Framework Laptop 16 User Reviews

Yup, that’s a good one.
Regarding screen sharing, that isn’t yet properly accelerated by the encoder and instead is done in software (aka on your CPU). Newest chromium/electron versions are starting to support it, if you set the correct flags.

For Discord/Vesktop this still doesn’t make the screen share perfectly smooth, as it always streams with the source resolution. It seems like they’re getting there soon, so I’m looking forward to smooth screen sharing on Linux with Vesktop (modded Discord client).

Fully agree. It’s got a lot of eye candy and also just works™ as you’d expect it to. It also has force_zero_scaling = true like Plasma, so that XWayland apps can scale themselves properly if needed.

Something I discovered a few months ago was pyprland, specifically its scratchpad plugin. It can summon windows on every workspace and unsommon them with a few easy keybinds. This is such an awesome upgrade to usability, I encourage you to try it!

To keep to this threads original purpose, I’ll write up my thoughts on this laptop after using it for a week (next monday). It’s pretty much exactly as I expected it to be after spending a lot of time here, with all its good and bad sides. The good surely outweigh the bad ones, I’ll 100% keep it, no questions asked.

2 Likes

My FW16 (batch 3) review:

FYI I’m a programmer by trade so I spend 8+ hours a day using a laptop.

The screen is fantastic. I’m especially enjoying the color vibrancy, crispness and 165Hz smoothness. Given that the screen is the main point of the laptop’s use, this is the biggest win. I was at many times in the last 4 years looking to buy a System76 laptop but their screens were always 16:9, only 1080p & only 250 nits which just falls short these days.

The keyboard is subjectively just average. It’s not bad but the key press action is so soft that it takes a lot of getting used to & I keep mistyping. I’m used to a more firm key press that gives a more positive feedback.

I’m very happy with the touchpad. It’s not quite up to the refinement of an Apple haptic feedback pad but it performs much better than any of my previous laptops. Being able to 2 finger scroll horizontally in Linux is a new experience for me!

The speakers are surprisingly good. I used them for watching some TV shows and listening to music and was pleasantly surprised.

Overall performance - I’ve waited 8 years to upgrade from a Core i7 6820HQ. In my daily work I’m getting 3-4x faster single threaded performance in some tasks which is awesome! Having a high performance iGPU with open source driver is super great. This is basically the best Linux laptop CPU available currently and when FW release a Zen5 mainboard I’ll upgrade to that :exploding_head:

Gaming - I’m not playing anything massively graphically taxing. It handled a 3 hour “Beyond all Reason” session no problem. The fan noise was perfectly acceptable for basically maxing out the GPU & several CPU cores.

Linux compatibility - I’m running Ubuntu 24.04 nightly and with the 6.8.0-20 kernel everything works perfectly, even suspend!

Battery life - not bad but could be better. At 60hz on low brightness it’s idling @ 6 watts. My 8 year old Dell idles at 4 watts on 14nm! I’m sure the FW16 efficiency will improve with software optimization tho.

Repairability - this is a dream come true. Knowing that I can just replace every component is incredible. One day there might be an OLED panel I can just swap out!

Overall I’m a highly satisfied customer. Knowing that there’s a commitment from FW to support Linux properly is huge. The Linux work that I’ve seen happening on these forums is impressive & the support I’ve received already is much appreciated!

I picked up an Anker Prime 100W GaN charger and it’s tiny. Works great with the FW16.

Thanks to the FW team for delivering an incredible laptop!

19 Likes

Some initial thoughts on my laptop:

  • arrived with the USB cable non-functional which took a while to suss out whilst figuring out what was not working.
  • once plugging in the BIOS start seems VERY slow to the point you think there’s something wrong. Much more feedback would be appreciated, especially if there’s a memory error. I don’t want to have to remove 17 screws to discover what LED is/isn’t flashing.
  • download link for the AMD game no longer works, even though my old laptop couldn’t play such a game - waste of time and I hope the cost wasn’t “Bumped” to cater for this. I’ve raised a support ticket about this as it was unfair to expect customers to download before the delivery.
  • Keyboard and numpad don’t seem to be able to be aligned with the numpad on the left hand side. Keyboard is not centralised.
  • Linux Mint installed very well, I had to wipe it once and start again as there was some weird UEFI boot error. However I’ve sorted that now. Fiddling with UEFI settings didn’t help.
  • Overall it seems a good laptop, but was it worth the money? Only time will tell. It fits together mostly well although the alignment on the numpad-touchpad area could better.
  • The USB are too tough to pull out and need some sort of spudger, which is ok but a little irksome.

Anyway some initial thoughts, this from batch 4.

1 Like

That was clearly disclosed in the confirmation email, and anyone that read it should know to redeem the code (not necessarily download and install) before the deadline. My previous laptop didn’t have the heft to run the game, but that’s not related to redeeming the coupon in ANY way.

2 Likes

Maybe in your e-mail but my invoice and other email with the code contained no such date or time. As it’s part of my order I expect the product, especially as I couldn’t run it properly (at all?) before delivery of the main product. I’ve taken it up with Framework support and like I said as it’s part of my INVOICE, therefore I’ve not had a complete product delivery yet.
Also with a failed USB cable and other issues, I’m not 100% delighted with the offering just yet.

