Customizable and repairable Framework Laptop goes up for pre-order
Earlier this year we featured a refreshing idea to make a 13.5-inch laptop that's designed to be easily customized, upgraded and repaired by users. Ahead of its launch, Framework has now revealed more details.
As we remarked in our earlier coverage, as laptops have got thinner and more powerful, it's become more difficult for the average user to get under the hood and tinker. The idea behind the Framework Laptop is to repair or upgrade, rather than replace, when something goes wrong or a component starts to show its age. A mindset that could help to lessen our consumer electronics waste problem.
Open the clamshell and you're treated to a 2,256 x 1,504-resolution 3:2 aspect display panel that's surrounded by magnetic-attach bezels, which means that users can change the color of the screen surrounds to suit their moods or preferences. And there's a 1080p webcam up top for videoconferencing that captures up to 60 frames per second and comes with hardware privacy switches.
Within the laptop's enclosure, which is made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum, 11th Generation Core i5 or i7 processor options are available. It's built to accommodate up to 64 GB of RAM and 4 TB or more of NVMe storage, and Framework says that the whole motherboard can be replaced too, future proofing the design. The included backlit keyboard offers 1.5 mm of key travel, and the 55-Wh battery unit is reported to boast a high cycle life.
Rather than be lumbered with the spread of ports selected by a manufacturer, Framework has included expansion cards to allow users to choose their own USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, or microSD configurations.
There's a single screwdriver included in the box, and that's the only tool needed to perform upgrades or repairs with this setup. Each hardware module sports a QR code, which can be used to order replacement parts from the Framework Marketplace or to access step-by-step installation instructions and support information.
Framework is offering three main configurations out of the starting gate.
The Base model comes with an Intel i5-1135G7 processor, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, 256 GB of NVMe SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and Windows 10 Home. This configuration has a starting price of US$999.
Next up is the Performance edition with an i7-1165G7 processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, 512 GB of NVMe SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and Windows 10 Home. Prices start at $1,399.
The Professional flavor comes with i7-1185G7 processing brains, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, 1 TB of NVMe SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6 vPro, Bluetooth 5.2, and Windows 10 Pro edition. Pricing for this setup starts at $1,999.
And in true all-access style, the company is also offering a DIY edition that starts at $749. With this version, users can choose from Framework's range of memory, storage, Wi-Fi and operating system options, or shop elsewhere for their own.
Pre-orders open today in the US, where tweakers can lay down a refundable deposit of $100 for the system they want.
Laptops will initially be made available in small production batches, with the first expected to ship by the end of July. Folks will be notified when the company is getting ready to send out their laptops, at which time the balance will be payable.
The pre-order books will open for Canada in the coming weeks, followed by select markets in Asia and Europe by the year end.
We have to admit that the modularization, personalization and customizable potential on offer here has great appeal. You can see the kind of tinkering you can get up to in the short video below.