Framework announced the launch of the Framework Laptop. Although the company did not disclose the full specifications or pricing of the laptop, it did confirm that it will offer both regular backlit and RGB backlit keyboard options to users.
Framework, a laptop manufacturer, has unveiled its latest lineup of modular laptops, including a 16-inch gaming laptop. The company’s latest announcement has brought the dream of a good modular gaming laptop one step closer to reality.
One of the most intriguing features of the Framework Laptop 16 is its expansion bay system. This unique feature allows users to manually upgrade the graphics modules in the laptop, providing the flexibility to insert a gaming laptop GPU such as an Nvidia RTX 40 series card. The expansion bay system allows for easy upgrades and swapping out of parts, giving users the power to customize their laptop to their specific needs.
The need to solve the number pad issue for larger laptops resulted in the creation of Input Modules. One solution was to incorporate a number pad, potentially making the rest of the keyboard feel cramped or off-center. The other option was to exclude a number pad, potentially wasting valuable space.
“After performing some market research, we found out there is almost exactly a 50/50 split between people who love and need numpads and people who hate them,” Framework’s blog post says. “We used this as an opportunity to not only let you pick your preference there, but also completely customize the input experience.”
Framework’s Input Modules are available in small, medium, and large sizes. Large modules can be used for keyboards and come with white or RGB backlighting options. Medium modules can fit number pads and other input devices such as jog wheels, sliders, touchscreen displays, e-ink notepads, and smartcard readers. Small modules are primarily for cosmetic customization but can also be functional, such as an LED Matrix or haptic slider.
Framework’s Input Modules have a maximum height of 3.7 mm to ensure they fit into the laptop’s case. The majority of the company’s first-party modules will use open-source firmware and the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, allowing for additional customization by developers and users.
Framework is marketing the Laptop 16 as the solution to a long-standing problem that many gamers have faced: the lack of upgradeable, modular graphics in a high-performance notebook. The company, which was established in 2020, has already established a reputation for producing laptops that are easy to disassemble, making it simple to replace parts. While the idea of a fully upgradeable gaming laptop has been attempted by companies such as Dell in the past, Framework aims to deliver on this promise with its latest release.
Features an Expansion Bay System for dedicated GPUs, which can be plugged in and out without modifying anything else about the laptop. This system allows more powerful GPU modules with larger fans and heatsinks, and it’s up to the user to decide on the best combination of performance and size/weight.
Apart from the Laptop 16, Framework also unveiled two new 13-inch laptops that are equipped with the latest Intel and AMD processors. The Framework Laptop 13 (2023 model) boasts louder speakers, stronger hinges, and an increased battery capacity. The DIY edition, which is optimized for Linux, will be available at a starting price of $849, while the Windows 11-equipped version will be priced at $1049.
The Framework Laptop 16 is expected to be available for pre-order in the spring, with shipments scheduled to commence later this year. In contrast, the Framework Laptop 13 can be pre-ordered now, and the first shipments are expected to begin in May.