Here’s my long term review.
Great video! Love the in-depth video! Thanks!
He went with Thumbnail B! Lets go!
Honestly, I think that the conclusion at the beginning is the best way to describe the “framework vs Framework” debate. Glad to see such a true and in-depth review of the laptop.
I bought the DIY model Framework with Intel i7-1185G7, 64GB, Wi-Fi 6E AX210 vPro, and all of the expansion cards (~$2500) back in July (Batch 2).
I want to support Framework for what they stand for WRT right to repair and open SW/HW/FW but have to agree with CJ’s assessment at this point that there are several issues that need to be addressed by Framework.
For an initial offering, the (gen 1) laptop I received has been a useful device if not specifically as a laptop but as a development platform for Ubuntu and Docker/K8s.
My initial reaction was the 3x2 screen was too small compared to the MacBook Pro(s) that I have been using for over 15 years - the newest being a Retina, Mid 2012 that is still my “daily driver” .
I have been running Ubuntu 21.10 since I first set up the Framework laptop and have found that even under relatively normal load, the heat off the i7 is noticeable through the keyboard.
I am encouraged that Framework has “raised an $18M Series A round” and that they will hopefully put that money to good use improving the platform significantly but I am less encouraged that Framework is expanding its marketing of the (gen 1) “Framework Laptop to a little more of the world”.
I realize that there is a global supply chain problem and that sourcing parts (G-Sensor) is still a problem not to mention that most of the components are coming from Taiwan that could get cut off at any moment but I have not seen any upgrades or improvements to the (gen 1) components such as a better battery.
I really wanted to see an upgrade to the chassis components such as a bigger 16x9 screen, better hinges, better cooling, better touchpad and speakers, and bigger battery much like my MBPs have.
Given that my Late 2011 16GB MBP has become less useful over the years and I am contemplating sacrificing it to a folly of a project to replace the guts with the Framework mainboard if that is even possible - maybe worth the headache and effort if there is no hint of these efforts from Framework on the near horizon.
Or, more likely, I will purchase a new Apple M1 Max 64GB as my daily driver and the Framework will be relegated to a novelty desktop/IoT/network machine running some flavor of Linux with Thunderbolt 4 attachments.
Thanks @CJ_Elevated!! I appreciate your perspective and review.
Regarding your trackpad: I wonder if it has to do with you physically pushing the trackpad down? I NEVER do that, as the whole process is annoying and takes too long. I love the tap to click and two finger tap for right click. I have had my laptop for as long as you, and my trackpad is still as glorious now as it was new. Still, I understand your concerns. My suggestion to Framework, and much to many users’ chagrin is that I would get rid of the physical click all together.
Linux support: The Framework Laptop is not specifically marketed as a Linux laptop, but the issues the laptop has on Linux, is not Framework’s fault. It is that distros. I think there is more support for running Linux on the Framework laptop than there is from some companies who even sell Linux laptops. For how cutting edge the hardware is, Framework has done a lot to get as many distros working as they could. That is frankly impressive no matter how you slice it. You didn’t specifically speak against anything I’m saying here, I just wanted to reiterate it for the folks reading along.
Regarding your closing points: One thing I think you might have forgotten is the importance of what Framework is doing to and for the industry. It is a fair concern that folks who want AMD, for example, aren’t getting that out of the gate. But this really is a David vs the Goliath type of a situation.
The industry is entrenched in this throwaway product pipeline system. It is how everyone builds and markets their laptops. The consumer is the one that has been shafted repeatedly over the last few decades. While the initial Framework laptop might not 100% nail every desire the consumer has, I am 100% confident it can do everything the consumer needs.
So my additional suggestion then, is that people should support Framework, because what they can bring to the market in the future only benefits the consumer all the more.
Sure you can get a Dell because it ticks more of your check boxes, but when your warranty expires and it breaks, you’ll be right back here, wishing companies made products designed to last.
We have all had to watch as the Thinkpad line is slowly reduced to a shadow of its former self.
