resolution will cost you dearly when it comes to battery life.

The reason behind such battery longevity is the 1080p display, but also the 72 Wh (watt-hours) battery capacity, which is one of the highest we’ve seen in this category (~2.5 Lbs, 13-14 inch, laptops).

“ONE OF THE HIGHEST BATTERY CAPACITY WE HAVE SEEN IN THIS CATEGORY”

The most-mentioned competitors have battery capacities of around ~50 Wh. That is a very considerable difference, especially when you look at Battery Capacity “per Lbs” or “per Dollar.”

Battery Charge Speed

Unfortunately, the charging speed isn’t as impressive as the capacity as it would take two hours to go from 0Wh to 70Wh of charge. For example, the Lenovo X1 Carbon can charge its battery 36% faster.

It all has to do with the power of the power supply (and the battery electronics), which stands at 48W for LG and 65W for Lenovo – precisely 35.4% more powerful.

Conclusion

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 ($1199+) is an exciting laptop that is trying to carve a niche for itself. It is ultralight and passes some ruggedness tests like the Lenovo X1 Carbon ($1462+) and folds 360-degree like the X1 Yoga and comes with a decent ePen.

The ThinkPad X1 design is superior and better-looking, especially the X1 Carbon, but LG’s pricing might make a difference, while Lenovo’s customers may prefer the Intel “vPro” features and management.

For people who compare this laptop with the Dell XPS 13: the Dell laptop has more CPU options and potentially much higher performance and display quality. It is also more compact, but not certified to be as rugged perhaps and has a slightly smaller screen.

As for the MacBook Air ($1099+), it is underpowered in virtually every aspect and doesn’t support touch or pen. It is also 9% heavier.

In the end, the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 isn’t a perfect computer for any specific crowd, but its features, overall quality and recent price change ($1199 from $1499), make it a generally attractive option, depending on your needs (lightweight, 2-in-1, Pen, Mil-STD-810G).

Overall product rating: 8.6/10

Filed in Computers >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, Laptop Reviews, LG and LG Reviews.