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LG Gram 13Z980-A (i5-8250U) Laptop Review

Under a kilogram. The LG Gram 13 lives up to its name by being one of the lightest 13.3-inch Ultrabooks currently available. It's not without some sacrifices, however, as its barebone set of hardware features and fragile lid stand out as key disadvantages.

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The LG Gram series aims to offer some of the lightest Ultrabooks in the market. Available sizes so far include 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch models that each share a wide range of similarities. All models, for example, utilize magnesium alloy, Intel U-class CPUs, no discrete GPUs, and no overlying layer of Gorilla Glass in order to cut down on weight as much as possible.

Our test model today is the 13.3-inch Gram 13Z980 to succeed the last generation Gram 13Z970. The material and design are very nearly the same between them save for the revised placement of the webcam and the addition of a fingerprint reader on the Power button. SKUs are very limited at the time of writing with many core features being fixed such as the 1080p resolution, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage with either the Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U ranging from $1100 USD to $1400 USD.

Competitors in the 13-inch space are wide and varied. Popular models are the Dell XPS 13, Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N, Lenovo Yoga 920, Razer Blade Stealth, Asus Zenbook 3, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop to name a few.

LG Gram 13Z980-A (Gram Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 300 MHz, Memory: 1200 MHz, DDR4, 23.20.16.4849
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4-2400 (1200 MHz), SK Hynix, 17-17-17-39
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, Capacitive, LG LP133WF6-SPC1, IPS, ID: LGD05AD, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U + iHDCP 2.2 Base PCH
Storage
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm earphones, Card Reader: MicroSD reader, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15 x 305 x 211 ( = 0.59 x 12.01 x 8.31 in)
Battery
72 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo 1.5 W x2, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, USB Type-C to RJ-45 adapter, Warranty card, Start Guide, LG On-Screen Display 3, Control Center, Update Center, Reader mode, DTS Audio, , 12 Months Warranty
Weight
965 g ( = 34.04 oz / 2.13 pounds), Power Supply: 349 g ( = 12.31 oz / 0.77 pounds)
Price
1200 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Visually, the Gram 13 is similar to the Gram 15 in the same way that the Dell XPS 13 shares defining characteristics and materials with the XPS 15. The chassis utilizes both magnesium and carbon for matte gray surfaces that are slightly rough to the touch without feeling like cheap plastic. The palm rests, lid, and bottom panel are all identical in composition save for the inner black plastic display bezel. Some users may argue that it's an overall dull design since the Gram series is lacking the glossy brushed surfaces or golden chrome-cut edges and corners, but others may appreciate the more business-friendly and understated look.

Chassis quality is excellent from top to bottom with no unintended gaps or defects between materials despite the faux uni-body appearance. The design is MIL-STD 810G-certified against seven different stressful conditions for durability. Chassis rigidity, however, is another story. The lid is again very flexible not unlike on the Samsung NP900X3N or larger LG Gram 15. It is indubitably weaker than the lids of the XPS 13 9360/9370, Razer Blade Stealth, HP Spectre 13, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and the MacBook Air. The comparatively poor rigidity can be attributed to the lack of Gorilla Glass reinforcement, narrow bezels, and very thin skeleton. Those who desire a more strongly built system may want to look outside of the Gram series.

Meanwhile, the rigidity of the base is above average but still yields more to pressure than the examples above. Pushing down on the center of the keyboard, for example, will warp it slightly and attempting to twist the base from its front two corners will cause minor flexing and creaking. The more flexible chassis is perhaps the price to pay for such a lightweight design.

In terms of weight, the Gram 13 is noticeably lighter than most competitors in its size category by a few hundred grams as shown by the comparison tool below. The notable exception is the Samsung NP900X3N which is even lighter by nearly 150 g. Note that the LG system is larger than the latest XPS 13 in all three dimensions while weighing much less for a hollower and less dense first impression. It's clear that the manufacturer designed its Gram series to be a common baggage or backpack item where weight can be a major factor.

