Framework Laptop 13 Review (2023): The Repairable Laptop Gets Even Better

The Framework Laptop 13 is a type of machines virtually everybody can buy (if there is a want for a brand new laptop). It’s highly effective, user-serviceable, upgradable, repairable, and extra futureproof than any other laptop available on the market. I might solely provide you with two causes for not shopping for this machine. The first is that you simply’re a video editor or gamer, wherein case you need a dedicated video card, which this laptop computer doesn’t supply. The second is that you simply don’t need to spend greater than $1,000 on a laptop computer (the bottom prebuilt model begins at $1,049).

For virtually each different use case I can consider, the Framework Laptop 13 is nearly as good as its opponents, and it’s repairable, upgradable, and customizable, saving you cash down the highway. It’s not excellent, however this third model of the Framework Laptop 13 is fairly darn shut.

The Perfect Upgrade

To actually take a look at the 2023 model of the Framework Laptop 13, I ought to have stored the mannequin I reviewed last year as a substitute of sending it again to the corporate. That manner, I might take a look at the improve course of, which includes swapping out the motherboard for the brand new one. Framework did ship me the DIY package once more with the brand new mannequin, which is considerably just like the improve package deal in that it have to be put collectively. (You can go for the prebuilt model, which might be fully assembled for you.)

Whether you improve or are a first-time purchaser selecting up a brand new one, there are three issues within the new Framework Laptop 13 that make this a worthwhile improve. The first is the bigger battery, which bought a bump from 55 watt-hours to 61 watt-hours. I don’t know if it’s purely the battery or the Thirteenth-generation Intel chip (or some mixture of the 2), however battery life is a lot better this time round—even on Linux, however extra on that in a minute.

The second motive to improve is the matte display, as a result of there are matte screens and crap screens, full cease. There’s no annoying glare or reflections. The third enchancment is that there’s now an AMD Ryzen-powered Framework. It’s not delivery but, however you’ll be able to preorder the AMD boards, that are slated to ship later this 12 months. You can cross-upgrade from an Intel mannequin to an AMD too, although you’ll have to get new RAM and a brand new Wi-Fi card as nicely, which makes it a bit dearer.


Photograph: Framework

For this evaluation, I’ll be wanting on the Intel i7 mannequin (with the Thirteenth-Gen i7-1360P processor) or the improve package in the event you’ve already bought an older Framework laptop computer. The unit Framework offered got here with 16 GB of RAM and a 1-TB SSD (a Western Digital SN770, one of our favorite SSDs). This configuration retails for $1,738.

You can configure your Framework with as much as 64 GB of RAM and use nearly any PCIe Gen4 SSD. A completely maxed-out Framework Laptop 13, with 64 GB of RAM and a 2-TB SSD will set you again $2,018. You can avoid wasting cash if have already got an SSD, or you can begin with a slower chip and improve simply the motherboard down the highway.

After all, that’s the primary enchantment of the Framework—you’re in management. At least, much more than you’re with a laptop computer from a prime producer. Every part within the Framework has a QR code on it that may take you to webpages that present you tips on how to improve and alter out your SSD, RAM, audio system, motherboard, and extra. I’ve come to assume that the existence of the MacBook made the Framework inevitable. It is the repairable yin to Apple’s locked-up yang.

I occur to assume that nothing goes as nicely with repairable, customizable {hardware} as Linux, a user-centric, customizable working system. Last time round I put in Linux on the Framework, however this time, the corporate offered me with a Windows 11 key. I dutifully put in and used Windows lengthy sufficient to run some benchmarks, carry out a battery drain take a look at, and get a really feel for day-to-day life on a Windows Framework. And then I pulled that drive out, caught my very own in, and put in Arch Linux. Ah, a lot better.

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