The LG gram 14 2-in-1 offers up a smooth keyboard, crisp display and battery life that goes for almost forever. Just bring along your headphones.
Top-notch display quality
Speakers are just ‘meh’
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LG’s gram 14 2-in-1 fits the mold of competing 2-in-1 laptops in that it looks and works just like a standard laptop, and with a quick rotation of the display, it converts into a tablet. Inside each box is a stylus, driving home the point that LG views the gram 14 2-in-1 as an ultraportable device that can bend and fold to the will of its users. And, that it does.
The gram 14 2-in-1 weighs very little, has a respectable spec sheet, and is reasonably priced. But, as with any laptop, the big question is whether the promised experience of what’s on paper translates into a proper experience in the real world.
For the LG gram 14 2-in-1, that answer is a resounding yes.
Here is the LG gram 14 2-in-1 review configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565 (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)
Screen: 14.0-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS LCD
Storage: 512GB SSD (M.2 SATA3)
Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB-C, microSD reader, HDMI, headphone jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2x2); Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: Built-in 720p webcam
Weight: 2.53 pounds (995g)
Size: 12.8 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches (323 x 212 x 16.6mm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
The gram 14 2-in-1 will set you back $1,499 (about £1,207, AU$2,136) for the configuration we have here. That’s right in line with what you should expect to pay for a similarly equipped Lenovo C930 or HP Spectre x360 15T.
Currently, LG’s site in the UK lists the standard gram 14 model as coming soon, but that model lacks the 2-in-1 features of the model we tested. Still, the default configuration matches what we have on our desk, save for 8GB of memory instead of 16GB. Australian users will need to look to Amazon sellers for the gram 14 2-in-1.
The standard gram 14 starts at $1,149 (about £1207, AU$2,136) for an Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, with more expensive configurations pushing the total price up to $1,549 (about £1,249, AU$2,209).
The 2-in-1 model comes with a Wacom AES 2.0 Pen and will convert to a tablet when the screen is rotated nearly 360-degrees. For artists or those who want more than a regular ol’ laptop, the 2-in-1 is where it’s at.
Design and display
The outside of the gram 14 2-in-1 is somewhat boring. The dark silver housing is plain, outside of the silver gram logo on the back of the lid. After opening the lid, you’ll find a 14-inch display, the keyboard with a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader in the top-right corner, and bright highlights that note a key’s additional functionality. The bezels around the display aren’t the smallest we’ve seen, but the slim design is noticeable.
The hinges rotate the gram 14 2-in-1’s display back almost a full 360-degrees, allowing for a dedicated tablet mode, stand mode (for binging on Netflix) and a tent mode (more binging, of course). The hinges are sturdy and don’t move around without a light amount of force. That’s good – there’s little point in using something like stand mode only to have the laptop close itself.
One of the first things we noticed was how light the gram 14 2-in-1 is, weighing 2.53 pounds (995g) and measuring 12.8 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches (323 x 212 x 16.6mm; W x D x H). It’s MacBook Air-light and lends itself to portability more than the Spectre x360 15T’s 4.81 pounds. It’s even half a pound lighter than the Yoga C930’s 3.04 pounds.
In other words, you’ll have no issues throwing this in a bag or backpack and toting it around campus or to meetings at work all day. In fact, you may find yourself questioning whether it’s even in your bag.
One compromise you often have to make when dealing with a laptop that’s as slim as the gram 14 2-in-1 is in ports. Some device makers cut out nearly all useful ports, opting instead for a couple of USB-C ports and dongles. The gram 14 2-in-1 only has one USB-C port, and instead has two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card reader and an HDMI port.
Oh, and of course there’s a headphone jack. Thankfully, computer makers aren’t feeling as brave as Apple… yet. The ports are evenly distributed, with a USB port on each side, and the left side also housing the HDMI and USB-C ports. On the right side is the headphone jack, the other USB port and the microSD card reader.
A microSD card reader may be the single most underappreciated port on any computer. There are a lot of smart home devices and even some phones that use microSD cards, and the ease of not having to worry about keeping tabs of a microSD to SD card adapter is a freeing feeling.
In addition to bright colors and crisp images, the gram 14 2-in-1’s display is a touchscreen. We’ve used all sorts of gestures, taps, long-presses and everything in between and the screen has kept up with our every demand. That shouldn't be all that surprising, given that it’s designed to serve as a laptop and a tablet.
The included Wacom AES 2.0 Pen has two buttons and 4,096 levels of pressure and purportedly lasts up to 18 months off of a single AAA battery. We’re no artist, and our handwriting is far from exceptional, but writing and drawing on the gram 14 2-in-1’s display was something we could see ourselves using if we owned the gram 14 2-in-1. Although let’s be fair, the use cases for a stylus on a laptop are very limited, even if it is Wacom powered.
The gram’s keyboard is deceiving. The keys look rigid and loud, yet are the exact opposite. The keys have a soft feel to them, yet enough feedback to let you know when a stroke is registered with very little sound. We adjusted to the keyboard in minutes and enjoyed every letter typed.
Most laptop keyboards are good, but not great. The gram 14 2-in1’s keyboard is exceptional. Full stop.
The trackpad is centered with the laptop’s housing and is smooth when used for scrolling or gestures. Where we get caught up is when it comes time to press on the pad for a click. The resistance by the trackpad is uneven, with the top corners almost feeling stuck in place, but the bottom corners feeling like you’re about to press through the bottom of the laptop.
If you stay in the middle of the trackpad there’s a consistent experience, however, that’s not always possible as scrolling and gestures lead to clicking all over the trackpad.
One of the biggest disappointments about the gram 14 2-in-1 overall is the sound quality of the speakers. Tinny and flat is what comes to mind, and they’re both apt descriptions. There’s just not a lot of oomph behind the sound, regardless of screen orientation.
You’ll want a good pair of headphones if you plan on using the gram 14 2-in-1 for a lot of music streaming and sound quality is important to you. For most, though, we suspect the speakers will get the job done.
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