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LG Gram 15 review: You won't find a more portable 15-inch laptop

Alaina Yee | April 8, 2016
This large ultrabook offers ample workspace while being shockingly lightweight and ideal for travel.

The Gram 15 also performed roughly as expected for running off integrated graphics on a Skylake chip. You can’t play Fallout 4 or The Division on this laptop, but it’s really meant for office work and perhaps some indie games or ancient AAA games, and it handles all that well.

LG Gram 15 3DMark Sky Diver chart
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LG Gram 15 3DMark Cloud Gate chart
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Still, the Gram 15 does falter a bit in more intensive tasks. The Dell XPS 15 and Samsung Book 9 Pro with their quad-cores and discrete graphics of course eat the dual-cores for lunch, but both also cost and weigh more. More noteworthy is how the Gram 15 stacks up against similar ultrabooks in the 3DMark tests, as well as in multithreaded performance. In our Handbrake 0.9.9 test, during which we encode a 30GB 1080p MKV file into a much smaller MP4 file using the default Android Tablet setting, the Gram 15 was slower than the HP Spectre X360 15T and Dell’s 2016 XPS 13 by about 12 minutes. 

LG Gram 15 Handbrake chart
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All three laptops use the same dual-core Skylake chip, and I didn’t see any indicators of throttled performance due to processor temperature, so the likely culprit of this consistent 15 percent to 16 percent drop in gaming and encoding performance is the Gram 15’s single-channel RAM configuration. Both the X360 15T and the XPS 13 utilize two sets of RAM to take advantage of the bandwidth boost you get from a dual-channel configuration.

The Core i7 version of the Gram 15 will also likely show this same reduction in performance, as its official specs list just one piece of DDR3L/1600MHz RAM, too.

Surprisingly, the LG Gram 15’s battery life holds up fairly well relative to its competition. In our rundown test, during which we play a 4K Ultra HD file on repeat in Windows 10’s native video player, the Gram 15 lasted just over 5 hours on a 34.6-watt-hour battery.

LG Gram 15 Battery Life chart
Click on image to enlarge.

That’s nothing special in a real-world, “I’m on a transatlantic flight and need to finish this presentation by the time I land” context, of course. But only the Spectre X360 15T outdoes its 15.6-inch rivals. For example, the XPS 15 and its hungrier quad-core part lasts just 7 minutes longer than the Gram 15. Both the X360 15T and the XPS 15 weigh twice as much as the Gram 15, too.

 

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