Although LG Electronics is far better known for consumer products such as TVs and refrigerators, the Korean electronics company also sells laptop computers -- just not in the United States. That situation just changed as LG introduced a high-end "Gram" series of ultrabook laptops that went on sale yesterday at Microsoft's retail stores, Microsoft's online store as well as Amazon.com.
The LG Gram series comes in three models, all weighing 2.16 pounds, which is lighter than Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air, which weighs a few ounces more. The 13-inch model [pictured, right] starts at $899 and comes in white with Intel Core i5, 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage.
The 14-inch model [pictured, left, in background] starts at $999 and comes in gold, also with Intel Core i5, 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage. A second 14-inch model starts at $1,399 and comes in gold with Intel Core i7, 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage.
No Skylake Chip
The body of the 14-inch laptop is made from carbon-lithium and carbon-magnesium, as is the 13-inch model. Those are the same materials used in spacecrafts, as they are known for their durability. At one-half inch thick the Gram 14 is made to be portable.
The $1,399 version of the Gram 14 includes a fifth-generation Intel Core i7 processor. The sixth-generation Skylake chips will be included in some laptops later this year, but the fifth-generation version is said to have comparable performance metrics. Compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the LG laptop sacrifices some screen resolution, but runs faster and costs less.
The Gram laptops are all Microsoft Editions that run on the new Windows 10 operating system with the Cortana digital assistant and Microsoft Edge browser. They each come with a virus-protection system and include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology and ports for USB 3.0, as well as a micro-USB and microSD slot. The laptops also have built-in HDMI ports.
The LG Gram series offers full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screens also have LG's In-Plane Switching technology, which adjusts color saturation and contrast. Each laptop has a "Reader Mode" with reduced blue light to reduce eye fatigue during long periods of use. The series has a battery life up to 7.5 hours, and the laptops have built-in digital-to-analog converters for hi-fi quality sound.
Even with the Microsoft and Intel involvment, Gram will face heavy competition from other similarly priced ultrabooks. Dell’s XPS 13, for instance, comes with a similar processor but also has added features, including longer battery life.
In addition, several new ultrabooks will boast the new Skylake chip later in the year, which will put Gram a generation behind almost as soon as it’s on the market. Among those might be the rumored Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which is said to be the subject of a debut event in the next week or two.