One of the big upsides of the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition is the advertised ease of upgrades and/or repairs. With a truly modular build, this Chromebook does what no other can: it makes opening and working on your laptop a breeze.
To put this to the test, I wanted to attempt a RAM upgrade on our review unit without any setup, testing, or practice whatsoever. We had a RAM chip sitting around and with all I’ve seen about the Framework laptops in the past few months, I wagered that dropping in a bit of extra RAM would be quite simple. Spoiler alert: it really was.
As you can see in the video, this process was as easy as it comes and there was really nothing to prohibit me from getting the job done quickly, seamlessly, and efficiently. With the included tool that shipped in the box, I simply had to remove 5 screws from the magnetically-attached bottom portion, lift off the keyboard, detach the entire keyboard deck, and I was in.
It is worth noting that Framework makes sure the ribbon cables they use are reinforced and even come with an attached loop for popping the connections free. Lifting the keyboard deck off, I accidentally popped the connection off the board and it was no worse for wear. This move with a standard ribbon cable may have broken things a bit.
If you’ve seen one RAM slot you’ve seen them all, and the empty slot on the Framework Chromebook was nothing out of the ordinary. I dropped in the RAM, clicked it down into place, and put the entire thing back together in just a few minutes. Once powered up, everything was in order and without any fuss whatsoever, I’d upgraded the RAM in my Chromebook with absolute ease.
A couple things to note
There were a couple notable takeaways, here, and the first is the magnetically aligned base. With most laptops, you remove the screws and immediately begin hunting for the clips that hold things together. Not this one. Instead, once the screws are loose, the entire keyboard portion stays attached with magnets instead of clips, making the removal and replacement a complete breeze.
Second, there are QR codes littered through the well-labeled interior that take you to a walkthrough of any part you want to replace. I tested out a few, and you get all the steps, tools needed, and the amount of time Framework reckons you’ll need to finish the job. With written instructions, visual aides and video, most people will be able to handle these upgrades with ease.
Finally, it is very impressive to see a laptop with this amount of modularity feel this good when all sealed up. I really figured one of two things would be true: either this Chromebook would be easy to disassemble and feel a bit janky in the hand, or it would feel great and not be quite as easy to work on as originally billed. Thankfully, neither is the case and the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition is at one time sturdy and simple to work on.
Our full review is coming, but we wanted to try out a bit of this simplified repair/upgrade work right away. There’s no secret: this Chromebook is quite special and has been great to use. If you’ve been on the fence about it, you don’t have to wait for the review for me to tell you it is pretty awesome. For a device to feel like $999 and also be easily serviceable as well, it takes some quality engineering. Kudos to Framework for bringing the two together.