Framework entered the laptop market in 2021 with a new kind of notebook computer: one that features a modular, customizable, repairable, and upgradeable design. Right out of the box, the company delivered on its promise to let users customize their systems with their choice of ports. And the original Framework with a 13.5 inch display and an 11th-gen Intel Core processor was designed to be easy to open up and repair.
But it wasn’t until a year later that it became clear that Framework really was able to deliver on its promise of upgradeability. When the second-gen Framework Laptop hit the streets, not only could customers buy a new laptop… they could also buy a new mainboard and stick it in the original Framework Laptop to upgrade from an 11th-gen Intel Core processor to a 12th-gen chip, effectively making the first-gen laptop into a second-gen model.
Earlier this year the company did it again with the launch of a Framework Laptop and mainboard with 13th-gen Intel Core chips… and now for the first time you can also opt for a model with an AMD processor.
The Framework Laptop 13 AMD comes with a choice of AMD Ryzen 5 7640U or Ryzen 7 7840U processor options, supports up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of storage, and is available from Framework for $849 and up. That starting price will only get you a DIY Edition that ships with a mainboard and processor, but no memory, storage, or operating system though. Prices start at $1,049 for pre-configured systems.
Or… if you already have a Framework Laptop 13, you can buy a Framework Mainboard kit with an AMD Ryzen 7040U processor for $449 and up and upgrade the internals of your existing laptop without the need to buy a brand new one.
That’s because while the motherboard and processor are all new, the shell of the laptop hasn’t changed significantly since 2021.
But that doesn’t mean that the mainboard is the only thing that’s new in the 2023 model. Framework loaned me a Framework Laptop 13 AMD to review, and there are a few significant differences between this model and the model I reviewed last year, which had an Intel Core i7-1260P processor.
The 2022 model had a glossy display, while the 2023 version ships with a matte screen that reflects far less glare. And while last year’s Framework Laptop shipped with a 55 Wh battery and a power-hungry processor that resulted in pretty lousy battery life, the 2023 Framework Laptop AMD has both a larger 61 Wh battery and a processor which does a better job of balancing power and performance, resulting in significantly longer battery life.
It’s worth noting that Framework did issue some firmware updates to improve battery life for laptops with a 12th-gen chip. And the new 61 Wh battery is exactly the same size as the 55 Wh battery, which means anyone looking to get a little more run time out of their previous laptop can buy a new battery for $69 without upgrading the processor.
And the laptop uses the same Expansion Card system as its predecessors, which means there are basically slots on each side of the laptop that you can use to choose which ports or other add-ons you want to connect to each of the four USB-C connectors on the mainboard.
Framework shipped six Expansion cards with my demo unit: four USB-C cards, a USB-A card, and a DisplayPort card. But the company also sells HDMI, Ethernet, microSD card reader, and Audio expansion cards, as well as 250GB and 1TB SSD modules that plug into the same ports. A new full-sized SD card reader is also in the works.
These cards are hot-swappable. Just press a button on the bottom of the computer and pull at the card to remove it (you have to pull kind of hard) and you can swap out a USB port for an HDMI port on the fly, or vice versa.
So not only can you choose which ports your laptop has… you can change your mind at any time, or buy enough cards to swap them out on an as-needed basis.
But there are a few important differences between how Expansion Cards work with the AMD Ryzen 7040 versions of the Framework Mainboard than they do on Intel Mainboards.
If you buy a Framework Laptop or Mainboard with a 12th or 13th-gen Intel Core processor, all four of the USB-C connectors on the Mainboard are Thunderbolt 4 ports with support for 40 Gbps data transfer speeds, USB Power Delivery, and DisplayPort Alt Mode functionality.
But there on the AMD Ryzen 7040 Mainboard, the two back ports are full-function USB4 Type-C ports with support for 40 Gbps data speeds, video output, and charging. Framework notes that if you plug a USB Type-A Expansion Module into either of these slots though, it’ll consume more power than it does if you put it in one of the front two ports.
As for those front ports? They both support USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) speeds, but only the front right port supports video output. That means you cannot use an HDMI or DisplayPort Expansion Card with the front left slot.
While it takes a little while to get used to the idea that not all of the USB-C connectors offer the same features, once you get the hang of things, you should be able to swap out ports on the fly just like you can with Intel-powered models.
