LG's ultra-lightweight Gram laptops are getting a full refresh in 2021, the company revealed on Wednesday, days prior to CES 2021.
There are five new models: a Gram 17, Gram 16, Gram 14 and convertible versions of the two smaller products called the Gram 16 2-in-1 and Gram 14 2-in-1. These models share many of the same features, including a 16:10 aspect ratio, 11th Gen Intel CPUs and Thunderbolt 4 ports.
As has always been the case with LG's Gram series, the highlight feature is portability. It's what made the previous Gram 17 one of the best big-screen laptops on the market — that is, the ability to transport your notebook around the house or in transit without sacrificing screen size.
The newly announced models might not be huge departures from the 2020 versions, but they bring several upgrades that could push the Gram brand into the mainstream alongside competitors like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360.
LG Gram 2021 models: Specs
|Gram 14||Gram 16||Gram 17||Gram 14 2-in-1||Gram 16 2-in-1|
|Release Date||2021 TBD||2021 TBD||2021 TBD||2021 TBD||2021 TBD|
|Colors||White, Silver, Black||White, Silver, Black||White, Silver, Black||Silver, Black, Green||Silver, Black, Green|
|Display||14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS (non-touch)||16-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel IPS (non-touch)||17-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel IPS (non-touch)||14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS touchscreen||16-inch 2560 x 1600-pixel IPS touchscreen|
|CPU||11th Gen Intel Core||11th Gen Intel Core||11th Gen Intel Core||11th Gen Intel Core||11th Gen Intel Core|
|GPU||Iris Xe||Iris Xe||Iris Xe||Iris Xe||Iris Xe|
|RAM||8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB|
|SSD||M.2 Dual SSD slots (NVMe)||M.2 Dual SSD slots (NVMe)||M.2 Dual SSD slots (NVMe)||M.2 Dual SSD slots (NVMe)||M.2 Dual SSD slots (NVMe)|
|Size||12.3 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches||14 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches||15 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches||12.4 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches||14 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches|
|Weight||2.2 pounds||2.6 pounds||3 pounds||2.8 pounds||3.3 pounds|
LG Gram 14, Gram 16 and Gram 17
Starting with the clamshell models, LG announced a new Gram 14, Gram 16 and Gram 17, each number corresponding with their respective display sizes.
While the simple, clean aesthetic seen in previous efforts remains, LG gave each of these notebooks a redesign. It starts with the 16:10 aspect ratio, which makes the screen slightly taller but more narrow than a standard 16:9 panel. The shape allows you to see more on a spreadsheet, document or webpage without compromising the video-watching experience.
The keyboards and touchpads have also been enlarged so you should have less trouble executing Windows 10 gestures, and those will larger hands will feel more comfortable using the Gram as a full-time work machine. Each of these new products has a fingerprint reader and passed military-grade durability tests, meaning they should withstand harsh conditions.
The Gram 14, Gram 16, Gram 17 are available in White, Silver and Black color options.
On the display front, the Gram 14 has a 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS panel that covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color range. Going to a larger panel gets you more pixels with the Gram 16 and Gram 17 sporting WQXGA IPS panels at 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution. Keeping these laptops compact are thin bezels surrounding the display on all four sides.
Powering these notebooks are identical components including 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs with Iris Xe Graphics, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and M.2 Dual SSD slots (maximum capacity is unknown).
Despite their size, you get a decent selection of ports, including a Thunderbolt 4 input, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, an HDMI and a microSD card slot.
Now, getting back to weight. These things are very light. Like featherweight light. The Gram 17 weighs only 3 pounds while the Gram 16 drops to 2.6 pounds (the weight of many 14-inch notebooks today). The lightest of the bunch is the 2.2-pound Gram 14, which is much lighter than the 13.4-inch XPS 13 (2.8 pounds).
We don't have any battery life ratings on the 14-inch model but LG claims the 80Wh battery in the Gram 17 and Gram 16 enable 19.5 hours of endurance. If that's accurate, these would be among the longest-lasting laptops ever.
LG Gram 14 2-in-1 and Gram 16 2-in-1
There are a few small differences between the convertible and clamshell models. The obvious one, of course, is that the Gram 14 2-in-1 and Gram 16 2-in-1 can flip into tent or tablet mode.
Then there are the color options. Along with Silver and Black, the 2-in-1 versions are available in Green instead of White. You also get a Wacom AES 2.0 stylus with the Gram 14 and Gram 16 2-in-1 models.
You get the same displays as the standard versions but the hybrids are touch-sensitive. Other shared specs include the CPU, GPU and SSD, and the 2-in-1 models also include fingerprint readers and are MIL-810G certified.
One major disadvantage of going with the Gram 14 2-in-1 and Gram 16 2-in-1 is their size and weight. The best asset of these Gram laptops is their lightweight chassis yet the Gram 14 2-in-1 weighs in at 2.8 pounds and the Gram 16 2-in-1 is 3.3 pounds. By no means is that heavy but it isn't particularly lightweight, either.
LG Gram 2021 outlook
It's been an up and down ride for LG's Gram brand since launching several years ago. The first versions felt flimsy and the battery life was nowhere near advertised. Since then, LG has fortified the design with military-grade durability without sacrificing lightness.
The Gram 17 from 2019 was one of the best 17-inch laptops ever but the latest 2020 version was somewhat of a disappointment. This inconsistency makes us cautious about what should be some of the most compelling laptops on the market. Changes made to these 2021 models certainly have us interested, but can LG deliver? We'll need to wait for review units to come in to find out.
Unfortunately, LG has not yet released pricing and availability for these models.