Issue of touchpad spacers and the number of customers bothered by it

[Reference image cropped from the image posted by reddit user probablyjustpaul]

[Reference image from “Verge” article. Probably a DVT sample]

I have been expressing my concern about the touchpad spacers and the visibly large gaps between them and the touchpad module for a while now, and was honestly surprised that not as many other customers seemingly shared the same objection as I had thought. Also, every time it was brought up in the past, there were comments about how they were all DVT/Engineering units and in production units it will be better.

After seeing a recent reddit post and the comments on it (about a FW16 unit on display at CES), however, I think other customers who share this view are quite a lot. Other than visually being atypical, there are going to be functional issues like clothes fiber, lint and hair getting stuck in between the spacers, discomfort on skin when arms will be repeatedly moving over them etc.

I figured if a large number of customers show interest in single touchpad modules without spacers, of at least the two most common alignments of middle and left, then FW team might comment on their future plan about it.

Are you bothered by the touchpad spacers/gap and would want to buy replacement touchpad module without the spacers?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

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I find it a bit odd looking, even with the trackpad in the middle. Almost feels like the spacers being black would make a visual improvement.

I’d still like alternative trackpads, even some with physical mouse buttons on, at least 3 for Reasons, would be handy.


I absolutely see where people are coming from when they say they are bothered. But then again, considering the size and production volume of Framework at the moment I’m glad they are able to offer anything close to they product they do now!
While it’s definitely noticeable I’m completely behind their rationale to allow for a free placement of the trackpad and would not want something else, at least in the beginning. Now I can find out for myself if I like having the trackpad on the far left or right or not :smiley:
And thanks a lot for the poll, I’m really curious about the general mood on the topic still :slight_smile:


Adding to @neo, I also think it was the right move for Framework to start with this setup, but hope it enables more different types of modules and looks in the (near) future.

I also want to address the initial concern of this thread with my thoughts (I have no way of checking the validity, this is just my speculations):
I am very sure the FW team would have noticed, if the spacers were really uncomfortable to rest your hands on, or if they caught a lot of lint / ripped your clothes.
The edges are probably rounded a little bit to prevent exactly those scenarios, but that makes the gaps look bigger and more noticable.


It’s not exactly free placement. You have restrictions detailed here:

Personally I prefer the slight additional flexibility to a seamless palmrest. But I absolutely understand that it might be jarring to a lot of people.


Thanks a lot for that article, never stumbled upon it :smiley: But my point still holds, just as you said :+1:

This was also one of my suspicions when I read the original post. But luckily, should this ever be a problem we can swap the parts out once they’re available. Or you stick vinyl skins over the palm rest :smiley:

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Just fill the gaps with silicone :joy:
But yes absolutely, though at least dbrand has separate little skins for each palm rest piece.


Where can you see that dbrand has any skin for the touchpad/palm area? I just checked for Obsidian and there isn’t any skin for over the palm/touchpad area.

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it depends on the skin. there is a whole other thread here, where we complain about lacking customization on dbrand’s site, but I think most of the classic skins have palmrest and and trackpad skins in their deluxe kit version:

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They are separate pieces for each spacer, unfortunately, still leaving the gaps issue.

that’s what i meant

I’m not really bothered by the gaps… At least, not visually. It’ll depend on how it feels under my hands to see if it’s really an issue for me.

However, I would probably still appreciate a touchpad module that’s full width with no spacers. I’ll always use the numpad, so I don’t see me adjusting the position of the touchpad much (if at all).

But, I see this laptop with a lot of future potential for customization. We’ll just have to wait and see what the Framework future holds.


With everything, you’re gonna make compromises somewhere…the whole “can’t have your cake & eat it.” When I ordered, I figured there would be a possibility that the palm rest wouldn’t be 100% perfect.

Once I have the touchpad where I want it, I’m not gonna move it, for numerous reasons. So if the gaps REALLY bother me (I.e. catching my wrists/clothes), I’ll consider placing cut-outs from generic adhesive vinyl sheets to cover the gaps & move-on. I’m buying this to do actual work, not be a show piece, so a slightly inconsistent look doesn’t bother me.


And as long as you dont need to get inside the laptop

I don’t know if I should answer yes or no. I could come up with a lot of elements of these laptops where,

  • I can see that there is a tradeoff decision that must be made
  • I agree that Framework likely made the correct tradeoff at a moment in time for the company / the broadest audience
  • I’m looking forward to future design refinements, fixes, available options, etc.

The two spacers fall into that category by my estimation. Since I plan on having the touchpad centered, at least currently, I’d wind up with the two of them anyways (and centered looks better than left or right); and it’s a very nice idea that all Framework 16 laptops at resale time remain flexibly suitable for all touchpad-keyboard preferences.

A skin or alternate colors would improve the aesthetics a lot too, I reckon.

These are compromise devices, but they’re already good (well, presumably), and the spirit’s there. That’s usually the most you can get in ambitious gen 1 products.

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I feel the same way. We also have to remember this is a first gen iteration of this form factor. Even though it may not be perfect now, the customization of it lends to future iterations of the trackpad/spacers being better and being able to just swap out those pieces instead of the whole laptop for the update is a big win.


To add my twopennorth, it remains to be seen as to how I’ll like them or not like them as I’ll want to feel them and see how the panels move when I rest my wrists on them. I don’t think they would bother me, my soon-to-be-previous laptop has some rather bad panel gaps all around the edge of the top surface and they didn’t bother me too much (I just worried that the plastic would crack if something got trapped in there).

My main gripe at the moment is that lower spacers don’t seem the same as upper spacers, so I couldn’t have, for example, keyboard, macro pad, LED matrices, and touch pad.

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My main gripe at the moment is that lower spacers don’t seem the same as upper spacers

The lower spacers are different from the upper spacers. At first, my plan was to simply have all spacers be the same colour (I went with orange for the spacers and bezel), but confirmed with Framework support early on that the top and bottom are different.

I’m not answering Yes/No to the poll because I want other options. I think usable modules would be my preference, or colour options.

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Besides the connection system not being made for that, the top section is just taller than the bottom section. A full keyboard needs more room than a touchpad.

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