It’s generally very difficult to upgrade components or swap out parts to suit your personal preferences in a Macbook or Windows laptop. You’re basically buying a new laptop to have it replaced (and hopefully recycled or refurbished) entirely in a few years time. The Framework laptop attempts to solve this bad environmental footprint of modern day laptops.
The makers of the Framework are trying to achieve something similar as the Fairphone; a laptop system where all parts can be swapped or upgraded, without needing an expert repair shop to do it. You can not only upgrade your hard disk or RAM capacity, but even go as far as swapping out your keyboard, enclosure or connection ports to suit your needs.
Next to it being easier on the wallet if you just need to upgrade your CPU or RAM, it’s also much friendlier for the environment if we need to dispose less hardware in our lifetime. You can say this is one of the few, if not only sustainable laptops available, respecting the Right to Repair.
What Can the Framework Laptop Do?
Framework is a Windows 10 laptop that comes in a variety of preconfigured models with modern-day specifications. Don’t expect a high-end gaming laptop with a bulky GPU, but something similar to a Macbook Air, Surface Pro or a flagship Chromebook with a decent Intel CPU and between 8 to 32 GBs of RAM.
By default, the Framework also comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner and a good quality webcam on board and gives you four USB-C ports.
- GPU: i5-1135G7 / i7-1165G7 / i7-1185G7
- Storage: 256 GB – 1 TB SSD
- Memory: 8 – 32GB DDR4-3200
- Connectivity: Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
- Display: 13.5” 3:2, 2256×1504, 100% sRGB color gamut, and >400 nit
- GPU: Iris Xe Graphics
- Inputs: 4x User-selectable Expansion Cards, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home / Pro
- Weight: 1.3kg
- Dimensions: 15.85mm x 296.63mm x 228.98mm
- Battery: 55Wh
- Webcam: 1080p 60fps
- Fingerprint reader
- USB-C Power Adapter
Next to the prebuilt configurations, the DIY version (which starts slightly cheaper) allows you to put together your Framework laptop piece by piece or bring your own components (such as a SDD)
Which Parts Can I Change in the Framework Laptop?
Now, the real fun starts with all the individual parts you can buy or fine tune to your taste and preferences. You can change the aesthetics, by swapping out a keyboard or bezel, or swap out one of your default USB-C ports with any of the expansion slot modules, such as an HDMI port, headphone amp or any of the options currently in development.
At the time of writing, these are the known parts you’re allowed to swap in the Framework laptop:
Battery | Display | Webcam | Enclosure assemblies | Hinges | Input Cover | Touchpad | Keyboard | Fingerprint Reader | Headphone jack | Speakers | Internal cables | Heatsink and Fan
Memory | Storage | WiFi | Mainboards
The plan is that third parties will eventually develop their own hardware expansion slots for the Framework that you can buy in the online store.
Who is the Framework Laptop For?
If you care about sustainable electronics (perhaps you are already owning a Fairphone) and are in the run for a new, middle-end laptop, the Framework seems a solid choice for your money.
Given that this is a fairly new project, it can be a risk if you’re betting on longevity of the company and availability of Framework components. It all stands and falls, with how successful the Framework team will be in shipping units. Never the less, the fact that you can use your own, custom components and that the base models are decently specced, deserves recognition.
Where Can I buy the Framework Laptop?
At the time of writing the Framework laptops (both pre-built and DIY) starts shipping from August 2021 onwards. It’s currently 1 unit per customer, with a 1-year limited warranty on orders.
You can configure and pre-order the sustainable Framework laptop on its official website: frame.work.