LG Electronics is making its moves on the U.S. PC market. For the first time, the electronics giant has launched a premium line of lightweight laptops stateside. Dubbed the LG Gram series, the laptops are selling now -- complete with the Windows 10 operating system -- at Microsoft stores and on Amazon.com.
The company named its new line “Gram” because the PCs are lightweight. The company is targeting the Gram PCs at customers who want portable, durable high-performance laptops. The LG Gram 14 [pictured] weighs 2.16 pounds, making it one of the lightest laptops in the 14-inch category. In fact, it weighs less than the 13-inch MacBook Air, which is just about 3 pounds.
"This is an extremely competitive category," said David VanderWaal, vice president of marketing, LG Electronics USA, in a statement. Nevertheless, he's confident that consumers will find it compelling. Time will tell if the Gram resonates with technology consumers in America the way LG PCs have in other markets.
Can Gram Make It in U.S.?
The body of the Gram is made of carbon-lithium and carbon-magnesium, the same materials found in spacecraft and race cars. It’s half an inch wide, carries an Intel Core processor -- either a Core i5 or Core i7 -- and supports the latest connectivity standards, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
For customers who need more ways to connect, the Gram also sports extra ports for micro-USB, USB 3.0, and a micro-SD slot, and comes equipped with a built-in HDMI port. The latter is a unique feature among laptops, which typically require HDMI adaptors. An instant boot feature starts Windows immediately and a 7.5-hour battery life is aimed at heavy users.
We caught up with Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, to get his thoughts on LG’s chances in the U.S. laptop market. He told us the market is tough -- even incumbents are having a hard time.
“It's hard to see how newcomers can do any better. The LG devices look decent enough, sort of middling to high end, but LG has no brand recognition here,” Kay said. “I suspect that Microsoft and Intel, but particularly Microsoft put LG up to it. That is, there are likely subsidy dollars at work here, as Microsoft is trying to ensure that the Windows 10 rollout goes well. Having new launch partners helps build momentum. But it's a stretch to imagine LG having come up with this idea itself.”
Three Gram Models
Still, LG could gain some traction. The LG Gram offers HD picture quality with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. The display also sports LG's In-Plane Switching technology that promises accurate color saturation and contrast. That means the blue shirt you order online is more likely to be the shade of blue you actually expected.
There are three Gram models: LG Gram 13; LG Gram 14 with Intel Core i5; and LG Gram 14 with Intel Core i7. The Gram 13 is a 13-inch model in white with Intel Core i5, 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage that retails for $899. The Gram 14 runs $999 for the model with the Core i5, 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage and $1,399 for the Core i7 model with 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage.