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Our favorite lightweight laptop for work is not a MacBook or ThinkPad

The LG Gram Pro 16 2-in-1 is as light as it is powerful, with a satisfyingly-crisp OLED display, strong suite of hardware, and ultra-sleek form factor.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
LG Gram Pro
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The LG Gram Pro 16 2-in-1 is available now for $2,099. 
  • It's sleek and smooth, with a gorgeous display and respectable performance. 
  • However, its thin form factor means it runs hot, and the speakers are not great.

The LG Gram Pro 16 2-in-1 is indeed an impressive laptop. It currently holds the Guinness record for being the lightest 16-inch 2-in-1 in the world, a fact that was proudly revealed to me by an LG representative during the product's unveiling earlier this year (and one that my colleague Kerry Wan and I promptly verified by weighing it ourselves). At 3.04 pounds (1.377 kg), it's certainly light, but that's not the only thing going for it.

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Setting the lightweight form factor aside, this is a capable laptop with a gorgeous OLED display and solid suite of hardware. This laptop was designed to nail that first impression, though. Its ultra-thin body, vibrant display, and dark black chassis make for a striking visual silhouette. 

View at LG

Under the hood, the Gram Pro 16 2-in-1 comes with an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor, and up to 32GB of RAM with 2TB of storage, a commendable hardware package that contributes to this laptop's snappy performance. 

I used this laptop as my primary driver for a week, and can say that I was definitely impressed with how well it performs. Running two displays is a breeze, as is having dozens of browser tabs open alongside a handful of open apps. This would certainly be a laptop to consider for anyone looking for an ultraportable to handle photo or video editing in the field. 

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The 16-inch OLED display is crisp and silky smooth, with a variable 120Hz refresh rate. This high refresh rate on a 400-nit brightness screen results in incredibly vibrant visual media, accounting for 100% of the RBG color scale, 94% of the Adobe RBG scale, and 100% of the P3 color gamut. 

I popped the Gram Pro 2-in-1 into tent mode and fired up some streaming apps, and the video looks great, especially at this brightness. The high refresh rate also has positive effects for creators. Besides video and photo editing, if you use the accompanying stylus in tablet mode, the result is a responsive and natural experience.  

LG Gram Pro 16 2-in-1
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

Regarding the stylus, it feels nice and tactical as a three-sided pencil. It sticks to the side of the laptop via a magnetic connector, but only one of the stylus' three sides is magnetic, resulting in a mini-game of rotating the stylus on the side of the laptop until it clicks into place. However, given that it charges wirelessly (and quite fast), I have no complaints.

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The laptop's physical body is constructed with an incredibly lightweight nano-magnesium alloy, resulting in a sturdy, matte metallic finish. The keyboard is crisp and tactical, with a 1.5mm key travel distance and very cool backlighting that illuminates only the letters and numbers on the keys, not the keys themselves. 

The trackpad, although unassuming looking, is very well designed. Let me be clear, I am absolutely not a trackpad enjoyer. I hook up a mouse even before I turn my laptop on most of the time, but this one was an exception. It's just the right size, responsive, and has a slick, light feel to it that requires very little physical input relative to its usability on the screen. 

That being said, although the matte black finish looks great, it's absolute fingerprint city. I do not eat around my computers, and I'm conscious of putting dirty hands on a keyboard, and still, this thing shows every single smudge and point of contact. I realize there's little to be done about this, but personally, it's just not something I enjoy looking at. 

Moving to the rest of the laptop's physical form: you have a standard selection of ports here, with two USB-C ports on one side, an HDMI, and two USB-A ports and 3.5mm headphone jack on the other. The laptop's speakers are downward-firing, which doesn't help the fact that the incredibly thin body results in rather low peak volume. Expectations for laptop audio is typically not sky high, and these aren't ones to write home about. 

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The other tradeoff for this laptop's thin design is its cooling efficiency. This laptop runs hot under a heavy load, and warm under normal use. The down-firing heat exhaust fan means you will feel it on the keyboard if you're doing something processor intensive, and will absolutely blast your legs if you work with your computer on your lap. 

Again, there's not much to be done about this, as the ultra-thin design means you trade real estate for a more elaborate cooling system or robust fans. It's simply part of the overall cost of achieving this level of lightweight design

That being said, this is not a laptop made to be pushed to the brink of its capabilities. Performance will be scaled back due to heat throttling if it exceeds a certain threshold, while other laptops with more intensive cooling systems might have more contingencies for dealing with the higher temperatures. 

LG Gram Pro 16 2 in 1
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

For most users, this is not much of an issue, but during exceptionally heavy loads, performance may dip, as it did for me, in particular, while running high-end benchmarking tests.    

Finally, the battery life on this machine was about what you'd expect from a 2-in-1 with an OLED screen. This is a laptop that can last a full day of work, but only barely. Depending on how hard you're pushing it, expect to see 7-8 hours on a single charge. I got around that during my testing. 

ZDNET's buying advice

In a market of dozens of 2-in-1 laptops that were released this year, the LG Gram Pro 16 2-in-1 is one of the more expensive options, but it's absolutely worth it for consumers that want to hit high marks on the trifecta of laptop features: ultraportability, a gorgeous OLED display, and strong performance. There are some tradeoffs with its extremely lightweight design, but for the majority of users, the pros outweigh the cons. 

If the $2,000-plus price point is out of your budget, there are a few other options to consider. The Acer Swift Edge 16 features the same sized OLED screen and weighs slightly more at 2.73 pounds, but will only cost you $1,300. 

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