I have a T series Thinkpad myself, though not as old as yours. Unfortunately, they don’t make Thinkpads like they use to. These days, too many people think every Laptop has to be thin to be modern. And there’s only so much robustness you can build into a very thin frame.
I’ve had one big drop with my framework, which dented the top case (1st gen punched metal, not the 2nd gen milled) but the laptop still works perfectly fine. No spills of liquid and no dust issues (though I have considered taking apart the keyboard cover and blowing out all the dust there at some point.
The drop was from about chest hieght, so I’d say a 4-5ft drop? unfortunately the damage doesnt really show up on camera, but if you feel across the top case behind the camera module, you can feel a small part that bumps out.
Had mine for about 6 months now, and so far it’s holding up great. No dents or obvious scratches. Compared to the Toshibas I used to buy for about the same price, the Framework 13 seems to be made of thicker & harder aluminum. It feels almost like a macbook, but 1/3rd of the price.
It’s been subjected to high humidity during poor weather, a couple minor spills on the keyboard, some firm bumps on tables a few times while taking it out of my backpack, and numerous (dis/re)assembly’s from my tinkering. It’s also survived some rough handling while in by backpack like having stuff stacked on top of it, backpack getting dropped, water bladder in the same backpack sprung a leak, etc.
I haven’t dropped it from a significant height yet, or stepped on it. I get the impression that it can take its fair share of abuse so far though, it seems to be made of good materials and all the components seem to be mounted well internally.
I have a 12th gen Framework Laptop 13, which comes with the CNC top case. One of my teachers accidentally sat on it for about 5 minutes while it was closed (I left it on a table) and it was perfectly fine so it gets a pretty good rating for durability in my book. Not a dent.
No I would not consider this a particularly robust laptop.
Here are a few threads you might find interesting that came to mind.
As for repair cost the biggest negative is the cost of shipping replacement parts which themselves seem quite reasonably priced. Framework have acknowledge this and have said they are working to improve this.
I’ve have been using thinkpads for two decades and they just haven’t been super-reliable.
2008-2011 - T40 - after a fan replacement, the screen started acting up and it was out of the 3 year warranty.
2011-2016 - Macbook Air - went thru two of them as the disks were fixed size. The first one had a battery replacement for free, the second one they did not. Dropped the second one and the screen shattered. Fixing costs $600 which just doesn’t make sense.
2016-2018 - X200 - Bought two of them ($200 / each) and one of them survived the two year period.
2018 to 2021 - X230 - Bought three of them ($200 / each ) and two of them no longer function. I don’t even remember dropping them, they just quit working. The last one is still working, but no longer is being used daily.
From my experience, the Framework is just as robust/reliable as anything else.
Robustness is pretty reasonable in my book. Not quite as solid as my Thinkpad X1 Carbon, but more robust than my Asus or Dell XPS13s.
I’m hard as heck on my laptops. Mine is an 11th gen 5th batch, so a pretty early Framework. It’s survived dropping, banging about, several rain forests (Belize and Grenada), putzing about Paris. It even made it through the cover getting jammed when the person in front of me reclined their seatback all the way onto it.