This is the world full of burned out, abandoned tech companies that promised big things and delivered nothing. When Framework introduced a stable, redesigned, convertible laptop last year, I was skeptical. WIRED didn’t review it because no matter how good it was, most of its appeals depended on the company’s continued existence.
Here we are, one year later, and not only is the company still around, but they have made good on their promises, releasing a second Framework laptop with modular components that owners of the first model can upgrade if they so desire. want.
It’s an achievement, but the Framework will have to continue for many years to fulfill its promise. However, if you bought a Framework laptop today, and the company disappeared tomorrow, you would still have a great laptop with the option to upgrade your RAM and SSD, which is more than I can say for most laptops these days. As good as this laptop is, I don’t expect the Framework to disappear anytime soon.
The Framework Laptop is available in two variants. The first is your laptop ready to use. You order the configuration you want, and you still get all the modularity, but it arrives complete and ready to use. Another option is the DIY version. Here you can increase your conversion rate. Do you have a good SSD? Configure your setup without running and saving, but the trade-off is that you open the case (only five screws) and install your hard drive, RAM, and additional ports before you start using it. Then you need to install Windows or Linux.
Being a DIY person, I tried the DIY version. Framework shipped the laptop, two 8-GB RAM modules, and a 500-GB SSD. Opening the laptop was very easy thanks to the included Torx screwdriver, which also has a spudger on the other end. After the RAM and SSD are installed I need to select the ports I want.
There are four “slots” on the Framework laptop, which allow you to mix, match, and upgrade your port selection at any time. All the different options connect to the motherboard via USB-C and lock in place so they don’t fall out. I opted for two USB-C slots, one USB-A, a MicroSD card reader, and a built-in headphone jack. Other expansion options include another USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and an Ethernet adapter. Both are hot-swappable too, so if you want to change on the fly you can. I’d like to see an SD card reader here, but I’m probably the last person to still use an SD card, as I haven’t seen a large reader on a laptop in years.
After the laptop was assembled and configured to my liking, it was time to install the OS. The framework supports Windows 11 and several Linux distributions. (When I tested, the Framework also released a Chromebook. ChromeOS can technically run on a regular Framework laptop, but that requires adding some hardware.) Since I haven’t used anything but Linux for over 15 years now, I obviously installed Linux. I started with what I think is the best Linux system for newcomers, System76’s Pop_OS, which I covered in detail in my HP Dev One review. I also tried Ubuntu, which the Framework supports, and Arch Linux, which the Framework doesn’t officially support but it worked fine (the Framework supports Manjaro, which is based on Arch).
Hardware and Performance
After installing Linux and configuring it to my liking (very minimal, using SwayWM as a window manager), I ran several tests, and got the results you would expect from a 12-inch Intel i7 chip in sample I. tested. Framework performance is on par with other 12th generation Intel laptops I’ve tested this year. What I noticed right away while running the benchmark test, was that the Framework’s battery took a huge hit.