Given that the question is regarding the Framework Laptop experience, and not about experience with Framework Marketplace, dispatch, shipping, Framework Support…here’s my opinion of my perceived experience with the Framework Laptop:
As a 1st gen product from a start-up: Ok, I guess. It does 95%+ of what I expected it to do, when I expected it, with minimal surprises. The other 0-5%…well, those are my WTF moments.
As a laptop (and this depends on which CPU option / price bracket other people have chosen): Me, i7-1185g7, at that price point, there are better options if I wanted a solid laptop.
I have internal mental struggle with this particular purchase: Part of me want to support Framework…part of me want a bloody awesome laptop…and part of me want a bloody awesome laptop that I can recommend to others…so that the other “support Framework” part of me can feel satisfied.
To me, it’s frustrating as hell that the laptop is not what I consider as ‘competitive / best value’ in the CAD 2500 (before tax) price range. Not because of the technical specs of the hardware…but because of the overall end-user experience. Making it difficult to be recommended, making supporting Framework that bit bigger of a hurdle.
The laptop needs to function well as a laptop, regardless of upgradability / reparability / sustainability…etc. It is, first and foremost, a laptop, to be used as a laptop. It needs to be a product that people ‘want’ to use to get things done. General population doesn’t use a laptop just to use a laptop. It’s always about task completion / outcome / result…and / or the journey to reach them. That is, if there are 10 different models of laptop to choose from, general population will pick the most friction-less unit for their use cases, putting passion of upgradability / reparability / sustainability aside. The Framework laptop needs to be the laptop that people will gravitate towards to buy, to use, to bring around…time and time again, before any of those upgradability / reparability / sustainability aspects could come to fruition. People want to repair / upgrade what they like using, enjoy using…not the things that want to get rid of.
For the i5 variant…I imagine people are less demanding / critical…
Trust me, I know how much of a pain in the butt I can be / have been…but that’s because I REALLY want Framework to succeed…not survive. You need to bring your A (+++) game, and come out swinging…to WIN, big. e.g. Being just a participant in the laptop market isn’t to change the industry.
I understand some of the struggles (funding, people / resources / logistics…etc)…so I’m willing to look past 1st gen laptop…and place my hope into the 2nd / 12th gen laptop (because now, you have more funding, more lessons learnt and experience under the belt).
So, while I tend to have messages of hate to some aspects of the laptop…please know that they stemmed from a loving background (That’s the extent of my Asian tiger parenting skill).
Negative experience / surprises / unknowns at the time of purchase summary:
SN850 - Wasn’t this tested for compatibility? The firmware upgrade being Windows-only was time consuming. It’s not Framework’s fault for the SN850 firmware upgrade pre-requisite. But if it’s an SSD option from Framework, then I would expect smooth OOTB experience, tested.
Lid flex - potentially to the point where it could damage the LCD panel. Has yet to happen to me…but that’s because I fear to bring it around. It really is flexy in the centre.
Hinge - I can’t have it opened at 150 degrees, and then placed it on the table without it self-dropping. Also, the bounce / resonance issue…still waiting for this to be addressed (even in the 12th gen model).
Keyboard - No Fn-Lock indicator.
CPU boost performance - This has been addressed with the help of Framework support. But I shouldn’t need to in the first place.
No LVFS for the laptop BIOS.
Display port expansion card BIOS stutter.
Expansion card battery drain in suspend / sleep (Windows).
Battery maintenance (max / min charging thresholds, and reset / calibration). “max” threshold had since been implemented.
RTC battery drain.
RTC battery drain in conjunction with the Intel bug.
Speaker-chassis rattle / resonance.
Lack of “Check for Driver Bundle / BIOS” program / applet / notification subscription.
Lack of microphone array to filter out fan noise and keyboard typing noise.
Insyde’s lack of timely BIOS update regarding the CVE fixes since Feb 2022.
USB peripheral connectivity stability / voltage (?)
TB4 certification is nowhere in sight even after 1 year since product launch.
I suppose that is one of the downsides, with higher classed laptops they typically have a higher class chassis, and other components as well (screen keyboard etc), but with Framework even if we ditch money into the highest specs available we still get the normal 1000$ laptop chassis.
Hopefully this will change overtime if new displays, webcam modules, chassis, hinges and more are released.
nrp said the loose hinges were ‘quality escape’. 3.3kg +/- 0.5kg is still expected.