That’s not an issue on Intel-powered Framework Laptop 3 models, which have four Thunderbolt 4 ports. But the slightly more confusing mix of ports is a small price to pay for a laptop that’s almost as versatile and customizable as Framework’s other laptops… while delivering better performance, longer battery life, and ongoing evidence that Framework is committed to its original promise of letting you upgrade or repair your existing laptop rather than dropping money on a new model.
What’s the same?
Sure, the display is matte now, and the battery is a little bigger (on some models). But in a lot of ways, the 2023 Framework Laptop is just like the 2022 model… and the 2021 model before it.
They all have 13.5 inch, 2256 x 1504 pixel screens, backlit keyboards, 1080p webcams, and fingerprint sensors embedded in the power button. They’re also all exactly the same size and weight.
And that’s because they all have the same design, which allows you to open up any Framework Laptop 13 and swap out internals.
Want to take a first-gen Framework Laptop with an 11th-gen Intel Core processor and turn it into a new model with an AMD Ryzen 7040 chip? All you have to do is loosen five screws on the bottom of the laptop, lift the screen away, and then use the included screwdriver to remove the mainboard and replace it with a new one.
You don’t even need to pry open the case – once the screws are loosened, just flip the laptop over, lift open the lid, and you should be able to lift away the keyboard deck with your fingers, since it’s only held in place by magnets.
There’s no glue or latches holding this notebook together. The only thing other thing you may need to detach in order to get at the memory, storage, mainboard, battery, fan and other replaceable components is the ribbon cable holding the keyboard to the motherboard.
You can also replace the display, screen bezels, keyboard, touchpad, speakers, webcam, antenna, wireless card, or just about anything else.
And while you may not be able to use the front left port for video output, all of the Expansion Cards designed for other Framework Laptops should work with the new AMD model.
Another thing that hasn’t changed? Those switches by the camera and mic aren’t just privacy shutters: they’re hardware kill switches. Pull the tabs until you can see the orange background and your operating system won’t even be able to detect the mic or camera.
In fact, if you want to learn more about the physical design of the 2023 Framework Laptop 13 and its Expansion Card system, you can just check out my review of the 2022 model. For the most part, it’s the same laptop.
But… the display, battery, and most importantly, AMD-powered mainboard make a big difference when it comes to day-to-day performance.
Before we get to that, though, let’s take a look at the specs for Framework’s 2022 and 2023 laptops with 13.5 inch displays:
Specs & Pricing
|Framework Laptop specs|
|Framework 13 AMD (2023)||Framework Laptop 13 (2023)||Framework Laptop 13 (2022)|
2256 x 1504 pixels
3:2 aspect ratio
100% sRGB color gamut
400 nits peak brightness
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 7640U (6 cores /12 threads)|
AMD Ryzen 7 7840U (8 cores / 16 threads)
|Intel Core i5-1340P (4P + 8E cores)|
Intel Core i7-1360P (4P + 8E cores)
Intel Core i7-1370P (6P + 8E cores)
|Intel Core i5-1240P (4P + 8E cores)|
Intel Core i7-1260P (4P + 8E cores)
Intel Core i7-1280P (6P + 8E cores)
|Graphics||Ryzen 5: Radeon 760M (8 RDNA 3 CUs @ 2.6 GHz)|
Ryzen 7: Radeon 780M (12 RDNA 3 CUs @2.7 GHz)
|Core i5: Iris Xe (80eu @ 1.45 GHz)|
Core i7: Iris Xe (96eu @ 1.5 GHz)
|Core i5: Iris Xe (80eu @ 1.3 GHz)|
Core i7-1260P: Iris Xe (96eu @ 1.4 GHz)
Core i7-1280P: Iris Xe (96eu @ 1.45 GHz)
|RAM||8GB to 64GB|
2 x SODIMM slots
|8GB to 64GB|
2 x SODIMM slots
|Storage||250GB to 4TB|
PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
Windows 11 Pro
BYO (Linux or other)
|Windows 11 Home|
Windows 11 Pro
BYO (Linux or other)
|Ports||1 x 3.5mm audio jack|
4 x Expansion card ports (with USB4 connectors)
|Audio||2 x 2W speakers|
2 x microphones (with hardware privacy switch)
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
|Battery||55 Wh (Ryzen 5 7640U)|
61 Wh (Ryzen 7 7840U)
|55 Wh (Core i5)|
61 Wh (Core i7)
|Charger||60W GaN USB-C|
Or none (bring your own)
|Webcam||1080p @ 60 fps|
80 degree field of view
Hardware privacy switch
1.5mm key travel
|Touchpad||115 x 76.6mm (4.5″ x 3″)|
Windows Precision touchpad
|Security||Fingerprint sensor (in power button)|
|Dimensions||297 x 229 x 15.9mm|
11.7″ x 9″ x 0.6″
Pricing for Framework’s laptops vary depending on the configuration. You can opt for pre-built or DIY systems.