I don’t see that ever happening to the Framework laptop. The very ideals the company is founded on make that next to impossible.
The only time I ever really physically click the trackpad is “Click to drag” which is horrible. It drops whatever I’m trying to drag almost immediately.
Do you not prefer the single finger double tap and drag method? That works flawlessly for me, and on Windows the trackpad’s corners and edges have a linear continued movement that doesn’t exist on Linux but allows you to keep mousing even when you’ve run out of trackpad.
But also that to me explains the loosening of your trackpad. Click and drag exerts far more force on the trackpad than normal. Especially if you are pushing down to ensure the ‘click’ stays active.
I’m just accustomed to click to drag because it worked flawlessly on my old Dell laptops and was the only option back then. And a designed function like clicking shouldn’t degrade the trackpad, especially in just 6 months.
Yeah I would agree, but you know, there is usually more to it than that. It could be that you have a faulty touchpad, or a whole host of other things.
I hope you find a speedy solution to the problem and I’m sure Framework will do whatever is right in your case.
I’m confident they would but I’m going to go another route and explore both a DIY repair as well as a professional board level repair I need done with a local certified repair professional in an attempt to see how repairable the laptop really is. Stay tuned.
I don’t know @Don_Thornton_Jr1
But a 16x9 screen of any size is not an upgrade over the 3x2 display. Even Apple knows that.
Vertical screen real estate is so much more valuable in most use cases. It is true that media consumption is the big one where it isn’t. But on both my MacBook Air M1 and my Frameworks laptop, I spend so much time not watching movies.
Everyone, let’s keep it friendly and on-topic please.
I mentioned bieng able to double the battery life in my video but it requires nerfing the laptops performance to ridiculously low levels. This is pointless in my view. Why spend so much on a performance laptop, just to nerf the performance you paid for.
How much of this is attributable to the stand-by draw of the expansion cards do you think? Did you test without them plugged in? Not that I think users should be pulling the expansion cards out to get the better battery life (that’s just needless wear and tear) but I’d like to see some explanation for why the battery life is so poor.
Great 6 month review! I agree on all of those pros and cons. I think the trackpad and hinges are fine for me so far, but I always wish the battery life on ubuntu was a little longer. I feel like I’m sometimes in battery anxiety mode.
I don’t think anyone disagrees with you here. My suggestion that someone was able to get 11 hours using KDE didn’t meant that performance was also massively nerfed.
I know when I had Ubuntu LTS installed and was using Sway instead of Gnome I was seeing around 8-9 hours without any performance tuning.
I guess where I disagree with you, is that if battery life (which can be improved) is one of the only weak spots for a laptop that I can repair, upgrade, and use as long as I want, I don’t see that as an issue in the long run. Framework is working hard to improve all of the issues, while also being openly transparent about them.
yeah, would be cool if Framework would tell us some paths to improve the battery life (like rewriting a driver or some stuff like that)
They have to work with other companies like Intel and Realtek for driver related issues. Framework just can’t sit down and rewrite an audio driver. That’s just not how these kinds of things work.
My impression has been that Framework is really pushing the envelop on transparency in this industry.
As much as I agree that they should work with other companies, I think the other companies won’t work with them (not big enough).
That’s why, in my opinion, we (as a community) should try to write the drivers.
I don’t know pc hardware companies, but if it is the same as IoT companies, the community would be competent enough to write one. It would be really a pain in the butt to write it, but it would be doable in less than a year.
Waiting on my laptop to see if it is as much of a pain as I think.
Have you ever tried to write firmware for hardware?
Furthermore, while you can write your own driver for hardware, if it the hardware is not open source (as the majority is not), then you are going to be restricted, and might not even get critical information from the manufacturer. This requires reverse engineering and analysis. Nothing easy about it, and some legality issues on top of that. Just look at how buggy drivers today are. This is coming from the company who knows everything about the hardware, and yet the drivers are buggy.
I don’t know if you meant to, and it is possible I’m misreading what you are saying, but I just wanted to reiterate that there is NOTHING easy about writing hardware firmware.