There can be a certain irony in upgrading a laptop designed around the principles of user repairability/upgradability. Although certainly Frame don’t expect too many people who bought last year’s model to replace their system with the latest and greatest. The company claims that the updates in this series are mostly based on feedback from users of the product’s first generation, which certainly makes sense.
Even so, for a first-generation product, the Framework Laptop 2021 received strong reviews. It would have been easy to skimp on some of the basic tenets of good laptop design, in favor of modularity, but the young hardware startup struck a nice balance, right from the start.
The new product version features 12th Gen Intel Core processors, combined with a redesigned removable top cover and lid assembly, which the company says has been redesigned to optimize the strength and lifespan of the battery.
“When redesigning the Framework laptop lid assembly, we went from an aluminum forming process to a full CNC process on the top cover, dramatically improving rigidity,” the company notes. “While there is more raw material needed from a solid block of 6063 aluminum, we are working with our supplier Hamagawa to reduce the environmental impact. We currently use 75% pre-consumer recycled alloys and are looking for a post-consumer source.
The footprint is the same as its predecessor, with a thickness of 16mm – the same as the latest MacBook Air, which puts it in good company as a device with replaceable parts. It seems likely that the company won’t stray too far from this footprint with the system, given that the components are designed to be cross-generational. This includes the recently announced Ethernet expansion card – which the company says was one of the most popular requests for the first generation system. Turns out people always like to hook up when possible.
The new system starts at $1,049, which is $50 more than its predecessor. Pre-orders start today, while the Ethernet expansion card is listed as “coming soon”.
Along with Fairphone, Framework is one of a growing number of hardware companies looking to buck the long-standing trend of making repairs that are too fiddly and complicated for most users. This push has been fueled by an increased focus on sustainability, as well as right to repair legislation. The latter has also been a driving force for companies like Apple, Samsung and Google to provide additional access to repair tools for their mobile devices.