The demo unit Framework loaned me for this review is a pre-built Framework 13 Ryzen 7040U Performance model with an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and Windows 11 Home software. It has a $1469 list price, which makes it a bit on the expensive side for other laptops with similar hardware, but not completely out of line with what you’d expect to pay for a premium laptop from a major PC maker.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper (or more powerful), here are the other pricing options for Framework’s 2023 line of 13.5 inch laptops:
|Base (pre-built)||Ryzen 5 7640U or Core i5-1340P with 8GB/256GB||$1,049|
|Performance (pre-built)||Ryzen 7 7840U or Core i7-1360P with 16GB/512GB||$1,469|
|Professional (pre-built)||Ryzen 7 7840U or Core i7-1370P with 32GB / 1TB||$2,049|
|DIY (base)||Ryzen 5 7640U or Core i5-1340P||$849|
|DIY (performance)||Ryzen 7 7840U or Core i7-1360P||$1,169|
|DIY (pro)||Core i7-1370P||$1,579|
Note that while the models with entry-level processors ship with 55 Wh batteries, all versions of the Framework Laptop 13 are compatible with the 61 Wh battery. You just can’t configure a laptop with a Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor and a the higher capacity battery yet, so you may have to buy it separately.
AMD’s Ryzen processors have made a big splash in the consumer PC space in recent years, and its most recent Ryzen 7040 chips with Zen 4 CPU cores and RDNA 3 graphics architecture offer an impressive gains over previous-generations in CPU and graphics performance.
They Ryzen 7040U chips Framework tapped for its laptops are also pretty efficient processors, offering strong performance-per-watt, which means that while they offer CPU performance that’s competitive with the latest Intel processors, they tend to do so while also delivering longer battery life, all other things being equal.
And not only does the integrated Radeon 780M GPU in the model I tested give this laptop a huge leg up over the Intel Iris Xe graphics in Framework’s Intel-powered models, but it’s also a nice step up over the Radeon 680M graphics included in AMD’s previous-gen Ryzen 6000U series processors.
In terms of day-to-day performance, the Framework Laptop 13 with a Ryzen 7 7840U processor feels snappy and responsive, loads applications quickly, and handles most of the apps I’ve thrown at it with ease, including heavy web browsing and web work with Chrome, light image editing with GIMP and Irfanview, and 4K video streaming from YouTube.
Without a discrete GPU, it’s clearly not meant for use a high-end gaming PC or professional video and graphics workstation. But it should be able to render images and pictures reasonably quickly or handle light gaming duties with ease – after all, this is a chip that’s proven popular with handheld gaming PC makers, and has been shown to offer decent frame rates for recent games if you keep the graphics quality settings to low or medium settings.
Synthetic benchmarks confirm my initial impression that this little computer is speedy. While I haven’t tested a Framework Laptop with a 13th-gen Intel Core processor, I did review a 2022 model powered by a 12th-gen Intel Core chip, and the new AMD model handily beats it in just about every way. And if you’re wondering whether the 13th-gen Intel version is more competitive, the answer is yes… but not much. According to The Verge’s review, which does offer a head-to-head comparison of 2023 Framework Laptop 13 models with Intel and AMD chips, the AMD version is better for everything except single-core performance (in some tests).
Anyway, as for the tests I was able to personally confirm, I pitted the new Framework Laptop 13 AMD Edition against the previous-gen model with a 28-watt Intel Core i7-1260P processor, and also my Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop, which is meant for gaming. But since the Rog Zephyrus G14 has a 35-watt AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor with Radeon 680M integrated graphics and Radeon RX 6700S discrete graphics, I figured it’d be instructive to run some comparisons.
When it comes to CPU performance, all three laptops achieved similar single-core performance scores in Cinebench. But the Framework Laptop with a Ryzen 7 7840U chip pulled way ahead when it came to multi-core performance.
GeekBench 5 told a slightly different story, with the Framework Laptop 13 AMD Edition coming out on top in multi-core and single-core performance.
