A new ultra portable laptop was recently launched by LG. Although it’s a bit heavier than the previous model, the 14Z950, the newer LG gram Touch 15Z960 features the same expansive features we’ve come to expect from this kind of device.
The LG gram Touch 15Z960-T.AA52U1 is an ultrabook by all intents and purposes. It’s light, practical, has an i5 processor, an SSD and a machined uni-body chassis. The MSRP price is also indicative of this reality, costing around $1300 at the time of this review.
If dishing out money is your thing, there’s also an i7 model available for those professionals who need more power and storage space out of their device. I’ve decided to cover the 15Z960-T.AA52U1 simply because it’s what most users will find adequate for their needs.
When talking about design and construction, the LG gram is easily comparable with a much more popular laptop, the Dell XPS. It features the same thin screen bezel and has a uni-body construction out of magnesium alloy. Although it may seem fragile at first, this is a laptop that will withstand heavy abuse without taking damage.
It only comes in one color, a washed out and somewhat discrete gold, which works well with the overall thin and delicate lines. A full sized keyboard is present, with keys large enough for any finger size. Also, the large trackpad is positioned centrally on the palm rest.
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One noteworthy aspect is the placement of the power button – in the top right corner, on top of the NumLock key.
Another is the unfortunate positioning of the webcam. It’s placed right below the screen, on the same level as the rotating hinges. This design shortcoming may have the unwanted effect of showing your face from an unflattering angle while engaged in Skype calls.
Powered by a 6th generation Intel i5 processor, the LG gram Touch 15Z960-T.AA52U1 will surely exceed your expectations when it comes to computing power. The dual core Intel Core i5-6200U CPU has a base frequency of 2.3 GHz that goes up to 2.8 GHz, 3 megabytes of cache and a thermal design power of 15 Watts. This is an ideal processor for any user, be it a professional, an artist or an average Joe. It provides enough oomph to run all the programs you may throw at it and won’t freeze when strained by intensive tasks.
The LG gram Touch 15Z960-T.AA52U1 comes with 8 gigabytes of DDR3L-1600 RAM. As far as system memory goes, I’d say it’s an adequate amount. The LG can handle heavy multitasking, a host of open browser tabs and large data sets, not to mention smoothly running photo editing or music editing software.
System memory is capped at 8 gigs, but even if it were possible to double it, I’d advise against it since only slot is available and therefore the memory runs in a single channel configuration. This leads to a slight decrease in performance when compared to dual channel configurations, but isn’t significant enough to notice.
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The storage medium, a fast solid state drive, seals the deal in terms of speed and reliability. It’s more lightweight, more energy efficient and more dependable than a hard disk drive, not to mention the performance benefits. Windows will boot up in seconds, with demanding programs launching in 2-3 seconds tops. The only drawback is the rather limited storage capacity. At 256 gigabytes, some folks may find themselves short on space, especially if using the laptop to edit large photo files, movies or music. For those scenarios, you can always use an external hard drive/SSD for both backup and additional storage purposes.
Graphics and display
The LG gram Touch 15Z960 comes with an integrated video card, the Intel HD Graphics 520. It’s not intended for gaming, but rather for HD video playback and normal, every-day tasks. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to game, but performance and frame rates will be rather mediocre at best. It’s OK to use it to supplement your photo editing efforts, as the system memory/processor/solid state drive combo will take most of the load.
As we’d expect with a premium ultrabook, the display quality is superb. The LG gram features a 15.6″ screen with Full HD IPS LED-backlit display, giving it an impressive viewing angle and vivid colors. And with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 which is ideally suited for a 15-inch screen, the LG’s thin bezel only accents the quality and impressive color range of its display.
LG have managed to stay in line with the times and add relevant ports to their I/O configuration. The available options should prove plenty for most users:
- 1 x USB-C port
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x USB 2.0 port
- 1 x HDMI-out
- 1 x Audio Combo Jack
- 1 x microSD Card Reader
Surprisingly enough, the LG gram Touch 15Z960-T.AA52U1 can be connected to a wired network via the USB-C port. You just need to plug the Ethernet cable inside a USB-C RJ-45 adaptor and you’re good to go. The LAN supports 10/100 Mbps connections.
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Also, wireless network access is achieved via a dual band Intel Wireless-AC7265 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi card. You’ll notice increased transfer rates, improved signal quality and increased range with the new 802.11ac wireless protocol. The LG also has built-in Bluetooth 4.0.
Unlike the 14-inch model or even its lighter 15-inch siblings (the 15Z960-A.AA52U1 and 15Z960-A.AA75U1 models), this iteration of the gram series has a bigger capacity 2-cell Li-Polymer, 6850 mAh battery pack, which will ensure more screen time: up to 10.5 hours to be exact, although real life variations may occur.
It’s enough to get you through a day’s worth of work without needing to charge it. It’s therefore a great notebook choice for both avid travelers and traveling professionals.
The LG gram Touch 15Z960-T.AA52U1 is very light. Not so much as the gram models with less battery life, but still it weighs just 2.4 pounds. Exceptionally lightweight for a 15-inch laptop, the LG is also very thin, measuring just 0.66 inches from the top lid to its underside.
This featherweight notebook should be any traveler’s dream, especially since you also get the benefit of having a larger screen, great performance and prolonged battery life, all in a package that weighs 1080 grams or 2.4 pounds.
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With drawbacks that are easily disregarded, the LG gram Touch 15Z960-T.AA52U1 is a fairly priced premium ultrabook. Built for professionals on the go, business travelers and avid backpackers as well, this laptop is the embodiment of what mobile computing should look like: elegant, powerful, long-lifed and lightweight.