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Friday, December 2, 2022

LG Gram 17 (2022) review

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If you want a Windows laptop with the biggest screen possible, your options are basically the Dell XPS 17 or the LG Gram 17. The calculus between the two is pretty straightforward. If you care more about power, go for XPS; if you care more about portability, go to Gram.

This latest Gram 17 is no exception. Weighing in at 2.98 pounds in a 17-inch chassis, this is without a doubt one of the lightest and most durable laptops in the field of large screens. It achieves that combination without asking a fortune in price – my device (with a 12th gen Core i7-1260P, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB storage) is currently listed at $1,799but Gram is available for as low as $1,599. Those are certainly not cheap prices, but they make the Gram miles more affordable than the XPS.

For those looking for the extra space of a 17-inch screen without the added weight that comes with many large screens, the LG Gram remains the unequivocal choice. While the product has its limitations (especially when it comes to performance), there really isn’t anything else on the market. This is what you can expect when you buy the thing.

The main appeal of the LG Gram 17 is that it weighs less than three pounds. I cannot emphasize enough how light this thing feels. Picking this up feels like you’re picking up a hollow chassis with nothing in it. I sometimes worried that I would forget to put it in my backpack if I was carrying it with me. this thing is light.

(I’ll add, so you’re not misled, the Gram’s thickness isn’t that exceptional – at 0.7 inches, it’s not too far from the XPS 17’s thickness. But if you go for a 17-incher I can’t imagine backpack space being your biggest concern.)

No speaker grills, but the sound is still excellent.

Then you open this device and the screen is all the way down. So much screen. I don’t have much to say about this part of the laptop that the phrase “17-inch” doesn’t already imply, but for the record – it’s lovely to have so much space. I can have two or even three windows and apps open at once. I can zoom in completely on the words I read or write. i can fit this much on this panel that I already dread going back to my 13-inch personal device. The fact that it’s high resolution (2560 x 1600) and matte, with no glare in sight is the icing on the cake.

The case is probably the weakest part

Other things to know about the Gram:

  • The case is probably the weakest part of it. It feels quite tacky and the obsidian black finish picks up fingerprints pretty quickly, although it didn’t scratch during my rather difficult time with it. Significant flex in the keyboard and screen.
  • The keyboard is quite pleasant to type on. The bottom of the stroke feels a little harder than some laptop keyboards, but the click is quite satisfying and the keys are roomy, with a professional yet fun font. There’s even a numpad, which the XPS 17 doesn’t have. I hate how far the volume keys (F10 and F11) are from the Fn key – I have to use two hands to adjust the volume, which I don’t like to do.
  • Ports include two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, one HDMI and one headphone jack on the left, as well as two USB 3.2, a microSD reader and a slot on the right. (One of the USB-C ports is sometimes occupied by the 65W charger.) That’s about all you need; no complaints.
  • The touch pad is enormous and clicks well. It actually feels quite similar to clicking the XPS (and that’s to be commended).
The LG Gram 17 seen from above, opened.  The screen shows a large purple G.

The webcam is 1080p and looks good.

When it comes to performance, the Gram’s Core i7-1260P is a step lower in power than the processor that powers the Dell machine. Aside from the weight difference, the delta in power is the main differentiator between the Gram and the XPS. It gives the XPS an edge in professional workloads and gaming, but gives the Gram a huge win in battery life.

The battery life of the Gram was exemplary

The 1260P is more than adequate for office and Internet applications, covering most of my own workload. While the Gram doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, it can also lend a hand with content creation if needed. The device scored a reasonable (for integrated graphics) 323 on PugetBench for Premiere Pro, and it completed our typical export test in 10 minutes and 45 seconds (which is slow but not painful). To be clear, I wouldn’t recommend this device if you’re going to be using a lot of Adobe software like Premiere, as I found it to be a bit unresponsive and slow overall.

The ports on the left side of the LG Gram 17.

More ports than you’ll find on most ultraportables today.

This is also a reasonable but not great option for gaming. I got 28FPS from Shadow of the Tomb Raider13FPS from Red Dead Redemption 2and 14FPS from Horizon Zero Dawn (all on the highest graphics preset, with resolution reduced to 1920 x 1200). If you’re into gaming, you’ll want to lower the settings for those demanding titles (but lighter stuff, like esports, should be fine).

The lid of the closed LG Gram 17 seen from above.

These used to weigh a gram, hence the name.

On the other hand, the Gram’s battery life was exemplary. I got an average of 12 hours and six minutes of consistent work from the device at medium brightness, which is the longest lifespan I’ve seen from a non-Apple laptop this year. This is quite refreshing, as this generation of Intel-powered laptops has had some issues in that regard.

AGREE TO CONTINUE: LG GRAM 17 (2022)

To start using the LG Gram 17, you must agree to the following:

  • Microsoft Software License Terms and McAfee License Agreement
  • Backup to OneDrive

You can also say yes or no to the following:

  • Privacy Settings (Location, Find My Device, Sharing Diagnostics, Inks & Typing, Custom Experience, Advertising ID)
  • Microsoft 365 free trial
  • Join Xbox Game Pass

That’s three mandatory matches and eight optional matches to use the Gram 17 (2021).

While the LG Gram doesn’t quite have the graphics power I personally need, I’ll really miss using it as my working driver. The extra screen space was heavenly, and the weight made it a breeze to move around. The long battery life was the icing on the cake – I never had to worry about plugging this machine in.

The main trade-offs to consider are build quality (if that’s your top priority, the XPS is your choice) and the computing needs of your own workload. If you’re in the market for a 17-incher, don’t mind those compromises, and don’t mind the slightly steep price tag, you won’t be disappointed with the Gram.

LG Gram 17 accessibility

  • The letter keys are 1.6 x 1.5 centimeters with 0.2 centimeters in between. All keys are lit except for the power button. Only the power button has an indicator light. The on/off button is 1.5 x 1 centimeter in size. The volume keys are 1.4 x 0.9 inches. The keys are black with white text and require little force to press.
  • The speakers reached an average of 83 decibels in my tests, which is somewhat louder than a standard external speaker.
  • The laptop weighs 2.98 pounds.
  • The lid can be opened with one hand. It can be tilted back up to 140 degrees.
  • There is no touchscreen option.
  • The touchpad is 2.25 x 4.25 inches (excluding the click buttons).
  • Setup involves turning on the device and clicking through various menus.
  • The Gram supports fingerprints and facial logins.

Windows 11

  • Windows 11 includes a special accessibility menu.
  • Windows 11 includes a built-in screen reader (Narrator). It supports third-party screen readers, including NVDA from NV Access and Jaws from Freedom Scientific. A full list of compatible software can be found on Microsoft’s website.
  • Windows 11 supports voice typing (accessible via Windows + H) and speech recognition (switched via Windows + Ctrl + S).
  • Color filters, including inverted, grayscale, red-green, and blue-yellow, can be toggled with Windows + Ctrl + C. Contrast themes are toggled with Alt + Left Shift + Print Screen. Default dark mode and custom colors are also available under Personalization.
  • The color and size of the captions can be adjusted and appear at the bottom of the screen.
  • The keyboard can be reassigned with: PowerToys from Microsoft. Sticky Keys is supported. An on-screen keyboard is available.
  • Cursor size and speed can be adjusted and gestures can be reassigned in Touchpad settings.
  • Windows 11 supports eye tracking with external eye trackers.
  • Windows 11 includes a Snap Layout feature, which can be accessed by hovering the mouse pointer over the Maximize button in an open window.

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