And overall performance tests like PCMark and PassMark that look at CPU, graphics, and memory performance, among other things, also put the 2023 Framework Laptop with an AMD chip in the lead.
It’s worth noting that PassMark 10 was the latest version of that test when I reviewed last year’s Framework Laptop, so I wasn’t able to run PassMark 11 on that model. So I ran PassMark 10 and 11 on the two laptops I do have sitting on my desk at the moment.
Finally, I ran 3DMark’s Time Spy, Fire Strike, and Night Raid gaming benchmarks. I disabled the discrete GPU on my Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 in order to make a fair fight between the new Framework Laptop’s Radeon 780M graphics, the Radeon 680M integrated graphics in my Asus laptop, and the Intel Iris Xe graphics in the Framework Laptop with a 12th-gen chip.
Unsurprisingly, both AMD-powered laptops beat the Intel model, but the year-over-year GPU performance gains from AMD’s mobile chips is pretty impressive.
That said, this is still a laptop with integrated graphics. A discrete GPU would make a big difference. When I enabled the Radeon RX 6700S GPU in my Asus laptop, scores in several tests jumped significantly:
- PCMark: 6738 (Radeon 680M) -> 7691 (Radeon RX 6700S)
- PassMark 11: 7364.6 (Radeon 680M) -> 8377.7 (Radeon RX 6700S)
- 3DMark Time Spy: 2901 (Radeon 680M) -> 7797 (Radeon RX 6700S)
- 3DMark Fire Strike: 6858 (Radeon 680M) -> 19698 (Radeon RX 6700S)
- 3DMark Night Raid: 26739 (Radeon 680M) -> 49760 (Radeon RX 6700S)
In other words, a laptop with a 2022 AMD Ryzen mobile chip and discrete graphics is going to outperform one with a 2023 chip and integrated graphics in many tasks that can leverage the GPU.
But since the Framework Laptop 13 AMD Edition has two 40 Gbps USB-C connections, you could theoretically connect it to an external graphics dock if you need more GPU horsepower.
Or you could wait for the upcoming Framework Laptop 16 with a 45-watt Ryzen 7040HS processor, because it has a new Expansion Bay on the back that can be used for an optional discrete GPU. Framework’s first Graphics Module features a 100 watt AMD Radeon RX 7700S GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 memory and 32 compute units.
While AMD’s integrated graphics are known to be far ahead of the competition (Intel), its discrete graphics aren’t as competitive with the company’s chief rival in that space (NVIDIA), so it would have been nice to see Framework offer an NVIDIA Graphics Module as well.
But as the 3DMark scores above should make clear, an AMD discrete GPU is certainly better than an integrated one, and that upcoming Graphics Module could be one good reason to hold out for Framework’s larger laptop.
The upcoming Framework Laptop 16 will also have a customizable input area (allowing you to customize your keyboard, use an optional number pad, or even put RGB lights on the sides of the keyboard), and six USB-C powered Expansion cards rather than four. There’s no built-in 3.5mm audio jack on the 16 inch laptop, but that’s because Framework is now selling a 3.5mm audio expansion module, allowing you to put the headphone jack anywhere you’d like.
Back to the Framework Laptop 13 AMD Edition, you should also keep in mind that this is… a laptop. And that means that performance may vary depending on whether the computer is plugged in or running on battery power, or depending on how you’ve configured power settings in Windows or other operating systems.
For example, the Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor scored 7364 in PCMark when I ran that benchmark with the laptop plugged in. But when I ran the same test on battery power, the score dropped to 5586.
It’s worth pointing out that the score on battery power was still higher than the 5156 achieved by the Framework Laptop 12 with with an Intel Core i7-1260P processor while plugged in. But it still shows a significant performance hit when running on battery power.
With that performance drop though, comes much longer battery life.
When I ran a YouTube streaming battery run-down test on the Framework Laptop with a 12th-gen Intel Core processor last year, the computer ran out of juice after just 5 hours and 12 minutes. This year’s model with a Ryzen 7 7840U processor lasted for 7 hours and 52 minutes, or more than two and a half hours longer.
For what it’s worth, Framework says the laptop gets up to 14 hours and 47 minutes in the MobileMark 2018 Battery Life test, a benchmark that seems to be a manufacturer’s favorite, as it tends to show the best possible results for battery life.