Hinge angle up to ~150 degrees. Teetering is moderate when adjusting the display angle
Hinge angle up to ~150 degrees. Teetering is moderate when adjusting the display angle
Matte carbon-aluminum surface is slightly rough in texture
Matte carbon-aluminum surface is slightly rough in texture

Connectivity

Available ports are identical to the Gram 13Z970. It's disappointing to not see LG make any significant changes as there is still no Thunderbolt 3 support or the ability to charge the system via USB Type-C. The former is an odd omission as the latest Gram 15Z980 refresh integrates Thunderbolt 3 and the latter would have discarded the need for a proprietary AC charging port. Otherwise, all ports are easy to reach and evenly distributed between the two sides of the system.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Left: AC adapter, USB 3.0, HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-C Gen. 1
Left: AC adapter, USB 3.0, HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-C Gen. 1
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Right: MicroSD reader, 3.5 mm headphones, USB 3.0, Kensington Lock
Right: MicroSD reader, 3.5 mm headphones, USB 3.0, Kensington Lock

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SD Card Reader

The spring-loaded MicroSD card reader is limited to transfer rates of about 85 MB/s whereas the same MicroSD reader on the XPS 13 9370 can be over twice as fast. Transferring 1 GB worth of images from our UHS-II test card to desktop takes about 15 seconds.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
180 MB/s ∼100% +154%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
71 MB/s ∼39%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
  (Toshiba THN-M401S0640E2)
67.37 MB/s ∼37% -5%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
204.9 MB/s ∼100% +139%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
  (Toshiba THN-M401S0640E2)
88.07 MB/s ∼43% +3%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
85.64 MB/s ∼42%

Communication

WLAN is provided by an Intel 8265 module with integrated Bluetooth 4.2. A real-world test standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 test router returns a transfer rate of 637 Mbps. We experienced no recurring connectivity issues during our time with the unit.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
668 MBit/s ∼100% +5%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
637 MBit/s ∼95%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
588 MBit/s ∼88% -8%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
557 MBit/s ∼100% +8%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
517 MBit/s ∼93% 0%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
517 MBit/s ∼93%

Accessories

A USB Type-C to RJ-45 adapter is included alongside the usual warranty card, setup guide, and AC adapter.

Maintenance

The bottom panel is secured by Philips screws hidden underneath the rubber feet and covers. The rubber feet are glued to the base extremely tightly and removing them would be difficult without scratching the bottom panel. Users can expect dual M.2 2280 bays and only fixed RAM.

Warranty

The standard one-year limited warranty applies while the battery is guaranteed for only half that time frame. LG's warranty information can be found here.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The chiclet keyboard layout (~26.0 x 10.8 cm) is unchanged from the last generation except for the integration of the fingerprint reader on the corner Power button. Key feedback is satisfactory with relatively quiet clatter. The Space key and smaller Directional and Function keys, however, are softer in feedback and could have been firmer. We would have to give the edge to the keyboards of the Samsung NP900X3N and XPS 13 for having stiffer and more uniform key feedback between all keys than the LG.

An integrated keyboard backlight comes standard with just two levels of brightness.

Touchpad

The smooth plastic trackpad (10.5 x 7.0 cm) is larger than the ones on the Samsung NP900X3N (10.0 x 6.0 cm) and XPS 13 9360 (10.5 x 6.0 cm) for easier cursor control and multi-touch gestures. Glide can become slightly sticky when moving very slowly that users may need to become accustomed to.

The integrated mouse buttons offer average tactile feedback and a high-pitched auditory click when pressed. Travel, however, is very spongy and uneven compared to other integrated clickpads like on the XPS 13 or Spectre 13. Pushing down just halfway from a full click will depress a portion of the trackpad surface whereas trackpads on most popular higher-end Ultrabooks are stiffer.

The Power button is almost plane with the chassis surface to reduce the chances of accidental pushes
The Power button is almost plane with the chassis surface to reduce the chances of accidental pushes
Key feedback feels softer than the keys of the HP Spectre 13
Key feedback feels softer than the keys of the HP Spectre 13

Display

The glossy display is limited to 1080p with optional touchscreen. As expected, LG is responsible for providing the panel to its own laptops. Contrast and colors are comparable and typical of competing flagship Ultrabooks. Unfortunately, the display backlight is average as there are a handful of brighter Ultrabooks for better outdoor visibility including the XPS 13 9370 and Samsung NP900X3N. Subjectively, texts and images are crisp and appear very close to the display surface since there is no glass protection.