2 Likes

I don’t recall a reading about a redemption limit, but I operate on the “no-take-back if redeemed” notion. :slight_smile:

I don’t recall if I redeemed it on the Android Steam app or on my desktop. Either way, I always try to redeem a code right way if I get them (either purchased in advance or as part of a bundle). You can always download and install later to play.

I personally only played a little bit of Starfield before I got bored. :frowning: Not my kind of game I guess. Looking at Helldivers 2 and that looks like fun, but it’s a $40 game (enough to make me pause). I just bought the first game bundle for around $10 with tax and all. The base game is now back to $19 I think. Again, redeemed right away but haven’t played it yet.

5 Likes

We’ve been over this already in the other thread. I even copied and pasted the relevant parts in there for you.

The T&Cs were clear. If you read them.

You didn’t have to download anything, just redeem the code via steam which is available on multiple platforms and as a website.

3 Likes

That’s the memory training, mentioned in the build instructions.

It’s a catch 22 unfortunately. If the RAM isn’t working, then there’s no frame buffer to enable the graphics output to display the error message on the display. Hence an LED indicator or beep code from the POST.

I have a batch 6 release with maximum specifications on all counts.

I have already had one thermal overload event take place resulting in a forced shut down and it does run hot when a demanding process is taking place. I am a power user so I hear the fans in action frequently. I have updated the bios to the latest version which was only one point behind, in the hope that things improve.

The other thing that I miss so far is a back lit keyboard for my UK variant. So come on Framework, I am looking for an option to buy one soon.

Interchangeable ports are great and a bought a whole load of variants, but there are just not enough docks to put them all into so compared to my old MSI laptop I do not have the same flexibility. I am having to swap in and out a lot for different needs as they arise depending on what I am doing on a particular day.

The screen is lovely although the ratio does take a bit of getting used to especially as a photographer I am usually editing in 16:9 and not this screen’s 16:10.

Sound is great for such a small device. I am a musician too and very critical of good sound so usually use top of the range headphones but the built in speaker does a pretty good job. They are not going to burst an eardrum but the quality is balanced even if the bass is not going to shake the room.

I have to say I was concerned that I was buying a relatively unknown brand, with modular technology never seen before in a laptop but I have been pleasantly surprised. Framework deserves to become a leading player.

7 Likes

They’re all backlit. Press Fn+Space to toggle through the levels.

6 Likes

Thanks Magic I did not know. I am all lit up now.

7 Likes

A “truly” comparison should be in real world scenario. If Windows is doing unnecessary tasks with bloatware chewing your battery this increases drain should be taken account. I found that Windows almost never underclock the CPU while plugged in. I got 4.4GHz when downloading games from steam, the total CPU utilization is only 8~10%, the same applies to windows updates. Not “green” at all. On Linux I rarely get CPU boosted without playing games the only overclocking occurs when installing software that requires compiling locally. When closing the lid to sleep, sometimes the power draw goes higher thanks to “modern standby”. IMHO laptops with S3 sleep(suspend to RAM) disabled and with windows preinstalled should have their Energy Star certification removed.
Back on topic, I have two questions:

  1. What is the cycle life of the interposer? If the GPU is swapped frequently will the interposer fatigue? Is there any protection against frying the laptop if a short circuit occurs on the interposer?
  2. Is there any easy way to reduce GPU power draw so that the total power is just below 180W? What’s the energy drain when both CPU and GPU have their frequency locked to base speed

Hey @GroundCrazyMae!

I noticed you got both the Graphics Module and the Expansion Bay Shell. I did this as well! I have a question for you since I haven’t gotten my machine yet (Batch 19):

How do you store the Graphics Module so it doesn’t get damaged when not used or traveling? I’m curious how to ensure if I swap it out to travel or do not use it for some time that it doesn’t get damaged.

Thanks!

tbh I haven’t really swapped out the GPU with the expansion bay and vis versa … Since getting the laptop I have just rocked the GPU … I had to get a bigger bag: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HC5K3TV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8

The shell is still sitting in the Framework laptop packaging box.

2 Likes

Gotcha thanks!

I’m thinking of keeping mine in an anti static bag and warping it up in a cloth or something. It will have a special cutout in my travel hard case for sure.
Still waiting for my batch 17.
:grin::computer:

4 Likes

This does seem to be slow every time I boot my Framework from scratch so not just when new memory is popped in. I think it would be nice to have some sort of graphics output. A Raspberry PI produces a rainbow screen, that’s a 100$ computer, so I’m pretty sure a Framework laptop can be worked on to get something basic on the screen. It’s an improvement for the future.

The Raspberry Pi has RAM soldered to the mainboard. A FW16 doesn’t, so won’t display anything for all the reasons I posted above. Same with any x86 PC with integrated graphics. It’s down to AMD and Intel, nothing Framework can do about it.

AMD machines do take a bit longer to POST than an Intel machine. It’s just how they are.

Fair enough, it does seem a long while and could result in support problems for them. Isn’t soldered RAM the same as RAM inserted by connectors apart from the solder? I can’t imagine too much lag between the two? I know some PCs have things on the screen within <1s, so 5-10 seconds seems like a long while.
Like I said it’s something to improve upon, if an improvement can be thought of.

with Soldered ram they can make assumptions about speed etc. and is literally programed to only support say 7 configs with 2 speeds.

My FW16 takes abot 4-5 second but the led pannels start animations quickly where my xps 15 is 1-2 seconds when it comes to image on screen. i will say i didn’t find anything unusual with how quick it booted except the first time i powered it on oob.