Another Laptop Review (Comparison to a ThinkPad X225)

Hey All,

Recent purchase of a Framework in the mid-range i7 configuration. Have it set up with 16 GB (8x2) Crucial RAM, and a Samsung 980 Pro.

My daily driver up to this point as I was a stubborn SOB was a Frankensteined Lenovo X230 i5 stuffed inside an X220 case with the proper EC firmware, and hacked BIOS to allow for the X220 keyboard, removal of the whitelist and running DDR3 up to 2100Mhz. Tracked down an IPS panel and it has kept me great company for roughly the last 8 years if you count using it as a stock x220 for the first 4. I kept seeing system after system, maker after maker starting to solder, glue and otherwise make it impossible to mend or update your system that you plunked $1000+ down on. Hence, the long in the tooth X225

Thought I’d write another review for the stack of others on the forum, this time comparing this device to a system Mostly from 2012.

Battery life: I have set the framework for 75% in the BIOS to keep it from killing itself in its most likely use-case, but that 75% seems to last me a good 5+ hours in Pop!OS, downloading tools, games, and otherwise setting it up over WiFi followed by jumping around from site to site and forum to forum to best attack this install. I can see the argument that these batteries could last longer, but when my expectations are this hampered, I certainly do not mind. The probably not OEM 9cell in my x225 will net me maybe 3-4 hours with light use (maybe a Youtube video in the background of typing up a document.)

So Expectations met, and surpassed.

Screen: I am happy to report that with the use of the ICC profiles floating around the community, this display is pretty darn good. It has some great viewing angles, and the screen gets bright enough to view outside. The display also provides some solid color reproduction for anything I’ve asked of it. The shots below are comparison between the max brightness and viewing angles of this Framework panel and the IPS display in the X225. The nice bump in size, resolution and perceived real estate is great in comparison to the 12” 1366x768 panel I am coming from.

Expectations met, and surpassed.

Thermals: In my x225, I have the thermal paste and pads swapped out for thermal grizzly equivalents, and that i5-3320M settles around 41C degrees in a room sitting at about 70F, Under synthetic stress against both the CPU and iGPU, those temps quickly climb to 80C and beyond.

On the stock thermal compound, in the same environment, the idle temps of the framework are sitting pretty at mid to high 30s (35-38) and under the same synthetic load as the X225, settles in the high 50’s to low 60’s. And here I was ready to swap out the paste upon arrival for thermal grizzly.

Expectations met, and surpassed.

Fan Noise: This one is subjective, however this is in compare to my X225. Standing over the Framework, with both systems being thrashed and `4 feet (~1.2m)away from one another on the same surface, I could very clearly hear the X225 over the Framework, and that is ‘with’ the quietest available fan for that series of laptops. Reversing the test, I could not hear the Framework at all over the X225. So disturbing the neighbor probably isn’t a concern.

Expectations met, and surpassed.

Speaker volume: Again, Subjective but in compare to my X225 (with the MacBook Air speaker mod), the speakers included in the Framework are loud and clear in the upper ranges. I will say though that they tend to lack depth, probably due to the limited size/footprint allotted in such a slim machine. In comparison the large empty cavities of the X225 allow it to pick up a little more depth to the sound, at the detriment of volume.

Expectations met.

Keyboard: The reason I went through all the hassle to stuff an X230 into an X220 shell, was to keep that iconic ThinkPad keyboard. Offering gobs of travel, and a light but tactile feel that was a pleasure to type on in comparison to literally any other laptop on the market, aside from the odd mechanical switch found in some odd experiments by gaming laptop producers. The move to island style keys with next to 0 travel leading to a strained and uninspired typing experience soured my thoughts on most other laptops.

The Framework laptop however strikes a fine balance between travel, spacing and experience. Making it probably the most pleasurable typing experience I’ve had from a laptop in this range. (Compared to Modern Lenovo, Dell, and HP systems). The backlight won’t replace that ‘think light’ that came on the earlier think-pads, but is still a welcome addition to the build (As is the ability to turn it off).

Expectations met.

Mouse/Track-pad: Track-pads have gone downhill in a lot of ways in the last decade. They feel more flimsy, and appear more temperamental than previous iterations, while the technology has kept getting “Better” and has allowed for all of the fancy fix-ins such as gesture controls. And while my brain is still mapped to the tiny pad on the X225, and the accompanying track-point, This track-pad is responsive, seems to do a decent job at palm protection, and is smooth to the touch without feeling fragile/dangerous as some glass pads can. I will miss the track-point, and hope it becomes an option on a future keyboard/top plate revision, as anything remotely first person as far as gaming is concerned is made a lot better by its inclusion if an external mouse is not available. I do wish that there was a good way to minimize the rattle though from the hinged design, perhaps an amount of Dielectric grease in the correct spots, much like the mechanical keyboard community does for noisy/rattly stabilizers.