The touchscreen feels more fragile to use compared to the touchscreens on other Ultrabooks. Its surface warps more easily to pressure and is prone to scratches as well. The consequence of having no Gorilla Glass is very evident and heavy touchscreen users may want to consider an alternative Ultrabook with a stronger lid.

Uneven backlight bleeding is minimal and unnoticeable during movie playback or web browsing.

Enabling "Reader Mode" automatically reduces brightness and mutes Blue colors to reduce eyestrain. The feature is particularly handy when working in dimly lit environments like airplane flights or darkened rooms.

Subpixel array (166 PPI)
Subpixel array (166 PPI)
For such a flexible panel, the backlight is surprisingly even
For such a flexible panel, the backlight is surprisingly even
340.3
cd/m²
342.2
cd/m²
328.3
cd/m²
346.9
cd/m²
347.8
cd/m²
327.7
cd/m²
316.2
cd/m²
322.3
cd/m²
310.9
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 347.8 cd/m² Average: 331.4 cd/m² Minimum: 25.26 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 347.8 cd/m²
Contrast: 966:1 (Black: 0.36 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.37 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2, calibrated: 4.21
ΔE Greyscale 2.5 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
97% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 62.5% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.15
LG Gram 13Z980-A
LG LP133WF6-SPC1, IPS, 13.3, 1920x1080
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
ID: BOE06E1, Name: NV133FHB-N31, IPS, 13.3, 1920x1080
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
SHP1484, IPS, 13.3, 1920x1080
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
AU Optronics AUO422D, IPS, 13.3, 1920x1080
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
AU Optronics B139HAN03.0, IPS, 13.9, 1920x1080
Huawei MateBook X
Chi Mei CMN8201 / P130ZDZ-EF1, , 13.3, 2160x1440
Response Times
-17%
-66%
21%
-18%
13%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
37.6 (19.6, 18)
41.6 (22.8, 18.8)
-11%
62.4 (32.4, 30)
-66%
27 (12, 15)
28%
46 (20.8, 25.2)
-22%
33 (15, 18)
12%
Response Time Black / White *
27.6 (16.8, 10.8)
34 (20, 14)
-23%
45.6 (24.4, 21.2)
-65%
24 (14, 10)
13%
31.6 (18.4, 13.2)
-14%
24 (12, 12)
13%
PWM Frequency
210.1 (99)
1008 (20)
Screen
-10%
-7%
-8%
-54%
11%
Brightness middle
347.8
510.7
47%
428
23%
304
-13%
297.9
-14%
408
17%
Brightness
331
481
45%
405
22%
287
-13%
278
-16%
395
19%
Brightness Distribution
89
90
1%
87
-2%
80
-10%
81
-9%
88
-1%
Black Level *
0.36
0.66
-83%
0.26
28%
0.21
42%
0.44
-22%
0.45
-25%
Contrast
966
774
-20%
1646
70%
1448
50%
677
-30%
907
-6%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.37
2.4
-1%
3.8
-60%
3.66
-54%
5.1
-115%
1.55
35%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
4.21
7.3
-73%
7.2
-71%
5.66
-34%
11
-161%
2.19
48%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
4.21
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.5
2.4
4%
4.4
-76%
3.51
-40%
6.7
-168%
1.91
24%
Gamma
2.15 102%
2.23 99%
2.21 100%
2.55 86%
2.9 76%
2.34 94%
CCT
6384 102%
6747 96%
7067 92%
6955 93%
6839 95%
6491 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62.5
57
-9%
62.8
0%
59
-6%
64.1
3%
61
-2%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97
88.1
-9%
96.4
-1%
91
-6%
91.7
-5%
96
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-14% / -11%
-37% / -17%
7% / -4%
-36% / -48%
12% / 11%

* ... smaller is better

Color space covers almost the entirety of sRGB at 97 percent to be very similar to competing flagship Ultrabooks. The ability to reproduce deep colors accurately should satisfy amateur digital artists.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. Dell XPS 13
vs. Dell XPS 13

Colors and grayscale are accurate even before any calibration attempts. The DeltaE averages for grayscale and colors sit at just 2.5 and 1.71, respectively, when fresh out of the box to be more accurate than many other competing notebooks. Our calibration attempts improve the properties of the display measurably if not only marginally.

