My new Framework Laptop came and I love every inch of its existence

I’ll keep this quick and simple. Framework is a new company made mostly by ex-Apple employees wanting to make a laptop that is repairable and upgradeable. Check them out here. https://frame.work/
Around late September, when Dell canceled my XPS order without notice, I decided to pre-order the framework laptop DIY edition. The specs I got were from batch 4 and cost around 1000 dollars.

One month later, batch 4 was shipped and now I have the laptop in my hand.

There are already plenty of reviews online covering the specs, performance, repairability, etc. I will skim through these and focus more on the Linux compatibility side.

When we think modular, repairable laptops, we tend to think IBM Thinkpads. Chonksters of laptops that are bulky, heavy. Not this one. If I didn’t tell you about framework, you would just think it was an ordinary laptop. It is thin and incredibly well built, rivaling my roommate’s Dell XPS and my friend’s Macbook air except for two minor areas.

The display is a glossy plastic, rather than glass, and the modular ports do not sit flush. Some are slightly larger and some are slightly smaller. Neither of these issues is a problem though.

For dimensions and weight, it is about the same thickness as a MacBook Air, while being slightly thinner to the touch.

The keyboard is soft but provides excellent feedback and has great key travel. The webcam is excellent while having a mic, and the camera kills switches.

The display is a gorgeous 400 nit 3 by 2 LCD with 100% srgb coverage.

And the trackpad is a wide spacious glass topped one that supports multi gestures.

Everything in the machine works after having an update and should work out of the box for Fedora 35 and We h users.

When I first installed Fedora on to the machine, the laptop could not connect to the internet. It uses the latest Intel AX210 wifi chipset, requiring Linux 5.10 or higher. After updating the laptop, the wifi chipset worked perfectly.

When I tried to install EndeavorOS, it would not let me boot to the USB installation media. I’ll have to experiment it a bit further.

The power button on the top right also works as a fingerprint reader. Again, after the update, I could register my finger in Gnome settings and use it to unlock the screen or when using sudo commands.

keyboard backlight as well as F key functionality(screen brightness, pause play, etc) all work as well.

Everything in the machine works after having an update and should work out of the box for Fedora 35 users.

the only gripe I currently have is with HiDPI display scaling.

Currently, I want to use 125% scaling for this machine. While I can enable experimental settings with a command for fractional scaling, Wayland applications look blurry. When I try to enable the fractional scaling on X11(which had better performance in Ubuntu), the command will not work and fractional scaling will not work. The Xandr workaround listed in the Arch wiki on the other hand does not work for me or at least I could not get it to work.

If anyone knows how to make xwayland apps not blurry with Wayland fractional scaling, or if you know how fractional scaling in x11 works, please comment down below.

Additionally, despite setting the global scale to 100%, GDM or the login screen still remains at 200% scaling. This is not too much of an issue but is still annoying.

For now, I live with 100% scaling and setting font scaling to 1.35. It is enough for me to clearly see most of the UI elements, but a global scale would be preferred.

As for power consumption, when TLP, Gnome power profiles daemon is installed and using the balanced preset, idle power draw is < 5 W while all core load boosts to 30 W sustained. For normal tasks, you will get around 5 to 6 hours of battery life. Definitely a weak point for the machine but it will still get you through the day.

All in all. I think this is the best laptop you can buy on the market. Not only is it a performant, well-built, sustainable, repairable, and upgradeable laptop, it is also an excellent Linux laptop that is officially recognized by the company for full customer support. With the Framework marketplace now open for spare parts or upgrades, I suspect this machine will last me the next 10 years or so where I just replace the CPU or GPU to faster components.

I hope this review helped you all and I’ll see you all next time. If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them in the comment sections




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19 Likes

Avoid fractional scaling like a plague - it’s the last thing that will be implemented in Linux properly :rofl:

Kids this days… :older_man:
You call 5-6 hours a weak point?! :sweat_smile:

It works on xorg Ubuntu, and Etch like a charm. But on Wayland, xWayland apps look blurry and Fedora doesn’t have the option to enable fractional scailing(Ubuntu and arch has a patch, Fedora does not and needs to use Xandr which I don’t inderstand)

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Yeah. Compared to my Friend’s macboom pro, the future is now old man​:crazy_face:

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I wouldn’t call it a charm, as a perfectionist i find a tons of problems there too…
But you know, some implement it better, some worse :upside_down_face:

Expecting Wayland to work perfectly with fractional scaling is a dream for now, but i’ll wait! :pensive:

Honestly. I’m more dissappinted with the lack of proper color management on Wayland.

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Give them time…It will come with GNU Hurd & Half Life 3 :rofl:

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So when the year if the Linux desktop becomes true? Cool

Soon™ :sweat_smile:

Dat’s cool…I’m interested to see how these things progress over the years.

If I had one, I would be getting Silverblue all up in that thang

I for one have learned to buy laptops with the resolution I intend to use them at. Why have extra pixels just to fight them into submission and making the GPU work harder to drive more of them than you need. Even if implemented right at OS level, there’s always going to be the odd app not playing nice. It’s just asking for a less-than-perfect experience.

Nice review!
Can you send some more detailed hardware info?
inxi -Fxxc0z --no-host | curl -F 'f:1=<-' ix.io
Should be there for fedora too ?

Thanks for the detailed review!

Is the body actually more like 4:3 or is it just because of the camera angle?

I’m no where an expert at hardware, but do the cpu port remain same across few years? Like the pins and all, don’t they get a design update?

