LG Gram 2-in-1 (14 inch, 2019) review: An ultralight 2-in-1 laptop with simply great battery life
For its first Gram two-in-one laptop, LG stuck with the same formula that's made its other Gram laptops worth your attention: Extremely long battery life and strong performance packed into an unbelievably lightweight body. It's just that this time LG added 360-degree hinges and a pen-enabled touchscreen, and includes a Wacom AES 2.0 Pen with 4,096 pressure levels and tilt detection to get the most from it.
If battery life and travel weight are your most important priorities -- as they are for many laptop buyers -- the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 should be high on your list. That is, if you don't mind paying for the privilege. The Gram is currently available in one configuration available at Best Buy for $1,500. It's not available in the UK or Australia, but the price converts to £1,135 and AU$2,110.
As premium 14-inch ultraportable two-in-ones go, the $1,500 price isn't unreasonable for what you're getting, and is in line with our top 14-inch two-in-one, Lenovo's Yoga C930. However, the C930 starts at $1,050, is available in multiple configurations and has a few design advantages that could potentially tip the scales in its favor.
LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (2019)
|Price as reviewed||$1,500|
|Display size/resolution||14-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display|
|CPU||1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
When every ounce matters
Two-in-one designs typically weigh more than their clamshell counterparts, but LG kept the Gram to only 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg). By comparison, 2018's LG Gram 15 laptop is also 2.5 pounds, while the 14-inch Lenovo Yoga C930 two-in-one is a touch more than 3 pounds (1.4 kg). Samsung's redesigned Notebook 9 Pro two-in-one falls in between the LG and Lenovo at 2.8 pounds.
While it's not a huge weight savings between those two-in-one models and the LG, if you're a student or a professional that's already carrying around books or files all day long, it'll make a difference. Plus, while the LG comes with a power brick with a pin connector, it can be charged through its USB 3.1 Type-C port that also supports video out, high-speed data transfer and Ethernet via an included adapter.
Other ports and connections include two USB 3.0 ports (Type-A), a microSD card slot and HDMI output. The keyboard and touchpad are similar to those on other Gram laptops. The touchpad is solid: It's smooth and responsive without any jumpiness. The keyboard is good and generally comfortable despite its minimal key travel.
However, while most of the keys are reasonably large, the Enter and Backspace are just a little too small, which led me to occasionally miss them. Not a dealbreaker, but something you might have to adjust to. Two levels of backlighting are available when you need it and the power button in upper right of the keyboard doubles as a fingerprint reader.
As you might expect from a display manufacturer, the 14-inch full-HD IPS touchscreen has good color performance, boosting its usefulness for creatives. It's not the brightest display, which no doubt helps your battery life, but you'll be fighting reflections indoors and out. Pen input was smooth and responsive, although the tip provides little friction making it feel like writing on glass, not paper. Also, there's no garage or holder to stash it when not in use.
Tougher than you'd think
Just in case you were concerned about the Gram 2-in-1's sturdiness, it is made from magnesium alloy and the display is covered in Gorilla Glass. LG runs it through seven military-grade durability tests including ones for shock and vibration, too. I wouldn't be too rough -- it's not a rugged laptop -- but it's solid for a daily commute.
One of the few downsides to being so thin is lackluster speaker performance. The Gram's are fine in a pinch, but it's no surprise LG built-in DTS Headphone: X processing for improved audio quality through the combined headphone and mic jack.
Not light on performance
With there only being one configuration of the Gram 14 2-in-1 available, it's a good thing the performance didn't disappoint. The components are geared for average home and office uses like word processing, web browsing and email, but with enough muscle to push through more demanding work assuming it's not too graphics intensive.
It won't get bogged down if you have a dozen tabs open in Google Chrome with some other applications running in the background. Streaming video and music are no problem either. And it'll handle casual photo and video editing without choking, though for large, high-resolution images and video, you'll want something with discrete graphics.
Like its clamshell laptop linemates, battery life is the big advantage of the Gram 14 2-in-1. On our video streaming test it ran for 12 hours, 35 minutes. In my anecdotal testing, I was able to get through an entire work day with time to spare for my hour commute home.