So, “fixed” from a QC perspective, but not necessarily providing a hinge force option upon placing an order. Therefore, for those who WANT a stiffer hinge from the get-go…there’s no fix…but to buy the 4.0kg additionally AND install them yourself…forcing every 4.0kg hinge customer down the DIY path.
IMO, the 4.0kg option needs to have a factory / off the assembly line option…for those who want stiffer hinge right from the start…and not having to spend extra money and time to deal with the hinge purchase and installation maneuver.
Also note that, in the current situation, it would mean the 3.3kg default hinges will be wasted…environmentally.
Second issue is USB A ports die within minutes when using my laptop cooling pad requiring reinsertion to start working again. I had this pad since 2015 never had issues. I then tested with 12 other devices the FW laptop is the only one to have issue. Supports decides to replace my mainboard as a result.
Third issue power drain form USB-A ports and apparent high power drain from the touchpad (between 1-2 watts additional power just resting fingers on the touchpad). The port drain turns out to be a problem with all non USB-C ports. A forum member indicated that the touchpad drain is normal for touchpads due to the CPU load to handle the input.
My first replacement mainboard arrived bent like a banana. Surprisingly for the single most expensive item they ship the package seems less well protected than the input cover. Is is a box just a bit longer than the board itself with a greater Z hight for the packing material inside a padded parcel envelope. I contact support and advise them the packaging seem inadequate. They thank me for the feedback and say due to this incident they will review the packaging process.
Second replacement board arrived undamaged with the same packaging as previously damaged board. The USB A ports losing power with my cooling pad persists. FW order the same model cooling pad for testing on their end. Unfortunately (for me) this newer revision doesn’t seem to have issue so they cannot troubleshoot it directly. Lead engineer does what he can with the limited information.
Support ask if I want to continue the ticket or close it. I say continue stating concern for port reliability, I don’t know if I can trust the ports with external HDD so I send images of the cooling pad PCB and a video demonstrating the issue (power flickering several times before eventual port shutdown). Support respond 16hrs later that they have to close the ticket but the lead engineer will respond in the forum on the issue which he did. The media I sent over was never viewed/downloaded.
I respond expressing disappointment we couldn’t find a solution and that the media was not viewed before closing the ticket but that I understand their position. I thank them for their support efforts and let them know their returns process has incomplete instructions and is missing information on the export documentation. No response.
Forum discourse on peak boost lead me to test my system. I am able to get to ~40W of the advertised 60W boost with Cinebench/CPU benchmarks. I try re-pasting a few times and see similar if not lower results. Contact support with this information.
They ask me to update BIOS and check the power setting in Windows is set to best performance, if it wasn’t PL2 would be 30W so this was not the issue and BIOS was updated. I let them know issue is still present. They ask me to check the EMI shielding of the USB ports and send them pictures of them for some reason.
While taking these pictures I notice a spot of melted plastic that I recognised from a thread about overheating MOSFETs . While I was testing boost I notice the laptop is unusually hot around the RAM (finger burning hot RAM) so decided to look there too. Brown burn marks around one MOSFET. These are the MOSFETs associated with the back left and right ports these are the ports I use to power the system. I’m advised to stop using the laptop until a replacement mainboard has arrived.
I receive my shipping label information now with additional detail about the export documentation, nice.
Around this time I shared images of my boost test and that is when I noticed another issue. When marking up the image with red lines. If I physically click in the bottom left corner the quadrant will not always respond.
I receive the replacement mainboard this time from Germany not Taiwan but there are issue right away.
The ESD bag containging the mainboard was unsealed in fact the entire package had signs of being resealed.
It was packaged poorly, the protective packing material was stuffed all on one side causing the box to bulge on that side and leaving he rest of the PCB unprotected. The package is the same style as before but now comes without a larger envelope. The ESD bag has some imprints of components from the board indented into it where is was under pressure without protection. The core packaging is unchanged except now the large envelope it came in is absent. Even if packed correctly I’m not happy with the packaging aside from the commendable use of paper instead of plastic.
Sound and microphone do not work with this replacement board along with higher CPU/energy usage the fan basically never turns off with the new board.
Peak boost is slightly worse than the previous board.
Disabling quiet boot in the BIOS and using the one time boot menu (F12) causes the system to not POST with the codes white x1 green x12 (diagnostic all good) red x1 (start POST code section) green x3 blue x2 green x3.
