Framework Laptop computer 13 evaluate: issues mounted, for a worth

Framework has launched a 2023 model of its 13-inch modular laptop computer. And people, it’s precisely the identical because the 2022 mannequin.

Okay, so, I imply, that’s not fairly true. There’s an AMD possibility now, however I don’t but have that one to evaluate. I’ve been testing the pre-built Intel mannequin, which features a thirteenth Gen Core i7-1360P. The battery can also be bigger, coming in at 61Wh. There are a pair different small issues in regards to the chassis. There’s a brand new matte show possibility and a brand new speaker system. However I’m going to let you know proper now that utilizing the 2023 Framework Laptop computer 13 feels precisely like utilizing the 2022 Framework Laptop computer. The experiences are mainly similar.

And that’s principally good. Final 12 months’s laptop computer was superb. It wasn’t my favourite factor on the planet, with a bit extra of a flimsy and plasticky construct, to not point out a plain look, than you typically see at this worth level, however it was superb. Framework has at all times struck me as an organization that’s extremely plugged in to what its prospects need, and issues like ease of restore and upgradability are seemingly extra vital to them than a premium construct.

Nonetheless, a number of the perks that final 12 months’s chassis introduced stay. The intense, 2256 x 1504, 3:2 show is a singular discover. The audio system are wonderful. The laptop computer is kind of transportable, weighing just below three kilos. However most significantly (to me, at the least) is that Framework mounted the most important criticism I had about its laptop computer final 12 months. The battery life was once dangerous. And reader, now it’s good.

How we fee and evaluate merchandise

My favourite side of the Framework laptop computer has at all times been the port choice. Particularly, you choose the ports for your self, slotting 4 growth playing cards of your alternative into the deck. What enjoyable! I went for a USB-C and a USB-A on both sides as a result of I’m boring like that, however Framework has “re-optimized” the HDMI and DisplayPort growth playing cards for the 2023 mannequin so as to allow the system to remain in decrease energy states, so you possibly can choose these for those who’re feeling adventurous. (MicroSD, audio, ethernet, and storage growth are additionally obtainable.)

There’s the acquainted gear.

I can also’t heap sufficient reward onto this 13.5-inch, 3:2 show. The additional vertical area feels roomy for multitasking, and I respect how a lot textual content I can see at one time whereas I’m writing an extended draft (like this one). I additionally choose the brand new matte display screen because it kicks again much less glare than final 12 months’s shiny one did — however the good factor in regards to the Framework is you could decide the one you need. Bezels will be personalized in a variety of colours — black, white, and orange at the moment, with inexperienced, purple, purple, and translucent on the best way. Look, I’m not a DIY particular person. However give me a purple bezel, and I could haven’t any alternative however to purchase this.

The touchpad continues to be clean with a simple click on. I’ll notice that it’s the one a part of the chassis that basically will get smudged; after per week or so of use, it had a really seen blob within the center. The keyboard, which is properly backlit with satisfying journey and click on, had a better time staying clear. I do nonetheless want that you might customise the touchpad, equally to how one can customise the keycaps, however Framework does at the least promote cables and kits for it, so you possibly can change it if it ever breaks (or simply will get too gross).

The ports are the identical on the opposite aspect, minus the headphone jack.

The brand new audio system are an enchancment. The place they delivered considerably skinny audio final 12 months, this 12 months’s mannequin sounds a lot fuller, simply filling a big room at maxed quantity. My measurement didn’t fairly hit a mean of 80 decibels (which was what Framework claimed we’d see), however the audio system got here fairly shut. Consumers ought to notice that the brand new audio system look like particular to the Intel mannequin of the Framework 13; AMD methods will proceed to have the unique equipment, and Framework says it’s “tuning the audio circuitry.”

The remainder of the video name expertise stays completely acceptable. The 1080p, 60Hz webcam continues to supply a considerably grainy however typically superb image. No points with the twin microphones, both. Each the digicam and the microphones have a {hardware} privateness swap within the high bezel, which is useful — although I’ll nitpick that they’re an similar shade of black to the bezel round them, which may make them annoyingly onerous to distinguish. I actually shined my telephone’s flashlight on them a pair instances as a result of I didn’t fancy feeling round.

