3:2 Display and Customizable Bezels

The display is the defining module of the Framework Laptop. The system is built around the form factor of it. We decided from the outset to prioritize both portability and an aspect ratio ideal for productivity. After exploring a number of different options, BOE’s 13.5” 2256x1504 LCD stood out as clearly the best choice. The panel lets us deliver a compact and light system while providing a lot of useful screen real estate. A 13.5” 3:2 panel covers around 11% more visible area than a 13.3” 16:9 one does, and the taller height makes it awesome for coding, document editing, and a range of other use cases. In addition to the useful shape, the panel we chose has great pixel density, low glare, 1500:1 contrast, and 100% coverage of sRGB, resulting in excellent visual quality.

We integrated the display with maximum flexibility for different working styles. The Framework Laptop’s hinge can fold 180 degrees to fully flat, letting you use it while contorted into odd postures or in vertical laptop stands. We also built in an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust to the brightness of your environment, going above 400 nit for outdoor use. To maximize eye comfort, we use a DC mode backlight controller instead of a PWM one that can cause visible flickering.

We also integrated the panel in a way that makes it super easy to replace if ever needed. Most notebooks have their displays held in with adhesive, making a panel-only swap extremely challenging. This often results in needing to replace the entire lid assembly instead, which is expensive and wasteful. On the Framework Laptop, the display is behind a magnetically attached bezel and is held into the lid with four fasteners. The screwdriver we include in the box is the only tool you need to perform a replacement.

The bezel being magnetic attach also makes it easy to change the color of it. The default color is black, but we’re testing a set of color options for this summer using 35% post-consumer-recycled plastics. Our goal in the longer term is to offer a sneaker-like variety of bezel colorways. We want to make the outside of the Framework Laptop as customizable as the inside is.

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Nice update on the display and bezel. Since the bezel is plastic, it would be awesome if you could publish the 3d manufacturing files for the bezel so DIYers with 3D printers could make their own in whatever color they want (including multi-color, stripes, etc) or make other interesting enhancements. Thx

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Thanks for the update on the screen!

Thank you so much for choosing the DC mode backlight controller!
The screen flickering drives me crazy so at the moment I use an old laptop with CCFL backlight (T500).
Another problem of (cheap) LED backlights is a peak in the spectrum at the blue colour.
I hope this not the case with this display.
Too much blue light is not good for our eyes and our circadian rhythm and I prefer a more natural colour rendering.

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Great that it lies flat. Would make especially good for touchscreen/stylus use, assuming it’s compatible (it is, right?)

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I also wanted to add to @JPTiger comment,

that i also think that its better to give the hinge the ability to make it a tablet
Ex :


Or i there is a better hinge model. Also i think the magnetic hinge is not recommended cause the last time i have the opportunity to try it it feels to flimsy

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It’s really great to see the thought put into making these easy to work on! One issue that I’ve had in the past is hinges that stop holding the screen in a given position. Will the hinges for the screen also be replaceable? Thanks for the great work!

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Hey @Christian_W_Gehman, Thanks! Yes, replacement hinges will be available on the web store.

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This all looks so promising, but one question I had was about the panel’s Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 colour space coverage beyond sRGB, do you have a % figure for either of those?

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Will framework consider a 16:9 laptop in the future? I love the mission, but having black bars when watching 16:9 content would drive me crazy. I’m super ready to give up my Dell because repairs are so expensive

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@nrp couple questions!

  1. any chance the LEDs driving the backlight of the display could be ones that don’t emit blue light?

(Eg like the ones made by Pixel Vision)

  1. would it be possible to replace the LCD screen with an eink screen with an integrated controller, if that ever became a thing?

  2. what is the challenge / trade offs involve in having a 360 degree hinge ?

Thank the lord for picking 3:2 over 16:9!!

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You can use software like the “night mode” functionality in Windows to shift away from blue. The functionality in Windows also lets you set that on a schedule so that you can automatically reduce blue in the hours before you go to bed.

There are e-ink panels that are roughly the dimensions needed to fit in the lid, though that is not an area we are currently focusing on.

