Framework makes modular, repairable, and upgradeable laptops that let you swap out ports thanks to an Expansion Card system and upgrade or replace the motherboard, memory, and storage.

Up until now, the company’s laptops have either come with Windows or no operating system at all (for folks that would rather install Linux). Now there’s another option: the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition.

For the most part the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition is just like the standard model I reviewed earlier this year. It has the same 13.5 inch, 2256 x 1504 pixel display, 55 Wh battery, 1080p camera, and modular port system that lets you swap out ports on the fly (or even replace a port with an SSD).

But there are a few key differences:

  • This model ships with ChromeOS instead of Windows (or no OS).
  • There’s a Chromebook logo on the lid.
  • It has a keyboard designed for ChromeOS (there’s no Windows key, but there is a search key).
  • Prices start at $999, making this model $50 cheaper than a Windows model with similar specs.

That makes the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition one of the most expensive Chromebooks around, but it’s also one of the most powerful, with an Intel Core i5-1240P processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Unlike other Framework Laptop models, the Chromebook Edition is only sold in that one configuration, but users can upgrade the system with as much as 64GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

Theoretically you may also be able to upgrade the mainboard and processor, since Framework sells versions with Core i7-1260P and Core i7-1280P chips.

One thing that might be a little trickier is loading alternate operating systems. Like other Chromebooks, the bootloader is designed to support Google’s OS, and you’ll need to enter developer mode to run other operating systems. So if that’s your plan, then you’d probably be better off picking up a Framework Laptop with Windows or a DIY Edition model (you can always install Chrome OS Flex on one of those models if you want to make your own Chromebook, although you won’t get support for things like running Android apps from the Google Play Store with the Flex solution).

Overall I’ve been very impressed with Framework’s efforts to make Chromebooks modular, customizable, repairable, and upgradeable without sacrificing performance. So while a $999 Chromebook might not be up everyone’s alley, it’s nice to see one more option for folks looking to buy a laptop that checks all of those boxes.

The Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition is up for pre-order now and it’s expected to begin shipping in December. It should receive security updates from Google for at least 8 years.

Framework Laptop specs
Display13.5 inches
2256 x 1504 pixels
3:2 aspect ratio
100% sRGB color gamut
400 nits peak brightness
ProcessorIntel Core i5-1240P (4P + 8E cores)
Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM8GB (user upgradeable to 64GB)
DDR4-3200
2 x SODIMM slots
Storage256GB (user upgradeable to 1TB)
PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
OSChromeOS
WirelessIntel AX210
WiFi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2
User upgradeable
Ports1 x 3.5mm audio jack
4 x Expansion card ports (with USB4 connectors)
Audio2 x 2W speakers
2 x microphones (with hardware privacy switch)
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Battery55 Wh
Charger60W GaN USB-C
Webcam1080p @ 60 fps
80 degree field of view
Hardware privacy switch
KeyboardChiclet
1.5mm key travel
Backlit
Touchpad115 x 76.6mm (4.5″ x 3″)
Windows Precision touchpad
SecurityFingerprint sensor (in power button)
Dimensions296.6 x 229 x 15.9mm
11.7″ x 9″ x 0.6″
Weight1.3 grams
2.86 pounds

via Framework Blog

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  1. This just feels like it’s pointless, in principle. I mean it might move enough units to justify the relatively small tooling costs for the slightly different shell and keyboard, and I’ve heard that Chrome OS Flex doesn’t have all the features you’d find on a branded chromebook, but I’d just feel like a hypocrite for endorsing more independence on hardware and less independence on software.
    Yeah, giving yourself to google’s botnet, that’s really bucking the system.

    1. It’s my hope that through this partnership with google, it’ll drive their other model’s pricing down. At this point, it makes very little sense for me to bring all my own hardware, except for the CPU-board/Chassis, and have it still cost me $1,600. The modular plugs, don’t matter to me at all, especially when one of them is used for charging, and none of them can double up(yet). Putting screens, keyboards, or batteries into laptops has never been a problem for me, nor, as you mentioned, installing ChromeOS Flex on items, for longer than 8yr support life. Seems like a step toward making more e-waste, not less. I feel like I need to go into a cryo-freezer for about 20yrs, so tech can speed up to what I’ve been promised from innovation. An efficient processor, that is faster, year over year. Not the same power/heat with an overclock and a turbo.

  2. My only real complaint about the Framework Laptop DIY Edition with a Core i7-1260P processor that I reviewed this summer was poor battery life (just around 4 hours during normal use).

    Framework recently reached out to let me know about software updates that should help extend battery life, so I’m looking forward to seeing if that’s confirmed by independent testers. I’m also curious to know whether battery life might be better with Chrome OS than Windows.