LG Gram 17 (2021): Light Weight, Giant Screen
PC Magazine|May 2021
The case for choosing a laptop with a jumbo screen—one larger than 15 inches—has never been stronger. The much-improved LG Gram 17, with a gorgeous 17-inch QHD display, is exhibit number one.
TOM BRANT

This laptop is fresh for 2021 with an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, a redesigned keyboard and touchpad, and a sleek black livery. Even better, it continues to stay below 3 pounds (2.98 pounds, to be precise). It’s unquestionably the best 17-inch laptop you can buy if you’re not a gamer or multimedia content creator.

THE SCREEN’S THE THING

Once upon a time, it made little sense for mainstream users to consider the largest-screen laptops, which were invariably heavy and bulky. Five or more years ago, a gaming rig with a 17-inch display and a reasonably powerful CPU and graphics card would set you back around $3,000 and weigh at least 6 pounds. But what if you don’t want all that processing power and expense? What if you just want a big display, and everything else is secondary?

Enter the Gram 17. When LG first introduced this unique ultraportable, there was little to recommend it other than an impressive screen and weight that seemed to defy the laws of physics. But the underwhelming 2019 model has ceded the stage to an all-new edition for 2021. The lightweight chassis and brilliant QHD screen remain, but LG got serious about the rest of the user experience. This means not only a better keyboard and touchpad but also a better-looking laptop that boasts Intel’s latest silicon and incredible battery life.

From the outside, the Gram 17 doesn’t look particularly large. The thin-font Gram logo is embossed on the display lid in silver, and the rest of the lid is an uninterrupted expanse of black magnesium alloy. It looks much better than the gray exterior of the previous Gram 17 model, which featured curved edges—perhaps this was an attempt at retro styling, but it was mostly just stodgy-looking.

The Gram 17 measures 0.7 by 15 by 10.2 inches (HWD), which is in line with what you can expect from other non-gaming big-screen notebooks. At the top end of the price scale, the extravagant and ultra-powerful Dell XPS 17 measures 0.77 by 14.7 by 9.8 inches. The 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro, also extravagant and powerful, is 0.64 by 14.1 by 9.7 inches, and the budget-friendly Dell Inspiron 17 3000 is significantly bulkier, coming in at 0.98 by 16.4 by 11 inches.

No competing large laptop at any price can compare with the Gram 17’s astonishingly lightweight, however. All of those models weigh at least 4 pounds, and 17-inch gaming rigs are heavier still: The affordable Asus TUF Gaming A17 is 5.7 pounds, while the HP Omen 17 is 7 pounds.

LG Gram 17 2021

PROS

Amazingly light for a 17-inch laptop. Sleek design. New black color. Comfortable keyboard with number pad and enlarged touchpad. Brilliant QHD display.

CONS

No touch screen. No configuration options. Ho-hum audio quality.

BOTTOM LINE

A lean, good-looking machine that boasts a giant screen, weighs less than 3 pounds, and gets excellent battery life, the 2021 “Tiger Lake” update of the LG Gram 17 is one of the best large laptops you can buy.

NOTHING FLIMSY ABOUT THE GRAM

The Gram might not weigh very much, but it’s not flimsy. LG says it’s passed MIL-STD 810G torture tests against road hazards, including shock, vibration, rain, dust, and temperature and humidity extremes. The certification provides some reassurance that LG didn’t get chintzy to get below 3 pounds. But the Gram 17 also feels sturdy to the touch. There’s a bit of flex in the middle of the keyboard deck but not more than you’ll find in bulkier competitors such as the TUF Gaming A17.

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