Picture"Kiran Rao", "url"=>"https://kiranrao.in"}.">

Hi, I'm {"name"=>"Kiran Rao", "url"=>"https://kiranrao.in"}.

Android Developer. Tech enthusiast. Serial dabbler.

Framework laptop: A game-changer in sustainable electronics

This post is the first in a series of businesses that are positive and sustainable. With this series, I want to show that it is possible for for-profit businesses to be ethical and sustainable.

About Framework

In case you hadn’t heard of it already, Framework is a laptop company that sells upgradable laptops. There already exist several reviews of the Framework laptop online so this post will not go into all the details.

Their mission is to fix consumer electronics. Specifically to make consumer electronics more sustainable. Does the laptop deliver on this promise? Let’s find out.I have been using a Framework laptop as my primary (and only) device since April 2022. This post is my honest review.

My laptop specs

Here are some highlights of the configuration that I opted for

  • I went for the DIY edition - that saved me about €200
  • 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7
  • 64GB RAM
  • A bunch of expansion cards (USB-A and C, HDMI, DP etc)
  • I purchased the Windows 10 Home Edition but never installed it (been using Fedora Linux since day 1)

The Good so far

  • The initial DIY setup experience was great. I was stuck at one point while inserting the RAM but Framework has an amazing community. It took me no time to find the solution.
  • Performance is pretty good. I don’t have a MacBook to compare with but in general I don’t have problems with IDE usage or build speeds
  • Fingerprint reader works with Linux out of the box
  • Hardware switches for camera and mic are welcome. I never knew I needed them until I had them.
  • Having the flexibility of slotting in any expansion card has been really useful. I was having trouble with USB-A ports and ADB. I then switched to a USB-C port and got a USB-C to USB-A hub and that solved the problem for me.
  • Extremely light weight (I’m migrating from a ThinkPad T460P so you can imagine the difference). However, I barely use it as a laptop itself (see the cons below).
  • I somehow managed to get ants attracted to the laptop (they had even laid eggs near the fan). I know. I know. Long story. However, the point is, it was trivial for me to get rid of them. Framework ships with a single screwdriver which was all I needed to do this repair work. Can you imagine if this had happened to your MacBook Pro?

The Bad so far

  • Battery life is not as good as I would have expected. This is not a big deal for me because 99% of the time I use it plugged to the power.
  • I’m not finding it easy getting used to the 3:2 aspect ratio. This is also not a big deal for me since for an overwhelming majority of the time, I use an external monitor.
  • Build quality itself is not the bestest out there (that said, I would say that the quality is absolutely good for the price).

The Ugly so far

  • I’ve had some intermediate issues with freezes and such; but it turned out they were related to Fedora Linux and the kernel. Right now, all of these issues have been fixed.
  • I purchased the laptop while I was in EU, but now I’m in India. At the time of this writing, Framework does not ship to India. So, if I need any accessories or support, I will be in a spot of trouble.

Beyond my personal experience

It is no secret how that trillion-dollar company that shall not be named became a trillion-dollar company: By forcing you to upgrade your electronics even when it was not needed. By poisoning the environment through e-waste. It is no secret that $BIGTECH wants you to believe that this is the only way to run the electronics industry.

Framework set out to prove $BIGTECH wrong. That it is possible to make electronics that are sustainable. That you don’t need to throw out your old device after 2 years and buy a new one.

In my opinion, Framework has taken a solid first step. The fact that they embarked on this endeavour before the various Right-To-Repair laws came into effect speaks for their vision. Other companies cough cough Gravity-Fruit-Company cough were forced to introduce some semblance of repairability by regulators. Framework, on the other hand, started with it as a core tenet.

I’m also confident about the sustainability of the business model itself. Framework has already released an upgrade (2nd Gen) and it has a thriving marketplace.

And here’s the reason why I feel that Framework is a game-changer: The success of the Framework laptop is bound to catalyze the entire industry. More products, more categories. It is also bound to force the incumbents to start offering similar products. This has already happened, with Dell announcing a repairable laptop.

Conclusion

All in all I do experience some pain points with my Framework laptop, but overall I find myself very productive with this laptop. It was a bold step to use this as my only laptop since as a developer it is my bread and butter; but I don’t regret my decision. That last sentence bears repeating:

It was a bold step to use Framework as my only laptop since as a developer it is my bread and butter; but I don’t regret my decision.

Beyond my personal experience, I have no doubt in my mind that Framework will prove to be a turning point in the sustainable electronics industry.

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