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HomeReviewsLG Gram 14T90P convertible review: The Lenovo Yoga and HP Spectre challenger

LG Gram 14T90P convertible review: The Lenovo Yoga and HP Spectre challenger


The 16:10 LG Gram 14T90P succeeds the older generation 16:9 Gram 14T90N by introducing faster Intel 11th gen processor options and a new chassis design to be a full-fledged series refresh. Much like all the other Gram models, the Gram 14T90P aims to maximize display quality while minimizing weight to be one of the lightest Core U-series laptops for its size category. Our unit in review has been configured with the Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 16 GB of soldered RAM, 512 GB NVMe SSD, and a 14-inch 1200p IPS touchscreen for approximately $1000 to $1100 USD retail. Other SKUs are available with the Core i7-1165G7 instead, but all come with the same 1200p panel. Direct competitors in this space include other high-end subnotebook convertibles like the Asus Zenbook Flip 14 , HP Spectre x360 14 , Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 , MSI Summit E13 Flip , or Lenovo Yoga 9 14 . More LG reviews: The chassis design is essentially a miniaturized version of the recent 16-inch Gram 16T90P . It may not be as visually striking the Dell XPS, HP Spectre, or Asus Zenbook series, but it makes up for this by being both lighter and certified under MIL-STD 810G specifications. Its base and lid are also firmer than on the older Gram 14T90N with minimal twisting and no creaking to be less prone to flexing or damage than with the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 series . Dimensions are slightly different than on the preceding Gram 14T90N, but overall volume and weight are nearly the same. Thus, users are getting a larger 16:10 touchscreen without necessitating a larger or heavier chassis. The system is about 100 g to 200 g lighter than most competing convertibles as well which is noticeable when handling or traveling. Port options are identical to the larger Gram 16T90P. The Gram 14T90P has dropped the HDMI port and Kensington lock slot as found on the Gram 14Z90P or Gram 14T90N while offering fewer options than the 14Z90P. There is just one full-size USB-A port instead of two, for example, meaning owners are encouraged to utilize USB-C accessories or docking stations instead. Pressing the button along the right edge turns the display on or off. It’s a strange feature that we don’t see on many other convertibles and it’s unfortunately not user customizable. Transfer rates from the spring-loaded MicroSD card reader are average at around 85 MB/s. Moving 1 GB of pictures from our UHS-II card to desktop takes about 15 seconds to be similar to all other Gram models thus far. An Intel AX201 comes standard for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 support. We experienced no connectivity issues when paired to our Asus GT-AXE11000 unlike what we observed on the recent Asus Zenbook Pro 15 . The camera is only 720p with no support for Windows Hello or even a privacy shutter. This definitely needs addressing on future models. Much like with every other Gram laptop thus far, the bottom panel was designed to be very difficult to open as screws are hidden underneath stickers and rubber feet. It’s a shame because the system can support up to two internal M.2 2280 SSDs instead of one for additional storage space, but LG has made it annoyingly difficult for owners to add their own drives. Both RAM and WLAN are soldered and not user-upgradeable. Since we were unable to open our test unit without damaging it, we can refer to the official FCC images here . The retail box includes a Wacom active stylus pen alongside the usual paperwork and AC adapter. The standard one-year limited warranty applies. Feedback from the keyboard keys is noticeably firmer and less spongy than on most other Ultrabooks. If you’re used to typing on softer keyboard keys like on an Asus Vivobook, HP Pavilion, Lenovo IdeaPad, or even the Razer Blade, then you’ll be in for a surprise at how much stiffer the keys are on the Gram 14T90P. A consequence of the firmer keys, however, is louder-than-average clatter for a slightly noisier typing experience. We’re less impressed by the clickpad when compared to the keyboard. Though it’s larger than the clickpad on the Gram 14T90N (11.3 x 7 cm vs. 10.5 x 6.5 cm) for easier cursor control and multi-touch inputs, feedback from clicking is too soft and quiet. Firmer feedback would have made for a more satisfying feel. The LG Gram 14T90P uses the same high quality LG Philips LP140WU1-SPA1 IPS panel as found on the Gram 14Z90P . Thus, attributes such as color reproduction, response times, and contrast are pretty much equal between them for a very similar viewing experience. When compared to the display on the Gram 14T90N, our Gram 14T90P offers deeper colors and slightly faster black-white and gray-gray response times without impacting brightness or contrast. Even so, we’d love to see OLED and/or 90 Hz panels in the future as such features are becoming the norm on high-end subnotebooks like on the competing Asus Zenbook Flip 14 . LG advertises 99 percent DCI-P3 coverage and we can confirm as much with our own X-Rite colorimeter. Calculating AdobeRGB results in an error strangely enough, but coverage should nonetheless be very similar at ~99 percent. This is one of the few 14-inch 16:10 IPS panels to offer a similar gamut to most OLED panels. The display is decently calibrated out of the box. Average grayscale and ColorChecker DeltaE values would sit at just 1.9 and 3.31, respectively. At 300 nits, the display is bright enough for indoor conditions but not nearly where it needs to be for comfortable viewing outdoors. Alternatives like the Dell XPS 13 9310 2-in-1 or MSI Summit E13 Flip have much brighter displays at over 500 nits each to be more easily viewable outdoors. Our unit was set to Performance mode prior to running any performance benchmarks for the highest possible scores. It’s highly recommend to become familiar with the pre-installed LG Control Center software as key settings and features are toggled here as shown by the screenshots below. Annoyingly, the software UI is very small and it cannot be maximized. Note that the system will automatically reset to Balanced mode after every reboot or shut down even if