The new Notebook Framework means that the promise of modular gadgets can be fulfilled

The new Notebook Framework means that the promise of modular gadgets can be fulfilled

Just over a year after announcing the first version of its ultra-repairable and upgradeable notebook, Framework is launching the second generation Framework Laptop. It’s supposed to be significantly faster and a bit more resilient, but it’s mostly a signal that the Framework is serious about building truly resilient devices, and in fact could fulfill the often-promised and rarely delivered dream of upgradeable modular gadgets.

The main specification of the new notebook is the processor: It comes with an Intel Core i5 or i7 12th generation chip, with the highest model for $ 2,049 running on the Core i7-1280P. (This is a full generation leap from the current model, and these new Alder Lake chips promise big performance and efficiency improvements.) The base model, which runs on the Core i5-1240P, starts at $ 1,049 in full build. All are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping in July, although you shouldn’t expect one to be too fast: The framework uses a pre-order system to manage demand, and deliveries seem to take a while.

In addition to the leap in performance, the Framework also rebuilt the top cover of the laptop, which he said is now much stronger than before. This is a welcome change: When The Verge’s Monica Chin reviewed the first model, the inevitable fragility of the notebook was one of the worst features of the device. In addition, the Framework also stated that it has “carefully optimized battery life”, which was only average for the last model.

Most other specifications haven’t changed: The new laptop still has a 13.5-inch screen, weighs under three pounds and has the same decent keyboard and trackpad. In general, the new Framework Laptop sounds like a nice, though quite predictable improvement on what you can already buy. However, it is worth noting that the current model is already a meaningful upgrade from what the company launched last year: The Framework has added Wi-Fi 6E support since its launch and offers several new keys for expansion ports. This is actually the whole thing of the Framework; A laptop is not a static device, it is a constantly changing device.

The new Framework Laptop is also an upgrade of the old one.
Image: Framework

Which begs the real question for the Framework: how do you start a new laptop when your entire company is based on letting people upgrade and upgrade your laptop without having to buy a new one?

This is where the announcement of the Framework is cool: the new chipset will also be available on the Framework Marketplace, which means you can buy a motherboard with a 12th generation chip and slide it into your existing Framework laptop without having to buy completely new facility. Or you can choose to replace the top cover with a new, stronger one without changing anything else. (The upgrade kit, which includes both pieces, starts at $ 538.) The framework plans to continue selling the first-generation laptop at a discounted price of $ 899 until its stock is sold out, so you can start the upgrade whenever you want. .

The idea of ​​a Framework announcement is really more exciting than the announcement itself. The Framework plan for creating longer-lasting laptops could only work if the company remained committed to upgrading and ensuring that users who purchased its device did so with the promise of future upgrades. Of course, we’ve heard that promise before, whether at the beginning of Alienware’s failed Area-51m dream, the canceled Ara project from Google, or Intel’s partially upgradable NUC Extreme, and the abandoned Compute Card initiatives. These things do not tend to work.

It is still a very open question how long the Framework will support its original chassis and design, given how many companies have promised modularity and longevity, only to break the system as soon as a bright new thing emerges. The new Framework Laptop is both a new thing and a thoroughly backward compatible thing. It is a big problem.

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