PC

Laptop with big screen without the bulk

LG has expanded its laptop range this year with a new 17-inch model that, astonishingly, weighs about the same as a 13-inch notebook.

At 1.34kg, the sleek LG gram 17 compares favourably with the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (1.37kg). And it is only a tad heavier than the latest MacBook Air (1.25kg).

This 17-inch model joins LG's line-up of 13-, 14-and 15-inch laptops, all of which have recently been updated with the latest computing hardware.

These laptops are called "gram" because the original 13-and 14-inch variants from 2016 weighed under 1kg. While the gram 17 does not achieve this feat, it is still impressively light and thin - its thickest point is around 17mm.

It is also rather unusual for thin and light laptops, also known as ultrabooks, to come with such a large 17-inch screen. Notebooks of this size tend to be gaming models that are bulky and heavy.

In other words, the gram 17 may be the perfect size for those who have always wanted a big screen, but not the bulk.

  • FOR

    • Sleek and portable for its size 

    • Long battery life 

  • AGAINST 

    • Chassis does not feel sturdy 

    • Lacking graphical horsepower for content creation or gaming 

    • Expensive 

  • SPECS 

    PRICE: $2,799 

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8565U (1.8GHz) 

    GRAPHICS: Intel UHD Graphics 620 

    RAM: 8GB DDR4 

    SCREEN SIZE: 17 inches, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels 

    CONNECTIVITY: Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, microSD card reader, headphone jack 

    BATTERY: 72 watt-hour 

  • RATING 

    FEATURES: 4/5 

    DESIGN: 3.5/5 

    PERFORMANCE: 3.5/5 

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5 

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5 

    OVERALL: 4/5

Its 17-inch display has a sharp resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. It is not a touchscreen, though its glossy finish may give that impression.

In line with current trends, the screen is surrounded by thin bezels. This design also helps LG reduce the footprint of the laptop, which is closer to that of a 15-inch model.

The Web camera remains at the usual position above the screen. It does not support facial recognition. Instead, a fingerprint sensor under the power button authenticates users trying to access the laptop.

The fingerprint sensor checks my fingerprint when I press the power button to boot up the laptop.

As a result, the laptop is unlocked when Windows 10 is loaded, which is very convenient. You can get a coffee while the laptop is booting up and return to a computer that is ready to use.

The extra real estate afforded by its size is taken up by a number pad. But unlike most laptops, its touchpad is not aligned with the space bar, which means I have to shift my hands when switching between the keyboard and the mouse.

The keyboard also feels shallow and exhibits a significant amount of flex. In fact, the entire top of the laptop and the lid feels floppy.

However, LG says the notebook has passed military-standard tests that checks factors such as shock, dust and temperature.

It comes bundled with a USB-to-Ethernet dongle. No other dongle is needed because the laptop comes with an HDMI port, three USB ports and a Thunderbolt 3 port.

The 17-inch model is also the only one in the series to support the fast and versatile Thunderbolt 3 interface - the other models come with a slower USB Type-C port.

Despite its size, the gram 17 has an integrated graphic chip rather than a dedicated version.

Therefore, its performance is middling when it comes to tasks such as editing photos and videos and gaming. This is reflected by its PCMark 10 score of 3,541, compared with 4,240 for the Asus ZenBook 14, which has a Nvidia chip.

It has a 72 watt-hour battery that is identical to that in last year's 15-inch gram, which clocked 10hr 35min in The Straits Times' video-loop battery test.

The gram 17, though, managed only 9.5 hours in the test, probably because of its larger screen. But this uptime is still longer than that of most laptops in the market.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline 'Laptop with big screen without the bulk'. Print Edition | Subscribe