Framework Laptop vs 2015 13" Macbook Pro

Framework Laptop vs 2015 13" Macbook Pro

I thought I'd share my thoughts now that I finally got one myself, maybe this helps someone make a decision or feel better about one they already made. The caveat is of course that I only got it 1 1/2 weeks ago, so this is not a definite, but an initial comparison that I (or someone else) will hopefully update in the future.

My previous laptop was the early 2015 13" Macbook Pro, this will therefore be my point of reference/comparison. I bought the Framework because I like the company philosophy and wanted to make the change to Linux, but that’s where my biases end. For reference: I settled on Ultramarine Linux for now. I’ll try to compare my way from the outside in.

Build Quality and Looks

Both laptops can shine here, there aren't any obvious quality issues with either one and they look and feel premium. The Framework is of course more modern looking with its thin bezels, but I don't hold that against the Macbook, because it was very modern looking for its time and continued to be so for quite a while.

Instead I want to focus on the build quality. While I know that the Framework has a disadvantage here because it aims to be both repairable AND sleek, there are some things the Macbook just did a little bit better here (in my instance at least).

For example, the touchpad on my Framework sits just a little lower in the bottom left corner and I haven’t been able to rectify that with the touchpad rubbing guide. The expansion cards also don’t exactly sit flush with the laptop, but that doesn’t bother me.

A bigger gripe is probably that the Macbook feels more sturdy, there is practically no keyboard or screen flex compared to the Framework. It is still completely intact after all these years (and numerous drops), so definitely durable, while some Framework owners have reported dents and broken screens after mishaps.

Point to the Macbook.

Charging and Ports

This is a definite stronghold of the Framework. Not only is charging way faster, I can also do it on any side and even port I want to. Gone are the awkward cable routes behind the screen. Magsafe might be a nice gimmick (or a necessity if one lives with children or animals), but I don't really need it and if I would, I could just use one of [these] (

The freedom of port selection in general is cool and while I never really missed a port on the Macbook (back then they still had a cool port selection), it comforts me to know that I’d probably even be prepared for something like “USB-D”, should that ever happen.

Point to the Framework.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the Framework feels about 10-20% better than the one on the Macbook, it's just a hint more feedback and travel that make the difference here .I think the 2015 Macbook Pro was slightly before the controversial butterfly keyboards, that's why the difference isn't that stark. I miss the space the Macbook offered for my palms to rest while typing though, but that's just the form factor.

Aside from the slight issue mentioned in the build quality section, I am content with the Framework touchpad; a few times I experienced this Trackpad rattle though, but it was never reliably reproducible and hasn’t occurred since I followed the steps in the guide mentioned in said section.

Does it hold up to the hailed Macbook touchpad though? Not 100%. If you don’t use tap-to-click (which I rarely do), you’ll notice that the top 20% of the touchpad can’t be physically clicked and the clicks themselves don’t feel as “light” as they do on the Macbook. That’s just the result of using a hinged touchpad and maybe one day we can upgrade this. If you use tap-to-click though, it’s not hard not to notice the Framework touchpad anymore after a short while (which is the ultimate compliment a macbook-touchpad-spoiled user like me can give).

I’d call this even.


Let me start this by saying I love 3:2 now. It's really an upgrade. While the rest (resolution, brightness and color accuracy) is about equal, the anti-reflection-coating on the Macbook is noticeably better. So much that I ordered a matte screen protector so that i don't have to look in the mirror when watching a dark movie. I may update this section when it arrived.

For now, even.

Camera and Microphone

Not much to say here yet. I briefly tried out the camera and looked a bit more grainy than I would have expected for 1080p, but all in all still better than on the 720p of the Macbook. The microphone wasn't in use yet, but I don't expect there to be such a grave difference that I cared about it.

No winner for now, but on paper the Framework should get the point here.


Another traditional Macbook strength and -spoiler alert- another Macbook point. Both speaker systems are diagonally downfiring, sit in the same place and should take up a comparable amount of space (if I remember correctly). The Macbook speakers, though outdated, still sound way less dull and richer. Luckily, with some tweaks found [here](, I was able to get the Framework speakers to a level where I only notice the difference when listening to Music or some familiar YouTube intros.

Point to the Macbook nonetheless.


Since I haven't done any benchmarks yet and the OSes aren't exactly the same, I have to rely on specs and subjectivity here.

On paper, the Framework i5 should beat the Macbook i5, simple as that. Not only because it’s newer, but also because Apple has historically crippled their Intel processors while the Framework could draw 28w if it wanted to.

RAM and SSD also aren’t exactly alike, I have more and faster memory and storage in the Framework. Since Apple would take my kidney for that and still wouldn’t let me repair or upgrade it, I count this as a plus for the Framework.

Point to the Framework

Battery Life

Not a strength of the Framework, especially under Linux. While there is of course a OS component to this that benefits Apple, I would have wished for Framework to go full Macbook Pro style and not thin out the chassis towards the bottom. That would have allowed for more than a 55wh battery. While I can't remember the exact battery life the Macbook had when I just got it, it must have been more than the Framework ootb (I get 5-8h with tlp enabled and low brightness), since it has a bigger battery, lower TDP and tighter OS integration. Maybe we can benefit from denser batteries or more efficient processors down the road with the Framework though.

Point to the Macbook

Repairability / Upgradability

Well this is a no-brainer, isn't it. I appreciated the challenge the Macbook gave me when I replaced its swollen battery two years ago, but I don't ever plan on replacing a glued down component again. It's not as bad as newer Macbooks seem to be, but no match for the Framework.

Point to the Framework.

Bang / Buck and Conclusion

I don't have an exact price for the Macbook as my parents bought it for me refurbished. But according to my estimates and their comments, it should have been about the same price I paid for my i5 Framework with 5 expansion cards and BYO RAM, SSD and even charger (with inflation at least).

Considering that and the fact that my Macbook held up well for all these years, I’d say the Framework is a worthy investment if I can keep it for at least as long as I did the Macbook. You’ll notice that the “score” comes down to a tie with a slight edge to the Framework as of writing. This is honestly all I hoped for: a worthy successor to my Macbook that lets me get into Linux and can stay fresh and sparkly for a long time.


I come from a non-Retina 2011 13" MacBook Pro. I was wondering why the Framework didn’t feel that much thinner than the MBP, but as it turns out the bottom pads are noticeably thinner on the MBP than the Framework, so it might help a bit the Framework to prevent scratches on the bottom section when putting it on a table.

Personally I don’t think MagSafe is a gimmick. It saved my laptop a few times before, so I ordered a USB-C magnetic plug and I’m waiting to see how well it compares to Apple’s offering.

I don’t think the battery life is too bad considering it’s only 55Wh, thankfully it can charge over USB-C so if I really need I can get myself a battery bank that supports PD.

One downgrade I did notice from my MacBook is how I’m almost unable to open the Framework one-handed. The little cutout under the screen is too thin for my finger to grip on it without just pushing the computer away, so instead I have to grab the corner with my thumb and index and pull up. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a bit annoying to be honest.

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It’s the other way round for me: my Macbook has to be in the perfect position so that I can open it with one hand while I can do that with my Framework every time. Hopefully that hinge stays just that stiff…

Yes I am waiting on a Fair trade option from