The LG Gram 17 (2021) is a unique laptop in that it weighs just 1.35kg, despite having a super-sized 17-inch display. This makes it a fantastic choice for watching video on the go, while also providing great performance for day-to-day work thanks to Intel’s latest processors.
- High contrast 17-inch display
- Unbelievably light design
- Great productivity performance
- Generous selection of ports
- Glossy screen difficult to see outdoors
- Not the sturdiest design
- LG Gram 16 offers better battery life
- Large 17-inch display:Having such a generously sized screen makes this a great laptop for streaming video
- Lightweight design:Weighing just 1350g, the Gram 17 is surprisingly portable for a 17in laptop
- Intel 11th Gen processor:With the latest chip from Intel, this laptop offers excellent performance for day-to-day tasks
The LG Gram 17 is a 17-inch laptop that weighs an astonishingly light 1.35kg. This isn’t far off the weight of the MacBook Air M1, despite the Gram including a far larger screen that’s ideal for video.
With such a great unique selling point, LG hasn’t needed to do much tweaking from previous generations. This laptop comes with an 11th Generation processor for speedier performance, plus a slightly altered design for a more sophisticated look. But, otherwise, this is the same laptop I reviewed last year.
This is no bad thing, however. The LG Gram has no lightweight rivals at this price point; one of the closest is the rather hefty 2.21kg Dell XPS 17.
But has LG had to make major compromises to achieve this remarkable ultraportable design? I’ve spent a number of weeks with the laptop to find out.
Design and keyboard
- This 17-inch laptop weighs just 1.35kg
- Flex is visible when pushing down on the laptop’s deck
- Keyboard feels cramped, despite laptop’s large size
Every year I pick up a new version of the LG Gram 17, and every year I’m shocked at how lightweight it is. I can pick it up in one hand with only very slight wrist strain – attempt the same with the Dell XPS 17, and I’ll likely need a trip to A&E.
Being so light has its advantages. I can bundle the LG Gram 17 (2021) in a bag for office commutes, forgetting it’s even there, saving my back from potential aches or pains. And that huge 17-inch display is fantastic for watching films, or even for multitasking with several web browsers or spreadsheets open at once for work/education purposes.
How has LG achieved such a lightweight form? Sadly, it’s no magic trick; LG has opted for a full-metal magnesium alloy design. Most other laptops use aluminum builds and, admittedly, have far sturdier designs as a result.
Push down hard on the Gram’s keyboard, and you’ll notice that the laptop’s deck will flex inwards. You can also push back on the top corner of the laptop’s screen, bending it slightly back. It’s a little concerning to see this in a £1000 plus laptop; but LG claims this laptop has passed the MIL-STD-810G military standard of durability. This laptop has travelled in my bag multiple times without seeing any damage, so such a claim seems accurate – but you will find sturdier machines elsewhere.
In terms of looks, the LG Gram 17 is a little basic. The two colour options of black and white look nicer than the silver version of previous generations, but this laptop still looks bland. I’d like to see LG introduce more varied colour options, or simply even add a little flair to make it stand out from other laptop designs – but equally, it still looks decent enough and can hardly be called ugly.
Surrounding the screen is a fairly thin bezel, but LG has still managed to fit in a HD webcam up top. The camera’s 720p video quality isn’t great – the pixels are very noticeable and result in an ugly, grainy effect – but it’s still serviceable for work and family calls.
There are also lots of ports here, including 2 x USB-C (with Thunderbolt 4 support), 2 x USB-A, HDMI, microSD and a headphone jack. The only major port omission is Ethernet, but it does support Wi-Fi 6 for a speedy, reliable connection with compatible routers.
The LG Gram 17 features a fingerprint sensor in the power button, allowing you to sign in by simply tapping your finger against it. There’s no Windows Hello support in the webcam for facial recognition sign-ins, but fingerprint sensors are far more reliable in my experience.
I have mixed feelings about the keyboard. Despite the laptop’s large frame, the keyboard feels cramped, with LG leaving chunky gaps on both sides. Frustratingly, there are a couple of keys that have been condensed, including the Backspace, Enter and Shift key – even 13-inch laptops have larger keys than this. My muscle memory caused me to hit incorrect keys very often when first using this laptop, but it’s something you can train yourself to stop after extended use.
I can’t complain about the touchpad, though. LG has widened the unit even further for this model, allowing for plenty of space for long swipes. The touchpad is super-responsive, too, while also featuring satisfying ‘clicky’ feedback when you push down to right- or left-click.
- Features a sharp 2560×1600 resolution
- Great contrast improves quality of video content
- Excellent colour accuracy will please professionals
Did I say that the LG Gram has a 17-inch display? It’s difficult to ignore and one of the main reason’s this lightweight laptop is so appealing, especially compared to its smaller siblings such as the LG Gram 14 and Gram 16.
