PC

LG gram: More juice in this laptop

The size of the gram's internal battery has been increased from 60 watt-hour to 72 watt-hour on the new model.
The size of the gram's internal battery has been increased from 60 watt-hour to 72 watt-hour on the new model.

The already-impressive battery life of LG's gram series of ultra-portable notebooks is improved

LG's gram series of ultra-portable notebooks, available with 13-, 14-and 15-inch screens, has been given a makeover this year.

These updates, which range from the addition of a fingerprint reader to the relocation of the Web camera, are useful, if not quite game-changing.

But the key selling point of these laptops is their weight. The 15-inch LG gram that I tested weighs about 1.09kg, same as the previous model - astounding, given its screen size.

This is achieved by using a magnesium alloy chassis. Although this chassis still flexes slightly under pressure, I felt that the new version, especially at the lid, is a tad more rigid and sturdy than last year's model.

I could handily flip open the gram's lid with one hand without gripping the base. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is helpful in real-life scenarios when the other hand is occupied by meeting notes or a cup of coffee.

It is also very thin, at about 17mm at its thickest point at the rear. Its wedge-shaped chassis, thick at the back and tapering to a slim front, is a tried-and-tested design that has been around since the first Apple MacBook Air.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $2,599

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel UHD Graphics 620

    RAM: 8GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt port, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, microSD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 72 watt-hour

  • RATING 

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

As a result, there is limited room for ports and connectors, though LG manages to squeeze in three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, as well as a USB Type-C port that supports the fast Thunderbolt 3 interface.

This Thunderbolt 3 option is new to the series, but unfortunately, is present only on the higher-end version of the 15-inch LG gram.

However, all the new gram laptops now come equipped with a fingerprint sensor, embedded in the circular power button, which makes logging into the computer more convenient.

There is no facial recognition feature as the laptop lacks the necessary infrared camera.

LG has moved the Web camera from below the screen - which can lead to unsightly shots that show your chin and nostrils - to the usual position above the display.

Thus, the top screen bezel is not as narrow as it could have been. In any case, the side bezels around the laptop's glossy, non-touchscreen are still admirably slim.

The in-plane switching (IPS) display looks good and offers wide viewing angles, though perhaps it is not quite as bright as I would have liked. It supports a Reader mode that reduces eye fatigue by reducing the amount of blue light emitted.

Given its ample dimensions, the keyboard includes a numeric keypad.

Key travel is good for its slim profile. However, LG could consider changing the behaviour of the Function keys such that they control the multimedia keys like volume control and screen brightness without having to hold the FN key at the same time.

The size of the gram's internal battery has been increased from 60 watt-hour to 72 watt-hour on the new model.

This further enhances the already-impressive battery performance of the laptop from the 91/2 hours recorded by the previous model in The Straits Times' video-loop battery test to 10 hours 35 minutes in the latest version.

However, the improvements seem to have led to a slight price increase.

The review set costs $2,599, which is $100 more than the previous model.

• Verdict: The new LG gram comes with useful upgrades and, notably, its battery life has been enhanced.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'More juice in this laptop '. Print Edition | Subscribe