Both the XPS 15 and 17 with their sleeker lines and the MacBook Pro 16 with its understated elegance are better-looking machines. Note that the Gram 16 is also available in white and black color schemes – those might add a bit of panache.
2 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. That beats the XPS 15, which has two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, a single USB-C 3.1 port, and no HDMI port.
The Gram 16 I reviewed used the Core i7-1165G7, a popular Tiger Lake processor that provides solid productivity performance and can dip into low-end content creation. As most manufacturers have been doing lately, LG provides a utility that allows switching between quiet, optimal, and performance modes. Switching between them adjusts performance against fan noise, and in the case of the Gram 16, you’ll want to make use of the utility.
The use of a U-series CPU is important here – most larger laptops, like the Dell XPS 15 and 17 and MacBook Pro 16, use 45-watt H-series CPUs that are much faster for the creative pros who typically choose laptops at these sizes. This is particularly true when you consider the GPU, where the Gram 16 is limited to Intel’s Iris Xe graphics, which are nowhere near as fast as the discrete graphics available in the competition.
In optimal mode, the Gram 16 is an underwhelming performer. As with most such utilities, this didn’t show up in Geekbench 5, where there wasn’t much difference between modes – the Gram 16 is a solid performer in this benchmark, coming in a few points above laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and visalia sugar daddy the Razer Book 13 (which uses the faster Core i7-1185G7). The XPS 15 and MacBook Pro 16 use 45-watt 10th-gen H-series CPUs and, as mentioned, are much faster as a result.
In our Handbrake test, though, which encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Gram 16 took over 3.5 minutes in optimal mode and just under three minutes in performance mode. Both scores are within about 10 seconds of the Dell XPS 13, and faster than most other laptops with the same CPU. The XPS 15 finished in just over two minutes. We didn’t test the MacBook Pro 16 using the same version of Handbrake and so can’t provide that comparison.
In Cinebench R23, the Gram 16 was slow at 4,137 in multi-core mode and 1,394 in single-core mode in the optimal setting. That’s well behind laptops like the XPS 13 and Razer Book 13. In performance mode, though, the scores jumped to 4,718 and 1,415. These aren’t the fastest we’ve seen – the HP Spectre x360 14, for example, scored 4,847 and 1,404 in its performance mode – but it’s in line with the rest of the field. We didn’t test either the XPS 15 or the MacBook Pro 16 in Cinebench R23, but we guarantee they’d both be faster thanks to their more powerful CPUs.
Finally, I ran PCMark 10’s Complete benchmark and didn’t see much difference between optimal and performance modes. The Gram 16 scored 4,887 in performance mode in the overall score, and 9,687, 6,886, and 4,749 in the Essentials, Productivity, and Content Creation tests, respectively. These scores are good for the CPU, with the Spectre x360 14, for example, scoring 4,796, 9760, 6340, and 4,837.
Overall, the Gram 16 provided snappy performance throughout my testing. It’s exactly what I expected to see in a laptop with its specifications, and I never experienced anything that gave me pause about the laptop’s performance even in optimal mode – with one exception.