Just yesterday, Gabriel and I were discussing the fact that neither of us have a Chromebook that we’d 100% go out and buy today if we were in the market. Sure, my situation is pretty unique given the fact that there are new Chromebooks in and out of our office all the time, but I’d like to think I could always identify the device I’d plunk down my money for if the scenario demanded it. Before yesterday, I couldn’t.
There are great Chromebooks available right now, don’t get me wrong. The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook I’m typing on at the moment is obviously one of them and the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 and Spin 513 have been great companions of late, too. And though it wouldn’t even make sense for me to purchase a Chromebook right now (I’m constantly reviewing something at this point), I still like to keep one or two devices in mind that I at least think I’d purchase for myself.
And as I wrote the release post for the upcoming Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition (Framework Chromebook from this point forward), I found myself getting extremely excited for the arrival of this wildly-unique Chromebook. So much so that I am already prepping myself to purchase one of my own, and I thought I’d explain why I’d like the Framework Chromebook to be the next permanent Chromebook in my bag.
Granted, just like all of you, I’m waiting on the review period before making the jump. Pre-orders are live now and the device won’t arrive until December, but I’m hoping for a review unit before then to not only share with all of you, but to inform myself with as well. $999 isn’t a small price, but I think the Framework Chromebook could 100% be worth it if things pan out. So let’s look at why I think that.
Solid spec sheet
First up, any Chromebook that is going to demand a $999 price tag absolutely must show up with the specs to back it up. The Framework Chromebook does that and then some, showing up in its base form with as much horsepower, RAM and storage as any Chromebook you can buy at the moment.
As a quick reminder, the Framework Chromebook will start with a 12th-gen Core i5-1240P (4+8 cores), 8GB of RAM, 256GB of NVMe storage, a 400-nit 3:2 QHD display, an aluminum chassis, and a completely customizable port selection. If you are looking for raw power in a Chromebook, you have it here.
And, to be fair, Framework could have launched this device with middling specs and rested on the fact that it is modular, upgrade-ready, and easy to repair. Instead, they are bringing the goods in this $999 package, and the specs alone warrant a high price tag even without the interesting way that these laptops can be taken apart and modularly updated.
Simple and understated design
With specs and power likely not an issue, we move on to the design of this Chromebook, and I absolutely love it. There’s nothing flashy, nothing standout and nothing that should age poorly. Instead, the Framework Chromebook is simple, silver aluminum that looks classy, modern, and understated. One of my all-time favorite laptops is the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, and even to this day that Chromebook looks like it belongs. The design and look of the Framework Chromebook has the same timeless aesthetic, and I love it.
As I stated up there in the specs, this Chromebook is built to tinker with. Opening up the chassis is simple and the interior is built to be upgraded and repaired. You can simply buy replacement parts from the Framework Marketplace or grab more RAM or NVMe storage from anywhere on the internet to make this already-capable Chromebook even more beastly. Easy RAM and storage upgrades are great, but this Chromebook takes it to the next level.
You can buy all the pieces used to make this Chromebook from Framework individually, so if anything goes south, a replacement piece is an internet order away. While Framework hasn’t yet promised it, there could even be a situation down the road where the latest Intel mainboard becomes available on the Framework Marketplace and you’ll be able to pay to swap it out yourself. Add in a bit more RAM and just like that, your Chromebook could eventually become a current-gen model even if it is years old at that point.
Reasonable asking price
As a standalone Chromebook, the specs available on the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition are enough to warrant the price, but when combined with the flexibility, upgradeable nature, and ease of repair offered by Framework, this Chromebook could become the type of companion device I’d love to own.
I go through devices left and right, and though that’s part of the job at this point, I still enjoy having a Chromebook to come home to from time to time. For a very long time, that device was the Pixelbook for me and then it was the Pixelbook Go. At this point, I don’t really have a Chromebook that is my own, and the more I look at the Framework Chromebook, the more I’m thinking this could be the one for me. It needs to feel good to use and it needs to look good in person, but I think it will, and if the experience matches the specs and flexibility with this one, I think it could be my next personal Chromebook.