the power profile was set to Silent or Performance beforehand. CPU performance is within a few percentage points of the average laptop in our database equipped with the same Core i5-1135G7 processor. Thus, performance isn’t being throttled by too much just to fit onto an ultralight convertible chassis design. Upgrading to the Core i7-1165G7 SKU has the potential to boost multi-thread performance by up to 25 percent, but it will likely be much less as the Core i5 in our configuration can already reach temperatures of over 90 C. Turbo Boost sustainability is good but not perfect. When running CineBench R15 xT in a loop, our initial score of 796 points would eventually fall and stabilize at about 666 points to represent a performance drop of 16 percent over time due to thermal limitations. Both the Dell Latitude 14 and Acer Swift 3 SF314 are able to run the same processor consistently faster as shown by our comparison graph below. PCMark 10 results are generally higher than on the older Gram 14T90N especially in the Digital Content Creation subtest where GPU performance is favored. Our Productivity score, however, is lower for reasons unknown. LatencyMon shows minor DPC issues when opening multiple browser tabs on our homepage. 4K video playback at 60 FPS is otherwise perfect with absolutely no dropped frames. Our unit comes with the same 512 GB Samsung PM981a PCIe3 x4 NVMe SSD as on the Gram 14T90N even though the Tiger Lake-UP3 motherboard should be able to support PCIe4 x4 end-user upgrades for faster speeds. Nonetheless, the PM981a has no issues sustaining its maximum transfer rate of ~3400 MB/s over extended periods in our tests. It remains one of the fastest PCIe3 NVMe drives for consumers. Graphics performance from the integrated Iris Xe 80 EUs is excellent and faster than on most other laptops equipped with the same GPU. When compared to the more common Core i7 Iris Xe 96 EUs , our Core i5 Iris Xe 80 EUs can be about 15 to 30 percent slower. It’s still a significant upgrade from the UHD Graphics 620 on the older Gram 14T90N nonetheless. Unfortunately, performance is not as steady as we would like. When idling on Witcher 3 at Low 720p settings, for example, frame rates would fluctuate between 75 and 85 FPS instead of remaining steady throughout like on most other laptops. Running Fire Strike two times in a row would also result in a relatively wide Physics score discrepancy (10017 points vs. 11226 points). We recommend enabling vsync to limit screen tearing and unsteady frame times. Fan noise behavior is similar to what we observed on the Gram 14T90N which was already a relatively quiet machine. We’re able to measure just 28.3 dB(A) even after running the first benchmark scene of 3DMark 06 to be quieter than the Dell XPS 13, Lenovo Yoga 9 14 , and Asus ZenBook Flip 14 when under similar conditions. Fan noise appears to top out at 35 dB(A) when gaming or if the CPU is at 100 percent utilization. Surface temperatures are cooler than what we observed on the competing Lenovo Yoga 9 14IAP7 when running low loads while they are about the same between them when running more demanding loads. Hot spots are nearest the keyboard center where it can reach 40 C to be comparable to the Gram 14T90N or aforementioned Lenovo. When stressed under Prime95, the CPU would boost to 3.5 GHz and 95 C for a few seconds before steadily dropping and eventually stabilizing at 2.1 GHz and 73 C. We suspect that the processor won’t stabilize at higher clock rates to keep skin temperature in check. CPU TDP would be as high as 47 W during the start of the test before stabilizing at just 18 W as a result. In comparison, running this same test on the HP Spectre x360 14 with the Core i7-1165G7 would result in a cycling CPU clock rate and temperature of 2.1 – 3.4 GHz and 75 – 95 C, respectively, for higher performance on average. Running on Performance mode results in both higher clock rates and temperatures as shown by our graphs and table below. Performance will not be limited if running on battery power as Fire Strike scores on mains and on batteries are very similar. The system is very power efficient consuming just 2 W to 7 W when idling on desktop depending on the power profile and brightness setting. Running gaming-level loads will demand around 45 W or about 36 percent more power than on the LG Gram 14T90N. GPU performance is at least 2x to 3x faster, however, and so the higher power consumption is well worth the gains in graphics. We’re able to record a maximum temporary draw of 66 W from the small (~9.8 x 6 x 2.7 cm) 65 W USB-C AC adapter when the CPU is at 100 percent utilization. Battery capacity is the same as on the older Gram 14T90N at 72 Wh. Perhaps uncoincidentally, their WLAN runtimes are also nearly identical at just over 12 hours of real-world browsing use. It’s good to see battery life not take a hit even though processor performance has gone up significantly when compared to 10th gen Comet Lake-U. Charging from empty to full capacity is very slow at 2.5 hours compared to 1.5 hours or faster on most other Ultrabooks. The lighter-than-average weight, crisp 16:10 DCI-P3 touchscreen, and excellent battery life are all highlights of the Gram 14T90P. Its new design is stronger without adding any weight to maintain one of the biggest advantages of the 14-inch Gram series over competitors like the heavier Lenovo Yoga 9 14 , HP Spectre x360 14 , or Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 . The chassis may be slightly less rigid, but the weight savings may be worth the drawback for travelers or students. The Gram 14T90P is the full-fledged update that the 14-inch Gram series needed. Unfortunately, there is a decent list of pitfalls that we would love to see improved. The slow charge rate, unsteady frame rates when gaming, spongy clickpad, average display brightness, lack of Windows Hello support, difficult serviceability, and average hinge rigidity all bring down an otherwise excellent 14-inch convertible. If LG can fix these major drawbacks while maintaining the low weight, then the Gram 14 would easily stand toe-to-toe with more popular alternatives from Dell, Lenovo, or HP. The LG Gram 14T90P is now widely available across most retailers. Amazon has SKUs in stock ranging from $800 USD up to $1400 USD .

From: notebookcheck

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