The Framework laptop, a modular notebook that allows you to swap out most parts for repairs or upgrades, is now on a limited pre-sale. Announced earlier this year by one of the founders of Oculus, this framework notebook is designed to redefine the approach we see so often today. We now know the specifications and the price of the laptops that will be shipping this summer.
With its sleek, modern design, thin bezels, and weight of just 2.87 pounds, the Framework laptop looks almost like a MacBook Pro. However, the main strength of the notebook isn't in looks, but rather in the ability to upgrade, customize, replace, and repair most of its internal and external hardware at will. While many Windows laptops offer the option of replacing memory or storage, this lightweight notebook goes a few steps further.
Components like the battery, screen, keyboard and even the motherboard can be updated. This is still a novelty in the laptop market. While many users might expect this to be a difficult process, the company claims that almost anyone can replace the parts of this modular laptop.
"The only tool you need to replace part of it is the screwdriver that we included in the box," said Framework, showcasing a custom screwdriver that isn't much bigger than a golf ball.
While it's not everyone's job to update their laptop on their own, Framework offers a number of customization options that are as easy to use as simply plugging in a USB stick. The laptop has four slots that you can fill with expansion cards of your choice. Some of the options include USB-C, USB-A, microSD, DisplayPort, HDMI, and even a high-end headphone amplifier.
The framework laptop runs on an Intel processor. You can choose between the three configurations Base, Performance and Professional. The $ 999 base configuration comes with a Core i5-1135G7 (8 MB cache, up to 4.20 GHz), 8 GB DDR4 RAM, and a 256 GB SSD.
The performance configuration starts at $ 1,399 and comes with the Core i7-1165G7 (12 MB cache, up to 4.70 GHz), 16 GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. Finally, the $ 1,999 Professional configuration includes the Core i7-1185G7 (12 MB cache, up to 4.80 GHz), 32 GB DDR4 RAM and a 1 TB SSD. A webcam with 1080p and 60 fps (frames per second) is also installed on the upper bezel of the 13.5-inch screen. This makes it one of the few laptops you can currently buy that can be upgraded by a 720p webcam.
At these prices, the notebook is outside the price range for budget laptops, but costs less than the cheapest Macbook Pro. This pricing is surprising for a machine that combines decent specs with a lifespan that Framework claims to outperform other laptops.
Pre-orders are limited to one Framework laptop per customer and require $ 100 to reserve your order.
The company also sells a "DIY Edition" that starts at just $ 749. Framework calls it a "barebone configuration", with which you can assemble it yourself from a set of modules.
Whether the Framework laptop will be successful remains to be seen, but it appears to be a sustainable, eco-friendly option (made from 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum and 30% PCR plastic) that paves the way for other modular devices might pave the way for laptops in the future.
Framework is limiting pre-orders to the US today, and ordering Canada in the next few weeks. Framework says it will be taking orders in Europe and Asia before the end of the year.