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Repairability champ Framework's modular laptop gets a speed boost
With any other portable, this would be bad news for existing owners
Laptop vendor Framework Computer has launched new faster models. Unlike in the case of any other laptop maker, if you already have one, this is good news.
Modern laptops tend to be promoted on the basis of thinness and lightness, and the Framework range is no different. The machines have 13.5-inch (34.3cm) screens, are just under 16mm thick (0.6 inch), and weigh 1.3kg (2lb 14oz).
The new models have faster 12th-generation Intel Core CPUs.
These aren't gaming machines, and the company doesn't yet offer any models with discrete GPUs, so some customers will welcome the extra performance.
The difference is twofold, and comprises Framework's main selling points: modularity and repairability. Unlike most other thin and light laptops, with glued-together cases made mainly of plastic, the Framework machines have a metal case and are designed to allow owners to disassemble, repair or upgrade them. The company even documents the process.
Uniquely, Framework owners will be able to buy one of the new motherboards and fit it to their existing laptop… and even sell on the old main board.
As well as being built from user-exchangeable components, the machines have four modular ports, into which slot adapters that allow you to choose between USB A or C, HDMI, DisplayPort, a microSD card slot, or additional storage – and soon Gigabit Ethernet. It has received a 10/10 score on iFixit.
Framework also sells the parts separately. This has facilitated third-party devices based around Framework components, such as the Mainboard retro-style terminal, and The Reg FOSS desk's favourite, the Framedeck all-in-one portable, which is quite close to one sort of device we've wanted for years.
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The new models start at $1,000+.
Now, lest this sound too much like an unpaid ad, this is not the sort of laptop that your correspondent favors. I have had a very brief play on a Framework machine, and while it's a nice bit of kit, I prefer something chunkier, with more keyboard travel.
The best summary of what many of us look for in a laptop comes from Tumblr user Canadiangold:
"I don't WANT my laptop to be the Thinnest Model Yet. I want a battery that will outlast the Sun, a screen big enough to blind the person behind me, more USB slots than there are Apple fanboys in the Bay Area, a fscking disc reader/writer."
Perhaps this could be the brief for a future Framework model. ®