Framework 13 Laptop Review | More Battery Life & Best Performance Laptop

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 Framework 13 

The new framework laptops for 2023. if you haven't heard about framework they are a new company that burst onto the scene about two years ago their unique focus is on delivering a fully upgradable and repairable laptop which is exactly what we want this takes a lot of stress out of the buying process as you no longer have to decide up front.

Framework 13 Laptop Review | More Battery Life & Best Performance Laptop
Framework 13 Laptop Review

What configuration you should get you can relax knowing you can upgrade it later on this also increases the longevity of the laptop and is of course better for the environment.

What's New in Framework 13

The good news is that they have updated their framework 13.5 with Intel's latest 13th gen and AMD ryzen zen4 processors I have one of them here today which I'm going to put through the paces and tell you all about they also have an upcoming larger 16 inch version

Which has upgradable graphics and a cool swappable keyboard design that allows you to switch between a centered keyboard or one with a number pad all laptops can be purchased as a full laptop or if like me you have an older framework you can just purchase the upgrade kit 

Which is substantially cheaper than buying a completely new laptop so that's what I went with with the 13th gen i7 1360p motherboard upgrade by the way I would have chosen the ryzen Zen 4 version but it wasn't shipping till Q3 of this year

I also have the new larger capacity battery it's a 61 watt hour up from 57 and it is the same physical size as the older one according to framework its capacity increase due to improvements in the lithium-ion chemistry I also have the new hinge which Promises to Keep the screen stable while making it easier to open with one hand 

Which is welcome I did struggle to open the older one with one hand there is a new matte display option this will make the screen easier to read in bright lighting conditions that would have otherwise caused a lot of Reflections other than that it's the same panel same resolution colors and brightness 

I also have the new louder speakers and the new HDMI DisplayPort cards that will allow the laptop to stay in a low power state for better battery life while while you have them in the laptop framework has also released a bunch of other upgrades over the last two years 

Such as a 2.5 gigabit Ethernet card and there is a Cooler Master case coming this case is super cool excuse the pun it will convert your framework motherboard into a small desktop again further increasing the longevity and reuse of these parts.

Performance

The performance difference was immediately apparent with all drivers and software up to date and running in best performance mode in geekbench 6 single core was up 25 and multi-core a whopping 59 geekbench 6 by the way tests a variety of common performance tasks in cinebench 

which tests how the laptop performs Under full load single core was up 30 and multi-core literally 119 which is more than twice as fast wow if you are wondering what's happening behind the scene my older 11th gen version of the laptop Drew 50 watts of power at Max.

This new version draws 60 that being said the older version averaged around 28 watts of power over a 10 minute torture test that is Running Center bench on a loop. The new version Drew 31 Watts clock speeds hit the advertised 5 gigahertz but then averaged at 2.4 and CPU temperatures hit the max of 100 degrees 

So you can really see the efficiency that's on display of Intel's 13th gen over the 11th under performance tasks the keyboard deck felt very comfortable at a Max of 42 degrees Celsius that Max by the way was around the top of the keyboard deck which you rarely use.

Speaker's Improvement

The speaker upgrade I definitely noticed an improvement the speakers were louder and clearer for the music tracks I measured I would say somewhere around 5 to 10 decibels. 

The new speakers also had a better Sound Stage that being said they absolutely do not come close to the speakers in my MacBook Pro 14. these speakers lack the fullness of those there is literally no base on these at all.

Battery Life

The next big issue is battery life for the test I lowered the screen's brightness to 200 nits then I ran the same Netflix movie on repeat over Wi-Fi for 4 hours at the end of the test it older 11th gen version with a smaller battery had 43 remaining and the newer 13th gen 1 with a larger battery 46 this indicates around seven hours of battery life for this use case look 

I'm disappointed here and by the way I spent a ton of time checking that there weren't Rogue programs running in the background I restarted the laptop and I ran the test multiple times same results this doesn't surprise me though as in practice.

I just haven't found Intel's 13th gen and 12th gen with those efficiency cores have really resulted in that much extra battery life.

DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM

One more gripe albeit a minor one the new Intel 13th gen motherboard only supports ddr4 RAM and not the newer faster ddr5 this does make the new motherboards backwards compatible though with your old Ram as ddr5 modules do not use the same socket as ddr4 alright.

Conclusion

Let's wrap framework are doing a lot of things right and I'm a big supporter that being said I have to call it as it is I think the main type of person who should buy this laptop is someone who is using it in a very loud environment that's because of the fan noise

For example, 

You are a software developer working in an open plan office or a loud co-working space for someone like you this laptop is a fantastic choice and the other type of user that I can see enjoying this laptop is someone doing very lightweight tasks.

Who is happy to run the laptop in best power efficiency mode and is a dedicated supporter of framework's Mission to allow you to upgrade your laptops.

Which is a noble one that's because you'd have to choose this over other external laptops like the MacBook Air with M2 which has many benefits over this one such as being dead silent offering far more powerful Graphics capabilities and having much longer battery life.

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