Framework Laptop 16 Deep Dive - Battery and Speakers

We know that out of our Framework Laptop 16 Deep Dive series, this is some of the information you’re most eager to hear. We read every Framework Laptop review, browse the Community and subreddit, and run regular post-purchase feedback surveys to learn what you want, and we use that to inform how we build products. Some of the most frequent asks on the Framework Laptop 13 were around improving speaker loudness and extending battery life, both of which we’ve delivered on this year. With the increased space we have inside the Framework Laptop 16, we advanced these areas even further, with a new high capacity 85Wh battery and excellent quad speakers powered by a smart amp.

We custom designed both the battery pack and cell, working with ATL, one of the biggest battery makers in the world and the maker of the 55Wh and 61Wh packs for Framework Laptop 13. The pack has a 4S1P architecture, meaning there are four lithium ion cells placed in series to reach the 15.48V nominal pack voltage. A major improvement we’ve made based on feedback from the Framework Laptop 13 is on the battery connector. A connector on a short cable was one of the more finicky parts to handle, so we’ve switched to an integrated blade-type connector that makes battery swaps much easier. Finally, we’ve made sure that the battery has a long usage lifetime, supporting 80% capacity typically after 1,000 cycles.

The audio system in Framework Laptop 16 delivers a massive leap in both loudness and fidelity. The speakers and audio amplification circuitry are both key parts of that. First, the speakers are comprised of a pair of 1W tweeters and large 2W woofers with over 5cc of back volume each. We designed the speaker modules with Fortune Grand, the makers of our Framework Laptop 13 speakers. The speakers port out of the side of the laptop, making the sound more independent of the surface the system is sitting on.

The audio circuitry on the Mainboard leverages two chips from Realtek, the ALC295 and the ALC1318, both of which have solid support in Windows and Linux. The ALC295 is the same CODEC we use on the Framework Laptop 13 (AMD Ryzen 7040 Series). It’s a great, general purpose part, and we drive the tweeters with it. To enable substantially better audio performance, we connected an ALC1318 smart amp to the ALC295 dedicated to driving the woofers. The main “smart” part of it is IV sensing, where the amp measures speaker current and voltage and runs algorithms to model transducer temperature and excursion. With that, the amp can push the speakers much harder without risking damaging them.

With the battery and audio system, we’ve architected the hardware to excel. Both battery life and audio quality ultimately depend on electrical and mechanical refinement and integration with software tuning, and we’re focused on that for the remaining phases of Framework Laptop 16 development. We can’t wait to get the results in front of you later this year.

More from the Framework Laptop 16 Deep Dive blog posts:

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I built my 13 using only marketplace parts, and it took a while to get a hold of a battery (and fasteners, jeez). Luckily by that point the 11th Gen 13 boards were shipping with firmware that allowed battery-less operation. Is it safe to assume that the 16 mainboards will also work battery-free?

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Are there any plans to make the 13" and 16" batteries compatible with like an adapter?
Will future 13" devices have the new battery adapter or the old one?

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This is excellent. Sounds similar to what Apple does to get more out of their speakers without taking up additional space.

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I wonder if there will be some corrective EQ available through the embedded controller. The speakers of the Framework 13 can be subjectively much better, and objectively much closer to a flat FR curve with just a bit of EQ. I’d love to see that built into the smart amp processing of the sound to make it more consistent, and lower overhead for the operating system if possible.

I would also like to know if this might be possible for the future FW13?
considering the newer motherboard and batteries are designed with this in mind?

Just like the 13, the battery is disappointingly small compared to the MacBook Pro. Not using a 100Wh battery all but ensures that the framework will never compete on battery life.

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Arguably, no laptop on the market can compete with Apple silicon as they’re completely different architectures and ARM chips will be more efficient than x86. However, what the Framework 16 brings to the table is potentially a hotswappable battery (like the thinkpads). Side note, battery size doesn’t always indicate how good battery life will be as there are numerous ultrabooks that have fairly good battery life but with 50-60 Watthour batteries.

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Will the Framework 13 get a audio board and speaker upgrade based on these new improvements?

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So, I’m curious, any chance Framework team could give me a ballpark figure of the battery life for this awesome laptop? I know it can vary, but it’d be super cool if you could give me a rough estimate or a range.

If I understand correctly, the Expansion Bay System could also double as a battery. If the new framework 16 came with an AMD APU, I wouldn’t mind sacrificing some GPU performance.

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Great blog post! I appreciate the great speakers and battery connector.

Out of curiosity, why does the sticker block the oscillating membrane of the speaker in the picture?
To be honest, I don’t know much about speakers, but it seemed funny to me!

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If they changed the FW13 main board battery connector I would still want to have inter operability with old batteries. Unless they also brought out a way to repurpose the, now obsolete, perfectly good battery when it came to motherboard upgrade time. CoolerMaster battery bank anyone?

5 posts were split to a new topic: Power Efficiency and RISC or CISC in Efficiency Cores?

An adopter perhaps? No sure how sturdy that will be and space might be an issue internally?

I do remember FW showcasing a prototype to reuse the battery, I hope it becomes available in the marketplace just like the cooler master case.

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Is it old-fshiond wheree you can swap the battery without screws orn removing the back cover?

Can we please get the dimensions and pinout of the battery? This isn’t much of a deep dive without that (very helpful–at least for me) information.

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

The answer is no, you could also watch the video :slight_smile:

There are a few, search for some etc. Here’s a link to one

and

I would be really helpful to know about the charge and discharge current of the Battery. This will pretty much determine if the Laptop will be usable on battery. If the battery can only provide 50W the device would be barely useful, since CPU and GPU would have barley any power budget
(I know this problem from my roommates laptop, that is slower than my current one when on battery)

There is no ‘current’ as standard, or do you mean max current.

For charging it may be set as standard for all Li-ion batteries, maybe around 0.5C or (85W ÷ 16V is just over 5A) so divide by 2 for a 2 hour charge and you get 2.5A, to a max of 5A for a short period

For discharging the amps is down to the load, and no doubt can provide the 85W at 5A or a bit more

I currently use my laptop for a lot of online meetings and then I have to connect my conference speaker. I mostly use a Jabra or Konftel USB speakerphone.

Is the audio quality in the framework laptop comparable with a dedicated USB conference phone in the 100$ - 200$ range?

There are two main aspects to this.

  • The microphone must have good audio pickup and be able to filter out noise. The ones listening to me should have good audio quality.
  • The speakers should present voice with clarity. Good bass is not very important. I have tested speakerphones that sounds good when listening to music but don’t provide voice clarity.

The import feature of conference audio is voice that is clear and easy to listen to. Voice that is not easy to listen to puts on a cognitive load that lowers meeting performance.