Framework support has agreed to make an exception and send another replacement hinge kit. I’ll update once I’ve installed them. I’m hopeful
My laptop had a long list of defects.
- Defective hinges (doesn’t support the weight of the display)
- Defective touchpad (would frequently not register clicks)
- One of the module removal buttons fell off
- The webcam module was incorrectly installed from the factory, causing nightmarish static from the microphone depending screen orientation
- The replacement hinges I received through warranty are ALSO defective
Framework support was initially helpful, but the hinges they sent as a replacement under warranty are now failing. And support refuses to help me anymore because the laptop is now out of warranty.
It’s completely unacceptable that any laptop would have TWO sets of hinges fail in barely a year, on top of all the other issues with this laptop.
I received my Batch 6 Framework.
The hinges were not great. It didn’t greatly affect usage, but notably I had to be delicate with the laptop to avoid the screen falling.
The touchpad sometimes didn’t register clicks. It was a rare occurrence. So rare that I thought I was imagining things, or maybe it was a software issue.
The microphone would output deafening static if I moved the screen.
I mostly just dealt with these issues. None of them were serious enough to prevent me from using the laptop.
But over time, they got worse.
At this point I wrote my first comment discussing my displeasure with the screen hinges.
And my second comment regarding the hinge issues. In this comment I also go over the microphone and touchpad issues I was having.
At this point, the hinges could no longer support the weight of the screen. It would fall flat while stationary on a table. So I reached out to support.
I notified support about three issues:
The microphone static.
I provided them the following reproduction video and audio:
Video: video of reproducing microphone issue.mp4 - Google Drive
Audio: screen microphone clipping.mp3 - Google Drive
The screen hinge issue
I provided the following video: loose screen hinge.mp4 - Google Drive
A module eject button had fallen off of the bottom housing
I provided the following picture: expansion card button fell off.jpg - Google Drive
Support helped me troubleshoot the microphone issue. Removing and re-installing it resolved the issue. Indicating that it was incorrectly installed from the factory.
Support agreed that my hinges were out of spec, and sent new ones. I asked if they could send the 4kg hinge, but they refused and sent the 3.3kg hinge, assuring me that it was sufficient.
Support also sent a new bottom housing assembly, to address the button that had fallen off.
I forgot to mention the touchpad issue, because at this point it was still pretty uncommon, and I still thought it might be a software issue. But the touchpad issue became more frequent over time.
The new hinge and bottom housing assembly arrived. It took some time to install, but overall was a reasonably smooth process. The hardest part was getting the wifi cables routed in a way that didn’t interfere with the top housing assembly from lying flat.
With the new hinge installed, the laptop was much closer to my expectation. I was very excited, and I sent the following message to Framework support:
Thank you so much. I’ve received and installed the new hinges. The
difference is massive, and emphasizes just how out of spec my original
hinges were. With the new hinges, the screen remains perfectly in place
at any angle, even when picking up and walking with the laptop. All
while remaining open-able one-handed.
I commented regarding the touchpad issues
At this point the touchpad issue had gotten so bad that only about half of my clicks were registering. I should have reached out to support, but I was planning to buy the newly released Ethernet module anyway, so I just went ahead and bought a new touchpad module with the same order to avoid the hassle.
Note that I had already confirmed that removing and re-installing the original touchpad module did not resolve the issue. Unfortunately it was defective, and not just a loose connection.
Installing the new touchpad module resolved the clicking issue completely. Confirming that it was indeed a defective touchpad.
December 2022 also marks the end of the warranty period for my Framework, as I received it in December of 2021.
Gradually over time, the new hinges had been getting looser. By February, the laptop felt a lot like it did before Support sent me replacement hinges. At hard angles, the hinge could no longer support the weight of the screen when stationary on a table.
I commented on the lid rigidity thread with updates on my customer support experience, as well as my disappointment in the replacement hinge.
I reached out to support one more time. I replied to my original support ticket, so that they would have all of the context from my previous repair, and gave a quick summary of the previous work that had been done and the previous warranty claim.
Support responded that my laptop was now outside the warranty period, and that they could not help me. They recommended I buy the 4kg hinge.
Framework has a wonderful mission statement, and I hope that they are successful in their goal of improving repairability in the laptop space.
However, they also have clearly poor quality control. They have designed a laptop with a hinge that wears out in 6 month intervals. They have even released a stiffer 4kg aftermarket hinge due to significant backlash, and yet they maintain that the original 3.3kg hinge is sufficient, and refuse to send the 4kg hinge for warranty requests.
Because the poorly designed hinge takes some time to wear out, people will make it just outside of the warranty period before finding that their screen no longer stays upright.
I know it’s only a sample size of two, but the fact that I’ve received two defective hinges at this point leads me to suspect we’re going to see waves of hinge failures as first generation Frameworks get older. And those owners are going to be stuck paying out of pocket to replace a poorly designed hinge with yet another poorly designed hinge that will just meet the same fate in half a year.
At this point, I will not be paying out of pocket for another hinge. Even if it’s only out of principle. My laptop came with so many defects, and I refuse to pay good money for another hinge that I full expect to fail in another 6 months.