Framework Laptops: Returning Power to Repair Back to Owners

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Paul Horrell at Ars Technica noticed something odd when he reviewed his new MacBook Air. Apple’s “proprietary” (read: locked down) operating system on his new Air didn’t allow him to install his own operating system, which is a common practice among computer repair technicians.

For those who have owned their laptop for a few years and are about to upgrade, the thought of going out and buying a brand new one is so tempting. However, most people don’t take the time to think about the choices they’re making when they upgrade. It’s not just the hardware that’s an upgrade; it’s also the processes the hardware is running. The steps taken to upgrade a laptop, from the moment you decide to buy a new one to the moment you take it out of the box, are largely steps taken to make the hardware more reliable and decrease the chances of it breaking down.

The story of the Framework laptops – or Frameworks, as they are often called – begins in April of 2013, when a number of early-adopting (and soon-to-be-obsessed) coders discovered that the early development versions of Windows 8 had a major battery-life problem. (It was called the “Blue Screen of Death” or BSOD, by coders, but it wasn’t the blue screen that would kill you – it was the loss of power that would. Yes, you read that correctly; the BSOD was a sign that the computer was about to die. And the longer it stayed on, the more likely it was to die.)

A new totally modular computer is now launching that emphasizes the possibility of consumers to perform their own repairs.

The Framework Laptop’s announcement coincides with the Biden administration’s recent pursuit for a broad antitrust enforcement program. The administration’s plan for wide “right-to-repair” regulations is a key part of the executive action that has sparked a lot of interest in the IT world.

Framework Laptops: Returning Power to Repair Back to Owners

To refresh your recollection, right-to-repair legislation aim to eliminate the legal and technological impediments that giant tech companies erect.

Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and John Deere continue to purposely design sophisticated devices and restrict the licensing of parts suppliers and repair shops allowed to work on them, causing consumers to pay exorbitant amounts for repairs that should be much cheaper in reality.

Framework Laptop has taken the road less traveled by launching a new product that encourages owners to repair and modify their own equipment. In a world where tech products increasingly put financial pressure on consumers to pay for repairs, Framework Laptop has taken the road less traveled by launching a new product that encourages owners to repair and modify their own equipment.

More information on the features, specifications, and design of this new range of products, as well as how it empowers owners by restoring their right to repair, may be found below.

Framework Modular Laptops: Options, Features & Price

The base model, the performance model, the professional model, and the DIY Edition are all available for pre-order on the Framework website. The beginning prices for each version are listed below:

  • $999 for the base model
  • $749 for the DIY Edition
  • $1,399 for the Performance Model
  • $1,999 for the Professional Model

The first two have no differences, but the base model costs $999 (with a fully refundable $100 deposit) and the DIY edition costs $749 (with the same $100 deposit). The difference between the two, as indicated by their names, is whether you wish to build it yourself.

The pricing difference between the Performance and Professional models is due to the processor quality as well as the amount of RAM and SSD. The following are the distinctions:

Specs DIY/Base Edition Performance Professional
Processor Intel Core i5-1153G7 processor i7-1165G7 (Core i7) i7-1185G7 (Core i7)
RAM 8GB 16GB 32GB
SSD 256GB 512GB 1TB

The Framework website touts all four models as “Deeply Customizable” and “Modular and Upgradable.”

“You can choose to bring your own RAM, storage, WiFi, and operating system, or pick from the various options we offer in the Framework Marketplace,” the business boasts on their website.

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The number of conceivable Framework Laptop configurations is limitless, thanks to a variety of bezel colors, keyboard languages, and open design specifications on Expansion Cards.”

The following are some of the non-negotiable requirements:

  • 55Wh battery
  • Display: 13.5” 3:2 – 2256×1504, 100% sRGB color gamut, and >400 nit
  • 1080p 60fps camera
  • Weight & Dimensions: 1.3kg, 15.85mm x 296.63mm x 228.98mm
  • Iris XE Graphics was used for the graphics.

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Framework Laptop Reviews & Critiques

Now that the gadgets are available for distribution, reviews from various tech gurus are starting to pour in.

Much of the praise reflects the machine’s right-to-repair advocacy, as well as the four interchangeable expansion card slots. When it comes to overall performance, the assessments are mostly positive.

Positive feedback:

Framework’s modular laptop is one of the best designs I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s a poster child for the right-to-repair campaign.

CNET’s Lori Grunin (8.5/10)

The Framework Notebook is more than simply a good modularity experiment; it’s also a fantastic laptop.

– Digital Trends’ Luke Larson

On the other hand, there are others who admire Framework for releasing such a fully user-serviceable device on such a large scale, but who were ultimately unimpressed by the machine’s performance, battery life, track pad, and overall banality outside of the repair component.

Negative feedback:

“While Framework laptops may not be the ideal solution, we should make the concept of replacing your laptop’s components rather than the entire notebook more common.”

— Gizmodo’s Florence Ion

Making a Path

As the struggle for right-to-repair legislation continues, it will be fascinating to see how larger corporations react to Framework’s actions.

A totally modular approach is not new to the world of technology, as numerous reviewers point out. But, as they say, timing is everything, and Framework has arrived just in time.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • top rated laptops
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  • laptop consumer reviews
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