I am a big fan of the LG gram series. It provides most of the things I want in a laptop. Big screen? Check. Lightweight? That’s right. Decent port selection? We got you. Admittedly, it is a niche set of features to have, but it suited me perfectly.
LG has once again refreshed the lineup for 2022, and after trying out the LG gram 16, I am happy to say that they have made another excellent device for this year.
Build Quality & Design
The last time I got the chance to try the LG gram fully was in 2020. Back then, while the laptop could have that impossibly light load, sacrifices were made to the feel of the build to achieve it. Though LG provided assurances on durability with its MIL-STD-810G military standard certification, the amount of play that the body had still elicited some anxiety.
LG has, however, improved upon it. The 2021 version felt much more robust, and the LG gram 16 for 2022 has retained that level of sturdiness with its build. While there is still some flex, particularly for the thinner portions of the laptop, it is not as egregious as before.
Thankfully, the new build does not compromise on the lightweight aspect — this is still very much a gram laptop. Despite being such a large device on the outside, the LG gram 16 only weighs in at a featherlight 1.19kg. To put that into perspective, it is lighter than the latest MacBook Air, but you get a display size that is nearly 3-inches bigger.
For a student, this is quite possibly among the top laptops to use in terms of lifestyle. It weighs lighter than most textbooks from school, which makes it easy to transport around if you are constantly on the go. Something to note, though, is that even though it is thin and lightweight, its width might pose a problem for those who carry small backpacks — it comes up pretty tall when vertical, making it hard to zip up the bags.
Simplicity is the name of the game for the LG gram 16. The chassis comes decked out in a stark black look with a matte feel, with only the gram name plastered on the lid to inform people of what it is. No frills, just minimalism; I certainly appreciate the aesthetic. There are also options for grey or white colour schemes for those not keen on black.
Finally, one of the best aspects of the laptop is its port selection. The device’s large size means that there is ample space to include all manner of ports for people to use. There are two USB-A ports and a micro SD card reader on one side, while the other contains an HDMI and two USB-C ports. The variety of ports makes it incredibly convenient for users, ensuring that there isn’t a need to worry about bringing additional adapters.
As the name suggests, the LG gram 16 has a massive 16-inch display. Personally, I love big screens. They provide a generous amount of screen space to play with, and everything appears much bigger on screen. It is a godsend for people with poor eyesight like me.
All of those benefits are on show here for this device. The large display boasts sleek-looking thin bezels and provides a massive window to look at, boosted by the accompanying 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives more vertical space for use. With it, things like media consumption are much better experiences since everything appears larger on screen — this is an excellent device for Netflix binge watchers.
There’s also flexibility when zooming in on browsers with the larger screen; they no longer have UI elements crammed together as they do on the typical 13 or 14-inch laptop screens. It also lends well to multitasking; you can have two windows open side by side, and it all still appears readable to work with.
Because of the 16:10 aspect ratio, the resolution for the display comes in at 2,560 x 1,600 rather than the usual 1440p. The content on the screen comes out sharp and shows off a lot of detail in the image.
There is one problem with the display, though, at least for the unit that I’ve tested. I’ve noticed that colours show off quite strangely on screen, appearing rather oversaturated to the eye, particularly for the brighter, more vibrant colours. It comes off looking quite fake and isn’t something especially pleasing to look at.
The LG gram lineup for 2022 now uses a matte finish on its display. It is an addition I’ve wanted for quite some time, given how glossy the previous iterations were; glare was a common issue to deal with. The new matte display has mostly dealt with that problem; I’ve not had to worry about glare hindering my screen view. But there is a caveat, brightness. The display is only rated for up to 350 nits, so it doesn’t get very bright. The matte finish dims the screen further, so you usually have to turn up the brightness frequently.
Given the massive space it could work with, the LG gram 16 is able to provide users with a full-sized keyboard. Not everyone will use the number pad, but after working with Excel sheets for some time, I’ve grown to have a soft spot for them. On this device, I’ve also had the opportunity to use them consistently, and it does help me with typing things in quicker.
Even with the number pad included, the keyboard does not feel cramped. Bar the arrow keys, each key is generously sized, and I’ve not had an instance of mishitting keys during my time using the laptop. Though the keys have a low profile, they still feel tactile and have a decent amount of travel when typing on them — they are perfectly adequate for use. However, they admittedly do get a little noisy when typing on them, producing a noticeable low thump on more aggressive presses.
Lastly, there is a large trackpad featured on the keyboard deck. The generous size gives a lot of room for your fingers to move around and is complemented by the smooth finish on the surface. The trackpad also has lovely, satisfying feedback whenever you click on it.
In the refresh for 2022, LG has updated the LG gram laptops with the latest 12th generation Intel processors. Performance on LG gram 16 using this CPU alongside the included 16Gbs of RAM fares quite well for everyday use. It handles things like multiple Chrome tabs and programs well and tanks more intensive applications like Photoshop and Handbrake.
However, note that it tends to get heated up pretty quickly under more intensive workloads. The keyboard deck felt warm to the touch after a few minutes of running Handbrake on the LG gram 16, but luckily, it wasn’t to the point where it was uncomfortable. Fans kick up to deal with the heat and are usually subtle in terms of noise, which is a bonus.
The LG gram 16 only comes with the standard Irix Xe graphics for its GPU, which is a massive shame considering that other large-sized laptops (like Dell’s XPS series) have been able to include discrete graphics in their own devices. Given the number of things LG has been able to add to the gram 16, it is a wonder why this wasn’t something the company could incorporate.
You get what you can expect from integrated graphics. As long as you play games at one of the lower quality settings, the LG gram 16 typically runs it at a playable level but if you frequent the bigger, more graphics-heavy titles, doing that seems counterproductive to your enjoyment.
Even for less intensive games, the Iris Xe graphics struggle with its performance. Persona 4 Golden on PC isn’t a title that needs the best graphics processor; it is a remastered PS2 game, after all. However, running the game on the highest settings brings massive lag, and even bumping it down a little does not fully solve the problem; you have to play it around the medium graphics level for it to run in a playable state.
The LG gram 16’s speakers aren’t very good for sound performance. Audio from the downward-firing speakers usually sounds muffled, and there is a distinct lack of bass to be heard when listening to music. Perhaps more frustrating is that it still sounds soft even when the volume is turned up. Combined with the audio performance, I had much trouble listening to my colleagues during Zoom meetings as they came off sounding like they were gagged.
The battery life for the LG gram 16 at least alleviates some of the pain I got from the speakers. It is an excellent performer in that regard.
LG claims that the 80Wh battery capacity for the laptop can last for up to 17 and a half hours. This is certainly only doable via a best-case scenario and not something you’ll generally get, but you still get a long battery life from typical use. I was able to run the laptop for roughly 8 hours and 40 minutes doing a mixture of web browsing and video streaming with the battery saver off and the display at 70% brightness. It is a workhorse.
LG again brings a great laptop to the market for this year’s edition of the LG gram series. As the LG gram 16 offers so much to users with its lightweight aspect, large display, variety of ports, and long battery life.
It isn’t the perfect laptop, though. The speakers equipped with the device aren’t up to scratch, and you may need to be cautious about the display in terms of how it showcases colours. Still, there aren’t many options available if you covet an ultraportable with the features mentioned above. It is undoubtedly an expensive machine, but I feel it is worth the money.
Photos by Russell Matthew Loh of the DANAMIC Team.