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LG’s latest attempt to blend ultra-thin design with high-end performance may have solved one of the company’s most pernicious problems. The Gram 14, announced today at CES, is similar to its predecessor in many ways. There’s still no touchscreen, and the device is just as thin and weighs the same as the 2015 model, coming in at just 2.16 pounds. That’s still light enough to retain the weight crown for its size class. Yet the real differentiator this go around is battery life. LG claims the Gram 14 tops out at 21 hours on a single charge.
It’s a bold claim, especially considering the flaws of the original Gram, itself a pretty brazen MacBook clone. In trying to bring down the laptop’s profile and weight, LG ended up with a overpriced gadget with abysmal battery life. In our review, we found the Gram struggled to last more than just five hours. Whatever LG has achieved between then and now would have to be a remarkable feat of engineering, because 21 hours of battery life is a more than double the claims of Apple other PC competitors. Of course, the Gram 14 will have to be tested when we get our hands on a review unit, and it may fail to achieve that milestone under heavy use. Still, even 15 to 16 hours would be a stunning feat.
LG has provided some details as to how it may have achieved the battery performance while retaining the light and thin frame. The Gram 14 now has a full metal body, which the company says is constructed out of a nano carbon magnesium alloy. The metal is a first for a LG product, and could be one of the company’s secrets behind the device’s longevity. By producing weight loss in its material design, LG may have been able to squeeze more juice into the product. LG says there’s also a new display technology behind the screen bezel that allows the IPS panel to achieve its brightness and resolution benchmarks while cutting down on component weight.
Still, we don’t know for sure whether the device will live up to the company’s claim. LG is also holding off on announcing pricing and availability for the Gram 14. The original Gram’s biggest issue was that it asked an Apple premium for a device out performed by far cheaper laptops. So the true test here will be whether this latest Gram has finally cracked the right blend of component choice and material design to achieve a battery that lasts — and all for the right price.

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