I typically can’t actually see this emblem both.

Inside, the Framework’s efficiency is powerful. You may configure the system with mainly no matter mixture of specs you need, in fact, however I obtained the Efficiency prebuilt unit, which is priced at $1,469 and features a Core i7-1360P, 16GB of reminiscence, 512GB of storage, and the 61Wh battery. That’s on the expensive aspect — the Dell XPS 13 has the identical specs with a barely much less highly effective Core i7 going for simply $1,099 as of this writing — however it can save you a bit of cash you probably have some elements mendacity round and may swap them right into a DIY equipment your self.

Personally, if I had been searching for this, I’d most likely go for the Core i5-1340P / 8GB / 256GB Base mannequin — besides that it has a considerably smaller battery, and you can not improve that battery with out upgrading the processor to a Core i7, even for those who go for a DIY equipment. (There are apparently difficult meeting line causes for this; it’s been a complete factor.)

The 1360P I’m testing is greater than sufficient for my Chrome-based workload, and I by no means bought any warmth or fan noise whereas I labored in my dozens of Chrome tabs and another apps, typically with Spotify streaming overtop. Actually, nothing I did made the followers spin up, even on Battery Saver mode. It’s a a lot quieter expertise than the Dell XPS 13, that’s for certain. Even some mild picture work in Lightroom was pleasantly speedy.

Extra energy than I would like inside right here.

In benchmark testing, the Framework solidly defeated our XPS 13 in single-core, multicore, and graphic benchmarks. It additionally outperformed each the M2 MacBook Air and the M2 MacBook Professional on CPU exams, however not on graphics — Apple stays on high for GPU-intensive duties. We’re seeing round a 20 to 30 % improve in efficiency over the Framework unit I examined final 12 months.

The Framework did get sizzling throughout these benchmark exams, nonetheless, with the CPU making frequent jumps as much as 100 levels Celsius. The keyboard bought toasty. In fact, my private workload clearly wasn’t giving the Core i7 something near that type of exercise, and even work in Premiere and Lightroom was pleasantly quick.

After which we come to the happiest shock this Framework laptop computer introduced. Okay, so it shouldn’t even have been a shock. Framework, as I discussed, outfitted the Efficiency system with a 61Wh battery, whereas 55Wh was obtainable in final 12 months’s mannequin. (The latter can also be what comes with the Base mannequin, as famous above — it’s honest to imagine that one may have a shorter lifespan than this Efficiency configuration.) It additionally claimed that we’d see a “20 to 30 % battery life enchancment throughout a variety of real-world use instances.” Nonetheless, you by no means know with these claims, and I’ve actually been burned earlier than. So I’m thrilled to report that I averaged 9 hours and 12 minutes of steady use from this system. That’s one of many longest lifespans I’ve seen from an Intel laptop computer in… I don’t even understand how lengthy. Some time. It’s nice.

All in all, an improved package deal.

I had mainly two considerations in regards to the Framework Laptop computer I reviewed final 12 months. Its repairability was each enticing and admirable, however the brief battery life and skinny audio simply made it a tough promote for its worth. I assume Framework’s market analysis should’ve uncovered comparable complaints as a result of they mounted each issues massive time. That mainly leaves the generic, plasticky feel and appear as the one actual knocks on this system — and people, in fact, received’t be issues for everybody.

These adjustments make the Framework appear like a way more enticing buy subsequent to one thing just like the XPS 13 than it was final 12 months. That XPS is gorgeous and durable in methods the Framework isn’t. However the Framework has lots of different benefits over it now, upgradability apart: It has a greater display screen, a greater port choice, higher audio, a a lot quieter and cooler chassis, and higher battery life. In fact, the Framework can also be deal dearer, which I suppose is a good reminder that even in a world the place each firm below the solar is pushing sustainability as a core factor of their devices, true user-repairability nonetheless has a worth.

Images by Monica Chin

Replace Might seventeenth, 2:23PM ET: Added benchmark scores. This text was initially printed on Might sixteenth at 11:00 AM ET.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles