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LG Ultra PC 17 review

A fun multimedia laptop not meant for power users

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Wonderful ergonomics and a stunning display are sadly coupled with an underpowered GPU make this a swing and miss for LG.

For

  • Beautiful display
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad
  • Lightweight, stylish design
  • Great for enjoying multimedia content

Against

  • Spotty video editing performance
  • Poor GPU performance

 The LG Ultra PC 17 ($1,500 starting, $1,699 reviewed)  is beautiful. It’s one of the most attractive and accurate MacBook Pro clones I’ve seen. When I first received the sexy all-white box (right before Labor Day, whew.), I instantly became excited as I unboxed it and caressed its sleek lines. What struck me first was how lightweight the all-aluminium LG Ultra 17 is. 

There couldn’t possibly be a full-sized keyboard and 17-inch display inside there, right? But indeed there is, and it’s resplendent. The other immediate thing that comes to mind is, can it perform like a MacBook Pro? So like any good reviewer, I took it for a long test drive, and I may have tried to burn some rubber when no one was looking. I turned on some road music, got the camera fired up, loaded photo and video editing software, downloaded games, and bellowed “road trip!” Let's find out if this clone could possibly be a MacBook challenger or just another Canal Street knock off. 

 LG Ultra PC 17 pricing and configurations

LG Ultra PC 17 specs

Price: $1,699
CPU: 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-10510U

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU w/ 4GB VRAM

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

Display: 2560 x 1600-pixel, WQXGA 

Battery: 12:17

Size:  15.0 x 10.8 x 0.8

Weight: 4.3 pounds

The LG Ultra PC 17 I reviewed ( $1,199 starting, $1,699 reviewed) has a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor, 16GB RAM (upgradeable to 64GB), a 512GB PCIe SSD, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM, and a gorgeous 17-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel, WQXGA display. 

The base model costs $1,199 and drops you down to a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-10210U processor with the same Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD.

 LG Ultra PC 17 design

The LG Ultra 17 is a thing of minimalist beauty. With its soft rounded curves and subtle distinct grooves, it looks like the dark gray aluminum system was carved by expert hands instead of a machine. However, it will remind you of a MacBook the entire time you’re using it.

(Image credit: Future)

Underneath, we find the two small speaker vents towards the bottom front and on the bottom near the rear are the cooling vents. 

Measuring 15 x 10.8 x 0.8 inches and weighing 4.3 pounds, the LG is the heaviest member of its peer group, but also has the largest display at 17 inches. The Acer Swift 3 AMD (2.7 pounds and 12.7 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches) and the MSI Prestige 14 (2.8 pound, 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches) are understandably smaller with their 14-inch displays, as is the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex (3.6 pounds, 14 x 9 x 0.6 inches) 15.6-inch panel.

LG Ultra PC 17 ports

The Ultra PC 17 has a solid amount of ports. On the right side, there are two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, an Ethernet port and a Kensington lock

(Image credit: Future)

On the left, we find a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

LG Ultra PC 17  display

The 17-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel display renders images and videos beautifully. The panel is bright and the colors are vivid and wonderfully saturated. When I turned it on, and the display popped up with the stunning LG wallpaper background image of a starry sky over a lake, my Ms. and I were in awe at the sight. 

Gotham City never looked so beautiful. When I played Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY edition, the colors were incredibly vivid. It made the Joker's pale cracked skin and the bright red lips surrounding his evil snarl of a smile so pretty, I almost didn’t want Batman to punch him in the face. 

Watching the upcoming No Time to Die trailer, actor Daniel Craig’s annoying ruggedly handsome face had my significant other peeking over my shoulder. His blue eyes were captivating.

(Image credit: Future)

When we measured the screen's color reproduction capabilities, the LG scored a solid 75.5% on our DCI-P3 color gamut test, falling below the premium laptop average of 82.7%. However, it surpassed the Swift 3, which scored only 44.2% and came in second to the Prestige 14, which scored 78.9%. 

The Ultra 17 scored an average brightness of 353 nits, below the premium laptop average of 382 nits. The Acer Swift scored 251 nits, the MSI Prestige scored 269 nits, and the Samsung Galaxy Book led the group with a ridiculous 565 nits in outdoor mode and 381 nits in standard indoor mode.

 LG Ultra PC 17 audio

Whether I was watching a video, listening to music or playing a game, the LG Ultra produced wonderful audio quality. The speakers are balanced and there was no audible distortion even at maximum volume. While enjoying my Wednesday '90s R&B afternoon, they pumped out nice lows, mid-range and high tones as I grooved to SWV’s “Right Here. As my mix turned to Soul For Real’s “Candy Rain,” I was up and dancing to the space-filling sound. 

While playing Batman Arkham Asylum, every one of Batman’s bone-crunching punches was crisp and exuded excellent depth. The Jokers' nerve-wracking laugh was chilling and Harley Quinn’s Mr. J’s made me feel immersed in the game. 

While Watching the latest James Bond trailer, the machine gun fire was realistic and the timbre in Daniel Craig’s voice was perfect as he said “Bond, James Bond. The explosions were as exquisitely destructively sounding as they should be.

LG Ultra PC 17 keyboard and touchpad

When you open the LG Ultra 17, you see a full-size Chiclet-style keyboard on the massive deck. It did take a quick adjustment to get used to the keyboard as I put my hulking key-thumping fingers to work. 

