LG entered the US laptop marketplace with its 14-inch gram in early 2016, which was followed closely by the xv.half dozen-inch version. The merits to fame for both was their ultra-lightweight designs, a trend that happily continues with the latest gram models. At just 2.41 pounds, the LG gram fifteen (15Z980) ($1,999) is the lightest fifteen.6-inch notebook we know of—lighter than, and thank you to a about borderless screen not much larger than, most 14-inch laptops.
It’s also a capable desktop-replacement with serious CPU (if not graphics) power, aplenty memory and storage, a handsome display, and remarkable battery life. We’re sufficiently impressed to award the LG an Editors’ Selection, joining such category favorites as the Dell XPS 15 Touch and the Microsoft Surface Book 2.
The gram 15 is
a premium machine and occupies a toll bespeak to friction match. It is sold in one configuration (model 15Z980-R.AAS9U1) in the United states of america that includes a total Hd (one,920-past-1,080) touch brandish, an Intel Core i7-8550U quad-core processor, 16GB of retention, and 1TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. The system has a big 72-watt-60 minutes battery, which paid dividends in our unplugged rundown test. Peradventure the only disappointment at this price is the skimpy one-twelvemonth warranty.
Yous’ll Forget You’re Carrying Information technology
The all-silver exterior of the gram 15 may wait similar plastic at first blush, merely it’s actually nano-carbon magnesium. LG says it meets MIL-STD-810G standards for immovability. We didn’t exactly put our gram through the same bombardment of tests, but we will say it felt plenty stiff and durable.
Information technology’s hard to appreciate this notebook until you pick it upwards. You can exercise that with just two fingers, as the gram 15 is amazingly lite at 2.41 pounds. It’s actually a bit heavier than the first-generation gram 15Z960 ($999.99 at Dell) , which was ii.ii pounds; nosotros doubtable most of that difference comes from the larger battery on this model. Don’t take that equally a complaint; despite the actress weight, the gram 15 is still scary lite for a fifteen.half dozen-inch notebook.
The 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro is 4.02 pounds, and the Dell XPS 15 Touch is 4.44 pounds. The LG manages to exist a scrap trimmer than either of those notebooks, too, at 0.7 by fourteen.1 past 9 inches (HWD). Its thin bezels help it fit a xv.6-inch screen into a chassis that’south just a tad larger than what we’re used to seeing from xiv-inch laptops. This looks to be the nigh portable 15.six-incher yous can buy.
Our only complaint about the LG’s design is one of preference: Its conventionally ho-hum lines don’t quite look the function of its $one,999 price tag. The MacBook Pro and the XPS 15 Touch manage classier looks. Dissimilar color schemes would accept gone a long way.
The keyboard backlighting has 2 levels of brightness. The island-style keys felt skillful under our fingertips. The non-standard three-column number pad layout is the only awkward office of the experience. We as well wished for defended Dwelling, End, Page Upwardly, and Folio Downward keys, every bit opposed to having them piggybacked on the cursor arrow keys. The power button is at the top correct of the keyboard. It’south not obvious, but it doubles as a fingerprint reader.
Below the keyboard is the buttonless touchpad. Its smoothen surface makes it easy to use, and it’s appropriately sized for the LG’s 15.6-inch display.
Looking and Sounding Skillful
The 1080p screen of the gram 15 is a winner. Thanks to its IPS (In-Aeroplane Switching) panel technology, you can await at it from any angle and encounter a consistent picture show. Well-saturated colors plus fantabulous contrast and brightness translate to beautiful film quality. If you want to reach out and affect it, go right ahead, as this panel has full 10-bespeak bear upon support. The only penalty you’ll pay for that is potential smudges on its sleeky surface.
The screen resolution is standard fare for a 15.6-inch panel. The competing Dell XPS 15 Bear on offers 4K resolution at the LG’s price point, but we don’t necessarily miss the extra pixels. For 1, you lot won’t need to bump the text size as much (if at all) at 1080p, where you will with 4K.
The webcam above the display is a 720p/30fps model. The picture show quality looked sharp and had minimal grain in our Skype testing.
