LG GRAM 17 (17Z90N) Review
The 2020 LG GRAM 17 (17Z90N) is surprisingly light for a 17-inch laptop, boasts excellent battery life, has a glorious screen and delivers enough power for productivity if you’re into large displays.
- Incredibly light for a 17-inch laptop
- Outstanding battery life
- Very compact footprint for the screen size
- Comprehensive port selection
- Minimalist, plain design
- Middling speaker audio
- No touchscreen option
The LG Gram 17 (17Z90N) is a 2020 version of our favorite Gram from last year, that handles most important aspects of mobile computing with aplomb. It is – in all fairness – the lightest laptop with a 17-inch screen we’ve reviewed, and by far the longest-lasting from a power source. Simply put, the Gram 17Z90N is impressive, and you’ll be surprised at how much PC it offers for the price.
While other 17-inch laptops will lug you down – especially on daily commute, this one has a thin and light weight design that easily rivals modern Chromebooks. In addition to a chic profile, it gets a solid selection of ports including USB-C (with optional charging), decent battery life (LG claims up to 17 hours), a splendid display and all the power you need for productivity.
At first glance, the LG Gram 17 doesn’t look like much. This laptop lacks the exceptional features you have on the likes of Dell’s XPS 15 and the HP Envy 13 – instead, you have a simple dark gray design with the word “gram” inscribed on the top. It lacks color, and we can easily call it unattractive, the same way we do with the Apple MacBook 15.
However, once you lift this laptop that you begin to appreciate its appeal. So far, the LG Gram 17 is the lightest 17-inch laptop out there, weighing only 2.96 lb. – that’s around 0.07 pounds lighter than the smaller MacBook Pro 13-inch. It measures 15.0 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches, but slightly bigger than the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch.
This is one of those few laptops that you’ll want to throw into your backpack or a tote bag in case you need to get productive while travelling or you want to work on the go. The lightweight profile is as a result of a carbon nanotube-reinforced magnesium alloy, that makes it as rugged as the MacBook Pro. LG claims it to be shockproof, dust-proof, resistant to low pressure and able to withstand extreme environmental temperatures. We weren’t able to prove how strong, but it feels sturdy enough that competing units out there.
Being a productivity machine, we at least expect the best of connectivity options. The Gram 17Z90N has most of the ports you’d need now and beyond: three USB 3.1 ports, Thunderbolt 3 (supports charging) via USB Type-C, HDMI, headphone jack and micro-SD. You also have a USB 3.1 adapter for RJ45 Ethernet.
The LG Gram 17’s thin and rugged design may be the main selling points, but the display gives you more reason to buy it over its closest rivals. One of the best things about this laptop is the 17-inch QHD (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD display. To that, the 17-inch is set on a 15.6-inch form factor, boasting 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives you even bigger canvas.
The screen is incredibly bright, delivers high quality pictures with 359 nits of brightness, a 1600p resolution and cover over 90% color gamut. With this screen, whatever you’ll be doing on this laptop will be in perfect comfort – whether you’ll be streaming movies and shows or finishing on workplace tasks – you’ll be doing all that on a display that’s completely stunning.
Keyboard & Touchpad
There isn’t much to complain about the 2020 rendition of the LG Gram, and the same extends to the inputs. The full-size keyboard is comfortable, has a nice tactile feel, and it gets decent travel, making it absolutely comfortable to use for productivity. The same extends to the trackpad that works well, although it has a bit of give than expected but you get used to it in a few hours. Ans, it gets a rather unique fingerprint reader on the power button that’s very reliable for secure logins.
For those who will be using this LG Gram 17 for media consumption, a pair of 1.5W speakers makes for an intuitive experience, they are pretty loud and boasts well-balanced sound output. It’s worth mentioning that the Gram 17 generates a bit of heat near the back portion of the keyboard when performing intensive tasks. Also, the speakers get a little distorted at high volumes, but these issues are not unique to the Gram 17, though.
The LG GRAM 17 (17Z90N) is a laptop created to be a workhorse. It packs the latest 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, Iris graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB NVMe SSD (slotted in two 512GB modules). This is the latest 2020 offering of the Gram 17, and it is more powerful enough for productivity. With these features, you can stream and download all the videos you want, run business spreadsheets and other tasks, but you won’t notice any stuttering or interruptions. The 16GB of memory certainly helps.
It uses Intel Iris Plus graphics, which only suffices for media processing takes but definitely cannot play anything in the line of current AAA games. It’s ok for casual gaming, but games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider are delivered at really low framerates, accompanied with stuttering and a drop in frame rates.
Again, we definitely wouldn’t vouch on running intensive creative tasks with this laptop, let alone execute graphics-heavy gaming. However, for anyone looking for a portable productivity laptop that’s reasonably priced and one that can do lots of streaming as well as light gaming after work, know that you’re getting lots of value with this feature-rich LG Gram 17.
LG claims that the new Gram 17 (17Z90N)’s 80Wh battery lasts up to 17 hours on a single charge, and the result is stellar runtime. It is incredibly relieving to start your day without a charger on hand, and see Windows estimating over 13 hours of battery life. While those estimates do fluctuate based on workload, you’ll have no issues getting through an entire workday with this laptop.
Buy the LG GRAM 17 if…
You need absolute screen real estate, a travel-friendly laptop and one that offers more bang for your buck. While LG offers lots of laptops with portability as the main selling point, the LG Gram 17 (2020) is an absolute manifestation of power and portability. There’s nothing else like it on the market, and it’s mostly a joy to use despite the middling speakers.
Again, we expect the prices of laptops powered by 8th-generation Intel Core CPUs to drop as laptops powered by 10thgeneration chips hit the market, so now might be the perfect time to snag this unique, powerful thin-and-light LG Gram 17.