08/07/2020

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LG Gram 14 2-in-1 review: So much battery life, so little weight


Joshua Goldman/CNET

With the lockdown climate caused by the coronavirus, it’s a weird time to be writing about an ultraportable laptop that excels at getting things done on an airplane, in college classrooms or at a coffee shop. Frankly, I’ve personally spent the past week looking at cheap Chromebooksmonitors to connect them to and inexpensive gaming laptops. Then again, the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 is better suited out of the box than others like it and, eventually (🤞), all of its benefits will be fully appreciated by those who don’t work all day, every day at a desk. 

Like

  • Extraordinary battery life
  • Great port assortment for its class
  • Active pen included for writing and drawing

Don’t Like

  • Keyboard layout may take some adjustment
  • No holder or garage for the pen
  • Thin-sounding speakers

LG didn’t change the design from 2019 — for better or worse. Made from magnesium alloy, it weighs only 2.5 pounds (1.1kg), but LG runs it through seven military-grade durability tests including ones for shock and vibration, too. Still, the body, in particular the lid and keyboard deck, has some flex and combined with its light weight makes it feel slightly flimsy. I wouldn’t be too rough — it’s not a rugged laptop — but it’s solid for a daily commute. 

LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (2020)

LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (2020)
Price as reviewed $1,400.00
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touch display
CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U
Memory 16GB DD4 RAM 2.67GHz
Graphics 128MB Intel UHD Graphics
Storage 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Networking 802.11AX (2 x 2) WiFi 6 & Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home 64-bit version 1903
lg-gram-14-2-in-1-2020-12

The Gram 14 2-in-1 has a Thunderbolt 3 port and much more. 


Joshua Goldman/CNET

Although a daily commute, classes or air travel might not be in your immediate plans, the Gram is actually set up well for life connected to a monitor, keyboard, mouse and other accessories. Its competition may have whittled down to just a couple USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, but the Gram has that plus two USB 3.0 ports (Type-A), a microSD card slot and an HDMI output. Plus, while the LG comes with a power brick with a pin connector, it can also be charged through its USB-C port that also supports video out, high-speed data transfer and Ethernet via an included adapter.   

When you’re not at a desk connected to peripherals, you’ll have a 14-inch full-HD IPS touchscreen with good color performance, a smooth and responsive precision touchpad and a generally comfortable backlit keyboard. The Enter and Backspace keys are just a little too small, and I occasionally miss them when typing fast. But it’s not a dealbreaker, just something you might have to adjust to. 

Also, the display has active pen support and LG includes a nice one in the box. Unfortunately, there’s no slot on the laptop’s body to store it. And, despite LG spotlighting the laptop’s DTS:X Ultra audio, the speakers sound thin. The DTS does improve headphone sound quality, though. 

lg-gram-14-2-in-1-2020-06

The power button in the upper right of the keyboard doubles as a responsive fingerprint reader.


Joshua Goldman/CNET

A tale of two CPUs

LG uses a 10th-gen 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor in the 2020 Gram 14 2-in-1. It’s a fine choice for business and school tasks and entertainment other than gaming, especially paired with 16GB of memory and a speedy SSD. That said, it’s a 10th-gen Comet Lake chip and not Intel’s better 10th-gen Ice Lake processors that are being used in similarly priced competition from HP, Dell and Lenovo (you can see how the LG’s processor fared against the Lenovo Yoga C940’s 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 in the benchmarks below). Most of the Ice Lake processors come with improved integrated graphics, too. 

The chip choice no doubt contributed to the Gram’s extreme battery life, however. Last year’s model ran for 12 hours, 35 minutes on our streaming video test, which was one of the longest we saw in 2019. The 2020 model blew right past that, running for an amazing 16 hours, 3 minutes.  

An excellent 2-in-1 now and later

A small, sturdy, lightweight two-in-one with long battery life like the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 is naturally better for someone who needs a PC for travel. But, thanks to its port assortment, it works well in a desktop setup right out of the box without requiring you to buy extra dongles or a dock. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL (14-inch)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL (14-inch)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance.

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL (14-inch)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Streaming video playback battery drain test (minutes)

Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL (14-inch)

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance.

System configurations

LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (2020) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U; 16GB DDR4 RAM 2.67GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics; 512GB SSD
LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (2019) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2.6GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL (14-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 12GB DDR4 RAM 4.27GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 512GB SSD
HP Spectre x360 13 (2019) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 3.2GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 512GB SSD
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16GB DDR4 RAM 4.27GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 256GB SSD