A bit of greater than a yr after asserting the primary model of its ultra-repairable, upgradeable pocket book, Framework is launching the second-generation Framework Laptop computer. It is meant to be considerably quicker and a bit of extra sturdy, however, largely, it is a sign that Framework is severe about constructing actually long-lasting gadgets and may truly be fulfilling the customarily promised and infrequently delivered dream of upgradeable, modular devices.
The brand new laptop computer’s headline spec is the processor: it comes with a twelfth Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 chip with the top-of-the-line, $2,049 mannequin operating the Core i7-1280P. (That is a full technology soar from the present mannequin, and these new Alder Lake chips promise massive efficiency enhancements and a lift in effectivity.) The bottom mannequin, which runs a Core i5-1240P, begins at $1,049 absolutely assembled. All can be found for preorder now and begin delivery in July, although you should not count on one too rapidly: Framework is utilizing a preorder system to handle demand and appears to anticipate shipments taking some time.
Along with the efficiency soar, Framework additionally rebuilt the laptop computer’s prime cowl, which it says is now rather more inflexible than earlier than. That is a welcome change: when The Verge’s Monica Chin reviewed the primary mannequin, the laptop computer’s unavoidable flimsiness was one of many gadget’s worst qualities. Past that, the Framework additionally mentioned it has “fastidiously optimized battery life,” which was solely common on the final mannequin.
A lot of the different specs have not modified: the brand new laptop computer nonetheless has a 13.5-inch display, weighs a shade below three kilos, and has the identical respectable keyboard and trackpad. Basically, the brand new Framework Laptop computer feels like a pleasant, if pretty predictable, enchancment on what you should purchase already. It is price noting, although, that even the present mannequin is already a significant improve over what the corporate launched final yr: Framework has added Wi-Fi 6E assist since launch and presents a handful of latest dongles for its growth ports. That is the Framework’s entire factor, actually; the laptop computer is not a static gadget — it is an ever-changing one.
Which raises the actual query for Framework: how do you launch a brand new laptop computer when your entire firm relies on letting individuals improve and enhance their laptops with out simply having to purchase a brand new one?
That is the place Framework’s announcement will get cool: the brand new chipset can also be going to be accessible in Framework’s Market, that means you should purchase a mainboard with a twelfth Gen chip and slot it into your current Framework Laptop computer with out having to purchase an entire new gadget. Or, you may decide to switch your prime cowl with the brand new stronger one with out altering the rest. (The Improve Equipment, which incorporates each items, begins at $538.) Framework is planning to proceed promoting the first-gen laptop computer at a reduced worth of $899 whereas its stock lasts, too, so you can begin in your improve path everytime you need .
The concept behind Framework’s announcement is actually extra thrilling than the announcement itself. Framework’s plan for constructing longer-lasting laptops might solely work if the corporate stayed dedicated to upgradeability and made certain to do proper by the customers who purchased its gadgets on the promise of future upgrades. We have heard that promise earlier than, in fact, whether or not at the start of Alienware’s failed Space-51m dream, Google’s canceled Undertaking Ara, or Intel’s semi-upgradable NUC Excessive and deserted Compute Card initiatives. This stuff do not are inclined to work out.
It is nonetheless very a lot an open query how lengthy Framework will assist its authentic chassis and design given what number of corporations have made guarantees about modularity and longevity solely to interrupt the system as quickly as a shiny new factor got here alongside. The brand new Framework Laptop computer is each a brand new factor and a totally backwards-compatible factor. That is a giant deal.