Ultralight laptops are nothing new, but it’s unheard of to find a 17-inch laptop this light. If you want a spacious screen and a laptop that’s effortless to lug around it’s tough to beat the LG gram 17.
One of the more unique laptop lineups of the last few years is LG’s gram series which encompasses a range of ultralight laptops. The gram laptops offer high-end internals, great battery life, and—true to their name—the lightest possible weight LG can manage. Previous years have seen 13-, 14-, and 15-inch models, but LG unveiled the 17-inch variant in 2018.
What makes the 17-inch variant remarkable is that it weighs in at 2.95 pounds. To put that in perspective, Dell’s much-loved (and tiny) Dell XPS 13—one of the top-rated lightweight laptops around—weighs 2.65 pounds. For a scant 0.3 pound increase, the gram 17 gives you a radically bigger screen and a spacious keyboard.
I recently purchased the LG gram 17 and have been using it as my sole computer for a month. It marries a lot of what I’ve been desiring in a computer: a giant screen (large enough that I don’t even bother with an external monitor anymore), enough power for some of the heavier tasks I use a computer for, and great battery life. More than anything else though, the lightweight makes make it super easy to keep in my backpack without straining myself, and it makes it a joy to get the laptop out of my bag and start working.
Design: Plain, But Serviceable
The LG gram 17 is an unassuming laptop, with the light gray exterior letting it blend into most coffee shops and libraries. The left side of the laptop houses a barrel plug charging port, a USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 port, an HDMI port, and a Thunderbolt 3 port that can also be used for charging. I would have gladly done away with the barrel charging and HDMI ports in exchange for more Thunderbolt 3—or even USB-C 3.1—ports, but alas.
The right side includes a Kensington lock slot, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack, and a micro-SD slot. Included in the box is a USB-C-to-Ethernet dongle, though this only goes up to 100Mbps.
The display is a 16×10 aspect ratio unit, with a resolution of 2560×1600. This is about a 2K resolution, and I think it’s the sweet spot for what LG wanted to achieve: text and images are plenty sharp, but with less cost and power consumption than a 4K panel. Viewing angles are great, and there isn’t much glare under bright lights.
The webcam is above the screen, as it should be. The webcam doesn’t offer Windows Hello authentication, but more of that in a moment. The webcam’s resolution is disappointing at only 720P, so you may want to use an external camera for your video conferences.
Heading down from the screen and webcam you’ll find the keyboard and trackpad, and I love the layout LG included here. The keys are well spaced, and there’s ample space for the number pad. The arrows keys aren’t jammed into other symbols, so it’s easy to feel those out when I need to navigate around a document. There are two levels of backlighting (plus off), and I didn’t see any issues with the lighting being uneven. The inclusion of the number pad means the trackpad isn’t centered below the letter keys, but I adjusted quickly enough.