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
27.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16.8 ms rise
↘ 10.8 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 58 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 18 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8931 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is poor during overcast days or when under direct sunlight due to the glossy screen and insufficiently bright backlight. It becomes much easier to see onscreen content when under shade if users can cope with moderate-to-strong glare. Viewing angles are wide with no major color shifting if viewing from extreme angles. Apparent brightness drops slightly if not facing directly at the screen.

Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

Current SKUs are limited to the Core i5-8250U or i7-8550U with only 8 GB of RAM and no discrete GPU options. The fixed 8 GB of RAM is sufficient for general home and office use, but it's a bit disappointing to see no 16 GB option.

Processor

CPU performance is where we expect it to be for an i5-8250U, but results can vary because of the cycling clock rates as detailed in our Stress Test section. Running CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop results in a first score 547 points before steadily declining by 13 percent to a more sustainable 475 range as shown below. Users can still expect a performance level similar to the last generation Core i5-7300HQ while the competing AMD Ryzen 5 2500U can be even faster.

See our dedicated page on the Core i5-8250U for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
161 Points ∼74% +13%
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
156 Points ∼72% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
146 Points ∼67% +2%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
145 Points ∼67% +1%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
143 Points ∼66%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
142 Points ∼65% -1%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
131 Points ∼60% -8%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
127 Points ∼58% -11%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
123 Points ∼56% -14%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13.3 2016
Intel Core i5-6200U
118 Points ∼54% -17%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
733 Points ∼17% +40%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
618 Points ∼14% +18%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
523 Points ∼12%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
515 Points ∼12% -2%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
514 Points ∼12% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
367 Points ∼8% -30%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
353 Points ∼8% -33%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
328 Points ∼7% -37%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
316 Points ∼7% -40%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13.3 2016
Intel Core i5-6200U
294 Points ∼7% -44%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.83 Points ∼75% +13%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
1.62 Points ∼66%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
1.61 Points ∼66% -1%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
1.61 Points ∼66% -1%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
1.52 Points ∼62% -6%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
1.48 Points ∼61% -9%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
1.45 Points ∼59% -10%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13.3 2016
Intel Core i5-6200U
1.21 Points ∼50% -25%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
1.16 Points ∼48% -28%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.17 Points ∼30% +68%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
6.91 Points ∼26% +42%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
5.92 Points ∼22% +22%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
4.86 Points ∼18%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
3.96 Points ∼15% -19%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
3.67 Points ∼14% -24%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
3.56 Points ∼13% -27%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
3.4 Points ∼13% -30%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13.3 2016
Intel Core i5-6200U
3.23 Points ∼12% -34%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5939 Points ∼55% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
5595 Points ∼52% +2%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
5497 Points ∼51%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
5433 Points ∼50% -1%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
5145 Points ∼47% -6%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
4975 Points ∼46% -9%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
4779 Points ∼44% -13%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
4473 Points ∼41% -19%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
21978 Points ∼44% +27%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
17971 Points ∼36% +4%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
17267 Points ∼35%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
16466 Points ∼33% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
12799 Points ∼26% -26%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
11373 Points ∼23% -34%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
11324 Points ∼23% -34%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
9158 Points ∼18% -47%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
521.22 s * ∼6% -59%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
489.402 s * ∼6% -49%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
473.575 s * ∼6% -44%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
436.057 s * ∼5% -33%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
375.873 s * ∼4% -15%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
331.085 s * ∼4% -1%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
328.065 s * ∼4%
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
231.67 s * ∼3% +29%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
696.928 Seconds * ∼3% -15%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
654.006 Seconds * ∼3% -7%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel Core i7-6500U
645.84 Seconds * ∼3% -6%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Core i5-7200U
627.687 Seconds * ∼3% -3%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel Core i5-8250U
608.61 Seconds * ∼3%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
Intel Core i7-7500U
594.092 Seconds * ∼3% +2%
Asus FX503VM-EH73
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
590.45 Seconds * ∼3% +3%
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Intel Core i7-7600U
571.795 Seconds * ∼3% +6%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8850
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
17267
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5497
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
4.86 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.62 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
44.49 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
523 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
143 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
50.81 fps
Help

