It's unbelievably light. When you first pick it up, there's a moment of disconnect and then amazement. Your brain scrambles because you cannot believe how a 17-inch notebook can be this light. You begin to suspect if you are picking up a plastic dummy unit (just like how our colleagues felt amazement when they first tried the gram 15) . And then you realize it powers up and it is indeed a real unit. This slowly causes you to suspend your feelings of shock and disbelief, and you are overcome by awe and wonderment.
It's easy to pick up and carry out but its size is still a stumbling block. It may be light but you still need a big enough bag to put it in.
There are two big changes. Fundamentally, the gram 17 is similar to its smaller siblings in terms of design and overall fit and feel. But there are some profound changes elsewhere, the first being the display.
Display — The display is not only larger, but it also has a different aspect ratio. Most notebooks have an aspect ratio of 16:9, including the gram 13, 14, and 15. The gram 17, however, will have a 16:10 aspect ratio display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but in practice, it means that you can see more of a website, document, spreadsheet or project work at a glance. The display itself is an IPS panel and it serves up nice colors. It’s also sufficiently vibrant and gets quite bright. However, it is incredibly glossy and prone to glare and reflection.
Thunderbolt 3 — The second big change has to do with ports. The gram 17 not only gains an additional USB-A USB 3.0 port, its USB-C port also supports Thunderbolt 3 — making it the only gram notebook to support Thunderbolt 3. Those of you who follow computing developments closely will know that USB4 is coming and that it is based on the Thunderbolt 3 standard. In other words, Thunderbolt 3 will be the port of the future and I regard it as a must-have feature for anyone looking to buy a new notebook in 2019.
Including the above-mentioned USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, the gram 17 has the following ports:
The nice thing about the gram 17 is that it has full-sized USB ports as well as a single USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port. The full-size HDMI port is useful if you want to connect to an external display. Overall, the gram 17’s I/O connectivity options should cover users for just about any situation. But if I were to nitpick, I would obviously prefer an additional USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port and a full-size SD card reader as opposed to a microSD one.
LG is sadly only offering the gram 17 in one configuration. Here are the key specifications:
This configuration should serve most users adequately but I think a handful of users would want more memory and possibly more storage. Fortunately, the gram 17 can be upgraded, since it uses standard M.2 SSDs and SO-DIMM memory slots, but users would need to make a trip down to the LG service center if you do not want to void your warranty.
Readers concerned about performance should know that gram notebooks use slower SATA-based SSDs and the memory subsystem is operating in single-channel. This will have a negative impact on performance, particularly on workloads that are graphics intensive.
However, if you are feeling adventurous, LG has informed us that the gram 17 comes with a single M.2 SSD and single stick of 8GB memory. This means there’s a second M.2 slot that is free for you to install your own SSD (make sure it is SATA-based) and a second SO-DIMM slot for your memory (which means dual-channel memory is possible).