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Pre-orders for the modular Framework Laptop start at $999 — screwdriver included

A photo of the Framework Laptop
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Framework Laptop, a modular notebook that lets you swap most of its parts for repairs or upgrades, is now up for grabs in a limited presale. Announced earlier this year by one of the founders of Oculus, this Framework notebook is said to redefine the “replace when broken” approach to laptops that we often see today. We now know the specs and the price of the laptops that will begin shipping this summer.

With its sleek, modern design, thin bezels, and just 2.87 pounds of weight, the Framework Laptop almost looks like a MacBook Pro. However, the notebook’s main strength lies not in the looks, but in the ability to upgrade, customize, replace, and repair the majority of its internal and external hardware at will. While many Windows laptops offer the option to replace memory or storage, this lightweight notebook takes it a few steps further.

Components such as the battery, screen, keyboard, and even the motherboard can all be upgraded. This is still a novelty in the laptop market. Although many users might expect it to be a difficult process, the company claims that just about anyone can replace the parts in this modular laptop.

“The only tool you need to swap any part of it is the screwdriver we include in the box,” Framework said, presenting a custom screwdriver not much larger than a golf ball.

While not everyone will feel up to the task of upgrading their laptop themselves, Framework comes with a range of customization options that are as easy to use as simply plugging in a USB stick. The laptop has four bays that you can fill with Expansion Cards of your choice. Some of the options include USB-C, USB-A, microSD, DisplayPort, HDMI, and even a high-end headphone amp.

The Framework Laptop runs on an Intel processor. You are given the option to choose between the three configurations, the Base, Performance, and Professional models. The $999 Base configuration comes with a Core i5-1135G7 (8M cache, up to 4.20GHz), 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Performance configuration starts at $1,399, and comes with the Core i7-1165G7 (12M cache, up to 4.70GHz), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Lastly, the $1,999 Professional configuration includes the Core i7-1185G7 (12M cache, up to 4.80GHz), 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSD. There’s also a 1080p 60 fps (frames per second) webcam installed at the top bezel of the 13.5″ screen. That makes it one of the few laptops you can buy right now that steps up from a 720p webcam.

These prices place the notebook out of the budget laptop price range, but it does cost less than the cheapest Macbook Pro. This pricing is surprising in a machine that combines decent specs with a lifespan that Framework claims will exceed other laptops.

Pre-orders are limited to one Framework Laptop per customer, and requires $100 to reserve your order.

The Framework Laptop with replaceable parts
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The company is also selling a “DIY Edition” that starts at just $749. Framework calls it a “barebones configuration,” which lets you assemble it yourself from a kit of modules.

Whether the Framework Laptop will be successful still remains to be seen, but it looks to be a sustainable, eco-friendly (made out of 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum and 30% PCR plastic) option that might pave the way for other modular laptops in the future.

Framework is limiting pre-orders to the U.S. today, with orders for Canada to come in the next few weeks. Framework says it will be taking orders in Europe and Asia before the end of the year.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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