Like Samsung, LG isn’t exactly best known for making the best laptops. The Korean multinational tech giant gave us some iconic mobile devices but never portable computers. This is part of the reason why we’re doubtful when LG claims it’s new midsize laptop can rival the best in the business. The device we’re talking about today is the new LG Gram 15.
It has become a trend among laptop manufacturers to focus their resources on small and midsize machines. They are made from the most premium materials, offer a sleek design, and pack a punch under the hood. They are aimed at the average businessman who would travel a lot and would occasionally run a spreadsheet. Regardless, with such bold claims from LG, we have to compare it to the competition and see if its price is justified.
Just like every other device in this price and category, the Gram 15 features a clean and subtle design. It just like how every other new flagship smartphone has a glass and metal construction. This features an all-aluminum unibody with minimal design cues that make it look clean. I, personally, am a big fan of this design but it’s kind of getting dull with every manufacturer going in this direction. To the point where it feels like you’re looking at the same device with different branding.
Regardless, the Gram 15 looks gorgeous. Open the lid and you’re greeted with a 15-inch display which has a 720p webcam on top and the LG logo at the bottom. That’s all there is on the upper clamshell. Move to the lower part and you’ll see a nice chicklet keyboard. It may not have the best key travel and feedback, however, it does have an additional number pad, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Book S. Like most laptops these days, the fingerprint reader is embedded in the power button for a more clutter-free look. The keyboard is backlit with 2 stages of brightness.
Below that, you’ll see a decently-sized trackpad and that’s about it. If you turn it around you’ll see the clean aluminum lid. The most unusual quirk of this bit is that, in the very center, it has the Gram logo instead of LG. It certainly does look like LG is trying to promote its product lineup over its own name. Most brands do this with gaming laptops but this is the first time we’re seeing this on a normal business laptop.
Inside the Gram 15, you’ll find the 8th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7-8550U CPU paired to an integrated Intel® UHD Graphics 620 GPU. If you ask me, this is the perfect combo for a laptop like this. With a clock speed 1.8GHz that goes up to 4GHz with TurboBoost, you get ample amounts of power from this CPU to run medium to heavy programs. I wish LG had added an option to go with a dedicated GPU for more graphic-intensive tasks. It would’ve brought the price up but would’ve added a lot more in this laptop’s capabilities.
In the memory and storage department, you don’t get to choose your preferred configuration. However, what you do what is more than what you’d have asked for anyway. The LG Gram 15 has a 2400MHz 16GB DDR4 RAM along with a whopping 1TB SATA M.2 SSD storage. These are definitely not rookie numbers and will absolutely not let you down regardless of what you intend to do with your laptop. The fact that you can go any lower than this does bring the cost up, as we shall discuss later on.
The display you get with this is a 15.6″ 1920×1080 IPS LCD touch panel that is more than adequate. The resolution is perfect for this screen size. Also, I’m glad LG went with an IPS rather than a TFT, which happened to be the one major flaw with the Galaxy Book S. Again, this is the only option you have with the display. I do wish there was an option for an AMOLED panel as LG does make good quality OLEDs. However, that would’ve brought the price up a lot.
Lastly, on to the battery life. It has a 72Wh 4 cell Li-ion unit, that does seem to be adequate for this device. According to MobileMark® 2014, the average battery life is expected to be 16.5 hours of light to regular use. This may sound good but is nothing compared to the Galaxy Book S’s 23-hour video streaming time thanks to its ARM-based Qualcomm chipset.
This is where the Gram 15 actually pulls miles ahead of the Galaxy Book S. On it, you get a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt™ 3, 3 USB 3.0 ports, a standard HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot. In addition to that, you also get an 802.11 A/C (2X2) WiFi adapter along with Bluetooth 4.1. Needless to say, the Gram 15 will not leave you stranded if I/O is your main concern.
Price & Verdict
The LG Gram 15, with all its specs and features, will cost you $1999.99. In case you’re wondering why such an eye-watering price tag, I’ll try to justify it. You get the best possible chipset on a non-gaming laptop that has an aluminum unibody 16GB of DDR4 RAM and let’s not forget the 1TB M.2 SSD. The SSD is probably the main reason why the price is so high. A possible fix would’ve been to offer a version with lower storage as not everyone needs 1TB. But, unfortunately, that’s how LG decided to roll. Compared to the Galaxy Book S, you do get a more expensive device but you do get more laptop with it.