Packaging: The outer box was only slightly dinged up but the inside was pristine. Unlike some other people, the fins on my heatsink weren’t dinged up but the board is only held in place in hard cardboard so I can see it could get damaged in shipping. The team should definitely consider adding a softer material around the mainboard such as a shredded paper.
Upgrade experience: Overall, it was really easy with one caveat. Removing the old mainboard and putting in the new one with almost all cables reconnected took only 20 minutes however, as I was about to insert the battery, I noticed a bent battery pin. It was a pain but I managed to bend it back and insert the battery connector. I also took out the battery to do this as I found that the connector was somewhat short and hard to maneuver it into place.
Using the new battery connector on the Framework 16 would really make this process a lot easier but I do understand there is the difficulty of adapting the existing connector to the new one. But with how infrequent battery changes/mainboard upgrades occur, the existing one is acceptable.
Performance and Battery Life: One thing I noticed immediately is that the fans rarely spin up. Compared to my 12th gen i5 1240p where the fans sounded like a jet engine during Cinebench R23, the Ryzen 7 board barely spun up. Temps also remained cool with an average of 65 C and a max of 80 C. The biggest impact of this was the chassis only got slightly warm and I could comfortably place it on my lap. Only when playing AAA games could I really get the fans to ramp up.
As for battery life, I’m averaging 8-10 hours on Windows 11 taking notes/browsing the web, which is a significant step up from the 4-6 hours on the i5 1240p. This is with the 55 watthour battery. I have done some tweaks to improve power consumption (eco mode on ssd, curve optimizer in x86 tuning utility, etc…)
Overall, the new board is really great and it brings the Framework laptop closer to the Apple experience in terms of battery life, heat, and fan noise.