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LG Gram 2-in-1 (14 inch, 2019) review: An ultralight 2-in-1 laptop with simply great battery life

The company's first crack at a convertible didn't fail to impress with its class-leading battery life, remarkably light chassis and strong performance.

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Joshua Goldman
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Joshua Goldman

Senior Editor / Reviews

Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering laptops and the occasional action cam or drone and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.

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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. 

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8.3

LG Gram 2-in-1 (14 inch, 2019)

The Good

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 laptop is an ultralight pen-enabled convertible with extraordinary battery life for its class. It has more ports and connections than other premium convertibles along with an active pen included for writing and drawing.

The Bad

You might need some time to adjust to the keyboard layout; there's no holder or garage for the pen; and the speakers sound thin.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 LG Gram 14 2-in-1 laptop lives up to its pedigree, delivering awesome battery life and strong performance at a lighter weight than the competition.

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. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

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
Storage 512GB SSD
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. 

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It might be slim, but there's still room for USB-A ports and a full-size HDMI out. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

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. 

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LG includes its active pen. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

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. 

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Ready to stream for hours and hours. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

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. 

LG Gram 2-in-1 lives up to its lightweight name

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Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15050LG gram 14 2-in-1 14392Lenovo Yoga C930 13978Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) 7870
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Lenovo Yoga C930 635Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 520LG gram 14 2-in-1 509Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) 253
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (streaming minutes)

LG gram 14 2-in-1 755Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 750Lenovo Yoga C930 746Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) 646
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance
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8.3

LG Gram 2-in-1 (14 inch, 2019)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8Battery 9