Think 'ultraportable laptop' and what springs to mind? Probably something thin and light, with a compact layout and equally tiny screen. That's certainly the trend - but not the rule.

The LG Gram 17 does things a little differently. Here's a machine that weighs about as much as a MacBook Air, but comes with a giant 17in display. So while it takes up a bit more room inside your bag, you won't need to squint when it's time to actually get some work done.

It's a pretty unique approach - but maybe there's a reason so few other laptop makers have tried it. Time to find out if the Gram is more than a one trick pony.

DESIGN & FEATURES: SLIMMER THAN YOUR AVERAGE

Go shopping for a 17in laptop and you'll find most of them want to replace your desktop PC, or are trying to be a go-anywhere games machine. Not the Gram 17: it weighs little over 1.3kg and is barely 2cm at its thickest point.

LG reckons it's physically on par with most 15.6in laptops, which might have been true a year or two ago, but now rivals have slimmed out their screen bezels, it still feels like a sizeable machine - however easy it may be to carry around.

The whole thing is made from a lightweight metal alloy, but it doesn't feel as premium as the MacBook Air or a Dell XPS. It's rarely cool to the touch, and could be mistaken for plastic. Hardly a plus point in a £1300 machine. At least the styling is on point, with minimal branding - the only LG logo sits beneath the display, with "gram" embossed into the lid.

LG hasn't been stingy on connectivity, finding room for three USB3 ports and a single USB-C, full-size HDMI, a 3.5mm audio out and a microSD card reader. That last inclusion feels like a misstep in a laptop this big, as you'd think there's surely enough room for a full-size SD card reader.

DISPLAY & SOUND: EASY ON THE EYE

Given it's the star of the show, it won't come as a surprise that the Gram 17's screen is a bit of a stunner.

An IPS LCD panel with a 2560x1600 resolution, it's about as sharp and detailed as you could hope for without stepping up to a 4K panel - which would be a lot costlier and have a big impact on battery life. The 16:10 aspect ratio also fits more onscreen than your typical 17.3in gaming laptop, which tend to opt for 16:9.

There's no HDR support, but the panel still gets plenty bright enough for outdoor working - although the glossy finish can make reflections a bit of a pain. On the plus side, viewing angles are excellent.

Colour accuracy is very good for a non-professional display, with images appearing vibrant and contrast very high given it uses IPS tech. You'd have to pay a lot more to find anything of this size with a better screen, and that's largely because they're all high refresh rate gaming laptops.

Sound quality isn't nearly as impressive. The downward-firing speakers might get loud enough, but they're muffled and lack detail, or any semblance of bass.

KEYBOARD & TOUCHPAD: NOT SO TAP HAPPY

Typing on the Gram is hardly a chore, but it takes some getting used to. It has a US keyboard layout, with small enter and backspace keys, and while it's nice to get a numerical keypad, none of its keys are full-size.

It's not as if LG has had to squeeze the keyboard in between a set of speakers like Apple's MacBook Pro 16in, so there's not really an excuse for things feeling cramped here.

The keys themselves have a firm keypress and a decent amount of travel, so once you've adapted to the layout you can be typing at full speed in no time. The entire keyboard is backlit, and the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader to quickly skip the Windows login screen.

Windows laptops rarely have killer touchpads, but the Gram 17's is about as good as they get. It's huge, pinpoint accurate and ultra-smooth for pain-free scrolling. It never picks up your palms while you're typing, and although it can be stiff when you physically click, tap-clicks are always on point.

PERFORMANCE: ULTRAPORTABLE, NOT ULTRA POWERFUL

With an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, the Gram 17 is now a little behind the curve in terms of silicon - but it's still perfectly potent for an ultraportable.

The i7-8565U ticks along at 1.8GHz, but can turbo boost all the way up to 4.6GHz when temperatures allow. Paired with 16GB of RAM, it has no trouble multitasking between a web browser filled with tabs, multiple work documents and the like.

Push harder with image and video editing software, though, and you'll quickly discover the Gram 17's limits. The low-voltage CPU isn't designed for heavy workloads, with thermal throttling kicking in as the laptop heats up. Rival laptops have far beefier processors that are better suited to these kinds of job, and faster storage, too. It might have a 512GB SSD, but it's a SATA3 disk rather than rapid PCIe.

There are only a few bits of built-in LG software, and none are particularly useful, so it's easy enough to strip the Gram 17 back to the bare Windows essentials before you get going.

With no dedicated graphics card, this is hardly a gaming machine. The Intel UHD 620 integrated GPU can handle basic titles like Minecraft, but try anything more demanding and you can expect slideshow-like frame rates unless you dial every setting back and cut down on the resolution as well.

BATTERY LIFE: ALL DAY (AND SOME OF THE NIGHT)

Don't go thinking a giant screen means compromising on battery life. The Gram 17 is one of the longest-lasting laptops around at this size, so you'll have no trouble lasting an entire work day away from the mains.

Its sizeable 72wH battery delivered almost twelve hours of looping video with the display set to half brightness, and if you stick to simple tasks like web browsing and writing emails, it's not impossible to stretch that a little further.

This is basically on par with the 13in ultraportable machines LG is trying to compete with, so there's little downside to going for a bigger screen if battery life is your biggest concern.

The charging adaptor isn't the giant brick you normally get with 17in machines, so it'll slip into your bag without any trouble, and you can also top up using the USB-C port if you have a compatible plug.

LG GRAM 17 VERDICT

Ignore the screen for a minute and the Gram 17 looks like a fairly generic ultraportable. Great battery life, sure, but merely average performance. It's only when you shop around that you see just how unique it really is.

Most rivals at this price make do with 13in displays, so you're getting significantly more screen real estate for your money, which goes a long way to make up for its average keyboard, sub-par speakers and composite build which doesn't exactly feel premium.

The big issue is whether there's really an audience for something like this. Most people needing a big screen are looking to edit videos on the move, and the Gram 17 just doesn't have the power for that.

As long as you accept there's little to be gained here over a similarly-priced 13in ultraportable other than screen space, then maybe the Gram is worth your time.

Tech Specs 
SCREEN
17in, 2560x1600 IPS LCD
CPU
Intel Core i7-8565U quad-core
MEMORY
16GB RAM
STORAGE
512GB SSD
GRAPHICS
Intel UHD 620
OPERATING SYSTEM
Microsoft Windows 10
PORTS
3x USB3, 1x USB-C, HDMI, microSD, 3.5mm headphone
DIMENSIONS
381x266x17.4mm, 1.34kg
Stuff says... 

LG Gram 17 review

Anyone desperate for a big-screen laptop they can carry anywhere will be well served by the LG Gram, but with performance on par with most 13in machines, it's a niche prospect
£1,349
Good Stuff 
Giant screen for an ultraportable
All-day working battery life
Not many direct rivals
Bad Stuff 
Awkward keyboard layout
Lacking in power for the price
Who's it for?