The laptop market is dominated by devices that are designed to be disposable, with limited options for customization, upgradeability, and repairability. But a new company called Framework is challenging this trend with its Framework Laptop, a thin and light ultrabook that lets users swap out almost every component, from the ports to the mainboard.
What is the Framework Laptop?
The Framework Laptop is a 13.5-inch laptop that weighs 2.9 pounds and measures 0.62 inches thick. It has a 3:2 aspect ratio display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels and a brightness of 400 nits. It comes with either a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and up to 4TB of NVMe SSD storage.
But what makes the Framework Laptop unique is its modular design. The laptop has four expansion card slots on the sides, which can be filled with different types of ports, such as USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, microSD, or even extra storage. The ports can be easily ejected and replaced with a push of a button.
The laptop also has a magnetic bezel that can be removed to access the webcam and microphone module, which can also be swapped out for different options. The keyboard and touchpad are also replaceable, as well as the battery, which is rated for 55Wh and can last up to 10 hours on a single charge.
The most impressive feature of the Framework Laptop is its mainboard, which houses the CPU, GPU, RAM, and Wi-Fi card. The mainboard can be upgraded to a newer generation of Intel or AMD processors by simply unscrewing it and installing a new one. Framework offers mainboards with 11th Gen, 12th Gen, and AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors.
Why is the Framework Laptop important?
The Framework Laptop is important because it represents a new way of thinking about consumer electronics. Instead of buying a new laptop every few years and discarding the old one, users can keep their Framework Laptop for longer and upgrade it as they need. This reduces electronic waste and saves money in the long run.
The Framework Laptop also gives users more control over their devices. They can customize their laptop to suit their preferences and needs, without being limited by what the manufacturer offers. They can also repair their laptop themselves if something breaks, without having to send it to a service center or pay for expensive parts.
The Framework Laptop also supports the right to repair movement, which advocates for consumers’ ability to repair their own devices and access spare parts and manuals. Framework provides detailed guides and tutorials on how to disassemble and reassemble the laptop, as well as an online marketplace where users can buy and sell modules and parts.
How does the Framework Laptop compare to other laptops?
The Framework Laptop is not perfect. It has some drawbacks compared to other laptops in its category, such as middling battery life, unimpressive speakers, a cheap-feeling touchpad, and a generic-looking design. It is also pricey for what it offers as a laptop, starting at $1049 for the prebuilt model and $749 for the DIY model (without memory, storage, or OS).
However, the Framework Laptop is not meant to compete with other laptops on specs or features alone. It is meant to offer a different value proposition: a laptop that is modular, repairable, and upgradable. It is meant to appeal to users who care about sustainability, customization, and repairability.
The Framework Laptop is showing the rest of the PC industry what’s possible when it comes to designing devices that are user-friendly and environmentally-friendly. It is a laptop that is built for the future, not for the landfill.