Framework Laptop 13 review: a DIY dream come true

The Framework Laptop 13 is a revolutionary device that caters to the growing demand for user-repairability, customization, and sustainability. Developed by Framework, a company committed to reducing electronic waste, this modular laptop offers a unique and empowering experience for tech enthusiasts.

Design and Build:

At first glance, the Framework Laptop 13 may appear unassuming with its simple, no-frills design. The laptop features a sturdy magnesium alloy chassis that, while not as premium as some high-end laptops, exudes durability. The build quality is decent, but it leans towards being functional rather than luxurious. However, the true standout aspect of the design is its modular nature. The device is designed to be easily disassembled and upgraded, with various expansion card slots allowing users to customize their laptop’s ports to suit their needs. This unique approach to modularity is a game-changer for those who value flexibility and future-proofing their device.

Display and Input:

The laptop boasts a vibrant 13.5-inch display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels and an aspect ratio of 3:2. The 3:2 aspect ratio provides a taller screen that enhances productivity and allows for more content to be displayed vertically. The display offers excellent color reproduction and sharpness, making it suitable for a range of tasks, from media consumption to content creation. The bezels are relatively slim, although customizable bezels in different colors will be available, adding a touch of personalization.

The keyboard and touchpad on the Framework Laptop 13 are commendable. The backlit keyboard offers a satisfying typing experience with good key travel and responsiveness. The touchpad is smooth and accurate, providing precise cursor control. While the touchpad could benefit from additional customization options, the fact that Framework offers replacement cables and kits for the touchpad is a testament to their commitment to repairability and longevity.

Performance and Connectivity:

The Framework Laptop 13 can be configured with various hardware options, including processors, memory, storage, and Wi-Fi modules. In our testing of the Intel model equipped with a 13th Gen Core i7-1360P processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of storage, the laptop demonstrated solid performance across different tasks. It handled everyday productivity work, web browsing, and multimedia consumption with ease. The laptop’s performance was complemented by its efficient thermal management, as it remained relatively cool and quiet even during prolonged usage.

Connectivity options on the Framework Laptop 13 are abundant. The modular expansion card system allows users to choose the ports they need, whether it be USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, audio, Ethernet, or MicroSD. This level of flexibility is a breath of fresh air in a market where laptops often lack sufficient ports or require the use of dongles and adapters. The inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 further ensures fast and reliable wireless connectivity.

User-Replaceable and Upgradable Components:

One of the standout features of the Framework Laptop 13 is its emphasis on user-repairability and upgradability. The device is designed to be easily disassembled with readily accessible components. Users can replace or upgrade various parts of the laptop, including the battery, keyboard, touchpad, screen, and even the mainboard. Framework offers detailed guides and documentation to assist users in the repair and upgrade process, making it a truly DIY-friendly laptop.

Battery Life and Software:

In terms of battery life, the Framework Laptop 13 impresses with its extended endurance. The larger 61Wh battery offers a substantial improvement over its predecessor, providing users with all-day usage on a single charge. During our testing, the laptop consistently delivered around nine hours of continuous use, making it suitable for productivity on the go.

The Framework Laptop 13 runs on a clean and bloatware-free version of Windows 10. This streamlined approach ensures a smooth and efficient user experience, free from unnecessary software clutter. Framework also provides regular firmware and driver updates, further enhancing the laptop’s performance and compatibility.

The Framework Laptop 13 is a trailblazing device that challenges the norms of the laptop industry. Its DIY-friendly design, user-repairability, and upgradability set it apart from traditional laptops, empowering users to take control of their devices and extend their lifespan. While the laptop’s design may not match the premium aesthetics of some competitors, its focus on sustainability and customization makes it an excellent choice for environmentally conscious tech enthusiasts and those seeking a personalized computing experience. With its solid performance, vibrant display, extensive connectivity options, and impressive battery life, the Framework Laptop 13 proves that innovation and sustainability can go hand in hand, ushering in a new era of user-centric laptops.

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