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@JPTiger It seems there is currently no touch controller and no support for pressure-sensitive styluses. I think I read elsewhere that it’s considered for the future, but no promises can be made right now.

@Anjan_Katta The main challenge I’m seeing with a 360 degree hinge is stability, and the fact that the entire upper shell needs to be redesigned. It would likely make the whole laptop quite a bit thicker as you need space for the double hinge, and most laptops that do this have a split hinge as well for stability, meaning the bottom shell may need to be redesigned as well. There are of course a lot of potential options here, including a swivel display, yoga-style multi-hinge or a detachable.

To me, this seems like a deep rabbit hole that would be reserved for framework 2.0, not something the current team could incorporate into the 1.0 they’re seeking to launch now.

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Blue light may not be anywhere as bad as we all thought until recently – see https://www.moneytalksnews.com/blue-light-might-not-be-so-bad-for-your-sleep-after-all/ !

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I have concerns about the display resolution. At the native 2256×1504 resolution at 13.5", it is in a strange middle ground: too high to realistically be used at 1× scaling, but too low to provide useful real estate at 2× scaling (only 1128×752@2x). Consequently, it seems designed to be used at around 1.25x or 1.5x scaling, which ends up negating some of the benefits of the otherwise high density (often causing visible blurriness if even supported in the operating system).

It really seems like something in the realm of 2880×1920 (1440×960@2x) or 3000×2000 (1500×1000@2x) would be an ideal choice as it would remain high density, but provide a perfect amount of real estate at integer 2x scaling. Alternatively, a lower 1440×960 or 1500×1000 resolution would provide the same comfortable real estate at 1x scaling with the benefit of better battery life, though of course some would question the “low” resolution.

Are there plans to offer alternate display resolutions in the future, whether higher or lower?

As an aside, are there plans for a matte finish option?

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We chose this resolution as a balance to get pixels that aren’t visible at typical viewing distances while still getting good battery life. I use 1.5x scaling, which results in useful screen real estate, but does depend on good OS and application support for non-integer scaling. In practice, it works well in everything I’ve thrown at it in Win10 and most of what I have tried in Ubuntu 20.04.

We don’t currently have plans for alternate displays, but we’ve designed the display to be easy to replace and the display connector on the mainboard to be able to support a broader range of possible displays. It’s unlikely we would go lower resolution in this form factor, but I agree there could be an interesting case for a display resolution that works at 2x scaling (at the tradeoff of battery life).

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The aspect ratio is definitely a nice choice to get the most out of a small screen. Also what is the estimated battery life?

Interesting, I think it’s actually perfect for 1x. I’m using a Thinkpad Carbon X1 right now which has a 2560x1440 resolution at 14", and that’s working great with Gnome as a DE and 1x scaling. It is very much on the edge, though.

I’m trying to convince a friend to get this laptop, but one of her biggest worries is about how it looks. Namely, the bezels. She wants it either to either be like the nice aluminum of the rest of the computer, or have the plastic be fully solidly black like her current computer (a Surface Pro). She finds the black bezel too light, and thinks the white one looks plasticky.

Do you guys plan on coming out with an aluminum front bezel instead of just plastic ones? Or does the white one actually look and feel more like the aluminum chassis in person? Or does the black one actually look more black instead of dark grey in person? If all the previous questions are false, does it still look and feel premium?

Additionally, she also feels the black squares on the bezel looks kind of ugly, and I agree. Everything else on this laptop wouldn’t be out of place with other premium laptops, and honestly, the laptop looks better than quite a lot of them. But the fact that the camera and other thing are both squares look very strange. Could future bezels do away with this? Why was this design decision chosen? I’m sure you could get used to it very easily, but it’s just very weird to me.

I think those were her biggest complaints with this laptop. Because otherwise, she thinks it looks a lot nicer than most other laptops, and I agree.

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The black bezel looks fairly dark in person and the bezel overall feels well integrated into the lid assembly. We explored square and circular cover glass for the camera and ambient light sensor, and the square versions looked better.