Framework’s modular Chromebook is the Chrome OS laptop of my dreams

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A lot to my continued disappointment, Chrome OS {hardware} hasn’t drastically developed for the reason that working system’s early days. Whereas we get yearly processor revisions and the odd spec bump or two, most Chromebooks nonetheless resemble skinny shoppers — a pc designed round a singular process (internet looking) and never a lot else.

This was as soon as a hen and egg drawback, the place the software program wanted to mature earlier than the {hardware} might. However now? There’s extra motive than ever to enter the Chrome OS ecosystem, with help for software program improvement through Linux, Android apps, and even PC gaming.

To be clear, I’m not saying you can’t purchase a robust Chromebook. You completely can; simply take a look at the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook for proof. It’s a premium ultra-portable that may be configured to suit an Intel i7 processor and 32GB of RAM. Nevertheless, HP’s base configuration illustrates my level completely. For an eye-watering $1,149, all you get is an i3 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB of storage.

Cheaper Chromebooks with higher specs do exist, however solely in choose markets just like the US and Canada. And even then, nothing has actually stood out to me, for causes I’ll clarify later. That modifications immediately, although, with the repair-focused {hardware} startup Framework announcing its first-ever Chrome OS laptop.

Because of Framework, you not need to pay a premium for top-tier {hardware} paired with Chrome OS.

If the Framework Laptop computer Chromebook Version appears to be like eerily just like the corporate’s present Home windows lineup, that’s no coincidence. The 2 share many specs on paper, which seemingly makes manufacturing and restore easier. What’s necessary is that you simply received’t pay a premium for Chrome OS. The $999 beginning worth for a twelfth Gen Intel i5 processor is about on par with the Home windows equal.

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However I’m not simply enthusiastic about specs or worth right here. I consider Framework’s newest launch has actual potential to disrupt the Chromebook market. To know why, it’s value looking at the established order.

On trendy Chromebooks just like the HP Elite Dragonfly, for instance, you’ll be able to improve the storage if you will get previous the Torx safety screws, however you’ll be able to’t swap out anything. The scenario is by some means even direr whenever you take a look at non-flagship Chromebooks from different manufacturers.

Many affordable Chromebooks ship with not simply non-upgradable RAM, but additionally soldered eMMC flash storage. Even for those who’re prepared to shell out almost $1,000, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a Chrome OS machine with 1TB and even 512GB of storage. That makes little sense — the identical producers already promote Home windows laptops with that a lot storage, and sometimes at a fraction of the associated fee.

Chromebooks with smart reminiscence and storage configurations are uncommon and just about none are user-upgradable.

Now, I do know that Framework’s increased reminiscence and storage configurations will value further — the $999 base mannequin contains 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. However not less than you get the choice to scale, which is one thing you’ll be able to’t say about just about every other Chromebook available on the market. Extra importantly, although, you don’t need to pay for the upgrades upfront.

On multiple event, I’ve been compelled to promote or recycle a wonderfully practical Chromebook just because it bumped into RAM or reminiscence bottlenecks after just a few years. Even for those who’re not an influence person, it’s straightforward to replenish 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage on a contemporary Chromebook. Android apps alone can take up a great chunk of these sources, as can Steam games and Linux apps.

With help for intensive duties like software program improvement and gaming, Chrome OS can now make the most of highly effective {hardware}.

Framework’s repair-focused design implies that I can swap out elements myself when the time comes. Anybody can do it, in reality, for the reason that firm even contains the mandatory screwdriver within the field.

And it’s not simply inner elements both. The ports on the Framework Laptop computer can all be swapped out — a giant deal as a result of only a few Chromebooks available on the market immediately have HDMI and Ethernet ports. I’ve grown pissed off with having nothing however USB-C and a solitary USB-A port. Framework’s modular strategy implies that I may even connect with a DisplayPort-only monitor and not using a dongle.

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The Framework Laptop computer even features a screwdriver within the field.

Does Framework’s modular laptop computer sacrifice portability in trade for modular ports and upgradability? I don’t assume so. In comparison with my moveable day by day driver — a 13.5-inch Floor Laptop computer 4 — the Framework Laptop computer is simply a contact heavier and thicker. In reality, given the small distinction, I doubt I’d even discover it in the actual world. The additional heft allows you to change the keyboard, trackpad, and battery if and after they fail — no glue, no nonsense. It’s the precise reverse of the lackluster self-repair programs we’ve seen from Apple and others of late.

What do you consider the Framework Laptop computer Chromebook Version?

4 votes

At one level, I’d all however given up on shopping for Chromebook {hardware} — regardless of my love for Chrome OS itself. Save for a disruptive product or a Pixelbook reboot, which we now know isn’t coming, I had determined that my greatest plan of action could be to put in Chrome OS Flex on a daily Home windows laptop computer. However with Framework’s modular Chromebook on the horizon now, maybe it’s time for me to rethink that call.


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