LG gram 15 (2016) review

Bigger, thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air

LG Gram 15 review

TechRadar Verdict

Being a 15-inch laptop that's bigger, stronger, thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air makes this one of the most impressive notebooks of the year already.


  • +

    Thin, light and attractive design

  • +

    Comfy keyboard and trackpad

  • +

    Lots of ports

  • +

    Gorgeous screen


  • -

    Below average battery life

  • -

    Webcam in the hinge

  • -

    No color choices

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    No keyboard backlighting

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Think of a thin and light laptop. You're thinking of something like a MacBook Air, aren't you? Well, let this beauty of a notebook fill your mind now, because LG's redefining what thin and light computing devices look like with its gram line.

The LG gram 15 is a 15.6-inch laptop packing an FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display and 6th generation Intel Core i5 processor inside a cool, sharp magnesium frame. It offers 256GB of solid-state storage, a number pad on the keyboard and some of the thinnest bezels I've seen on a 15-inch laptop.

It weighs 2.16 pounds and measures 16.8mm thin. That's both lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air.

lg gram 15

You can see, then, the LG gram 15's massive (yet feathery) appeal. For $1,099 (about £752, AU$1,444), you're getting a 15-inch laptop rivaling the weight and thinness of Apple's latest major MacBook revision that's both larger and more powerful.

Design and display

Oh, and did I mention it looks damn good doing it, too? The gram 15 comes in what it calls a "New Gold," a carbon and lithium magnesium frame throughout with a minimalist style that's captivating in a way that's rare for Windows machines.

A sole, chrome LG logo in the laptop lid's upper left corner and one just beneath its screen tie the pared back design together. I have but one complaint regarding the laptop's gorgeous, featherweight frame.

lg gram 15

It tends to take on scratches rather easily – more so than that of an anodized aluminum laptop. If you're careful with your gram 15, then no problem, but accidents are bound to happen.

That said, LG made incredibly smart use of the space it had in crafting the gram 15, including two USB 3.1 ports alongside a USB-C port and an HDMI-out port. You'll get none of that kind of connectivity from a MacBook – Air or not.

As for the display, interplane switching (or IPS) technology makes for some seriously wide viewing angles, and FHD continues to prove more than enough for work and play. LG went a step further with the screen, leveraging its expertise as a TV maker to introduce two unique modes.

lg gram 15

Reading Mode removes all blue light from the screen for an experience that's easier on the eyes namely before bedtime, just as iOS 9.3's Night Shift attempts to do. Movie Mode only seems to do the opposite, which doesn't appear nearly as helpful.

Regardless, text appears sharp and images appear vibrant on the display. When using this notebook, I'm not left pondering what could've been had LG done X or Y with the design or screen – I'm just left to enjoy it.

The super narrow bezels making for what's actually a 14-inch device diagonally help with that.

lg gram 15

Using the laptop

LG made every effort to maximize the space afforded by the gram 15's size, which makes its light weight all the more enjoyable. For instance, the inclusion of a numpad on the keyboard will make professionals happy, while the narrow bezels forced the firm to place the webcam in the laptop's hinge.

Some crucial spacing decisions came out better than others, eh? But, in all serious, it's tough to blame LG too harshly for those, as they resulted in an incredibly focused product. I've enjoyed using this laptop more than anything over the past few weeks, and it has everything to do with its industrial design.

Despite the incredibly short Z-height, LG managed to achieve a keyboard with punchy feedback if a bit shallow depth – the same goes for the smooth, glass trackpad. Both are some of the most comfortable, responsive inputs I've used on a Windows laptop. Though, the lack of keyboard backlighting, at this price, is a major bummer.

lg gram 15

It's clear that LG took every pain to create the thinnest and lightest 15-inch laptop it could while maintaining a premium standard of quality. The gram 15 accomplishes all of that, but not without taking a few bets on what you'll consider non-negotiable in a laptop purchase.

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.