Framework Laptop 13 Review
Since it came out, Framework’s 13-inch laptop has looked pretty much the same. Does that make sense? That means you can’t change too much if you want its library of parts to work for many generations. The laptop starts at $849 for a DIY configuration with no operating system, memory, or storage, but we’re trying the top-of-the-line “professional” pre-built model for $2,069, and that’s before adding port modules. But that’s more than enough to show how all the small changes in the framework add up.
Framework Laptop 13 Specification
|Screen||13.5in LCD 2256 x 1504 (60Hz; 201 PPI)|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 or i7 (13th generation)|
|RAM||8, 16, 32 or 64GB|
|Storage||256, 512GB, 1, 2 or 4TB|
|OS||Windows 11 Home or Pro|
|Dimension||296.6 x 229.0 x 15.9mm|
- Easy to fix and completely fixable
- Strong performance
- Looks great with a matte screen
- Battery life is longer than the last model
- Loud fans when they’re busy
- The webcam isn’t very good
Framework’s design hasn’t changed much since its first machine came out in 2021. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been watching the company since then. It’s still a silver slab with a gear logo on top that looks like a mirror. It’s made of aluminium all the way around, and the CNC aluminium lid was added in the second generation. The new Framework Laptop 13 is the same size as the old one. It is 11.68 by 9.01 by 0.62 inches and weighs 2.87 pounds. All of this makes sense: for the Framework Laptop’s parts to work with those from earlier models, they need to be about the same size. There are buttons on the bottom of the laptop that let you take out any of the ports, but it still takes a bit of strength. The Framework is larger than some of its rivals. The Dell XPS 13 Plus is 2.8 pounds, and the MacBook Air is 2.7 pounds. Only the 2-in-1 Yoga 9i was heavier than the other devices we tested, at 3.09 pounds.
The Framework Laptop 13 can be bought ready-to-use or as a kit that you put together yourself. Pre-built “base” machines with Windows 11, an Intel Core i5-1340P, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage space start at £1,049 ($1,049). The speed model with an i7-1360P, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage costs £1,469 ($1,469). The cheapest DIY editions cost £849. In comparison, the Dell XPS 13 Plus starts at £1,348.99, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 starts at £999, and the Apple MacBook Air M2 starts at £1,249.
Having modular ports on the Laptop 13 is still a fantastic concept. Pick and swap between USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, ethernet, microSD, and additional storage drives as needed. Most of them cost less than £20, so you may afford to have a little arsenal for various jobs. When compared to 11th-generation CPUs, the 13th-generation Intel Core i7 found in the “performance” model of the laptop with 16GB of RAM was a clear winner. Its speed was comparable to that of its competitors, making it suitable for any general computer work. Additionally, Framework has produced a higher-capacity battery that ships with all but the lowest models and stores 11% more energy in the same physical dimensions. Even while it won’t win any prizes for battery life, the laptop lasted for eight or nine hours when running Chrome, Windows Mail, Evernote, and other lightweight applications. The prior version was at least an hour shorter.
The 2023 Framework Laptop 13’s 13.5-inch display retains the previous model’s 3:2 aspect ratio (2,256 x 1,504 pixels), but its matte coating should make it more comfortable to use in a wider variety of lighting settings. The extent to which you may personalise it, though, remains very constrained. The bezel can be changed, but there are no options for a touchscreen or better resolution. In my testing, the screen has been legible everywhere except in bright sunshine. You may make do with maximum brightness there as well.
The Intel Core i7-1370P CPU in our Framework Laptop 13 (2023) review unit gives it more than enough power to zip through basic office apps and productivity work. The 32GB of RAM on board kept performance smooth and responsive even with 30+ tabs open in Chrome and multiple apps running. But don’t expect this laptop to do much more than some light games and video editing. Without a separate graphics card, the Framework doesn’t have enough power to run a demanding game like Cyberpunk 2077 or Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. You can still play Fortnite with the graphics turned down, and I spent hours having fun with games like Crusader Kings III and Last Call BBS that don’t need as much power.