Tried using my Framework out in the field today

Was a home network and wi-fi setup. I was trying to sort out what the previous home owner had installed. The wiring was all over the place, the sockets dubious etc. etc.

The Framework was there for setup and diagnostics. Lots of carry around and plugging in and out. I have to say I’m not convinced. The thing just feels way too flimsy out in the field. My old Dell E6410 was just so chuckable and knockable. The screen would stay in place, the thing had an Ethernet port built in and the battery even though 8 years old, would just keep on going.

Having to use a USB Ethernet dongle was a pain. I wasn’t able to ensure the issue was the Ethernet port, the Ethernet dongle or the USB card at times. The odd random disconnect and reconnect (it’s a Linksys Ethernet dongle) was disheartening. At one point I just swapped all the USB card around and hoped for the best.

I started off with 80% battery and after three and a half hours of just browser use I was down to 32%. I had to lower the screen brightness from 50% to around 30%. Remember also my machine is downclocked to 2GHz!

I think I’ll either do a freshen up and rebuild of my old E6410 or look on Amazon renewed for a old refurbed Lenovo T series or Dell Lattitude for work.

Just doesn’t feel tough enough. :slightly_frowning_face:

I’ve used mine in electrical substations and generation sites doing network maintenance on numerous occasions. Normally using a USB to serial adapter and sometimes also using a Dell-branded USB-C NIC. Felt fine to me. The USB-A serial adapter is bulletproof though I did use extra caution with the NIC as USB-C isn’t a great connector for staying in place. (I ordered a Framework NIC and will be happy to no longer have that concern.)

The Framework isn’t a ruggedized laptop, but is very compact. Its small size is a definite asset to me. I leave my 15" laptop at the office these days. The Framework is easier to set into the back of a rack with limited room, or if there’s just no room, it’s less of a burden to work on it while holding it.

I get approximately the same battery life you reported but I don’t have mine underclocked. I just use the “Better Battery” power profile (Windows 10). My brightness might be lower than yours though by default. Honestly it’s pretty good. You indicated 48% reduction in battery life over 3.5 hours. That’s equivalent to a 7 hour full battery life. Maybe not quite the same as a battery that can run for 9-11 hours, but again, it’s a compact laptop. For my purposes, I go out to work on projects or specific issues - most days I don’t get called to the field so I don’t need all-day battery and 3-5h should be more than enough. If not, I have my portable anker charger and a USB-C cable in my bag.

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Yeah don’t get me wrong I like the laptop. But as you say it aint no rugged beast.

It just feels a bit too wibbly wobbly compared to older laptops I’ve used for work.

I think I’ll find something more sacrificial for work and keep the Framework for home use and holidays.

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True. …but neither are Dells (the baseline comparison here in the OP) really when it comes to ‘ruggedized’…

The Framework laptop chassis and lid are rather soft, easily dent-able / malleable in comparison.

I did drop my framework once already (so waist height, onto a wood floor) and dented the corner. On the down side… I dented the corner with a relatively short drop. On the plus side, all the internals work and it’s super easy to bend a metal corner back in place.

I’m sure a rugged case could be built for the framework, maybe even 3D printed (I can’t say the same for my Toshiba, for example). But the OOB configuration is made to look sharp and stay light.

I was looking at processor performance differences between the i7-8550u, i7-1185g7 and the i7-1280P. …and man, old processors have not been aging well lately…due to the much higher generational performance improvement in recent years (compare to the period between 2nd gen and 7th gen core i)

e.g. The 8550u is only about 1/3 or 1/4 of the performance of the 1280p in some tests.

Yeah this only has to configure routers and download drivers so anything from the past 10 years will do. No 4K transcoding required. :smiley:

I would hazzard my old Dell E6410 would survive a foot standing on it better than the Framework…in fact it has a couple of times. :joy:

I meant to say that the Dell has a better likelihood of drop survival compare to the Framework even though it’s not ruggedized. (Rugged to me is something from Getac, Panasonic, Dell Rugged lineup)

I imagine the display panel on the framework is possibly one of the weakest points in a drop test.

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Yeah I was on tenter hooks the whole time I was carrying it around. The screen feels a total liability in the wild. Way too thin really.

I wonder how the Chromebook edition will hold up in student environments…

I shudder to think. :face_with_head_bandage:

I’ve used mine literally in the field and yeah, it’s not really the optimal use case. The screen is bright enough to work with outside but the battery life is nowhere near sufficient for an entire day in the field (thankfully I sometimes have a generator I can plug it into). The default 3.3kg hinges will shut with an errant strong gust of wind. The frame is definitely pliable, which is a double edged sword as I’ve noticed a little bit of warping over time, but it’s easy enough to bend back. I think the hinge and top cover upgrade would help a bit, but I’ll wait until something breaks.

On the flipside it’s super portable which I appreciate when I’m lugging stuff around, so there are certainly tradeoffs.

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I reckon an extra 0.5 on the aluminium thickness may have made a difference. I myself am not a fan of light and ‘flexible’. I am a grown man and while no body builder I am more than capable of lifting around a more tough Framework laptop that may weigh another 250 grams in reinforcement.