System Performance

PCMark results are in the same ballpark as competing Ultrabooks like the Samsung NP900X3N, Lenovo Yoga 920, and the XPS 13 9370. However, the LG is consistently behind each of them by small margins likely due in part to its comparatively slower primary SSD. Subjectively, we experienced no software issues during our time with the test unit.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5154 Points ∼79% +12%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4906 Points ∼75% +7%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
4786 Points ∼73% +4%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
4592 Points ∼70%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
4562 Points ∼70% -1%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5342 Points ∼56% +61%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5044 Points ∼53% +52%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
5011 Points ∼53% +51%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
4577 Points ∼48% +38%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3308 Points ∼35%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3999 Points ∼66% +23%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3994 Points ∼66% +23%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
3728 Points ∼61% +15%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
3705 Points ∼61% +14%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3241 Points ∼53%
PCMark 10 - Score
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4012 Points ∼52% +19%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3764 Points ∼48% +11%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
3449 Points ∼44% +2%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3381 Points ∼44%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3241 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3308 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4592 points
Help

Storage Devices

nternal storage includes 2x M.2 2280 slots compatible with NVMe SSDs according to the BIOS menu. Strangely, LG is not currently offering any SKUs with NVMe SSDs or dual SSDs as of this writing and so users will need to pry open the bottom panel themselves.

Our test unit is equipped with a 256 GB SK Hynix SSD limited to SATA III transfer rates. While sequential read is good at almost 500 MB/s, sequential write is a bit disappointing at less than half whereas the Samsung SSD in the Samsung NP900X3N reaches 466 MB/s in the same benchmark.

See our table of HDDs and SSDs for more benchmark comparisons.

CDM 5
CDM 5
AS SSD
AS SSD
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
LG Gram 13Z980-A
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13.3 2016
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
AS SSD
28%
8%
180%
72%
Copy Game MB/s
191.66
186.76
-3%
381.23
99%
319.2
67%
225.92
18%
Copy Program MB/s
127.55
213.04
67%
337.82
165%
463.32
263%
156.35
23%
Copy ISO MB/s
204.5
335.88
64%
694.82
240%
1340.54
556%
297.84
46%
Score Total
997
1057
6%
1879
88%
2536
154%
2266
127%
Score Write
316
350
11%
105
-67%
608
92%
360
14%
Score Read
453
463
2%
1201
165%
1316
191%
1293
185%
Access Time Write *
0.235
0.053
77%
2.294
-876%
0.028
88%
0.034
86%
Access Time Read *
0.084
0.066
21%
0.073
13%
0.044
48%
0.069
18%
4K-64 Write
231.25
223.84
-3%
69.68
-70%
391.27
69%
223.74
-3%
4K-64 Read
376.66
379.44
1%
1020.29
171%
1039.22
176%
1121.81
198%
4K Write
60.97
79.23
30%
1.07
-98%
128.14
110%
107.74
77%
4K Read
27.16
31.24
15%
45.86
69%
48.46
78%
38.11
40%
Seq Write
241.7
466.02
93%
337.45
40%
885.3
266%
282.61
17%
Seq Read
496.37
519.84
5%
1350.57
172%
2281.75
360%
1331.91
168%

* ... smaller is better

SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 554.1 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 254.9 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 214.4 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 197.2 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 480.7 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 255.2 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 25.67 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 73.92 MB/s

GPU Performance

The integrated UHD Graphics 620 performs consistently faster than the HD Graphics 620 found on 7th generation Intel U-class CPUs by marginal deltas. The difference is not enough to be very noticeable when gaming and the Gram 13 is no different. Most modern 3D titles are unplayable at the native 1080p resolution even with all graphics options turned to Low. Users looking for the occasional game of DOTA 2, LoL, or PUBG may want to consider Ultrabooks with the significantly more capable GeForce MX150 or the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U.

