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Framework Laptop Review Chromebook: A tinkerer’s dream machine

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At first sight

Expert evaluation

Professionals

High Performance Upgradeable Hot-swappable ports 1080p webcam

Versus

Expensive. No touchscreen display

Our verdict

The Framework Laptop Chromebook is a fantastic choice for those looking to extend the life of their machine.

Price at time of review

$999

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Retail price framework $999

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Every once in a while a unique laptop arrives and dominates my every waking thought. I’m a big fan of innovative design that inspires, and that’s exactly what the Framework Laptop Chromebook does. Its modular design lets you upgrade and repair nearly every part of the laptop, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s the kind of device that welcomes — no, strongly encourages you — to get in and tinker with.

The modular design is great and all, but the Framework Laptop also offers high performance and a bright, vivid display. The only major drawback is the high price. That said, you get what you pay for. The chassis is sturdy and durable, and the battery life is great. It definitely feels like a premium machine, a step up from most ordinary Chromebooks. This laptop might not be for everyone, but if you like tinkering, it’s worth considering.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of best Chromebooks. Check it out if you’re looking for more options.

Framework Laptop Chromebook: specifications and features

The Chromebook Laptop Framework comes in only one configuration and is only available at framework. Our review unit includes an Intel Core i5-1240P CPU, Intel Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage. The 13.5-inch display has a resolution of 2256×1504 and an aspect ratio of 3:9. The only setup would be pretty limiting if you couldn’t upgrade memory and storage or swap ports. Framework gives you the ability to mix and match your ports and parts at checkout.

CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P Graphics: Intel Xe RAM: 8GB (upgradeable to 64GB) Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD (upgradeable to 1TB) Display: 13.5-inch, 2256×1504 Ports: USB Type-A , USB Type-C, DisplayPort, microSD, HDMI, Ethernet Weight: 2.9 lbs Color: Silver Battery Capacity: 55Wh Price: $999

Chromebook laptop framework: design and implementation

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

If there’s one word to describe the Chromebook Laptop Framework, it’s this: clean. The brushed silver finish is classy as hell. The outside is also buttery smooth, which pleases this tactile reviewer. Framework’s dark glass-like gear logo on the top lid complements the silvery exterior perfectly. It is the same design project as other Framework laptops. That’s no dig, as those laptops are absolute beauties.

As far as build quality goes, it’s damn solid. For a $999 Chromebook, I expected nothing less. When I opened the lid, I was able to do it with one hand and it lifted up in one smooth motion, without any interference from the hinge. The keyboard deck has some flex, but not enough to bother me. When I pushed and pulled the display with both hands, it twisted slightly and I heard some creaking noises. Overall, it looks like a well-made, tough machine.

According to Framework, the laptop is made of 50 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum. This is fantastic news, especially if you’re environmentally conscious. It’s also pretty light at 2.9 lbs. I was able to hold the car one handed, though I don’t recommend doing that, especially if you’re accident prone.

Framework Laptop Chromebook: keyboard, trackpad and webcam

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

I enjoyed typing on this keyboard, as the keys offer a springy response. I like that the keyboard is black in color, as it really pops against the silver chassis. The contrast between key and text also makes it easier to identify specific keys. Initially, I found it annoyingly easy to accidentally hit the mute button every time I adjusted the volume. Not a big deal, but it took some getting used to.

The boxy trackpad feels nice, with a nice, smooth glass-like surface that responds accurately to multitouch gestures. When I pressed down on the trackpad with two fingers, it produced a nice solid but unobtrusive click. As for the trackpads, I’ve had no complaints. It worked just like it should and I adjusted quickly.

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

I’m of the opinion that 1080p webcams should be included in all new laptops in the future. Remote working is more common these days, and if you’re doing a large amount of video conferencing, you’ll want to look your best. The Framework Laptop Chromebook has a nice 1080p webcam with built-in buttons that let you physically mute and turn off the camera.

Chromebook Laptop Framework: Display and Audio

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

I was pleasantly surprised by the 13.5-inch 1504p display. It’s sharp and bright, and the colors are vibrant. When I saw the amazing presentation trailer of Hades II, a rogue play on the Greek gods, the colors were absolutely delightful. The 3:9 aspect ratio is also nice. It’s the perfect size for productivity tasks, which is always a plus in my book. My only issue is that it’s not a touchscreen display. For $999, I expected the display to at least have touch support.

