frame laptop The 13 is one of those machines that almost everyone should buy (if ever they need a new computer). It’s powerful, user-serviceable, upgradeable, repairable, and more future-proof than any other laptop on the market. I can only think of two reasons not to buy this machine. First, you’re a video editor or gamer, in which case you need a dedicated graphics card, which this laptop doesn’t offer. The second is that you don’t want to spend more than $1,000 on a laptop (base pre-built versions start at $1,049).
For almost every other use case I can think of, Framework Laptop 13 is as good as its competitors, and It’s repairable, upgradeable and customizable, saving you money. It’s not perfect, but the third release of Framework Laptop 13 is pretty close.
In order to really test the 2023 version of Framework Laptop 13, I should have kept the model I reviewed last year instead of sending it back to the company. This way, I can test the upgrade process, which includes replacing the motherboard with a new one.frame done Send me DIY kits for new models again, sort of like an upgrade kit that has to be put together. (You can choose a pre-built version, which will be fully assembled for you.)
Whether you’re upgrading or buying a new laptop for the first time, here are three things in the new Framework Laptop 13 that make the upgrade worthwhile. The first is a larger battery, increasing from 55 Wh to 61 Wh. I don’t know if it’s purely a battery issue or a 13th gen Intel chip (or some combination of the two), but this time the battery life is much better – even on Linux, more on that later introduce.
The second reason to upgrade is the matte screen, because there are matte screens and garbage screens, full stop. No annoying glare or reflections. The third improvement is that there is now an AMD Ryzen supported framework. It’s not shipping yet, but you can pre-order the AMD motherboard, which is expected to ship later this year. You can also cross-upgrade from the Intel model to the AMD model, though you’ll also have to buy new RAM and a new Wi-Fi card, making it slightly more expensive.
For this review, I’ll be looking at the Intel i7 model (with a 13th Gen i7-1360P processor) or upgrade kit (if you already own an older Framework laptop). The supplied unit frame comes with 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD (Western Digital SN770, one of our favorite SSDs). This configuration retails for $1,738.
You can configure your framework with up to 64 GB of RAM and use almost any PCIe Gen4 SSD. A fully configured Framework Laptop 13 with 64 GB of RAM and a 2 TB SSD costs $2,018. You can save some money if you already have an SSD, or you can start with a slower chip and just upgrade the motherboard.
After all, that’s the main attraction of the framework – everything is under your control. At least, much better than you can with a laptop from a top manufacturer. Each component in the frame has a QR code that takes you to a webpage with instructions on how to upgrade and replace SSDs, RAM, speakers, motherboards, and more. I’m starting to think that the existence of the MacBook makes frames inevitable. It is the repairable Yin Qi of the locked Yang Qi of the apple.
I happen to think that nothing is better suited for repairable, customizable hardware than Linux, a user-centric, customizable operating system. Last time I installed Linux on Framework, but this time, the company provided me with a Windows 11 key. I dutifully installed and used Windows long enough to run some benchmarks, perform battery drain tests, and get a feel for the day-to-day life of the Windows framework. Then I unplugged that drive, plugged my own drive in, and installed Arch Linux. Ah, much better.