3 Weeks With The Framework Laptop

So I pre-ordered the new 12th gen Framework Laptop back in early June for shipment in August. The laptop was shipped on the 11th August and arrived with me on the 15th, delivered by FedEx. The unboxing experience of the Framework is something, since I got the DIY model of the i7 1260P (yes that’s the Intel chip in this, not the resolution of the display) the parts I ordered (RAM and expansion cards, I used my own SSD) were in a partitioned box under the main box with the laptop and the power supply tucked in the right.

The laptop its self is very well-built, feels sturdy and doesn’t have that much twist in the body. Just 5 captive torx T5 screws (10/10 Framework, love the fact that you cant loose the screws!) on the bottom of the laptop and the whole top cover lifts off, having magnets hold the cover instead of fragile plastic clips is a great idea and redules the stress of potentially breaking clips.

After that you are greeted with the internals of the laptop, the top cover is connected with a single flex cable, the connector to the motherboard having a very handy pull tab to aid in unplugging it. After removing the top cover you are greeted with everything, the M.2 bay for the SSD, the 2 DDR4 SODIMM slots for your RAM, the 55 Wh battery (that is screwed in and very easy to replace) and a nice little note inside on the left side expansion bays reading “Made with ❤️ by the Framework Team”.

Everything on the inside is plastered with QR codes that takes you to a guide on how to replace the part, very handy for inexperienced users. What is even more handy is the magnetic display bezel that will really help with display replacements, or maybe even upgrades in the future? Speaking of the display, it is amazing, the 13.5” 2256x1504 3:2 LCD is great, absolutely love the aspect ratio, and it is rated for 100% covereage of the sRGB colour space. Did I mention it can get bright too? I was ablw to use this in the direct sun and was still clearly able to read what was on screen. The motherboard’s eDP (that’s embedded DisplayPort) port also has support for displays with touch, allowing for a potential upgrade in the future.

The backlit keyboard feels great, the keys have a nice amount of travel and the backlight is great in dimly lit rooms. I was able to get to full typing speed on it very quickly and actually feel that I’m typing a bit quicker, although I am yet to test that. Moving down to the touchpad, it’s by far the best touchpad I have ever used, it’s glass top feels nice, and it is huge compared to touchpads in previous laptops I have had despite the laptop being physically smaller. Moving up from the keyboard is the power button which also doubles as a fingerprint reader, I had no issues with getting the fingerprint reader to work in linux, had some issues where the fingerprint reader “forgot” the fingerprints I added but that was easily resolved by resetting the reader.

The I/O on the framework is really nice, I love the idea of using little USB type-C modules instead of just having whatever I/O. All 4 ports on the Framework are USB 4 and technically Thunderbolt 4 but Intel hasn’t blessed the Framework yet, so they can’t be called Thunderbolt ports. In my configuration I got a type C, HDMI and 2 USB A expansion cards. I also intend on getting the 2.5 gigabit Ethernet expansion card when that is availble.

Overall, the performance of the Framework is great, the i7 1260P is a very nice chip with 4 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores, so 12 total cores and 16 threads due to the performance cores having hyper-threadding. It has handled everything I have thrown at it so far and has exceeded my expectations. I’ve already compiled the linux kernel a good few 10’s of times (I’m sure Jeff Geerling will be proud).

After 3 weeks with the Framework, I can definitely say that this is the best laptop I have ever owned and its definitely worth the money.