December 1, 2022

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Designer Review: LG Gram 16 (2022)

13 min read

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Review unit on loan from LG Singapore

The LG Gram are lightweight non-gaming laptops designed for portability. Other selling points include the relatively colour accurate 2560 x 1600 resolution display, good selection of ports and battery life. By the way, I also reviewed the 2021 LG Gram and liked it so much I bought one, the LG Gram 16, for myself.

The 2022 models have several upgrades over the previous generation. They are now equipped with the 12th gen Intel Alder Lake CPUs, the display is now matte textured instead of glossy, Windows Hello face unlock replaces the fingerprint scanner and there are models with the NVIDIA RTX 2050 graphics card. LG has also released a new 16-inch +View external display with same 2560 x 1600 resolution and colour support. The full list of specs for LG Gram can be found here.

My review is from the perspective of a visual content creator, someone who’s into graphic design, digital art, photo and video editing.

Below’s the weight of the various models:

  • 14-inch: 999g
  • 14-inch 2-in-1: 1.23kg
  • 15-inch: 1.15kg
  • 16-inch: 1.199kg
  • 16-inch 2-in-1: 1.48kg
  • 16-inch with graphics card: 1.285kg
  • 17-inch: 1.35kg
  • 17-inch with graphics card: 1.435kg

The 16-inch model is lighter than the 13.6-inch M2 Apple Macbook Air which is 1.24kg.

Here in Singapore, only the 14, 16 and 17-inch model without the discrete graphics card are sold. The 15-inch is a touchscreen model with 1080P 16:9 display.

The 14-inch 2-in-1 will be released in August 2022.

Below are the prices in SGD. Pre-order goodies are only for purchases before 31 July 2022.

Price of 14-inch

  • $1899 – 16GB, 512GB SSD, i5
  • $2199 – 16GB, 512GB SSD, i7

These come with Verbatim vx560 512GB external SSD worth $149.

Price of 16-inch

  • $2399* – 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, i5
  • $2499* – 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, i5
  • $2599** – 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, i7
  • $2799** – 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, i7

* Comes with Verbatim PowerPack 20000 mAh 100W PD and QC3.0 (Worth $189)
** Comes with Verbatim power bank above and a 100W 4-Port QC3.0 USB charger Worth $99.00

Price of 17-inch

  • $2499 – 16GB, 512GB SSD, i5
  • $2699 – 16GB, 512GB SSD, i7
  • $2899 – 16GB, 1TB SSD, i7

Comes with Verbatim PowerPack 20000 mAh 100W PD and QC3.0 (Worth $189)

All models have 16GB RAM which should be sufficient for most workflows. RAM is not user-upgradeable. The price of the SSD upgrade from 512GB to 1TB is from $100-200 depending on the model. $100 for an extra 500GB SSD is quite reasonable. There’s an extra NMVe SSD slot in the laptop so you can install an extra NVMe SSD if you want to.

LG Gram laptops in Singapore come with 2 years warranty

Specifications of the review unit

Here’s the list of specifications for the unit I’m reviewing:

Display 16.0-inch 2560 x 1600 IPS LCD
Processor 12th gen Intel Core i7-1260P (2.8Ghz, 4P + 8E cores)
Memory 16GB (LPDDR5-5, 200MHz)
Storage 512GB + 256GB PCIe gen 4 NVMe SSD
Graphics Intel Iris Xe and NVidia Geforce MX570 (2GB RAM)
Wireless Network Wi-Fi 6E
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Port(s) HDMI, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2×1, 2x USB 4 Gen 3×2 Type C (Thunderbolt 4), Micro SD Card, 3.5mm audio jack
Web Camera FHD with Windows Hello
Battery capacity 90Wh
Weight 1.285kg
Dimension 354.5 x 242.1 x 16.8mm (13.96 x 9.53 x 0.66 inches)
Warranty 2 Years

The specifications of this review unit is different from the retail unit. The main differences is the inclusion of the NVidia Geforce MX570 (2GB RAM) discrete graphics card instead of the advertised NVIDIA RTX 2050 graphics card. Retail units in Singapore do not come with discrete graphics card. And the battery is 90Wh instead of the advertised 80Wh. The 90Wh battery comes with the models with the discrete graphics card.