See our dedicated page on the UHD Graphics 620 for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Ice Storm
Ice Storm
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
4226 Points ∼23% +165%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 7500U
2975 Points ∼16% +86%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
2683 Points ∼15% +68%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
2193 (min: 2057, max: 2200) Points ∼12% +37%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
1597 Points ∼9%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8350U
1279 Points ∼7% -20%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel HD Graphics 615, 7Y54
1181 Points ∼7% -26%
HP 250 G6 2UB93ES
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6006U
1112 Points ∼6% -30%
1280x720 Performance GPU
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
4631 Points ∼9% +161%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
3549 Points ∼7% +100%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 7500U
2849 Points ∼6% +61%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
2379 (min: 2355, max: 2425) Points ∼5% +34%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
1773 Points ∼3%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8350U
1606 Points ∼3% -9%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel HD Graphics 615, 7Y54
1256 Points ∼2% -29%
HP 250 G6 2UB93ES
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6006U
1220 Points ∼2% -31%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
3628 Points ∼9% +221%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 7500U
2340 Points ∼6% +107%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
2310 Points ∼6% +105%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
1541 (min: 1484, max: 1547) Points ∼4% +36%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
1129 Points ∼3%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8350U
959 Points ∼2% -15%
HP 250 G6 2UB93ES
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6006U
755 Points ∼2% -33%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
21153 Points ∼11% +132%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
15186 Points ∼8% +66%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 7500U
13362 Points ∼7% +46%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
11495 (min: 10969, max: 11750) Points ∼6% +26%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
9132 Points ∼5%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8350U
8104 Points ∼4% -11%
HP 250 G6 2UB93ES
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6006U
6286 Points ∼3% -31%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
80859 Points ∼11% +59%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
68150 Points ∼9% +34%
LG Gram 13Z980-A
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
50888 Points ∼7%
Lenovo ThinkPad 25
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 7500U
45638 Points ∼6% -10%
3DMark 11 Performance
1965 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
59410 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7325 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1014 points
Help
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 633529.29.7fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 21.513.5fps

Stress Test

We stress the notebook with synthetic benchmarks to identify for any potential throttling or stability or issues. When subjected to Prime95 stress, the CPU can be observed fluctuating in both clock rates and temperature instead of simply maintaining flat results. The outcome is a steady roller coaster ride of frequencies ranging from 1.7 GHz to 2.3 GHz and a relatively wide temperature range of 73 C to 81 C as shown by our screenshot below. Note that the base clock rate of the i5-8250U is 1.6 GHz and so the fluctuating characteristics are intentional in order to provide as much Turbo Boost as possible for the notebook. Of course, a steady clock rate of 2.3 GHz would have been preferred, but probably impossible given the overlying cooling solution.

Running Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously produces similar fluctuating characteristics but at lower clock rates and at the same 73 C to 81 C temperature range as above. The CPU throttles to as low as 1.0 GHz when under these unrealistic conditions.

Performance is not throttled if running on batteries. A 3DMark 11 run on battery power returns Physics and Graphics scores of 6443 and 1754 points, respectively, compared to 6453 and 1773 points when on mains.

System idle
System idle
Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 1.7 - 2.3 -- 73 - 81
FurMark Stress -- 947 82 - 85
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 1.0 - 1.4 550 - 850 73 - 81

Emissions

System Noise

The system fan will idle during low loads for a completely silent experience when web browsing, word processing, or streaming. Fan noise steadily increases when running 3DMark 06 from a silent background of 28.1 dB(A) to 29.5 dB(A), 32 dB(A), and then finally to a stable 34.3 dB(A) when halfway into the first benchmark scene. This maximum is still relatively quiet and never intrusive even when under gaming loads. Most competing Ultrabooks also top out at the mid 30 dB(A) range.

Our test unit suffers from slight coil whine or electronic noise. Fortunately, it is inaudible from a normal distance and only noticeable when placing an ear near the keybord keys.

Noise Level

Idle
28.1 / 28.1 / 28.1 dB(A)
Load
34.3 / 34.3 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.1 dB(A)
LG Gram 13Z980-A
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13.3 2016
GeForce 940MX, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Noise
-1%
-3%
-3%
-2%
-13%
off / environment *
28.1
28.4
-1%
29.1
-4%
30.13
-7%
28
-0%
31.15
-11%
Idle Minimum *
28.1
28.4
-1%
29.1
-4%
30.13
-7%
28
-0%
31.15
-11%
Idle Average *
28.1
28.4
-1%
29.1
-4%
30.13
-7%
28.8
-2%
31.15
-11%
Idle Maximum *
28.1
28.4
-1%
29.1
-4%
30.13
-7%
30.3
-8%
31.15
-11%
Load Average *
34.3
33.2
3%
32.2
6%
31.5
8%
34.5
-1%
38.2
-11%
Load Maximum *
34.3
35.2
-3%
37.3
-9%
33.5
2%
34.3
-0%
41.7
-22%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Rear exhaust
Rear exhaust

