Best known for its HDTVs and appliances, the South Korean manufacturer LG ventured into the laptop market over five years ago with its Gram notebook, a portable system given its name thanks to its light weight (less than a kilogram). Despite its high price and newcomer status, the premium Gram line has survived and expanded from the original 13-inch and 14-inch editions to a range of five laptops with larger screen sizes and a pair of 2-in-1 convertible models.
With its Gram refresh timed to coincide with the upcoming CES 2021 virtual exhibit, LG chooses further refinement over any major redesigns. After all, Gram laptops are highly thought of in their market segment, as our own review of the Gram 17 details a few months ago. While ZDNet’s Sandra Vogel praised its design, display, and battery life, she was disappointed in its slightly sluggish performance. By packing its 2021 models with Intel’s latest 11th-generation (“Tiger Lake”) Core processors and Iris Xe graphics, LG looks to address that concern in Intel Evo Platform verified designs. The five models — 14-inch, a new 16-inch, and 17-inch clamshells and 14-inch and 16-inch 2-in-1 convertibles — also come with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and NVMe-based solid-state drives.
Aside from the processor upgrade, other improvements to the 2021 Gram lineup include a couple of design tweaks. The already spacious keyboard and trackpad are further enlarged, while the bezel is now slim around all four edges of the display (as shown in product shot above), rather than just on the left and right sides. The result is a screen-to-body ratio of 90 percent on displays that keep the 16:10 ratio that LG likes to tout for providing more screen information. Resolution on the Gram 16, Gram 17, and Gram 16 2-in-1 is 2,560×1,600, while the 14-inch models is 1,920×1,200.
Otherwise, the new Gram laptops retain a lot of what the previous versions had to offer, like light weight: Even though only the Gram 14 still weighs under a kilogram (2.2 pounds), the other models are still svelte with just the Gram 16 2-in-1 tipping the scales at more than 3 pounds. There’s a built-in fingerprint reader, enhanced durability (compliance with seven 810G military standard tests), choice of chassis color (silver or black for all versions, white for clamshell designs, green for 2-in-1), and an Wacom AES 2.0 compatible stylus included for the Gram 2-in-1s.
Although LG made its Gram announcement before CES 2021 begins next week, it did not include pricing or availability details. Considering that the lowest price on a current Gram is more than $1,000, we can expect similar pricing, but perhaps the company will provide details once the trade show begins and LG opens its virtual showroom on January 11.