You replace the motherboard it seems

e.g https://frame.work/products/mainboard?v=FRANFG0006

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I might be getting this myself in the not too distant future. A couple of questions/suggestions: 1) How easy is it to flex the display? 2) How sturdy is it overall? If you can compare it to some Thinkpads that would be great? 3) Did you check out the linux battery life thread on the Framework Forums? I know one user got the idle power usage down to 2.5w. I know one of the removable modules has a problem with idling (SD Card and I believe the HDMI). 4) How cramped is the keyboard, I am used to 14" laptops (T430, T480s) and this seems like a 13.3"? 5) Did you try changing the resolution to 1920x1280, I think that might solve your issue with the scaling? 6) How is the fan noise?

Thanks, I hope you enjoy using it long term. Just wish the battery life was better, and a matte display would be a clincher for me.

Summary
System:
Kernel: 5.14.13-200.fc34.x86_64 x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc 
v: 2.35.2-6.fc34 Desktop: GNOME 40.4 tk: GTK 3.24.30 wm: gnome-shell 
dm: GDM Distro: Fedora release 34 (Thirty Four) 
Machine:
Type: Laptop System: Framework product: Laptop v: A6 serial: <filter
Mobo: Framework model: FRANBMCP06 v: A6 serial: <filterUEFI: INSYDE 
v: 03.02 date: 07/01/2021 
Battery:
ID-1: BAT1 charge: 53.7 Wh (99.3%) condition: 54.1/55.0 Wh (98.3%) 
volts: 17.6 min: 15.4 model: NVT Framewo serial: <filterstatus: Charging 
CPU:
Info: Quad Core model: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 bits: 64 type: MT MCP 
arch: Tiger Lake rev: 1 cache: L2: 12 MiB 
flags: avx avx2 lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx 
bogomips: 44851 
Speed: 1080 MHz min/max: 400/4700 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1080 2: 639 
3: 1090 4: 721 5: 505 6: 598 7: 1085 8: 1100 
Graphics:
Device-1: Intel TigerLake-LP GT2 [Iris Xe Graphics] driver: i915 v: kernel 
bus-ID: 00:02.0 chip-ID: 8086:9a49 
Display: wayland server: X.Org 1.21.1.2 compositor: gnome-shell driver: 
loaded: i915 note: n/a (using device driver) - try sudo/root 
resolution: 2256x1504~60Hz s-dpi: 96 
OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel Xe Graphics (TGL GT2) v: 4.6 Mesa 21.1.8 
direct render: Yes 
Audio:
Device-1: Intel Tiger Lake-LP Smart Sound Audio driver: snd_hda_intel 
v: kernel bus-ID: 00:1f.3 chip-ID: 8086:a0c8 
Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.14.13-200.fc34.x86_64 running: yes 
Sound Server-2: PipeWire v: 0.3.38 running: yes 
Network:
Device-1: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX210/AX211/AX411 160MHz driver: iwlwifi v: kernel 
port: efa0 bus-ID: aa:00.0 chip-ID: 8086:2725 
IF: wlp170s0 state: up mac: <filter
IF-ID-1: virbr0 state: down mac: <filter
Bluetooth:
Device-1: Intel AX210 Bluetooth type: USB driver: btusb v: 0.8 
bus-ID: 3-10:4 chip-ID: 8087:0032 
Report: rfkill ID: hci0 rfk-id: 0 state: up address: see --recommends 
Drives:
Local Storage: total: 931.51 GiB used: 36.22 GiB (3.9%) 
ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: Samsung model: SSD 980 1TB size: 931.51 GiB 
speed: 31.6 Gb/s lanes: 4 serial: <filtertemp: 40.9 C 
Partition:
ID-1: / size: 929.91 GiB used: 36.02 GiB (3.9%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/dm-0 
mapped: luks-e87e337b-1bb2-48c3-a9db-0281e95e71f0 
ID-2: /boot size: 975.9 MiB used: 190.6 MiB (19.5%) fs: ext4 
dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 
ID-3: /boot/efi size: 598.8 MiB used: 16.2 MiB (2.7%) fs: vfat 
dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1 
ID-4: /home size: 929.91 GiB used: 36.02 GiB (3.9%) fs: btrfs 
dev: /dev/dm-0 mapped: luks-e87e337b-1bb2-48c3-a9db-0281e95e71f0 
Swap:
ID-1: swap-1 type: zram size: 7.54 GiB used: 97.5 MiB (1.3%) priority: 100 
dev: /dev/zram0 
Sensors:
System Temperatures: cpu: 47.8 C mobo: N/A 
Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:
Processes: 342 Uptime: 18m Memory: 7.54 GiB used: 4.78 GiB (63.3%) 
Init: systemd v: 248 runlevel: 5 target: graphical.target Compilers: 
gcc: 11.2.1 Packages: note: see --pkg flatpak: 32 Shell: Bash v: 5.1.0 
running-in: gnome-terminal inxi: 3.3.06

Yes. slightly shorter but wider than the Macbook air

And now, you swap out hte MOBO component.

  1. Chassis is extremley rigid. No flex basically. Compared to a macbook, practically identical
  2. Thanks for the battery info, might replace the HDMI port for now then
  3. Not at all cramped. Just a standard laptop keyboard.
  4. Why would I change the resolution? I bought the whole display I will use the whole display.
  5. Fans do not ramp up for normal use. When it does(compiling linux kernel) it is hearable but not bad.
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You complained about scaling. The 1920x1280 is the FHD 3:2 resolution. So you would still use the full display, but you would need no scaling.

It’s not in Gnome setting so I don’t think I can physically.Maybe via Xandr but I’ll need to experiment. Font scaling fixes most issues so not a priority issue though

Very surprised it does not show in the display settings as an option.

No no. It does show display settings just not 1920 by 1280.