The LG Gram 14Z980 definitely does as its name promises: it doesn't weigh much. This makes it an ideal device for those who travel a lot for work and will be carrying it around with them wherever they go.
However, its portability comes at a major cost, and that's not something many will think is worth it.
Ultra-portable, fantastic keyboard, great range of connectivity options, all-battery life.
No touchscreen, disappointing Full HD resolution, traditional hinge design lacks versatility, pricey.
DID YOU KNOW that LG makes laptops? No, neither did we. Well, it turns out it does and has done so outside of the UK for quite some time.
We're not really sure what prompted it, but the Korean company decided to bring one of its laptops to the UK in the form of a device the firm is calling "the world's lightest" laptop, named simply, LG Gram (14Z980).
Weighing in at just 989g, the LG Gram does exactly what it says on the tin; it's super light, especially for a device with a 14in screen. But does it weigh up to much)? Well, that's what you're about to find out...
As LG is keen to tout the Gram as the "world's lightest laptop", it's only fair that's where we start with this review.
As you'd expect, the LG gram weighs a little more than an actual gram; that would be quite a feat. It actually weighs in at 994g, making it one of the lightest in the industry. But that's not all it's got going for it, it's also a slender device, measuring just 15mm at its thickest point.
These two factors mean that the device is an absolute dream to take away with you on the road, whether that's while you're travelling or simply just commuting to the office. During the reviewing process, we carried the LG gram everywhere - to the office, to see grandma, and even to the end of the north pole and back again after seeing Santa. Laptops are designed to be portable, and the LG Gram is testament to this. It's what all laptops should be like.
LG has made the gram's chassis out of a light metal alloy material called Nano Carbon with magnesium to make it so damn light. But while its weight is a dream, it doesn't exactly elude a super "premium" feel like its price would suggest; despite the strong material it's made from, it still feels quite plasticky. So much so it reminds us of a Chromebook device, which isn't good news when you've paid over £1,000 for it.
Still, the LG Gram is by no means ugly and if you're particular about colour, you should know that the Gram comes in a choice of either white and brushed silver finishes.
One thing you'd probably not expect from the LG Gram is that it's actually quite rugged. It's passed a "MIL-STD 810G durability test", meaning it's survived drop tests of over eight feet onto concrete surfaces with zero damage.
We weren't willing to put this to the tests ourselves but we did drop it from chest height onto a hard floor while in an unprotected case and we couldn't find any sign of damage afterwards, which is pretty impressive.
However, one thing we weren't impressed with was that, unlike most laptops in this price range, the Gram doesn't do anything particularly innovative with its hinges, so isn't able to turn into ‘tablet mode' or anything. For £1,200, we expected a little more from the Gram's form factor than the traditional laptop clamshell design.
The thing that really shocked us about the LG Gram was its screen, and not in a good way. Costing just shy of £1,200, we were expecting a touch-sensitive panel; but no, there are no touch commands here. Even some of the most budget devices boast a touchscreen, so we were very surprised by the lack of support for it here on the 14Z980.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, we then discovered the Korean display specialist has fitted the Gram with a disappointedly standard resolution Full HD display. While the 14in panel has IPS technology, meaning it's better for wider viewing angles, the point of this is kind of lost as you'd probably not bother watching high-quality content on a standard res display anyway.
The 1080p resolution is absolutely fine for working on, mind. But for the price point, we were expecting something a little more premium.
Nevertheless, everything else on the screen works as it should do. It's bright and vibrant, meaning word docs are displayed nice and clean. It does a good job and preventing irritating reflections of light, too, while the screen is glossy, its panel isn't super-reflective, so won't bounce light right into your eyes. We can imagine ultra- sunny environments wouldn't prove too troublesome, either.
Keyboard and Touchpad
While the display didn't impress us all that much, we were enamoured by the LG Gram's keyboard. Being one of our favourite things about its design, the keyboard offers some great travel. This is most likely because LG has decided not to make it wafer thin like Apple's MacBook, for instance, making typing a much more springy and enjoyable experience.
The keys are also backlit, which is a rarity these days. Better still, this is variable in two different levels, depending on how dark your working environment is; a nice touch (literally). Another cool feature here is the addition of a fingerprint scanner built into the power button, which frees up some space on the keyboard area and helps make it all look a little more minimal.
And not forgetting the touchpad: it's large, smooth to touch, and responsive, so no complaints here.
The 14in edition of the LG Gram is available in two different power options: an Intel 8th Gen Core i5, priced at £1,199 or a Core i7, costing £1,349.
Our review unit was the former, sporting a Core i5 chip alongside 8GB of RAM (models are also available with 16GB if you're willing to fork out for it). Thanks to the inclusion of Intel's 8th-gen chip, the LG Gram ran more demanding applications well and was able to flick between programs efficiently with no lag.
One thing we should note, however, is that the Gram doesn't offer any dedicated graphics, most likely to keep the weight down. Again, we were quite surprised by this considering its price,
Although due to the integrated graphics on offer here with Intel's 8th Gen Core processor, that doesn't mean you won't be able to play older console-style games like Skyrim. Just keep in mind that there are better gaming laptop options out there right now, for a cheaper price, if you want to game on the go and play newer titles.
Storage, connectivity, and battery life
We're pleased to say that the connectivity options of the Gram are plentiful for such a portable device. It's not often you get an HDMI-out port as you do on a device that's so thin and light like the Gram. There's also two full-size USB ports, a USB-C port and a microSD slot. On the inside, you've got your WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth 4.1 as standard, all of which functioned perfectly during our time with the device.
In terms of storage, our 14in device touted a 256GB SSD hard drive. This can be upgraded to a 512GB for even more money, but for £1,200, we would've liked to have seen it already included.
However, if it's mainly work you're going to be using this laptop for, 256GB is plenty.
Now, the deal breaker: battery life. The Gram boasts a 72Wh battery, which LG says will last for 21.5 hours at 50 per cent brightness doing light office tasks. We managed to use the Gram at 75 per cent brightness (which was the most comfortable for us) at a balanced power saving option. This mostly entailed intermittently bashing away at the keyboard, using the browser a little bit of YouTube video watching and trolling.
The Gram drained by around 15 per cent every hour and a half, or so, before finally conking out after about 10 hours of use. Not quite the 21 hours promised but we were consuming more power than LG recommended. The good thing is, too, is that it will see you through a full day of work. Something many laptops still can't promise these days, so we were happy enough with this.
The LG Gram 14Z980 definitely does as its name promises: it doesn't weigh much. This makes it an ideal device for those who travel a lot for work and will be carrying it around with them wherever they go. Think freelancers or bloggers who like to sit in coffee shops for hours on end nursing one cup of coffee they bought at 10am.
However, there is a but. And it's a big but: that £1,200 price tag. Its portability comes at a major cost, and that's not something many will think is worth it.
Also, lacking a super high-res screen, touch support and hinge flexibility, you can definitely get a much more versatile device for the same price, if not less. It just probably won't be as portable.
Very portable, great keyboard, good range of connectivity options, all day battery life.
No touchscreen, disappointing screen resolution for price, form factor lacks versatility.