LG updates its svelte Gram 15Z980 notebook with 8th-gen Core, Thunderbolt 3

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We applauded LG’s Gram 15Z970 notebook for its incredibly thin and light chassis that still managed to pack in strong performance and an excellent display. Now that Intel’s excellent eighth-generation Core processors are hitting the mainstream, LG has taken the opportunity to update its flagship 15-inch notebook with both better performance and some nice design touches.

LG Gram 15Z980

We can tell from the pictures that the notebook maintains its basic design but with some notable changes. It utilizes a nano-carbon magnesium alloy material that’s allowed LG to meet the MIL-STD 810G certification for durability and use in harsh environments. The webcam that was uncomfortably placed under the display for an up-the-nose view has been relocated to above the display where it belongs.

The LG Gram 15Z980 retains the former model’s very light 2.42 pound chassis, which we found extremely comfortable to carry around for a notebook with such a large 15.6-inch display. By packing in Intel’s very efficient and high-performance quad-core eighth-generation CPUs, LG can now boast significantly faster performance along with greater efficiency. The company is promising up to 19 hours of battery life, which is in line with some other newly introduced systems.

LG has stuck with the SATA interface for the solid state drive (SSD), which is a bit of a disappointment. However, the company managed to build in a slot for a second SSD, which would allow for twice the storage space as well as extra flexibility in separating system and data files.

The machine also packs in a very large 72 watt-hour battery, which promises excellent battery life. The combination of its lightweight but durable chassis and hopefully strong battery life should result in a very portable notebook.

Finally, the LG Gram 15Z980 fixes one of our complaints with the earlier model. While its predecessor was limited to a USB-C 3.1 port, the updated machine offers Thunderbolt 3, which greatly improves the notebook’s peripheral support and long-term viability. It can also charge external devices such as smartphones.

LG has released availability and pricing information for the Gram 15Z980. The machine starts out with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SATA SSD for $1,250, and runs all the way up to an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SATA SSD for $2,000.

Updated on February 6: Added pricing and availability information.