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LG Gram 17 (2019) review: LG's 17-inch laptop is under 3 pounds and runs all day

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The Good The LG Gram 17 has a nice 17-inch display and great battery life, but weighs as much as a typical 13.3-inch ultraportable. It also has excellent everyday performance and a fine port assortment including Thunderbolt 3.

The Bad The Gram 17 is expensive and, between its size and lightness, feels low quality. The speakers and keyboard could be better.

The Bottom Line Tired of working on a small laptop screen, but need the weight of an ultraportable laptop? The LG Gram 17 is your answer.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 9

When does an ultraportable laptop have a 17-inch display? When it's made by LG. At 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) the company's biggest laptop for 2019, the Gram 17, weighs less than 15.6-inch models (except for its own Gram 15) which is as much as your average 13.3-inch ultraportable. It also has an amazing battery life at a little more than 12 hours, which makes it one of the the top 10 laptops with the longest battery lives we've tested, along with two other LG Gram models.

Other than its high-quality display, lightweight body and long battery life, the Gram 17 is a fairly average ultraportable laptop. But it comes with a hefty price tag of $1,700 which roughly converts to £1,350 in the UK and AU$2,475 in Australia. (Costco members can get a $1,500 version with 256GB of storage instead of 512GB.) That's not a knock against the device but it has little you won't find on other ultraportables right down to the device's integrated graphics.

The Gram 17 is essentially the same as 2018/2019's 15.6-inch Gram 15 just with a larger display. LG has updated the 15 with the same eighth-gen Core i7 processor as the 17, too. If you're not in business for a large screen, the two should have similar performance, although I'd expect even better battery life from the Gram 15. Also, last year's Gram 15 is $500 cheaper, and I'm guessing the new one's performance isn't $500 better.

Is this thing real?

Whenever I've handed the Gram 17 or any of LG's other Gram laptops to someone, they can't believe that it's a real laptop. The reaction is even greater with this 17-inch model because it's so light for such a large display. Regardless of how well it performs (and it did well in our tests), there is a disconnect for most people between the laptop's weight and its perceived quality, especially when you consider the $1,700 price tag.

LG Gram 17

Price as reviewed $1,700
Display size/resolution 17-inch 2,560x1,600 display
CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U
PC Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

An ultraportable 13.3-inch laptop made from aluminum like Dell's XPS 13 will inevitably feel more sturdy than the Gram 17. Not only is the Gram's weight spread out over a greater area, its nano carbon magnesium shell simply isn't as rigid. So, despite being made from metal and built to pass seven industry-standard MIL-STD-810 tests to prove its military-grade durability, the Gram doesn't feel tough. And as one of my coworkers so eloquently put it, "it's cheap, plasticky crap" even though it's metal.

While that's sort of a harsh assessment, the Gram is not a rugged laptop. It'll stand up to a daily commute just fine, but the lid has a fair amount of flex to it, so I wouldn't carry it around by just the display, put too much pressure or weight on it or go out of your way to abuse it.

18-lg-gram

Light as a feather, stiff as nano carbon magnesium.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The display itself is of high quality for its class with strong color and contrast performance. It's not the brightest screen, though, and battling reflections off the glossy screen was kind of a thing. I wouldn't recommend working in the sun.

While it brings a good YouTube- and movie-watching experience, listening to any sort of audio through its weak speakers lacks. To be fair, few laptops this thin have good speakers. LG did build in DTS Headphone: X processing for improved audio quality through the headphone and mic jack.

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