But LG isn’t relying solely on size, with the display packing some excellent features such as a 2560 x 1600 resolution that offers sharper detail compared to standard Full HD screens. Its 16:10 aspect ratio is more square than older laptops, too, and is ideal for viewing websites and social media.
I used a colorimeter to get a deeper look at the LG Gram 17’s screen. I recorded a brightness of just 295 nits, which just about hits the average for laptops. That’s a decent result, but paired with its super-glossiness, the screen may prove difficult to view outside in bright lighting.
Fortunately, the LG Gram 17 is capable of displaying dark black colours accurately, boosting the contrast to an impressive 1518:1. This results in vibrant video when watching the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus. In fact, this is one of the best laptops I’ve used for streaming video.
The LG Gram 17 also boasts superb colour accuracy, hitting 100% of the sRGB coverage, and 81% and 96% for Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 respectively. This essentially means that this laptop provides professional-grade colour accuracy, which is particularly useful for those working with photos and videos.
I do wish there was a matte screen option for the LG Gram 17, however, since the glossy screen is the only major negative of this laptop’s display – although it’s worth pointing out that the Gram 17 doesn’t offer a touchscreen, if that’s a priority for you.
- Great productivity performance for day-to-day tasks
- Lacks a discrete GPU to compete with MacBook Pro
- Excellent SSD speeds and storage options
The key difference between the LG Gram 17 2021 and its 2020 predecessor is the jump up to a new 11th Generation Intel Core processor. As our benchmark results show, this has given the laptop a performance boost across the board.
Whether you’re browsing the web, watching video or even dabbling with some entry-level Photoshopping, the LG Gram 17 has the power to blast through tasks with ease.
|LG Gram 17 2021||LG Gram 17 2020||Dell XPS 15 2020|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-1165G7||Intel Core i7-1065G7||Intel Core i7-10750H|
|Geekbench 5 single-core||1564||1284||1282|
|Geekbench 5 multi-core||5435||3541||6179|
|3DMark Time Spy||1335||745||3821|
However, it’s worth remembering that, despite being a 17-inch laptop, the LG Gram 17 isn’t as powerful as similar-sized systems. Even the Dell XPS 15 2020 offers a better multi-core and gaming performance, making it the better option if content creation or gaming is a major consideration.
The LG Gram 17 is best thought of as an Ultrabook that’s gone through a growth spurt, with a more comparable performance to the Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Air than the Dell XPS 17 and MacBook Pro.
But while gaming certainly shouldn’t be a priority for the LG Gram 17, it’s still offering a decent entry-level performance, with 3DMark Time Spy suggesting its integrated GPU firepower has almost doubled since 2020’s iteration. It will only be able to handle the likes of Fortnite, Minecraft and indie titles – but it’s better than nothing.
SSD speeds have also been improved since the last version, jumping up to a read score of 3456MB/s and write score of 2527MB/s. Essentially, this means the Gram 17 can load and save data stored on the physical drive at a fast pace. Storage space is plentiful, with both 512GB and 1TB models available.
- Lasted over 11 hours in battery benchmark
- LG Gram 16 performed better is the same test
The LG Gram 17 features an 80Wh battery, which is disappointingly the same as the one found inside the LG Gram 16, so you’re not getting a larger cell by going up a size. This should mean its battery life will suffer as a consequence of its larger screen, but to what extent?
I dimmed the brightness down to 150 nits and ran the PCMark 10 battery test until the laptop ran out of charge. It took 11hrs 20mins for the laptop battery to go from 100% to 0%, which is a respectable result for a laptop.
However, the LG Gram managed to last an extra four hours in the same test, seeing a result of 15hrs 10mins. Personally, I’d prefer having the longer battery life if it means losing just an inch in screen size – but, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
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Should you buy it?
If you want a large, portable laptop The main appeal of this laptop is its large display paired with the portable design, making it a great option if you want to watch the likes of Netflix on the go.
You want a powerful laptop for gaming or media work Most 17-inch laptops are very powerful, but this isn’t the case with the Gram 17. It lacks a dedicated GPU, so isn’t the best option if gaming or creation is a priority.
I’m a big fan of the LG Gram 17 (2021), with the large display coming in handy for both web browsing and watching video. It really is mind-boggling to see how light this large laptop is. And with very little competition for this use case, it’s one of my top recommended laptops that you can currently buy.
How we test
Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life.
No, the LG Gram 17 doesn’t have a touchscreen.
Yes, the LG Gram 17 features 512GB and 1TB SSD options.
Yes, the LG Gram 17 has a 720p web camera.
Trusted Reviews’ test data
The brightness level of a display. 300 nits is regarded as the minimum target for high-end screens.