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Framework Laptop computer evaluation: a modular PC straightforward to repair or improve | Laptops

The Framework Laptop computer is a modular, repairable and upgradeable pocket book PC that goals to spark change on the earth of computer systems and show issues can look good, work effectively and nonetheless be fixable at residence.

Launched by US agency Framework Laptop, this new laptop computer has an analogous really feel to the wonderful Fairphone, offering customisation choices and the power to improve elements fairly than having to interchange all the gadget. It even ships with the one screwdriver you have to to take it aside.

The Framework is obtainable in a DIY model, which you set collectively your self and begins at £769 ($749) with the naked bones of the system, leaving you so as to add your individual RAM, storage and working system. Pre-built laptops begin at £999 ($999) working Home windows 10.

The Framework Laptop opened showing the keyboard and trackpad.
The keyboard is fairly good, with a beneficiant 1.5mm of key journey when depressed, whereas the usual trackpad is comparatively massive and exact. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

On the surface the Framework seems like just about any fashionable laptop computer. It’s fairly skinny at about 16mm, gentle at 1.3kg, and made from recycled aluminium. The physique of the laptop computer feels strong and effectively made, and the hinge is rock strong and opens all the way in which to 180 levels, however the lid feels extra flimsy, with extra flex within the display screen than some when opened and closed.

The 13.5in display screen is crisp and shiny however will not be a touchscreen, which is uncommon for a Home windows laptop computer. The deck has your alternative of language keyboard and a pretty big normal trackpad. It even has 1080p webcam on the prime of the display screen with a bodily swap to disable it and the mics, and fingerprint scanner constructed into the facility button for logging into Home windows.

Two audio system hearth from grilles on the underside of the laptop computer, which sound fairly clear and may get pretty loud however lack any actual bass.

The bottom of the Framework Laptop with one USB-A expansion module inserted and a second HDMI module ready to be installed.
To alter an growth port, press the button on the underside of the laptop computer, pull out the module and slot one other one in, such because the HDMI port for connecting an exterior show. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The perimeters of the machine maintain extra novelty: 4 modular ports that let you hot-swap between any mixture of USB-C (USB4), USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, microSD and expandable storage drives. Costing lower than £20 every, they’re low-cost sufficient to maintain a set for various duties. It’s a genius thought.


  • Display screen: 13.5in LCD 2256 x 1504 (60Hz; 201 PPI)

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7 (Eleventh era)

  • RAM: 8, 16, 32 or 64GB

  • Storage: 250, 500GB, 1, 2 or 4TB

  • Working system: Home windows 10 Residence or Professional

  • Digital camera: 1080p front-facing

  • Connectivity: wifi 6 (ax), Bluetooth 5.2, headphones, fingerprint scanner, alternative of 4 ports, USB-C (USB4), USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, microSD

  • Dimensions: 296.6 x 229.0 x 15.9mm

  • Weight: 1.3kg

Good efficiency, battery life a bit brief

The inside of the Framework Laptop showing the components including battery, RAM, SSD and fan.
The laptop computer is designed to be straightforward to take aside. The 5 screws within the backside keep within the base when loosened to cease them being misplaced, and the deck clips into place with magnets for proper alignment. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The guts of the Framework is pretty normal for PC laptops. It has a alternative of Eleventh-generation Core i5 or i7 quad-core laptop computer processor from Intel, which can have loads of energy for many duties. Its Intel Xe graphics chip won’t deal with a lot in the way in which of gaming, nevertheless.

The machine runs pretty heat, requiring the followers ceaselessly even when simply looking heavy websites, and they’re comparatively noisy in contrast with the most effective, making them audible in quiet places of work.

Battery lifetime of the highest Core i7 model with 32GB of RAM was pretty brief, lasting about six hours of labor with the display screen set to about 70% brightness. That isn’t terrible, however mainstream rivals normally handle greater than seven hours, with the finest within the enterprise in a position to final so long as 16 hours.

It takes two hours to completely cost the laptop computer with Framework’s compact 60W charger, hitting 50% in an hour.


The Framework Laptop screen’s surround removed showing the circuitry and hinge.
The display screen’s encompass is connected by magnets for straightforward removing and might be swapped out with a distinct color for personalisation. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Framework charges the battery to final for no less than 1,000 full cost cycles whereas sustaining 80% of its unique capability. It may possibly simply get replaced together with all of the remainder of the elements, together with the RAM and SSD. The laptop computer was awarded 10 out of 10 for repairability by the specialists iFixit.

Framework will promote substitute elements and upgrades via its market within the close to future, but in addition helps third-party elements. The laptop computer’s housing accommodates 50% recycled aluminium and 30% recycled plastic.

Home windows 10, Home windows 11 or Linux

The Framework Laptop open and turned on with a glowing ring around the fingerprint scanner cum power button showing powered-on state.
The fingerprint scanner is suitable with Microsoft’s Home windows Hiya biometric system, whereas the sunshine ringing it exhibits the state of the machine, whether or not on, off or asleep. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The pre-built fashions of the laptop computer ship with Home windows 10 Residence or Professional relying on the model, however can simply be upgraded to the newest Home windows 11 or switched to Linux or one other working system.

The laptop computer acts like every other Home windows machine out of the field, however solely a few of the driver updates can be found via Home windows replace in the intervening time. Others have to be downloaded direct from Framework’s web site, which is straightforward.


The Framework Laptop computer is available in a number of completely different variations, together with as a DIY package that you simply put collectively your self that begins at £769 ($749) for the barebones gear, so you’ll be able to add your individual RAM, storage and working system.

Pre-built methods begin at £999 ($999) with an Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, Home windows 10 Residence and 4 USB-C growth playing cards. The mannequin with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage prices £1,399 ($1,399).

USB-C and USB-A growth playing cards value £9; HDMI, DP and microSD playing cards value £19; 250GB storage playing cards prices £70 and 1TB £150.


The Framework Laptop computer is a marvel: a skinny, gentle and effectively made pocket book PC that you could simply take aside, repair, improve and add your individual elements to, similar to RAM and storage. There aren’t many laptops that may say the identical.

The modular ports are an amazing thought, too, permitting you to customize the choice in your laptop computer on an ad-hoc foundation with out the necessity for a great deal of dongles or adaptors.

As a typical PC laptop computer it really works effectively, with a good keyboard and trackpad, good display screen, nice webcam, fingerprint scanner and your alternative of Intel processors. None of those are fairly as particular as you will get on a few of the easiest mainstream laptops, however they’re usually good.

The worst bit is the battery life, which is a bit weak. A minimum of you’ll be able to change it. Keep in mind that the growth ports, motherboard and different distinctive elements will depend on Framework’s long-term assist and availability to interchange or improve, which isn’t assured for brand spanking new entrants.

The Framework Laptop computer feels extra of an fanatic machine made by a proper to restore startup, however honestly there’s nothing concerning the pre-built fashions that ought to deter mainstream patrons aside from brief availability. For probably the most half, the Framework is a typical laptop computer, albeit one you’ll be able to take aside and improve if one thing breaks.

Execs: modular ports, designed to be taken aside for restore or improve, can deliver your individual storage and RAM, good efficiency, made from recycled aluminium and plastic, effectively made, skinny, gentle, good fingerprint scanner, good display screen, nice webcam, first rate keyboard and trackpad.

Cons: battery life might be higher, runs pretty heat and followers might be noisy, no touchscreen, lid a bit of flimsier than the remainder of the physique.

The Framework Laptop shut showing the company’s cog logo on the outside
The Framework Laptop computer seems like a daily skinny and light-weight shopper pocket book PC, full with metallic lid and engaging cog emblem. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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