Tech review: LG gram 17 incredibly light for its size

With its 17-inch screen, LG's gram 17 laptop may be the perfect size for those who have always wanted a big screen, but not the bulk.
With its 17-inch screen, LG's gram 17 laptop may be the perfect size for those who have always wanted a big screen, but not the bulk.PHOTO: LG

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). It is also 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 thin and light - 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.

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.

  • 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

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 go 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 slightly 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 feel floppy. However, LG says the notebook has passed military-standard tests that checks factors such as shock, dust and temperature, among others.

It comes bundled with a USB-to-Ethernet dongle. No other dongles are 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 an identical 72 watt-hour battery as last year's 15-inch gram, which clocked 10hr 35min in our video-loop battery test. The gram 17 though managed only 9.5 hours, probably because of its larger screen. But this uptime is still longer than most laptops in the market.