My ticket has been escalated and that takes us to today.
Update: New board on the way.
Update 2: New board solved my audio problems and came much better protected.
The 60W boost of the 11th gen CPU that is “not promised or expected to be possible”
Please note the wording around boost is identical between 11th and 12th gen boards so I’m not sure if this will also apply to 12th gen.
Finding it impossible to get the advertised 60W boost across 4 different boards and seeing others users with the same issue and getting resolution with the aid of support. Additionally NRP showing a Cinebench run peaking at 60W on a 12th gen board. I decided to contact support.
First support response:
“…systems should be able to get to or close to the stated 60W depending on the load and ambient temperature.”
“The 60W PL2 post that you refer to above is specific to our 12th Generation Intel Core processors, we do not promise or expect a 60W boost to be possible on the 11th Generation Intel Core processors, these can vary typically from 45-55W”
This seemed like an error by the rep. given all materials indicate 60W is possible but is “Dependent on workload and ambient temperature conditions”.
“I can confirm the validity of the statement, on 11th Generation we were able to achieve 60W Peak boost but this varies from CPU to CPU, and ranges from 45-55W under typical circumstances.”
To be sure I asked more questions, including how they got 60W in testing,
“Regarding peak boost, there are a number of variables that will affect what can be achieved, some of these can be controlled/adjusted by the end user such as ambient temperature and thermal paste - and some that are not, namely CPU binning which is somewhat of a lottery.
60W was the upper limit of what we were able to achieve in tests, but we broadly use the expression “up to 60W” as not all customers will be able to achieve this - even under otherwise ideal circumstances.”
Personally this feels deceptive and has me less confident in claims and statements made by Framework. I’m hopeful however this is just another gen 1 hiccup I didn’t expect.
Problems out of the way, phew.
I love the screen ratio and brightness not the gloss finish or the oddball resolution.
Keyboard is good physically but layout is suboptimal, particularly the arrow keys, the lack of rounded edges between them make it harder to distinguish them by feel and they a tiny. I have made some suggestions for how this could be improved.
Touchpad can be good but I’m having issues so…
The speakers are bad. When using headphones there is constant static also with headphones when the power management activates/deactivates the sound card (after a few seconds of inactivity) there is a not so pleasing chirp.
The hinges are not strong enough and the lid in general is a bit flimsy.
Update: Sent a video to support, they are sending me new hinges.
The battery is too small for my liking as such runtimes are limited.
I always remove my USB A and HDMI expansion cards to get more runtime and standby time but having large gaps in the laptop makes for a bad user experience.
It is great how easy it is to upgrade/replace parts and I believe/hope that in the future generations these sorts of issues will be resolved. It will be interesting to see how 12th gen boards will play out.
I love the userbase this laptop has garnered, they (you all reading) are IMO such a valuable part of what Framework has to offer.
Support have been OK I say this because I have see some people praise support highly.
In my experience:
You really cannot present more than one question at a time,
You get a different rep. each time and they don’t always seem to look at previous emails or read emails carefully,
At least the L1 are not technically informed and just give canned responses.
So nothing extraordinary/unexpected here.
Also posting here because I’m not active on twitter, and also twitter replies are obnoxious.
My experience has been largely positive. Bought a DIY i5-1135G7, supplied my own RAM and NVME. Eventually upgraded the RAM and NVME (originals came from an old laptop), swapped out the base keyboard for the clear keys, though tedious with the screws I didn’t find any part of the installation that onerous aside from the antenna connections for the Wifi module, though that’s not unique to Framework (and I believe they justifiable ship these preinstalled now). They do make the overall experience as painless as possible and it’s by far the most serviceable thin and light laptop I’ve ever worked on (older chunky Thinkpads are similar, but it’s a lot easier to make the layout user friendly when you’re not cramming a ton of hardware into a small space).
Personal preference, but this is my favorite size and aspect ratio for a laptop. It’s a bit unfortunate that due to the resolution 150% scaling is most comfortable to me, but in both Windows 10 and 11 (which I am now using) I’ve rarely noticed any significant fractional scaling issues in the apps I use.