The gram 15’s port pick is respectable. The left edge holds the AC power jack, a USB 3.0 Type-A port, HDMI video-out, and a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3. The latter can be used to hook up docking stations, external monitors, or fast storage. LG includes a USB-C-to-Ethernet adapter in the box.
The right edge holds the remaining connectivity, including a microSD carte du jour reader, the audio combo jack, ii more USB 3.0 ports, and a Kensington-style cablevision lock. For wireless, the gram packs Intel’s 8265AC 802.11ac card and Bluetooth 4.i.
The stereo speakers confront downward from under either side of the palm rest. They projected surprisingly well when we had the LG sitting on a solid surface. In that location is little bass, but the relatively impressive volume helps make up for that.
A ‘Kaby Lake R’ Contender
Two of the LG 15’s closest competitors are the XPS xv Touch on ($999.99 at Dell) and the 15-inch MacBook Pro. The Dell offers a slightly faster CPU and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card at the LG’southward cost point, but includes simply one-half the storage (512GB). The $one,999 Apple too packs a faster processor and defended AMD graphics, simply merely 256GB of storage. Neither machine is an entirely (no pun intended) apples-to-apples comparing, merely they do show the LG’s pricing as competitive.
Intel’s 8th-generation Core i7-8550U processor is at the heart of the gram 15. This chip fits four processing cores into its 15-watt thermal envelope, whereas previous-generation Intel chips packed simply two cores. Our benchmarks show the gram has a significant performance advantage over notebooks with the older CPUs. Coupled with a generous 16GB of memory, the gram 15 is ready for only most anything. You can all just exclude modern AAA-level gaming from that list, nevertheless; the Intel UHD 620 integrated graphics in this notebook aren’t capable of much more entry-level 3D work.
There’s a generous 1TB of storage packed inside that is comprised of two 512GB SSDs. The drives had excellent operation in our not-scientific testing; we timed a Windows 10 common cold start at less than 15 seconds.
The gram 15 was a strong performer in our PCMark 8 part productivity benchmark; whatsoever score college than 3,000 indicates a very fast machine. The XPS 15 Impact lagged behind largely because of its 4K screen resolution, which requires pushing 4 times as many pixels.
Run across How Nosotros Test Laptops
The Cinebench R15 and Handbrake tests are almost entirely CPU-dependent. The Cadre i7-8550U in our LG was ultimately limited by its fifteen-watt thermal envelope, as opposed to the more substantial 45-watt envelopes of the Cadre i7 chips in the Dell and Apple competition. The LG handily outperformed the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro ($999.99 at Dell) and its previous-generation Core i7-7500U, however.
The gram 15 more than doubled the battery life of its predecessor. Its epic xvi hour, 14 minute showing is outstanding for a desktop-replacement. The XPS fifteen Touch didn’t even come close to the LG’due south stamina. The times from the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch and the Samsung Notebook nine Pro (15-inch) were impressive, just the gram xv wasn’t to exist outlasted.
The Intel UHD 620 integrated graphics in the gram 15 were totally outperformed by the defended Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU in the Dell XPS 15 Bear upon, but that was expected. As nosotros noted, this LG isn’t cut out for mod gaming.
In terms of heat and noise, the gram 15 was tranquillity fifty-fifty during our benchmark runs. The fans remained off most of the time for silent running. The center-rear of the chassis tended to heat up under heavy usage, but cooled downwardly just as quickly.
The LG gram 15 is a notebook of many extremes, all of them expert. At the forefront of these are its phenomenal light weight and 16-plus-60 minutes bombardment life. Those stats are—or were—practically unknown amongst laptops sporting 15.6-inch displays. The gram also offers a great-looking touch screen, first-class system performance, and a comfortable keyboard. Its odd three-column numeric keypad layout and plainly, generic looks are all we could come upward with as downsides. If you’re in the marketplace for a premium xv.six-incher, the gram 15 is an easy pickup. We mean that in more means than ane.
The Bottom Line
The LG gram 15 is a super-lightweight laptop that offers splendid battery life and powerful operation in a featherweight package.
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