Things included besides the laptop are a translucent silicone keyboard cover and a 65W USB-C charger.


Inclusion of a silicone keyboard cover is a nice idea, but this one actually has a sticky look when placed over the keys.


It would be so much better if there’s some paint or design over the silicone keyboard cover to make it look better, or even more stylish. The nice looking one above is for another laptop.

Design


Design of the LG Gram 16 (2022) looks good. The design is clean and simple. Bezels are quite thin.


Dimensions are 354.5 x 242.1 x 16.8mm. It’s quite a slim laptop. The weight of this model with the NVidia graphics card is 1.285kg. The model without the graphics card is 1.199kg.

1.2 – 1.3kg for a 16-inch laptop is considered lightweight. This is lighter than some 13-inch laptops but you get a big 16-inch display.


The body material is made with aircraft-grade magnesium alloy. The surface is matte textured and feels great to touch.

The compromise with using this lightweight metal is there’s some flex with the laptop. There’s slight flex when you push the keyboard top case down with some pressure. There’s more flex with the display.

I’ve been using the LG Gram 16 (2021) for more than half a year and I don’t have any issue with the flex. If you can find a lightweight laptop with more solid or harder build quality, let me know in the comments section below.


The metal surface can be scratched easily though.


The metal surface is quite susceptible to fingerprint smudges.

Beneath the laptop are grills for the downward firing speakers and air intake. Audio quality is alright. There’s a limit to how good audio can be from audio bouncing off the table to reach you.


The hinge of the display is quite stiff and display can go down to a rather low angle. The display can be lifted with one hand easily.


Ports on the left are full-sized HDMI, two USB 4 Gen 3×2 Type C (Thunderbolt 4) and a 3.5mm audio jack.

There’s USB-C charging with the included 65W charger. It takes around 2.5 to 3 hours for a full charge.


Ports on the right are USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Type-A and a microSD card slot.

The selection of ports is good. I just wish there’s a full-size SD card reader instead and it would be perfect.


The keyboard on the LG Gram 15, 16 and 17 have the number pad. However the numpad only has 3 columns on the 15 and 16-inch models, and the keys are also less wide compared to the standard keys.


If you’re someone who uses the numpad often, it may take a long time to get used to the 3-column numpad because the layout is quite different. The 17-inch model uses the standard numpad layout.


Typing experience on the keyboard is good. The backlit keys have good travel and feedback. The keys do go beneath the keyboard top case though which is something I did not notice until someone pointed it out to me.

The fingerprint scanner on the power button found in the 2021 model has been removed.


Fingerprint unlock has been replaced by Windows Hello face unlock. While face unlock works fine, it’s just not as fast as fingerprint unlock.

Windows Hello will unlock into the desktop. If you use the LG Glance featured mentioned later, the detection unlock (which detects your face) will just unlock and requires you to hit a key to go into the desktop.

Webcam resolution is 1080P. Sharpness is good but overall image quality is grainy. And there’s a lack of dynamic range so highlights will either get blown out, or whole scene will be darker.


One significant upgrade over the 2021 model is the use of a matte textured display. The 2021 display is so glossy that you’ll always see your own reflections.

The anti-glare on this new display is not aggressive so you can still see content on the screen despite the diffused reflections.


Overall the display just looks so much better with the matte surface. Viewing angles are good with minimal colour shift and minimal drop in brightness.

For me, matte displays also trumps glossy displays with anti-reflective coating. Note that the LG Gram 15 which has glossy touchscreen.


The 2560 x 1600 resolution works great on a 16-inch display. The workspace you can get is in between 1080P and 1440P+ but you get the sharpness of 1440P+. This means you can get a good amount of desktop space. When using graphic design or photo editing apps, there’s space for more palettes and you still get a good amount of canvas space to work with.