I was unfortunately one of those people affected by prochot incorrectly triggering during charging for and throttling performance, but Framework staff were responsive and I agreed to run logging software and test some various fixes, it was eventually resolved by a BIOS update I believe. My understanding is they were unable to reproduce the issue on any of their existing units for some time, but quickly diagnosed the problem when they got ahold of one where the issue was reproducible. Probably helps that they’re still a small company with a small userbase but by far the best support I’ve ever received despite the issue taking some time to resolve.
My only real complaint as shared by many is battery life (5-6 hours indoors, longer if I’m just writing and go on airplane mode), it’s not unreasonable for my use case, but if I have to be out working in remote areas all day the charge often will not last if I’m using my laptop out in the sun. It’s unfortunate, but I have no expectations for larger battery capacity in the short term due to size limitations in the chassis, I’m mostly holding out hope for more efficient SKUs of CPUs and alternatives to Intel in the long term. Also battery related, battery drain when sleeping used to be an issue, but it has improved substantially after several BIOS updates. I’d call this a minor inconvenience, but it hasn’t notably impacted me.
All in all most of my issues come from being a relatively early adopter (Batch 4), and though the first few months were a bit rocky it’s been excellent since. If someone asks I would definitely recommend a Framework if their use case is appropriate, but I personally steer people to the preassembled units unless I know they have some experience with computers or they are the sort of person to actually read instructions.
I noticed that when it comes to the heatsink & fan unit, there’s some degree of cooling ability variation between heatpipes, and heatpipe joint quality. This isn’t only a Framework thing, but heatsink & fan in general.
When it comes to my experience with the Framework’s heatsink & fan, same thing…there’s some degree of variation between my two heatsink & fan units (One came with the laptop, the other one I purchased separately to test).
My guess here is that…they didn’t just send you the mainboard alone, but they sent you mainboard AND the heatsink & fan as a single unit, right?
Regarding the melted / overheated MOSFET, what batch is your laptop?
On paper, the fastest CPUs of each generation is the most efficient one. That is, with a i7-1185G7, for example, I can limit the TDP to lower than 28w, and it would still function as fast as a i5-1135G7.
i.e. I went into buying the i7-1185G7 not only because of the top speed…but also because it gives me a wider performance spectrum per given TDP. Effectively allowing me to have longer battery run time than i5-1135G7.
I guess for me it’s more that the value proposition for within generation performance / efficiency improvements are marginal compared to between generations, especially when I already don’t need the extra performance / features of higher tiered SKUs in the current generation.
We’re a long way off from having broad ARM and RISC-V support, but even AMD has shown comparable performance at lower TDP in their previous product lineup. The prospect of paying a premium just so you can neuter performance to improve battery life when Intel competitors have demonstrated comparable performance can be achieved at lower TDP is untenable.
Personally I am hoping as Framework grows and the computing space matures we start taking a more critical look at power draw and efficiency, of which Intel and NVIDIA are most guilty especially in the desktop space. If we want to be sustainable we need to promote truly efficient solutions. I hate Apple’s policies but their battery life and efficiency gains compared to Intel are embarrassing.
We meaning collectively, humanity. Last I’ll say here to avoid mucking up the thread, I largely agree, I think my biggest concern with the Framework model is maintaining a dialogue and keeping Framework honest about what happens to all the old hardware - it’d be nice to pretend a burgeoning ecosystem with community-driven reuse will emerge, but at the end of the day I’d like to see more official channels on electronics recycling and maybe even a trade-in program someday. Upgrades being viable might also generate more electronics waste than normally would occur from people who keep their laptops for years. So to that end I’m also skeptical. Potential is there and I don’t think steps in the right direction should be dismissed, but it’s a matter of whether that potential is pursued.
I’m not claiming innocence here (I too want to talk about how ease of upgrade has people thinking about a new board 1 year after getting their first) but I’m noticing consistent derailments with threads on this forum… Mods perhaps this falls under your domain…
Correct. The replacement boards have come with a heat sink and fan attached, a straight drop in. Assuming your interest was in manufacture date of the hardware the two bad MOSFET were manufactured in 08/2021 and 11/2021.
I love it.
it has been a good experience: performance is solid, I like that I have a solid system to use as a daily driver (I use it more than any other portable I’ve ever owned). It works for labbing, study, and development.
The only problem I have with it is that, if I hold in certain ways, it seems to click randomly/hold a click.
Oh, and a lack of Fn indicator light. It needs an Fn indicator light.