Framework, a startup creating a modular laptop for easy repair, is now opening pre-orders for its first product. The Laptop Framework is available to order with four variations to choose from now. When it first announced the laptop, the company insisted it wouldn’t charge people a bounty to get their hands on one of its machines. And so far, it looks like the company is being true to its word, since you can pick the base model for just $ 999, or a DIY version for $ 749.
The units are differentiated by their CPU, RAM and storage options. The base $ 999 model packs Intel’s Core i5-1135G7 processor, paired with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and Windows 10 Home. The $ 1,399 Performance model, meanwhile, gets a Core i7-1165G7 with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Windows 10 Home. The $ 1,999 Pro model tops the line, offering a Core i7-1185G7, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and Windows 10 Pro. And, if your budget goes that far, you can increase your specs as well, with up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage.
The rest of the spec list is certainly enough for the majority of people, with a 13-inch, 3: 2, 2256 x 1504 display, a 55Wh battery, and a keyboard with 1.5mm of travel. Speaking to Engadget, founder Nirav Patel said his team – spurred in part by the pandemic – also wanted to make sure the Framework was good for video conferencing. Therefore, the laptop comes with a 1080p, 60fps webcam with a hardware privacy switch. He added that the components were at least as good as what you’ll find in other high-tech devices.
In terms of Framework’s environmental good faith, the machine uses at least 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum in its housing. Modularity didn’t affect body size too much either, with the Framework Laptop measuring thinner and lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Plus, of course, you can hot-swap the quartet of ports connected to the laptop – actually connected via USB-C inside the chassis. Alternative options include USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, MicroSD, and additional storage.
For those people who would be beware of the opening any type of device, let alone a laptop, Patel said you shouldn’t worry. Swapping and replacing a module should take less than 10 minutes, even the most frightened users. And each component will carry a QR code that will take you directly to a website with step-by-step instructions and an iFixit-style video. And users should only need the screwdriver included in the box to perform any repairs.
The only repair that will likely take more than 10 minutes is if, or when, you choose to replace the processor and motherboard. The chips are not connected, so when it comes time to upgrade the brain, you will have to take the entire unit apart for a replacement.
In terms of longevity, Patel said there are basically two periods when you use any computer. The first is when it is relatively new and the material can follow the technical standards of the time. The second is when performance begins to decline as software and web standards advance. Patel with Framework’s goal is to double those “happy years” when using your computer doesn’t feel like a chore.
For the bravest among you, the DIY edition of Framework, priced at $ 749, features the whole machine disassembled. You can then select the components you want to include and choose which operating system to preinstall, or bring your own.
The pandemic has, for many companies, slowed down their ability to get products out the door and that is the situation here. Frame has started producing the machine but expects the volume of units available for sale to be limited in the coming months. Instead, it will offer batch pre-orders, with early adopters putting in $ 100 now to get their machine in June. When these orders are fulfilled, pre-orders will open in Canada, with availability in Europe and Asia towards the end of the year.
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