The audio, which starts from the keyboard deck, is quite punchy. When I listened to an episode of My brother, my brother and meGriffin McElroy’s cackling laugh was so loud I had to turn it down. Having just reviewed a laptop with downward facing speakers, I’ve seen how the placement of the speakers really makes a difference. The downward-facing speakers sound noticeably more muffled.

Chromebook Laptop Framework: Connectivity

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

The connectivity options are one of the coolest things about this laptop, as the ports are hot-swappable. All you have to do is simply slide the cartridge ports (aka expansion cards) into one of the four slots located under the laptop. In other words, you can choose which ports you want for this Chromebook, an incredibly innovative offering from the Framework.

When you buy Framework Laptop Chromebook, you can choose between USB-A, USB-C, microSD, HDMI, DisplayPort and Ethernet. You can select four at checkout if you choose the $999 configuration. Any additional ports will cost extra. A la carte prices range from $9 to $39 depending on port type.

Chromebook Laptop Framework: Upgradability

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

I’ve never used a Framework laptop before and I am very Glad it’s a car I can tinker with easily. The thought of opening a laptop caused me anxiety. What if I mess something up and end up spending hundreds of dollars? Luckily, the Framework makes the whole experience super easy.

I was able to open the laptop in a few easy steps. First, I turned the laptop over and used the included screwdriver to unscrew five screws on the bottom of the machine. The screws are designed to stay in place. I then turned the laptop right side up and gently pulled back on the keyboard, which is attached via magnets, to reveal the hardware.

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IDG / Ashley Biancozzo

As you can see in the image above, the hardware is marked with QR codes. If you scan these codes with your smartphone camera, you will be directed to the appropriate page on the Framework website. Need to replace the fan or upgrade your memory? Just scan the QR code and you will be directed to repair information, spare parts and so on. It’s really brilliant.

Chromebook Laptop Framework: Performance

The Framework Laptop Chromebook delivers a snappy performance, especially when it comes to day-to-day tasks like web browsing and YouTube watching. I tend to operate in a sea of ​​open tabs and was able to jump between 15 browser tabs with relative ease. I haven’t noticed any delays.

Here’s how the Chromebook Laptop Framework performed in various web-based benchmarks:

CRXPRT 2: 146
Speedometer: 232
Web 3.0 Basemarks: 1132.95
Kraken: 489.9 ms
Jetstream 2: 214.09

The CrXPRT 2 performance benchmark determines how fast a Chromebook is and is a good indication of how well it handles everyday tasks like playing games, browsing the web, and so on. Thanks to the Intel Core i5 CPU, the Framework Laptop Chromebook achieved a solid score of 146. In comparison, the device with similar specifications Acer Vero 514 Chromebook it produced a score of 150. While the Vero 514 scored slightly better than the Framework, you won’t see a huge difference in performance between the two. Both are reliable, but the Vero 514 is much more affordable.

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Acer Vero 514 Chromebook

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Read our review

MSRP: $599.99 Best Prices Today:

$599.99 from Acer

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Chromebook laptop framework: battery life

When I ran the CrXPRT 2’s battery benchmark, scrolling through videos and a variety of tasks, the Framework Laptop Chromebook lasted about 12 hours on a single charge. As far as Chromebooks go, this is normal. Importantly, this machine outlasts a typical working day. Once again, the more affordable $600 Vero 514 with similar hardware outperformed the Framework, hitting the 14-hour mark without breaking a sweat.

Should You Buy the Framework Laptop Chromebook?

The Framework Laptop Chromebook is an excellent choice for those looking to extend the life of their machine, as almost any piece of hardware can be replaced or repaired. It’s also just a good everyday laptop. Performance is snappy enough for everyday tasks, the display is bright, and the hot-swappable ports also make it a truly versatile device.

Is this laptop for everyone? Probably not. The price is quite steep for a Chromebook, especially one without a touchscreen. That said, this is one of the most unique and innovative devices I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. This type of laptop really targets a specific niche of people, so if you’re into tinkerers, then this could be the machine for you.