Expectations met.

I/O: These swap-able inserts are a serious game changer. Allowing any reasonable request to be made in stride. The Expansion cards are fast enough for hosting an OS, and the BIOS can boot from them without issues. The other ports just ‘fit’ where you need them to. And while it is hard to compare it to an oldschool brick with 3 USB A (2x 3.0), Full size RJ45, Expansion Slot, Fullsize SD, Combo Mic/Headphone aux jack, Mini-display, and VGA out. As well as all of the exposed lanes available to a docking solution. Very rarely will a thin and light laptop meet those challenges if not at a desk, and with the help of a thunderbolt enabled doc.

Expectations met.

Ease of Access: The X225 is secured with a number of labeled screws of varying sizes, and threads, and a collection of plastic clasps/snaps. Removing an access panel provided access to most of the important bits like RAM, and the HDD/SSD. Removing the keyboard allowed access to the fan to clean it out, and the Wifi Card for removal. To address the CPU you’d need to remove the motherboard, bowing it slightly to take it out of the bottom case arround the I/O mentioned above. This was the height of accessibility for 2012, and allowed ample room, ability and space for maintenance, mods, and changes. Allowing anyone with the proper knowledge the ability to swap what was needed on a desk in a short amount of time “in the field”. It was this repair-ability that allowed me to keep the laptop running this long, and as well as it has. I picked up my DIY framework, and provided my own hardware where appropriate. 5 captive screws and some magnets later and I could access literally all of the important items. This system is going to last a good long while, and when something does fail it is going to be less than an hour to replace most of it.

Expectations met, and surpassed.

Overall, I am loving this purchase, and hope to see framework succeed so we can see many more iterations of not only this product but all of the products they are hoping to roll out with a similar goal in mind; less waste, and your right to repair.

• X225
◦ i5-3320m
◦ 16GB DDR3 1866Mhz
◦ 256 GB Sata 3 SSD
◦ Mint 20.3
◦ IPS 1366x768 Panel @ 60Hz
◦ i7-1165G7
◦ 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz
◦ 1TB Samsung 980 Pro
◦ Dual Boot PopOS 21.10/Win10
◦ 2256x1504 panel @ 60Hz


You caught me, it is indeed 1366x768. Typos will typo.

The panel I used when I originally updated the panel was a LP125WH2(SL)(B3), sold under 0A66702 by Lenovo . If you ‘do’ use it on an x230, it is a direct drop in, aside from the icc profile. Linux will identify it as an x230 panel and give it a wonky calibration. You can pull the correct profile out of the display driver from Lenovo. Otherwise I’ll link the one that worked for me.

And no blog entries on this end unfortunately to gather all of that unfortunately. I had pieced this together with a few different projects.

Classic keyboard : Install Classic Keyboard on xx30 Series ThinkPads - ThinkWiki
My personal fight against the modern laptop - YouTube

XX30 series bios unlock:

ICC: ICC Profiles for Lenovo X220 IPS and Philips 273E3 - my failed projects

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I like your review because your baseline experience (X225) is very comparable to mine (T420s). That puts everything nicely in perspective for me. With the typical reviews you find online it’s never known whether you’re dealing with a hater or a fanboy.

I’m excited while waiting for my batch 8

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As someone who still has a fully functional i7 based X220T this resonated with me. I completely understand you on the keyboard. I still have an i5 based X230 though. The Framework outdoes all of these in just about every way.

Really happy to see your experience has brought you to the same conclusions. :+1:


Thanks for making this thread. With how open Frame.Work development is, I think they would welcome a bunch of ThinkPad enthusiasts designing a model for other Thinkpad fans. I bet we could do a kickstarter for it, and as long as it is compatible with their hardware it would be a great match. We could increase the durability from their macbook-like design to be more like a P/T/X series ThinkPad, which are undeniably the best. And instead of playing the keyboard / screen / and various “lotteries” by continuing with ThinkPad/Lenovo - we can have our cake and eat it too. Frame.Work is even working to get corebook working, and it should work soonish on the latest AMD CPUs. Personally, I want ECC, which is easy to support (all Ryzens in modern ThinkPads support it but no manufacturers give laptops which do). So as long as the motherboard supports it, then it can work. I think the design should be tested with a few displays too - because I’m 100% getting an OLED next time - but I know many people will want a standard IPS to not increase price as much. Anyway, if we can organize and get a fairly minimal amount of work done, then we can make this happen.

A long of enthusiasts would pay extra to have such a thing