LG Gram 17 2020 Review
LG Gram 17 (2020) review: A lightweight productivity machine with a big screen. With a weight under 3 pounds and a tall 17-inch display, you get the space for keeping up your productivity in a body made for working at home or anywhere else.
A lightweight productivity machine with a big screen
LG Gram 17 2020 Overview
If you've been working from home on a 13-, 14- or 15-inch laptop and you're finding your productivity suffering by working on its small screen, you may be craving moving to something larger. An external display might make the most sense assuming you've got the room for one. But, if you need something more mobile and lap-friendly, the LG Gram 17 might do the trick because, despite its tall 17-inch display, it's incredibly light with a long battery life making it a standout in the category. Built from a magnesium alloy, the 2020 LG Gram 17 weighs just under 3 pounds (1. 4 kilograms) -- less than many smaller ultraportables and certainly less than other 17-inch models. Because the laptop feels like it's filled with nothing but air and doesn't have the weight or stiffness of aluminum, the Gram laptops (they're available in 13- and 15-inch sizes as well as an excellent 14-inch two-in-one) usually get knocked for feeling cheap or plasticky.
The main issue here is that it's decidedly not cheap (and, again, it's made from metal). Prices start at $1,500 for a Costco-exclusive configuration and jump to $1,850 for the one I tested. Not like the othersThe Gram 17's uniqueness certainly works in its favor. There are simply no other 17-inch laptops that are this light and also have a long battery life. It lasted 13 hours on our streaming video test, beating last year's model by 47 minutes on the same test. Processor performance is stepped up some, too, thanks to the addition of a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU.
This is partnered with more powerful Iris Plus integrated graphics as well, giving you a little extra speed for photo and video editing and casual gaming. The 16:10 2,560x1,600-resolution display gives you a bit more vertical space than more typical 16:9-ratio displays. It's a high-quality screen, too, with strong color and contrast performance, even if it's not the brightest screen. If you work next to a window or out in the sun you'll be fighting reflections off its glossy coating. LG touched up the body some from the 2019 version, the hinge in particular, which makes the laptop look more polished and more worthy of its premium price. The company runs it through seven military-grade durability tests including ones for shock and vibration, so it's built for a commute or travel.
Part of the update is a new backlit keyboard with a full-size number pad and slightly wider Backspace, Enter and Shift keys. Overall it's a more comfortable typing experience, but the touchpad is still centered on the entire keyboard instead of directly below the space bar. This can lead to accidental brushes or clicks if you tend to drag your right palm while typing. The precision touchpad is otherwise nice to use. Although its weight makes it nice for travel, LG includes a full port assortment that makes it easy to connect to an external monitor or two, a keyboard and mouse, external storage and more. While many laptops in its class have moved to USB-C ports for charging, the Gram 17 comes with a power adapter that uses an old pin-type connector.
However, you can still charge this laptop through its USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port. LG even includes a USB-C-to-Ethernet adapter if you want to use a wired connection instead of its Wi-Fi 6 wireless. More screen, more battery, more mobilityThe differences between the 2020 LG Gram 17 and the 2019 version are subtle but important enough to notice. Battery life and performance are generally better. The keyboard is improved as is the overall fit and finish, making it look more premium. Unfortunately, it hasn't gotten any less expensive.
But, if you want a large screen, long battery life and the weight of an ultraportable laptop, the Gram 17 is the answer.