LG Gram 16 (16Z90P) review: a feathery 16-inch laptop

Editor's rating: 5 out of 5

Construction

LG Gram is a sober and elegant PC dressed entirely in black. Despite a sleek and lightweight design, the magnesium chassis benefits from the MIL-STD-810G certification, which guarantees good resistance to shock, pressure and dust. Unfortunately, the tables are made of plastic (probably for a weight case), but they remain thin and therefore do not affect the aesthetics of the computer in any way.

The LG Gram is discreet and elegant.

The LG Gram is discreet and elegant.

The keyboard and touchpad are comfortable to use and benefit from adjustable backlighting on three levels (only). There is a set of classic features on top of the keyboard, as well as an on-off key that acts as a fingerprint reader to quickly unlock the computer.

The keyboard is comfortable to use.

The keyboard is comfortable to use.

The webcam, without Windows Hello, shoots at maximum HD (720p). The picture is therefore not extraordinary and already well leveled in full light. When the brightness is lacking, the quality deteriorates a lot and the image is really noisy.

Despite the desire for ultralightness, the LG Gram does not forget the connectors. On the menu: two USB-A ports, two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port and a mini jack. A microSD card reader is also included, though their usefulness today is quite limited. Access to the networks is via newer and faster standards such as wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

The connection is well provided.

The connection is well provided.

To open the PC, be patient and remove all the rubber pads under which the eight Phillips screws are hidden. Inside the chassis is a single fan, for more ease, a battery that can be easily replaced, and a good surprise, a free slot to accommodate an NVMe SSD, in addition to the replaceable SSD already installed. On the other hand, the RAM is unfortunately soldered. In general, we note that LG has optimized the various elements as much as possible to win in ease. The components are thus divided into two printed circuits of reduced size, connected to each other by a thin layer. The battery does not take up all the available space and some components without components on the system board have been cut out.

Two NVMe SSDs can be installed in the PC.

Two NVMe SSDs can be installed in the PC.

The individual fan delivers a controlled volume, as at a full load on a game we only noted 33.1 dB, which makes it one of the quietest computers we have tested. The temperatures also remain contained, with a hot spot in the center of the keyboard at 38.9 ° C and slightly above 43 ° C at the air outlet.

Only one fan on this PC, which remains silent.

Only one fan on this PC, which remains silent.

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

Performance

Our model is equipped with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. We know this CPU well from having tested it many times, but we must admit that it lags a bit here. This is the price you have to pay for the finesse of the PC, its unique ventilation and its silent operation. If the processor’s thermal envelope is 28 W, it is throttle regularly so as not to overheat and its operating frequencies are affected. Thus, with the Handbrake video processing software, the frequency curve presents waves and their average is “only” 2.2 GHz. Some processing times were therefore quite long, on Handbrake or Blender for example, although the processor performs well in absolute numbers and can be used, from time to time, for demanding applications such as Photoshop or Lightroom.

Gram 16 CPU index against the competition.

Gram 16 CPU index against the competition.

It is possible to improve the performance of the PC by activating the “Perf” cooling mode in the integrated LG Control Center software. As a result, gains of about 15% depending on the software used, but slower ventilation and therefore more noise. We therefore advise against using it for office tasks.

In the game, the Iris Xe chip did well with 38 fps on Diablo III (graphics pushed to the maximum) and 60 fps turned on Overwatch (low quality). Something to troubleshoot again on titles that are not too new or not very greedy.

Editor's rating: 2 out of 5

Screen

The LG Grams 16-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600 pixels) screen suffers from several flaws that weigh on its rating. If the 1400: 1 contrast ratio is completely correct, the colorimetry lacks precision. The screen delta E is established to 4 (slightly above the recommended 3), the average color temperature is a bit too cold (7300 K) and the gamma is not very stable with dark gray being too blocked. However, a calibration probe should make it possible to correct all of this.

From left to right gamma curve, color temperature and delta E.

From left to right gamma curve, color temperature and delta E.

To win in ease, LG has coated its panel with a thin plexiglass, which gives a very marked gloss effect. With an average reflectance of almost 59.7%, one of the highest in our test bank, you need to make sure that light is reflected from the screen. Unfortunately, the low maximum brightness of 350 cd / m2 will not compensate for this. The persistence of 30 ms proves to be too high, although the impact is negligible in office automation, but good point, the occupancy rate of the screen is 83.5%.

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

Sound

With speakers tucked under the chassis, the sound can sometimes be slightly “suffocated” by forearms resting on the computer. But even without it, the LG Gram does not deliver advanced sound. As is often the case in thin chassis, the bass is absent; the midtones and heights lack precision, while the stereophonic space is really limited. In short, we recommend that you use headphones or a speaker.

The headphone output is also very accurate with low distortion of 0.01%, a good dynamic range of 98 dB and very limited crosstalk at -65 dB, although the power reserve could be larger. The output power of 125 mVrms prohibits the use of high-impedance headphones, but is still sufficient to connect consumer models.

Strengths

  • Nice construction.

  • Ultralight.

  • Very quiet.

  • Good autonomy.

  • Expandable storage.

Weak points

  • Standard average performance.

  • Panel for reflective.

  • Colorimetry that lacks precision.

  • 720p webcam.

Conclusion

Global brand

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

How does grading work?

The LG Gram 16 is an atypical PC that enjoys noticeable lightness, especially if you need to transport it regularly. Very quiet in use, it is generally good, but still suffers from some notable flaws. Starting with its average screen, whose plate turns out to be too reflective and poorly calibrated. In terms of its performance, it turns out to be limited, the fault of a design that by default puts everything on low noise pollution.

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