The keyboard is laid out nicely and the keys feel clicky. I scored a quite dextrous 82 words per minute with a 94% accuracy on the 10fastfingers test. My normal average is between 70% and 85% with about 65 wpm. I do admit, having gotten used to smaller keyboards, it took some time to adjust to having the extra space.

(Image credit: Future)

  

The 4.7 x 3.1-inch precision glass touchpad on this LG is excellent. It did a great job executing Windows 10 gestures, like three or four-fingered swipes and simple finger taps. The bottom corners of the touchpad are clicky and super responsive.

LG Ultra PC 17 performance

Sporting a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD, our test unit is a solid performer. It held up well when I had 25 to 30 Google Chrome tabs open with several of them running videos while also editing documents. However, the chassis did run a little warm. 

I create a lot of video and photo content, so I downloaded DaVinci Resolve 16, which I use to edit video, and Capture One Pro, which I use when shooting photos in a studio or outdoors. Starting with Capture One Pro, I proceeded to shoot about 50 photos while tethered to the LG, and it did a solid job with no hiccups as I uploaded and did some quick accurate edits. 

The issues began when I booted DaVinci Resolve 16 and imported media I had shot at 1080p. Editing proved difficult as the performance lagged, which made cutting footage nearly impossible. Also, the footage and audio would not sync up while reviewing it during editing. What should have taken me five or ten minutes to edit took a little over a half hour.

I then tried Adobe Premiere Pro with the same 1080p video files. Because Premiere is more CPU driven, it worked much more smoothly than DaVinci, with very few hiccups.

Moving to our benchmark tests, the LG Ultra PC 17 scored 3,498 during our Geekbench 5.0 overall performance test. It performed below the 4,053 premium laptop average. The Acer Swift 3 led our group (4,862, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U CPU) with the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15  (Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU) right behind at 4,426. The MSI Prestige rounded things up with 3,982 (Core i7-10710U CPU).

The LG Ultra 17 took 19 minutes and 11 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution using the Handbrake app. It was slower than the premium laptop average (18:43) . The Acer Swift led our group, finishing at 11 minutes flat, followed by the MSI Prestige 14 at 14:01 and the Samsung Galaxy Book bringing up the rear at 22:18. 

During our Photoshop testing, our unit scored 602, coming in slightly above the premium laptop average of 591. It bested the MSI Prestige, which scored 460 and was only slightly behind the Samsung Galaxy which rounded up our group with a score of 612.

During our File Transfer test, the LG averaged 1,532.9 megabytes per second while transferring 5GB of mixed media. The Samsung averaged 1379.2 MBps followed by the MSI's transfer speed of 978.7 MBps. Each of these systems scored above the premium laptop average of 707.72.

LG Ultra PC 17  graphics, gaming and VR

LG's Ultra PC 17 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM, which is supposed to allow for smoother gaming and video editing. Playing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Gathering Storm in 1080p, our unit scored an average of 50 frames per second, which is superior to the premium laptop average (27 fps). The Acer Swift scored 27 fps and the Samsung Galaxy Book scored a low 16 fps. 

(Image credit: Future)

I played Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY on the unit and, although the display rendered everything beautifully, I did notice some stutter at times especially during the opening scene where Batman had captured the Joker and was taking him to Arkham. It wasn't bad enough to hamper my gameplay session, but it did cause me to raise an eyebrow.

LG Ultra PC 17 battery life

The Ultra PC 17 endured for an excellent 12 hours and 17 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. That time is above the premium laptop average of 10 hours and 1 minute. The Acer Swift came in at 11:09, the MSI Prestige followed with 9:49, and the Samsung Galaxy Book led the pack with a fantastic 15:44.

LG Ultra PC 17 heat 

The LG Ultra PC 17 features a dual cooling system. During the video heat test (15 minutes of playing a fullscreen HD video), the touchpad measured 81 degrees Fahrenheit, while the keyboard registered a warm 104 degrees, which is higher than our 95-degree comfort threshold. The undercarriage also got uncomfortably warm at 105 degrees.

LG Ultra PC 17  webcam

The 720p HD webcam on the LG does a solid job but is par for the course when it comes to webcams. Like most webcams, you should make sure the lighting is optimal to get the best results. Colors were saturated and looked best under the right lighting conditions. In darker conditions, the colors are a little muted and there was some pixelation at times. Overall, the webcam is solid for what it is, but if you’re a serious gamer looking to stream, or a business person who needs a better quality image for Zoom meetings, invest in an external webcam.

LG Ultra PC 17  software and warranty

The Ultra PC 17 comes with Windows 10 Home, which means there's a fair amount of bloatware, including Skype, Netflix, Microsoft Solitaire collection, and some gawd awful Power Director, Power Media for LGE software that’s horrendously buggy.

Because the unit comes with the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 GPU, gamer-centric third-party software includes the Nvidia Control Panel, which allows you to tweak the discrete GPU’s settings.

The LG Ultra PC 17 comes with a 1-year parts and labor limited warranty.

Bottom line

The LG Ultra PC 17 is a solid multimedia laptop that should meet the day to day needs of most business professionals While it will provide the user some decent gaming performance, the laptop is not for a serious content creator looking to produce professional content. Although the display is worthy of those aspirations, the middling to poor performance of its GPU will prevent serious creators from achieving their goals. If you want a large display for  handling documents, playing a few games and watching movies when you're not working, the Ultra PC 17 could be a good option for you.