Pixel density is 188 PPI. While the display is not as sharp as 4K, 2560 x 1600 resolution on a 16-inch display is sharp enough and no pixelation is noticeable from one arms length away.


Colour accuracy of the IPS display is good. I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 89% AdobeRGB, 87% NTSC, 100% P3 and a maximum brightness of 296 nits.

Performance

General performance of the LG Gram 16 (2022) is snappy and smooth. I do find the fans to come on quite often though, and they are more audible compared to my LG Gram 16 (2021) at the normal fan speed mode. But fans will idle quickly as often too unless you’re doing some intensive work.


I was able to get 6100MB/s read and 4800MB/s write speeds with the Samsung MZVL2512HCJQ PCIe gen 4 NVMe SSD. And 16GB of RAM is good for multi-tasking.

The fans will come on when Adobe Creative Cloud is doing whatever it’s doing in the background, when OneDrive is downloading lots of files, and when you’re doing processor taxing work.


I use Adobe Lightroom for photo editing. Generating the previews for imported RAWs takes a short while and the fans will spin up. After previews are generated, fans would slow down, and the photo editing process is responsive.

Doing visual work on a display that has good colours and brightness is very satisfying. Nowadays there is a lot of OLED hype but a good LCD can still look great and that’s the case with the display on this LG Gram.


I tested video editing with DaVinci Resolve 17 and the experience is not ideal. Even playback with 1080P H264 recorded footage will have drop frames. Generating proxies before editing 1080P videos is a must. Depending on the quality of proxies, the time taken to generate those proxies can range from 2x to 5x the length and resolution of the footage. Editing 4K even with proxies will have drop frames.

Video editing performance with Adobe Premiere Pro is much better. 4K video editing will drop some frames, irritating yes, but not to the extent where you can’t work on your video project, which is the case with DaVinci Resolve 17. I managed to export a 5 minute cut-and-join video at 4K 25 FPS video with H265 in 4 min 27 s which is quite good.


There are no issues with graphic design work.


The review unit I have has the NVidia Geforce MX570 graphics card instead of the advertised RTX 2050. I read that the performance of these two graphics card are quite similar.

I tested gaming with Hades at 1080P and was able to get 55 – 60 FPS, usually 60. So this graphics card is capable of some light gaming.

LG Software features

Other than some LG software, there’s less than a handful of bloatware included which can be uninstalled easily.


The included LG Smart Assistant app has many useful settings. I’ll just talk about the important ones.

The fan speed can be changed to low, normal or high.

The default Windows setting will actually shut down the laptop after a long period of inactivity (sleep). There’s this Instant Booting feature which allows the laptop to boot real quick from deep sleep. This is the equivalent of MacOS’ sleep feature. Rebooting the laptop is quick enough but Instant Booting is way faster.


You can assign up to 5 apps or webpages to keyboard shortcuts. This is incredibly convenient and can help you launch apps that you use frequently real fast. One downside you can only customise up to 5 shortcuts because more would be great. Second downside is activating the shortcut again will open another instance of the app and not switch to the active app.

Under LG Power Setting, you can choose to have the battery stop charging at 80% to increase the battery lifespan. You can also have the screen turn off when the camera detects that you’re not around. And you can allow the laptop to charge USB-C devices even when the laptop is turned off.


LG Gram also has the annoying power-saving auto-brightness dimming feature from the Intel Graphics Command Center app/driver. Basically when the display will dim when showing darker content and become brighter when showing lighter content.

To turn off auto-brightness, from Windows Start menu, open Intel Graphics Command Center, go to System-Power-Display Power Savings and turn off Enhanced Power Savings. This is not the usual auto-brightness settings under Windows display settings.

Another setting that affects auto-brightness is called “Content adaptive brightness control” found in Settings -> System -> Display -> Brightness. You may also want to turn that off.

LG Gram +View 16-inch portable display


LG Gram +View is a 16-inch portable USB-C display with the same specifications as the display on the LG Gram 2022. It has the same matte 2560 x 1600 IPS LCD with the same colour support. The price is SGD 499 and it’s actually worth the money because it’s an excellent portable display that can work with any USB-C device that can output video signal. You can check out my full review of the LG Gram +View display here.