Surface temperatures are warmest around the center quadrants and coolest on the palm rests. Although the keyboard keys never become uncomfortably warm no matter the load, the rear quadrant can be as warm as 42 C when under high loads because of the very short heat pipe. Still, this hot spot can be easily ignored when working on a desk or on the lap. Competing models like the Samsung NP900X3N and XPS 13 9370 can be as warm as 40 C and 45 C, respectively, when subjected to similar high loads.

System idle (top)
System idle (top)
System idle (bottom)
System idle (bottom)
Maximum stress (top)
Maximum stress (top)
Maximum stress (bottom)
Maximum stress (bottom)
Max. Load
 30.2 °C
86 F
40.2 °C
104 F
29 °C
84 F
 
 29.8 °C
86 F
37 °C
99 F
25.8 °C
78 F
 
 24 °C
75 F
24.6 °C
76 F
23 °C
73 F
 
Maximum: 40.2 °C = 104 F
Average: 29.3 °C = 85 F
41.4 °C
107 F
42.4 °C
108 F
33.4 °C
92 F
31.6 °C
89 F
32.2 °C
90 F
32.6 °C
91 F
28.6 °C
83 F
30 °C
86 F
30.4 °C
87 F
Maximum: 42.4 °C = 108 F
Average: 33.6 °C = 92 F
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C = 99 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 29.3 °C / 85 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.2 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 42.4 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.9 °C / 79 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 25 °C / 77 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(+) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (+4.1 °C / 7.4 F).

Speakers

The stereo 3 W (1.5 W x 2) speakers are above average in quality especially when considering the light weight of the system. The pink noise chart below shows speaker quality to be almost comparable to the XPS 13 and Spectre 13. It's good to see the manufacturer not cheap out on the speakers of the system like most netbooks and affordable notebooks may do.

A notable drawback to the speakers is that the chassis tends to vibrate more than other Ultrabooks when on higher volume settings. The shaking may potentially agitate users if listening to music or watching a movie.

LG Gram 13z980
LG Gram 13z980
Dell XPS 13 9370
Dell XPS 13 9370
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2036.534.336.52533.433.733.43133.832.233.8403432.834503331.3336331.731.131.78030.531.430.51003029.33012528.929.328.916037.227.637.220043.626.143.62505025.85031554265440058.225.258.250061.724.861.763064.224.164.280066.823.866.8100069.723.969.7125066.623.666.6160065.323.365.3200061.62361.6250058.72358.7315056.922.856.9400055.722.955.7500060.322.860.3630069.522.869.5800068.622.868.61000062.722.962.71250060.12360.11600064.22364.2SPL76.935.576.9N38.82.538.8median 60.3median 23.6median 60.3Delta7.21.17.235.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6median 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLG Gram 13Z980-AApple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
LG Gram 13Z980-A audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (69.71 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 19.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.5% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.2% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (10.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 74% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 18% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 56% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 37% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 96% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 19%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Idling on desktop consumes anywhere between 4 W to 8 W depending on the Power profile and brightness setting. Medium load with 3DMark 06 already stresses the processor close to its limits for a total average draw of 36 W to be very similar to other Ultrabooks without dedicated GPUs. The small (~10.5 x 5.0 x 2.6 cm) 65 W AC adapter and is more than enough for an Ultrabook with an Intel U-class series processor.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.19 / 0.47 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.9 / 7.3 / 7.4 Watt
Load midlight 36.1 / 35.8 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
LG Gram 13Z980-A
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.9
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
5350U, HD Graphics 6000, Apple SSD SM0128G, TN LED, 1440x900, 13.3
Power Consumption
-21%
4%
5%
8%
5%
Idle Minimum *
3.9
3.8
3%
3.14
19%
2.8
28%
3.1
21%
3.4
13%
Idle Average *
7.3
11
-51%
5.22
28%
6.2
15%
6.6
10%
6.3
14%
Idle Maximum *
7.4
11.3
-53%
6
19%
9.4
-27%
7
5%
7
5%
Load Average *
36.1
35.6
1%
38.5
-7%
32.2
11%
35.2
2%
34.5
4%
Load Maximum *
35.8
37.2
-4%
50.4
-41%
36.6
-2%
34.6
3%
40
-12%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

