LG Gram Ultraslim vs. MacBook Air M2: battle of the thinnest laptops

Apple’s MacBook Air M2 brought about a complete redesign of the iconic machine, as it lost he wedge and adopted the boxier, simpler design of the newer and larger MacBook Pros. It also slimmed down considerably to 0.44 inches, making it one of the thinnest laptops ever.

LG just announced a laptop at CES 2023 that’s even thinner, the Gram Ultraslim. Coming in at just 0.43 inches, it also weighs just 2.2 pounds while still sporting a much larger 15.6-inch display. Which is the better thin-and-light laptop?

The keyboard and palm rests of the LG Gram Ultraslim.

Specs

  LG Gram Ultraslim Apple MacBook Air M2
Dimensions 14.02 inches by 8.95 inches by 0.43 inches 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches by 0.44 inches
Weight 2.2 pounds 2.7 pounds
Processor Intel 13th-gen Raptor Core P-Series Apple M2 eight-core CPU, eight-Core GPU
Apple Me eight-core CPU, 10-Core GPU
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Apple M2
RAM 8GB
16GB
32GB
8GB
16GB
24GB
Display 15.6-inch 16:9 Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) OLED 13.6-inch 16:10 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina IPS
Storage 256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
2TB PCIe SSD
Touch No No
Ports 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-C 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-FI 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 1080p 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 macOS Monterey
Battery 60 watt-hours 52.6 watt-hours
Price To be determined $1,200+
Rating Not yet reviewed 4 out of 5 stars

Design

We don’t know much about the Gram Ultraslim’s construction, although we’re guessing it’s magnesium alloy given its low weight and large display. In our experience, magnesium laptops tend to have some bending and flexing, especially when they have larger displays, but they’re still durable, thanks to magnesium’s overall strength. The MacBook Air M2 is an all-aluminum laptop but has some bending in its lid.

What’s truly remarkable, though, is that LG managed to make the Gram Ultraslim even thinner than the MacBook Air M2 with a 15.6-inch display versus a 13.6-inch panel for the MacBook. And at just 2.2 pounds, it’s a full half-pound lighter. The Ultraslim is wider and deeper than the MacBook, although it’s not as much deeper as I expected, given the larger display. In any case, it will not weigh you down as much as the denser MacBook Air M2. The comparison will be even more interesting later this year, when Apple is expected to launch a 15-inch version of its MacBook Air.

In terms of aesthetics, the MacBook enjoys Apple’s minimalist design that’s elegant without being overstated, and it comes in four colors: Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray, and silver. The Gram Ultraslim is a simple sliver of a laptop with extremely narrow edges and notches that house the USB-C ports and audio jack.

The side profile of the LG Gram Ultraslim.

We don’t know anything about the Gram Ultraslim’s keyboard or touchpad, but we do know that the MacBook Air M2 enjoys the Apple Magic Keyboard and haptic touchpad. Both are among the best you’ll find on laptops today, and so LG has a pretty high standard to meet.

Connectivity is surprisingly similar, with both laptops limited to USB-C. You get two with Thunderbolt 4 on the MacBook, and the same number on the LG, plus a USB-C 4 port. Many 15-inch laptops have some legacy ports thrown in, but that’s not the case with the Gram Ultraslim.

Both laptops have 1080p webcams, which is becoming the new standard for premium laptops. LG includes some extra privacy utilities like LG Glance that will lock the laptop and put it to sleep when the user leaves the area and wake it back up and log in when the user returns.

Performance

The lid and keyboard of the MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air M2 uses Apple’s M2 ARM processor with an 8-Core CPU and either an 8- or 10-core GPU. It provides excellent productivity performance that competed strongly against Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs, along with potentially better creative application performance given optimizations built into the M2 CPU.

The Gram Ultraslim will use Intel’s 13th-gen P-series CPUs, meaning they’ll run at 28 watts and will feature up to 14 cores (six Performance and eight Efficient) and 20 threads. Intel predicts a 10% performance increase, so the MacBook Air M2 will likely maintain its competitiveness against Intel’s latest.

The MacBook Air M2 provides outstanding battery life that few Intel-based laptops have been able to match. With just 60 watt-hours of battery capacity, the Gram Ultraslim is unlikely to keep up. We’ll expect much more longevity out of the MacBook Air M2, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Display

The screen of the MacBook Air M2.
M2 MacBook Air

The Gram Ultraslim enjoys a 15.6-inch OLED display, which is sure to provide superior colors and contrast compared to the MacBook Air M2’s 16:10 2560 x 1664 IPS panel. However, LG’s screen is just Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), which means it won’t be terribly sharp, and oddly enough, it’s in the old-school 16:9 aspect ratio that’s not as good for productivity. That’s a disappointing choice, given that the industry has moved on to 16:10 and 3:2 aspect ratios.

So, the Gram Ultraslim has a larger OLED panel that’s lower-res and not as tall as the MacBook Air M2’s. If you absolutely need wide and accurate colors, as well as the deepest contrast, then that might be enough to give the Gram Ultraslim the edge, but most productivity users are going to appreciate the taller aspect ratio and sharper panel provided by the MacBook Air M2.

Different machines with a lot of unknowns

The LG Gram Ultraslim on a demo table at CES.

Besides both being incredibly thin laptops, there are quite a few differences between the LG Gram Ultraslim and Apple MacBook Air M2. The LG is larger in width and depth thanks to its larger display, and it provides an incredibly thin and light entry into the 15-inch laptop class. On the other hand, the MacBook Air M2 is one of the best 13-inch laptops you can buy.

We’ll have to wait for more details and, even more important, our review of the LG device before we can say which laptop is ultimately the winner. But for now, the MacBook Air M2 comes out on top.

Editors’ Recommendations