Battery life of the LG Gram with +View display is around 5+ hours when both are used at 60% brightness.

An external display is just an external display. What’s interesting is LG has included this LG Glance app developed by Mirametrix to provide additional dual display functionality. LG Glance can be used with other external displays as well.


Let’s go through all the features. The features marked with * only works with dual display setups.

Presence Detection
The laptop can be set to lock screen, dim screen or run a screensaver when it detects that you’re not around. The difference between the lock screen here vs Windows Hello is you need to hit a key to go to the desktop.

Snap Window*
This allows you to move a window to a display just by clicking the title bar and looking at the display you want the window to be on. It works almost like the Win key + Arrow shortcut but by using your eyes. And it works quite well.

Downside is it can only move portioned windows and not fullscreen windows or apps.

Smart Pointer*
This allows you to move the cursor to the display you want just by looking at the display.

It works well and is as fast as dragging the cursor from one display to the other. This can be useful as the cursor will go back to position it was last seen. E.g. When you’re writing something and the cursor is nearby, you can look at the other display to copy text with that other cursor, look back again and move the nearby cursor into position to paste.

Privacy Guard
Set the display to blur when someone looks at your screen.

Privacy Alert

When enabled, this huge icon will appear when someone looks at your screen. The screen may blur if Privacy Guard is used. You can choose your next option depending who the person is. This works quite well.

Smart Player
Your media playback will pause when you’re not around.

Digital Wellness
An alert will appear to tell you to rest your eyes or stretch.

When I watched the promotional video for LG Glance, I thought the features were gimmicky but they are actually quite useful and they work quite effectively.

Conclusion

The LG Gram 16 (2022) is a good looking laptop with a bright vibrant high-res matte LCD display. The processor is good for medium intensity workflow which includes photo editing and 1080P video editing. DaVinci Resolve 17 has issues with 4K video editing. Adobe Premiere Pro can edit 4K with just a few drop frames.

The main selling point of this laptop for me is the big display with 16:10 aspect ratio, good colours, 2560 x 1600 resolution and of course how lightweight it is. Less than 1.3kg for a 16-inch laptop feels unreal. The two included LG software are pretty useful too. I managed to get 10 hours of battery life with auto-brightness and that’s pretty good for a Windows laptop. The laptop battery can easily last a whole day of work.

Downsides would be the lack of fingerprint scanner which I prefer, and the lack of SD card reader. LG has done such a good job, depending on your perspective, with the lightweight magnesium alloy that it feels like plastic which I understand people would associate it with being cheap. Some may find the laptop to flex a bit too much for their personal preference, I don’t. If you want something more solid and hence heavier, there are countless laptop options available.

General recommendation
If you want value portability, the 999g 14-inch model is great option. If you want a larger display but still want something light, I recommend the 1.2kg 16-inch over the 1.35kg 17-inch.

Price difference between the Intel i5 and i7 models is SGD 200. If your workflow is not heavy, you can save the money and go with the Intel i5 models. That’s still good for the occasional photo editing. If you’re getting a laptop for graphic design, photo and video editing, perhaps the Intel i7 is more appropriate.

The 16 and 17-inch models have two NVMe slots, one is spare. Nowadays you can get a 2TB NVMe SSD for less than SGD 300 — I just bought a WD SN750 2TB NVMe SSD for SGD 280. If you don’t mind opening the back, you can install the second SSD yourself. Upgrading from 512GB to 1TB SSD with LG is an extra SGD 100 which is actually reasonable, not too bad. Apple charges SGD 300 for the same storage upgrade.

Availability

You can find LG Gram 2022 on Shopee, Lazada and KrisShop.

If you have intention to buy the LG Gram 2022 on Amazon, consider using the affiliate links I have for you below. I earn some money for sales through the links but at no extra cost to you.

Here are the Amazon links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp

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