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The Framework Laptop 16 is one of the most unusual laptops expected to launch this year… and that’s saying something at a time when we’re expecting dual-screen notebooks like the Asus Zenbook Duo and Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, and models with E Ink lids like the Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 SPE.
But the Framework Laptop 16 is the first notebook with an expansion bay on the back that lets you attach an optional discrete GPU when you want it, remove it when you don’t, and… at least theoretically, upgrade to a new GPU in the future. Like all Framework laptops, it also has an Expansion Card system that lets you choose your own ports and swap them on the fly and a removable mainboard. It also introduces a new modular input area, letting you choose the position of your keyboard and decide whether you want a number pad, RGB macropad, or none of the above. But is it a good laptop? The first reviews are in, and they’re… not exactly conclusive.
Framework’s 13.5 inch laptops are nearly no-compromise systems that cost just a bit more than other laptops with similar specs, but offer significantly more customization, upgrade, and repair options.
But there are more moving parts in the company’s 16 inch model, and while this laptop does offer better performance and more customization options than its smaller siblings, it’s also a bigger, heavier computer that costs a lot more (especially if you want the discrete GPU), and doesn’t necessarily compete well against the best gaming laptops (the only dGPU available right now is an AMD Radeon RX 7700S, which is comparable to NVIDIA’s RTX 4060).
That’s not to say that nobody should buy the Framework Laptop 16. You’re just going to want to make sure it meets your needs… or consider it if you value customization and the promise of upgradeability in the future over bleeding-edge graphics performance today.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
The general consensus is that this is an incredibly ambitious project: it’s the most modular, customizable, repairable, and upgradeable laptop to date, with a 16 inch display, customizable ports, input, and internals… plus an expansion bay for an optional discrete GPU. But it’s expensive, noisy under load, and not the best gaming laptop available. It’s less of a slam dunk than the company’s 13.5 inch models, which are more competitive with comparably priced & sized computers, and easier to recommend.
LinkStar H28K is a compact travel router with dual gigabit Ethernet based on Rockchip RK3528 SoC [CNX Software]
This pocket-sized router has a Rockchip RK3528 processor, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of eMMC storage, a microSD card reader, and two Gigabit Ethernet ports plus a USB 2.0 Type-A port for data and a USB Type-C port for power. It doesn’t support wireless connections, but could be used to set up, monitor, or control wired connections. It sells for about $40.
Firefox 122 displays images and descriptions in search suggestions (when provided by search engines), improved website translations, a new .deb package for Ubuntu/Debian/Mint Linux users, plus Android improvements (you can set it as the default PDF reader and enable global privacy control).
The Red Hydrogen One was supposed to have two stand-out features: a high-quality camera, and a glasses-free 3D display. It never really delivered on the first, and the technology that powered the second wasn’t really all that useful… at the time. But now the company behind that display is the biggest player in the glasses-free 3D display space which seems to be… growing?
Are smartphones with 60 Hz displays on the way out? Even budget phones like these two entry-level models are starting to arrive with 90 Hz screens, despite price tags starting as low as €119 and €129, respectively.
120 Gbps Thunderbolt 5 and more PCIe 5.0 lanes coming to Intel’s Arrow Lake desktop CPUs, Barlow Ridge controller debuts [Tom’s Hardware]
Take this with a grain of salt for now, but rumor has it that Intel’s next-gen desktop processors could be among the first to feature a Thunderbolt 5 controller for up to 80 Gbps bi-directional data transfer speeds, or up to 120 Gbps / 40 Gbps.