Any laptop user who routinely works with numbers faces the same challenge – they either need to use an external keyboard or carry a separate numeric keypad to work efficiently. Either way, it’s a pain: one more thing to carry around, extra weight, and it makes it virtually impossible to use the laptop on, well, your lap.
LG sought to solve that problem with the 15.6-inch 2023 Gram SuperSlim, list price C$1,699.99. In a sleek package that weighs less than a kilogram (990 grams, to be precise), it manages to include a powerful computer, good-sized FHD OLED screen, and (ta-da) a backlit keyboard complete with numeric keypad.
It features a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris XE graphics, 32 GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, offering plenty of power and storage for the most demanding tasks.
My only complaint about the screen, which is crisp and bright, is that it’s only full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution; for me, that’s the bare minimum – I’ve been spoiled using QHD (2560 x 1440) displays. A lot more fits on the screen at higher resolutions (though of course, it’s smaller). It’s a matter of taste, and what makes your eyeballs happy.
But if the 15.6-inch screen isn’t enough, LG has also launched the C$500 16-inch +view external display that connects to the Gram via USB C.
The system comes with Windows 11 Home, and its Windows Hello biometric security is via facial recognition. There is no fingerprint reader.
The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to, since the laptop is a bit narrower than a standalone keyboard, but the keys are in the right places. I found that, because the machine is so slim (less than half an inch thick), the key travel is very slight – too little for my taste.
And users may be somewhat baffled by the alternate characters printed on the keys – they include both standard English characters and those for Canadian French (which won’t work unless you’ve chosen the Canadian multilingual keyboard in Windows). But those are quibbles – the system, on the whole, works very well.
While the port collection isn’t spectacular, it is adequate: a couple of USB 4 type C ports with power delivery, display port, and Thunderbolt 4 support, plus a USB 3.2 type C port and an audio jack. The A/C adapter uses one of the USB ports. You’ll need a dongle or a hub for any other connections.
I was not impressed with the battery life, though. Slim and sleek equals less room for batteries, and it shows. Despite manufacturer ratings that claim much better, I got 5ish hours under my normal use. But, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.
I also found that the system uses power even after it has been shut down – for example, on one occasion, at shutdown, battery was at six per cent, but when I rebooted, it was down to two per cent. Another time, it powered off at 66 per cent, but when I rebooted two days later, it was down to 49 per cent.
That said, the LG Gram SuperSlim compensates for these shortcomings with its performance and impossibly light weight. And with that all-important numeric keypad, which makes working with spreadsheets and other number-centric tasks so much easier.