Nearly 8 hours of video streaming is hardly the best I’ve seen from a laptop released in recent years. But it’s not bad for a laptop with a 28-watt processor, a 61 Wh battery, and a 2256 x 1504 pixel display.
Battery life will be somewhat shorter for more demanding tasks, so I’m reluctant to say that the new Framework laptop has “all day” battery life, unless your day consists of streaming videos during your 8-hour work shift.
But it should last at a little longer under most circumstances. And since any of the four Expansion Card slots can be used for a USB-C port with support for USB Power Delivery, it’s pretty easy to charge the laptop.
The included USB-C charger is little larger than a typical smartphone charger, but not so big that I’d really call it a power brick. Instead there’s a pocket-sized power adapter and two cables, with one plugging into either side. One runs to a wall outlet, and the other is a six foot-long USB-C charging cable with a USB-C port on one end that’s at a 90-degree angle, which means it won’t stick out much when plugged into your laptop.
You can also use any USB power bank that outputs a reasonable amount of juice over USB-C with the laptop. It had no problem working with a 45 Wh power bank I keep around for emergencies (or for testing laptops and other mobile gadgets).
Some notes on Linux performance
The Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD Ryzen 7040 processor not only features a relatively new processor, but also a pretty new AMD RZ616 wireless card. And that can make things a little tricky when trying to install some operating systems.
For example, if you plan to install Windows 11 from scratch, Framework notes that the Windows installer might get hung up because it doesn’t have a driver for the laptop’s wireless card. So the company has published a step-by-step guide for creating your own installation media that allows you to load Windows 11 first and then install the appropriate driver bundle.
And if you plan to install a Linux distribution, Framework notes that its Ryzen 7040 series laptops “need a very recent kernel.”
The company notes that Fedora 38 works out of the box, although Fedora 39 (which is currently in beta as I’m writing this), is recommended. And you can install Ubuntu LTS, but you’ll need to manually update the kernel in order for all hardware to be supported. Other Linux-based operating systems should also probably work with the new Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD processor, but you may need to know how to update the kernel yourself and/or wait for Framework (or other sites) to put out guides.
For simplicity’s sake, I decided to take the easy route for testing Linux, and installed Fedora 39 Beta.
Framework makes it pretty easy to do that: Just use the Fedora Media Writer tool (or download an ISO and use another tool) to prepare a USB flash drive, plug it into a USB port on the Framework Laptop, and then press the power button to turn the computer on and press the F12 key a few times upon startup to get to the boot settings menu.
From there, you can choose the option that says “Linpus Lite,” and in a moment you’ll be greeted by a GRUB boot menu asking if you’d like to test the media and then boot into Fedora, or just boot straight to Fedora.
Once you’ve made that selection, it’s a short wait until you’re greeted by a welcome screen asking if you’d like to install Fedora or try out the operating system without installing it.
Normally I’d just boot from the flash drive, poke around, and let you know if the hardware is working. But I’ve received several questions about sleep and suspend performance, so I figured I’d install Fedora to the laptop’s SSD.
And if I wanted to wipe Windows, that’d be super easy to do. But Fedora was unable to resize the Windows partition, probably because Bitlocker was enabled.
So at this point I rebooted into Windows, used Microsoft’s Disk Management tool to shrink the active partition and free up 125GB of unallocated disk space, rebooted into the Fedora Live image, and was able to install the Linux distro into that free space without any further problems.
Once installation was complete, everything worked out of the box, just as Framework promised. Audio, video, and graphics are supported.
So is the camera, and so are WiFi, Bluetooth, and all keyboard shortcuts for controlling brightness, volume, and the keyboard backlight.
Even the fingerprint reader works, and I was able to configure the system so I could login and/or run sudo commands by tapping a finger against the power button rather than typing a password.
One thing I did find a little annoying had more to do with Fedora than Framework: the version of the operating system I’m testing does not support fractional scaling out of the box.
That means that you can either set the display scaling to 100% or 200%, but there’s no out-of-the-box support for anything in between. And to my eyes, 100% scaling on a 13.5 inch, 2256 x 1504 pixel display make everything look just a little too small for comfort unless you bring laptop so close to your face that typing becomes uncomfortable.
But doubling everything to 200% makes everything look BIG while leaving you with less room on the screen for content, which can be particularly challenging if you like to multitask by viewing two or more apps at the same time.
Fortunately you can enable fractional scaling by entering a single line in a terminal window (and then by logging out and back in). Just keep in mind that this is considered an experimental feature, so it’s possible that you might see some unexpected behavior with it enabled.
