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"Framework Laptop, two months on"

Posted: 06 March, 2023

I've had the Framework laptop for a while now, so time to add to my previous post. No particular order; this is as things pop into my head...

The Monitor

I wasn't sure about the glossy screen, but the picture's bright enough to negate most of the glare during the day, which is fortunate, as I get eye strain quickly.

The aspect ratio has a bit of an old-school feel to it, and I like it a lot. I don't care that the laptop's a little deeper; the extra height is nice when programming.

The pixel density gives everything a lovely smoothness that, to my eye, is similar to the old Retina Macbook. So yeah, better than I expected, but... I'd still go matte, given the option.

Battery, fan and heat...

I've not done any specific tests, but it's cruised past 4 hours of battery life, with juice to spare, every time I've used it. I'm usually coding, so this is with peaky CPU bursts, a browser open, maybe a couple of shells, and some chat apps. Nothing particularly heavy, and I'm not hammering the GPU as the side project's still the Eh500.

An evening's programming on the sofa is no bother, though, and I suspect I could sail past 6 hours with a bit of care.

I said previously that the fans are quiet, and that's true... mostly. There's a higher gear I'd not heard, and wow, yeah, that's loud. JetBrains IDEs doing their million startup tasks have done it several times. Not much else has. Bear in mind, I'm on Fedora, and I've fettled it with powertop, so I suspect Windows might be louder, but I'm not sure. Either way, it is dramatically better than my old XPS. Silent the majority of the time that I'm programming, which is what I want.

The Keyboard

I love it. It's excellent to code on. Page up/down/home and end override the cursor keys, and the FN key is under the left thumb; it all falls into the muscle memory I built on the Mac. I'm not making typos; I'm not reaching for anything; it's a nice place to be.

It's not a ThinkPad keyboard, but it's not a million miles away. Better than the XPS and better than the recent Macs I've tried.

The only downside would be the lack of a backlight, but my days of working in the dark are long gone...

The Trackpad

Last time I said that the trackpad was the weakest part of the machine, and I've not changed my mind. That said, it's perfectly fine in practice. I'm just a snob, and I carry a wireless mouse everywhere. ;)

The Fingerprint Reader

You know what? I use this way more than I thought I would. It's quick, and I've not had to recalibrate it. KDE prompts me toward it after the first log-in, which is nice, although it's still a strange experience to use it in the terminal.

Essential? No. But it's a nice trick.

The Speakers

Yeah. These are shite. Not the worst I've heard; serviceable in a pinch, but not something I use very much. Ya cannae change the laws of physics... unfortunately.

The Ports

This is the main gimmick of the machine, and yeah, they are excellent. Right now, I have a MicroSD and three USB-C adaptors plugged in. The SD has a 500Gig card, which holds a big chunk of my music, and when I want to plug in a monitor, I whip out one of the USB-C ports.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'll tire of that!

The community is backing them, and I'm already tempted to put in an order for the LAN port and Displayport.


Ok, so not really the laptop, but this is the first time I've used Fedora and the first OS I've had on Wayland.

Fedora is great!

Boots exceptionally quickly, rock solid, and I've had zero update snafus. The only issues, to date: Signal doesn't work (no idea) I couldn't find an RPM for Texture Packer. RPMs, or the lack of them, have held me back from Redhat spins for the longest time, so it's nice that Flatpacks are becoming the norm. Or at least, more common. It's almost a solved problem, annnd no Snaps! Hurrah!

But it's not perfect. Wayland's crashed on me twice. Is that normal?

Tbh, I'm impressed it works at all; I've purposefully steered around it until now. I'm also not convinced that KDE is doing much beyond 30fps on Wayland, which is a shame. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to affect my stuff so I can live with it. It'll get better...

This is the cheapest laptop I've ever bought, and it's very quickly becoming my favourite. It's small, light, cool, mostly silent, very functional and extremely well-engineered.

Well done to everyone at Framework! I'm a complete convert.