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Framework Laptop DIY Edition Review: A Real Fixer Upper

If you follow technology news and policy at all, you may have heard about the right to repair — the idea that, by law or simply because it’s the right thing to do, companies that make products should provide the instructions so that people can repair and extend the life of their devices. What would the ideal device look like in that scenario?

It would probably be a lot like the Framework Laptop. The first device from Framework, the notebook (starting at $999 pre-configured or $749 for the barebones DIY Edition we tested). is  designed to be easily upgradeable, with the possibility of replacing the motherboard without tossing the whole laptop. It also allows for customizable side ports through a number of expansion cards that fit into the chassis. In theory, you’ll be able to consistently update this laptop rather than replace it entirely, reducing waste and getting precisely the laptop you want. It’s much easier to upgrade and fix than the best ultrabooks currently out there.

In my time with the DIY Edition (plus sampled components and expansion cards loaned by Framework), I was surprised at just how well this first-generation product seemed to come out. Yes, I have qualms with the reflective display and the plasticky trackpad. But I also got the motherboard out in less than 20 minutes.  While it’s promising that Framework is preparing to ship the first units (a hurdle that many companies haven’t passed), the company will really have to exist and thrive for a few years in order to see the Framework Laptop’s full potential. 

Design of the Framework Laptop 

On the outside, the Framework Laptop doesn’t look like anything special. Inside, it’s making a statement. In most of our reviews, we separate out the overall design of a notebook and how you upgrade it. But on the Framework Laptop, you can’t talk about one without the other. 

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(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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Framework Laptop DIY Edition

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

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