With that caveat out of the way, here’s what to type into a terminal window to enable fractional scaling in recent builds of Fedora:
gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['scale-monitor-framebuffer']"
After entering that line, hit enter and then either reboot the computer or log out of your account and then sign back in again.
You should now see scaling options in 25% increments ranging from 100% to 275%. I’ve found 125% or 150% to be a good fit for the Framework Laptop 13 display.
Remember how I said the feature was experimental though? I’ve found that after setting scaling to 150%, when I reboot Fedora the operating system defaults to 200%. But if I log out and sign into my account again it usually returns to 150%.
And if fractional scaling does cause any problems more serious than that, you can disable it again by repeating the same steps, but this time entering this line into a terminal:
gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features ""
Another thing to keep in mind is that fractional scaling only applies to the operating system, not the GRUB bootloader. So when you first turn on the computer, be prepared to be greeted by tiny text asking you which operating system you’d like to boot.
That may be fixable too, but it’s a fairly small inconvenience.
Oh, and as for sleep and suspend performance? I haven’t tested this extensively in the limited time that I’ve had Fedora installed on the Framework Laptop 13 Ryzen 7040 notebook, but Fedora reports that it by default it uses “Low-power S0 idle” for system suspend, and I’m not sure if there’s any support for other sleep states.
In practice, that means the battery will drain slowly even when the lid is closed or the laptop is otherwise put into suspend mode. You should still be able to open the lid and keep using the computer after it’s been in suspend mode for a few days, but don’t be surprised if your battery level is lower than you remember at that point.
But for the most part, Fedora seems to work as well as expected on the Framework Laptop 13 with a Ryzen 7040U processor, making it a viable alternative to the Windows software that was preinstalled on the demo unit Framework loaned me.
It also means that anyone who doesn’t want to pay for a Windows license can order a Framework Laptop DIY Edition that will ship without any operating system at all, and then install Fedora (or another OS).
The Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD processor keeps almost everything that was great about the company’s previous-gen laptops, and adds a new chipset that brings a significant boost in CPU and graphics performance-per-watt. Coupled with an upgraded battery and speedier memory, the new model runs both faster and longer than the Framework Laptop 13 with an Intel Alder Lake processor that I tested last year.
Better yet, Framework continues to deliver on its promise of making interchangeable parts, which means that you can turn an older Framework Laptop into a newer one by scooping out the old guts and replacing them with newer components.
I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense to do that every year when you could almost buy a laptop from a different company for the prices Framework charges for its mainboards ($449 for a Ryzen 5 7640U model or $699 for a Ryzen 7 7840U, and you’ll also need to by some DDR5-5600 memory, since the DDR4-3200 RAM from the Intel mainboards is not compatible).
But if you’ve got a Framework Laptop 13 that’s a few years old, it’s kind of remarkable that not only can you update to the latest Intel processor, but you also have the option of switching to an AMD processor. I’d love to see Framework keep this up for years to come.
That said, there are a few down sides to this model. One is that Framework is still a fairly small company that doesn’t have the economies of scale to make these things cheap: you could probably save a few hundred dollars by purchasing a laptop with similar specs from a different PC maker.
Another is that the new AMD mainboard only has two USB4 ports capable of the same 40 Gbps data speeds as the Intel models, and you have to remember not to plug a video Expansion Card into the front left port.
There are also a few options that Framework still doesn’t offer. Want a touchscreen display, a 360-degree hinge, or pen support? Framework’s 13 inch laptops don’t offer any of those things. And, at least in the case of the hinge, it’s unlikely that the company will ever offer one, because it would have to redesign the notebook’s frame to accommodate a hinge that would let the screen flip all the way around for use in tablet mode. And if Framework did redesign the case that much, it might cause compatibility issues with some of the other components.
So there are costs to maintaining backward compatibility.
But the good news is that, at least for now, the Framework formula seems to be paying off: the company’s laptops are already reasonably future-proof thanks to decent displays, keyboard, touchpads, and svelte designs. And the fact that just about all key components are replaceable makes the Framework Laptop 13 the most upgradeable laptop around, and certainly one of the most repairable as well.
Thank you to Framework for lending me a Framework Laptop 13 Ryzen 7040U Performance Edition laptop to review.
The Framework Laptop is available from Frame.work with prices starting at $849 for a DIY Edition model.