March 5, 2024

thinking big — Review: Frameworks Laptop 16 is unique, laudable, fascinating, and flawed Great ideas go up against awkward limitations in Framework’s 16-inch sequel.

Andrew Cunningham – Jan 29, 2024 11:35 am UTC Enlarge / The Framework Laptop 16.Andrew Cunningham reader comments 2 Specs at a glance: Framework Laptop 16 OS Windows 11 23H2 CPU AMD Ryzen 7 7940HS (8-cores) RAM 32GB DDR5-5600 (upgradeable) GPU AMD Radeon 780M (integrated)/AMD Radeon RX 7700S (dedicated) SSD 1TB Western Digital Black SN770 Battery 85 WHr Display 16-inch 2560×1600 165 Hz matte non-touchscreen Connectivity 6x recessed USB-C ports (2x USB 4, 4x USB 3.2) with customizable “Expansion Card” dongles Weight 4.63 pounds (2.1 kg) without GPU, 5.29 pounds (2.4 kg) with GPU Price as tested $2,499 pre-built, $2,421 DIY edition with no OS

Now that the Framework Laptop 13 has been through three refresh cyclesincluding one that swapped from Intel’s CPUs to AMD’s within the exact same bodythe company is setting its sights on something bigger.

Today, we’re taking an extended look at the first Framework Laptop 16, which wants to do for a workstation/gaming laptop what the Framework Laptop 13 did for thin-and-light ultraportables. In some ways, the people who use these kinds of systems need a Framework Laptop most of all; they’re an even bigger investment than a thin-and-light laptop, and a single CPU, GPU, memory, or storage upgrade can extend the useful life of the system for years, just like upgrading a desktop.

The Laptop 16 melds ideas from the original Framework Laptop with some all-new mechanisms for customizing the device’s keyboard, adding and upgrading a dedicated GPU, and installing other modules. The result is a relatively bulky and heavy laptop compared to many of its non-upgradeable alternatives. And you’ll need to trust that Framework delivers on its upgradeability promises somewhere down the line since the current options for upgrading and expanding the laptop are fairly limited.

But the company has done a great job of building trust with the Framework Laptop 13if you don’t mind the design of the Laptop 16, there’s a reasonably good chance you’ll have appealing upgrades to grab. In a year or two. Table of Contents Design touches and new upgrades Accessing the motherboard, dealing with port problems Performance Battery life Scattered thoughts Keyboard and trackpad and spacers Fan noise Disappointing speakers, webcam Unique, but not essential (for now) The good The bad The ugly Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next → reader comments 2 Andrew Cunningham Andrew is a Senior Technology Reporter at Ars Technica, with a focus on consumer tech including computer hardware and in-depth reviews of operating systems like Windows and macOS. Andrew lives in Philadelphia and co-hosts a weekly book podcast called Overdue. Advertisement Channel Ars Technica ← Previous story Next story → Related Stories Today on Ars