The brand new Framework Laptop computer is one other step towards a really modular gadget

Somewhat greater than a 12 months after saying the primary model of its ultra-repairable, upgradeable pocket book, Framework is launching the second-generation Framework Laptop computer. It’s meant to be considerably quicker and slightly extra sturdy however principally it’s a sign that Framework is severe about constructing really long-lasting gadgets and would possibly truly be fulfilling the usually promised and infrequently delivered dream of upgradeable, modular devices.

The brand new laptop computer’s headline spec is the processor: it comes with a twelfth Era Intel Core i5 or i7 chip with the top-of-the-line, $2,049 mannequin operating the Core i7-1280P. (That’s a full era leap from the present mannequin, and these new Alder Lake chips promise large efficiency enhancements and a lift in effectivity.) The bottom mannequin, which runs a Core i5-1240P, begins at $1,049 totally assembled. All can be found for preorder now and begin transport in July, although you shouldn’t anticipate one too shortly: Framework is utilizing a preorder system to handle demand and appears to anticipate shipments taking some time.

Along with the efficiency leap, Framework additionally rebuilt the laptop computer’s prime cowl, which it says is now way more inflexible than earlier than. That’s a welcome change: when The Verge’s Monica Chin reviewed the primary mannequin, the laptop computer’s unavoidable flimsiness was one of many system’s worst qualities. Past that, Framework additionally stated it has “rigorously optimized battery life,” which was solely common on the final mannequin.

A lot of the different specs haven’t modified: the brand new laptop computer nonetheless has a 13.5-inch display, weighs a shade underneath three kilos, and has the identical first rate keyboard and trackpad. Typically the brand new Framework Laptop computer feels like a pleasant, if pretty predictable, enchancment on what you should buy already. It’s price noting, although, that even the present mannequin is already a significant improve over what the corporate launched final 12 months: Framework has added Wi-Fi 6E assist since launch and presents a handful of recent dongles for its enlargement ports. That’s Framework’s entire factor, actually; the laptop computer isn’t a static system, it’s an ever-changing one.

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The brand new Framework Laptop computer can also be an improve to the previous one.
Picture: Framework

Which raises the true query for Framework: how do you launch a brand new laptop computer when your entire firm relies on letting individuals improve and enhance their laptop computer with out simply having to purchase a brand new one?

That’s the place Framework’s announcement will get cool: the brand new chipset can also be going to be obtainable in Framework’s Market, which means you should buy a mainboard with a twelfth Era chip and slot it into your present Framework Laptop computer with out having to purchase an entire new system. Or you possibly can choose to exchange your prime cowl with the brand new stronger one with out altering the rest. (The Improve Package, which incorporates each items, begins at $538.) Framework is planning to proceed promoting the first-gen laptop computer at a reduced value of $899 whereas its stock lasts, too, so you can begin in your improve path everytime you need.

The concept behind Framework’s announcement is de facto extra thrilling than the announcement itself. Framework’s plan for constructing longer-lasting laptops may solely work if the corporate stayed dedicated to upgradeability and made positive to do proper by the customers who purchased its gadgets on the promise of future upgrades. We’ve heard that promise earlier than, after all, whether or not at first of Alienware’s failed Space-51m dream, Google’s canceled Undertaking Ara, or Intel’s semi-upgradable NUC Excessive and deserted Compute Card initiatives. These items don’t are inclined to work out.

It’s nonetheless very a lot an open query how lengthy Framework will assist its authentic chassis and design given what number of firms have made guarantees about modularity and longevity solely to interrupt the system as quickly as a shiny new factor got here alongside. The brand new Framework Laptop computer is each a brand new factor and a totally backwards-compatible factor. That’s an enormous deal.