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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 (1,920x1,080 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.
|Price as reviewed||$1,099.99 (approx. AU$1,500, £885)|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch 1920x1080 touch display|
|PC CPU||2.5GHz Inel 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)|
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. However, while all the editors at CNET I showed it to were equally impressed with its size and weight, they also said it felt flimsy: 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.
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.
As for other ports and connections, you'll find two USB 3.0 ports (Type-A), a microSD card slot, HDMI output and a USB Type-C port that supports video out, high-speed data transfer and Ethernet via an adapter.
With a seventh-gen Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 8GB of memory and integrated Intel HD Graphics 620, you get enough power to get you through average computer tasks like word processing, spreadsheets and email, and it won't get bogged down if you have a dozen tabs open in Google Chrome with some other applications running in the background. Streaming video and music are no problem either, but I wouldn't recommend it for anything more than casual photo and video editing.
That said, this thing is great when it comes to battery life. On a full charge with the screen brightness at 50 percent, I had no problem getting through an entire work day, including a one-hour commute on both ends with battery to spare. On our streaming video test, the Gram hit 11 and a half hours, which puts it in the top five of laptops we've tested with the longest battery life.
The 13.3-inch LG Gram is a fine fit if you need to travel as light as possible for as long as possible without spending a fortune to do it. It might not be particularly sturdy or have an eye-catching design and its webcam is less than ideal, but with its sharp touch display, comfortable backlit keyboard, responsive touchpad and a fingerprint reader for extra security, the Gram makes a respectible everyday laptop for business or school work.
|LG Gram (13-inch, 2017)||Micorsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD|
|HP EliteBook x360||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-6600U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB decicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD|
|HP Spectre x360||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD|
|Dell XPS 13 2-in1||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-7Y75; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 615; 256GB SSD|
|Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch)||Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.1; 2.9GHz Intel Core i5-6267U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM2,133MHz; 1,536MB Intel Iris Ggraphics 550; 256GB SSD|