LG stumbled a bit with its Gram series of ultra portable laptops when it entered the US market in late 2015. The initial offerings weren’t necessarily bad, but they didn’t offer much beyond an ultra lightweight body to compete in an already crowded category.
Less than two years later, though, and the electronics giant has corrected course some with the line. The 2017 models — available in 13.3-, 14- and 15.6-inch sizes — are still remarkably light, but add in a lot of what was lacking on the earlier systems. Prices start at $1,000 for a non-touchscreen 13.3-inch Gram, but climb up to $1,700 for the 15.6-inch version with a touchscreen and an Intel Core i7-7500U processor, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.
Reviewed here is the 13.3-inch model with a full HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) IPS touchscreen that comes in at $1,100 (approximately AU$1,500 or £885 in Australia and the UK, respectively). It’s a fair price for what you’re getting, especially when you consider its two biggest advantages: Its slim, lightweight design and a very long battery life.
LG Gram (13-inch, 2017)
|Price as reviewed||$1,099.99 (approx. AU$1,500, £885)|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch display|
|PC CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U|
|PC Memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz|
|Graphics||128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Networking||802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
Light as a feather, but not stiff.
At just a touch more than 2 pounds (0.94 kg) and 0.6-inch thickness (15.5 mm), you can slip the 13.3-inch,Gram into your bag and not even really feel it. The Gram’s magnesium alloy body just doesn’t have the same sturdy feel as a premium aluminum-chassis ultraportable. The lid in particular has a lot of flex to it.
Also, if standout looks matter to you, the Gram isn’t going to wow you. The chassis is dark silver inside and out with the exception of the chrome LG logo on the lid and below the display. Politely put, it is unassuming and will blend into any environment, be it boardroom, classroom or cafe.
One positive for the design beyond its weight is the slim bezel around the screen, which means you’re looking at nothing but display when you open the lid. A side effect of this, however, is LG moved the webcam to the screen’s hinge so it shoots straight up your nose while also placing the camera so low that the screen has to be at a 90-degree angle to keep you entirely in the shot.
The keyboard and touchpad are also nice. Although the keys don’t have a lot of travel, there’s more than you might expect given the shallow keyboard deck. The keys are comfortably large, too, with two levels of backlighting available.
About the touchpad.
The touchpad is responsive without being jumpy and its software allows for a lot of fine-tuning for multitouch gestures and taps. Plus, there’s a fingerprint sensor in the upper left corner of it that supports Windows Hello login. Just register your print and you can skip typing in a PIN or password by resting your fingertip on the sensor.
As you might expect from a company that makes TVs and displays, the screen on the Gram is nice. It’s sharp with very good color and excellent off-angle viewing. It gets reasonably bright, too, but you might still might struggle with some off the glare from the glossy screen. LG also includes a Reader mode setting that lets you quickly reduce blue light.
While watching TV and movies on it is good experience, listening to any sort of audio through its weak speakers is not. To be fair though, few laptops this thin have good speakers and LG built-in DTS Headphone: X processing for improved audio quality through the headphone/mic jack.