LG put their Australian laptop business on hiatus some years ago, but with work from home seeing increases in laptop sales around the world they’re back. LG announced the new Gram series at CES earlier this year and they’re now on-sale in Australia – so, LG let us spend a few weeks with the LG Gram 17.
The LG Gram series in Australia comes in 14”, 16” and 17” screen options based on the Intel EVO platform. The Intel EVO platform was launched last year, and offers consumers something to look for when purchasing a laptop, that guarantees great performance and all day battery life at its core, with features like an 11th gen Intel processor, Iris Xe graphics, Wifi6 & Thunderbolt 4 for connectivity.
The LG Gram EVO 17” as it’s called around retailers, is priced at $2998 and comes with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 512GB M.2 NVMe drive and a a big 80Wh battery which offers up to 19.5 hours battery life.
Design wise, the LG Gram 17 takes full advantage of the additional body size with a full-size keyboard including a numeric keypad – and it’s all packaged in an extremely lightweight body.
I spent 3 weeks using the LG Gram 17, and here’s how it went.
Hardware and Design
The sheer size of the LG Gram 17 is the biggest impression you’ll have of this sleek new laptop, but it belies the light-weight feel.
Made from a durable Magnesium Alloy, the laptop weighs in at ‘just’ 1.35kg, a shade over the weight of my daily driver, a Dell XPS 13 which weighs in at just shy of 1.3kg. The weight is so minimal that you can pick the laptop up one-handed, making it very portable.
I was also able to slip it into my trusty backpack (designed for 14/15″ laptops) and it slipped in with no issues, and with it being so light I barely felt it in there.
In terms of looks, the laptop only comes in ‘Obsidian Black’ but the 14” and 16” models also offer customers the option of a ‘Snow White’ model as well as black. It’s a personal thing, but choice is always important, so I’d love to see the option offered.
The laptop is what you’d expect for something 17” in size. It feels big, but it’s also spacious with a full-sized keyboard (which includes a built-in fingerprint reader in the power button) and numeric keypad, as well as a massive trackpad.
The keyboard is very comfortable to type on with a little bit of travel in the keys, but they have great return. You DO have to get used to typing on a keyboard that’s slightly offset, due to the inclusion of the number pad, but LG has raised the keys slightly above the bottom laptop deck making it easy to find the keys as you rest your hands on them. Still, it’s a little awkward.
With a 17” display It’s not exactly a ‘lappable’ laptop if you’re sitting next to someone, but sits quite comfortably in your lap if you need it so you can work or relax.
The size of the laptop also allows for a full range of ports on the laptop including a HDMI (2.0), dual USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 4 ports, microSD card reader and headphone port. Wireless connectivity options are likewise expansive, obviously with WiFi 6 support, though my router doesn’t support it, and Bluetooth 5.1 support.
There is a Windows Hello compatible webcam on the LG Gram 17, but as with most of the competition it only offers 720p resolution, and well, it shows. Images and video are ok, but with webcams currently being used more than ever, it’s time to see something in a 1080p sensor here.
Surprisingly LG doesn’t offer a privacy shutter for the webcam either. There’s a big focus on privacy these days, so seeing this option on the LG Gram series would be fantastic.
But the biggest thing about the laptop is obviously the display, and rightfully so because it’s gorgeous. There’s a thin bezel around
The specs speak for themselves, it’s a WQXGA (2560 x 1600) resolution IPS LCD display which displays 99% DCI-P3 colour gamut – which basically means the colours look great. Overall, the screen is sharp, and colours are vivid and being an IPS display the viewing angles are excellent.
What the LG Gram display doesn’t have is a touch option, which, after years working on touch screens meant I had to modify my workflow. It’s a shame really, because that big display certainly invites you to touch it. There’s also a lack of matte display, which I tend to prefer, as it’s much better for reducing glare in brighter areas.
While the LG Gram 17 is great for any sort of content creation that benefits from a large display, like photo or video editing, or just writing, it’s definitely not designed for games. The Intel Xe graphics on-board offer more than the Intel Iris graphics chipset, but it’s still not ideal. I ran through some Tomb Raider, The Forest (still obsessed) and while it ran, the performance wasn’t the best.
The Intel CPU and 16GB of DDR4 RAM though, keep the Gram 17 running smoothly in all other facets. Except for some ‘chunking’ as I threw some video at it, the Gram 17 really does hold its own in terms of performance.
As we’ve come to expect from laptops displaying the Intel Evo badge, battery life on the Gram 17 is excellent. In fact, after working on it over two days without charging and still seeing a significant time left on the battery it’s actually hard to gauge just how long it lasts.
LG’s website lists the battery life as 19.5 hours between charges, and I believe it. Even accommodating stand-by time, the laptop battery life is impressive.
LG includes a 65W USB-C charger with the LG Gram 17, but it will still take you a fair few hours to fill the 80Wh battery on board – but with such a long battery life, you can leave it on overnight to charge.
The laptop can deliver up to 100W of Power Delivery out through the USB-C ports, so you can charge devices quite quickly from the laptop if needed.
The LG Gram has a pretty great setup as far as power is concerned, but there is room for improvement. The USB-C ports should be separated so as to offer the option of charging either side of the laptop, and of course a faster charging option would definitely be appreciated all round.
The LG Gram is a Windows machine, and that of course means Windows 10 Home edition which is pre-installed. With Windows 11 set to be released in the latter half of this year, LG has already moved to advise a free upgrade will be available when it’s out. Retailer JB Hifi is actually already showing this on their website.
As far as additional software pre-loaded on the machine you get the usual Microsoft Office trial and McAffee software, which is expected. You do also get a LOT of cruft on board, namely things like a LinkedIn – but interestingly not a Facebook app, as well as a full suite of Cyberlink offering video and audio editing, as well as PowerDVD 14…no, the LG Gram 17 does not have a DVD player, but it appears the software has been renamed to PowerMediaPlayer, leaving an unfortunate reminder of the apps heritage in the icon name.
It’s depressingly normal to have to ‘clean’ all these additional apps when you get a new laptop, but you CAN remove all the unwanted software installed, so don’t stress there.
Should you buy it?
Using the Gram series to herald the return of LG to the Australian laptop market has been a good decision.
The LG Gram 17 is a wonderfully versatile machine, as long as you’re not wanting to use it as a gaming machine. The laptop is so light that you often forget you’re dealing with a 17” display, not a common problem to have on most 17” laptops which are generally fairly hefty.
There’s some rough spots with the keyboard layout, too, but that’s mostly muscle memory.
Overall though, this is a killer laptop for any sort of content creation. The screen is big, bright and colour accurate, the battery lasts literal days and it’s fast.
It really comes down to whether the additional screen real-estate offered on the LG Gram 17 is worth it for you. If you are looking for that additional space then the LG Gram 17 is definitely worth checking out.
You can find the LG Gram 17 on the LG website, or in-store through JB Hifi.