LG has impressively upped the battery capacity of the Gram 13Z980 to 72 Wh compared to the 60 Wh battery in the last generation Gram 13Z970 without significantly changing the weight of the system. When considering the very low weight of the notebook, the battery is extraordinarily large for its size class as even the batteries of the competing XPS 13 9370 and Samsung NP900X3N are much smaller at 52 Wh and 30 Wh, respectively. Runtimes are subsequently very long at over 12 hours of constant web surfing before automatic shutdown. Owners can comfortably use the Gram 13 throughout the entire workday without needing to recharge.

Speaking of recharging, the battery charges very slowly with the included AC adapter. Charging from near empty to full capacity will take about 2.5 hours compared to almost half that on most Ultrabooks.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
12h 04min
LG Gram 13Z980-A
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 72 Wh
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 30 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 43 Wh
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 70 Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)
5350U, HD Graphics 6000, 54 Wh
Battery Runtime
-61%
-11%
-51%
-5%
-12%
Reader / Idle
695
1417
1655
WiFi v1.3
724
279
-61%
644
-11%
352
-51%
685
-5%
638
-12%
Load
60
119
104
140

Pros

+ long battery life; large battery capacity
+ accurate colors out-of-the-box
+ normal webcam placement
+ MIL-STD 810G certification
+ 2x M.2 2280 NVMe slots
+ fingerprint reader
+ very lightweight
+ MicroSD reader
+ quiet fan noise
+ large trackpad
+ crisp screen

Cons

- reliant on proprietary AC adapter; cannot charge system through USB Type-C
- no Gorilla Glass reinforcement; flimsy and flexible lid
- limited to 1080p and 8 GB of RAM only
- display backlight could be brighter
- serviceability could be easier
- screen is prone to scratches
- no discrete GPU options
- relatively slow charging
- spongy trackpad keys
- no Thunderbolt 3

Verdict

In review: LG Gram 13Z980-A
In review: LG Gram 13Z980-A

The Gram 13 exhibits unique sets of advantages and disadvantages compared to other notebooks. On the plus side, its display is more accurate out-of-the-box than many other Ultrabooks and battery life is surprisingly long. This latter aspect is particularly noteworthy as heavier alternatives like the XPS 13 or Spectre 13 both clock in comparatively shorter runtimes. In contrast to the Samsung NP900X3N, the LG is proof that battery life does not have to suffer when aiming for a super lightweight design.

The major negatives of the system are hard to ignore when placed alongside the list of positives. The lid is far too fragile and flexible especially for a touchscreen and the very limited variations in SKUs make the Gram 13 feel less capable than more popular Ultrabooks. The XPS 13, Samsung NP900X3N, and Spectre 13, for example, have Intel iris or 4K, GeForce MX150 graphics, and Thunderbolt 3 options, respectively, that the Gram 13 is completely lacking. It's a more barebones experience with the LG since users are sacrificing performance and features in the name of portability and weight.

Other key attributes like chassis rigidity, keyboard and trackpad feedback, and screen brightness are merely average if not slightly below popular competitors. As light as the Gram 13 may be, it is not the best outdoor companion since there are brighter and more unyielding Ultrabooks out there in this price range.

If outdoor visibility is paramount, then the Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N is the significantly brighter option while weighing less than the LG. Its light weight, long battery life, and dual M.2 slots are the major attributes the Gram 13 has over most of its competition. Otherwise, the barren system offers nothing enticing or indispensable for the high $1200 USD starting price.

LG Gram 13Z980-A - 04/13/2018 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
71 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
76%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
48 / 81 → 59%
Weight
76 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
95%
Display
87%
Games Performance
59 / 85 → 69%
Application Performance
84 / 92 → 92%
Temperature
92%
Noise
97 / 95 → 100%
Audio
64%
Camera
42 / 85 → 50%
Average
75%
82%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > LG Gram 13Z980-A (i5-8250U) Laptop Review
Allen Ngo, 2018-04-13 (Update: 2018-04-14)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.