Framework Laptop 16 Delivers Great Linux Support & Performance, Excellent Customizability
The review embargo has now expired on the Framework Laptop 16, the latest innovative and upgradeable laptop from this company that has made quite a name for itself with modular and user-upgradeable laptop designs for both AMD and Intel. The new Framework Laptop 16 offers even more customizability around the keyboard/touchpad and other options including over using a Radeon RX 7700S graphics module and more. Besides the immense customizability options and upgrades available with the Framework Laptop 16, the new model employs the AMD Ryzen 7040HS processor for even greater performance over the AMD Ryzen 7040U found with the latest Framework 13 model.
Since first testing out the Framework Laptop in 2021 and then last November reviewing the Framework 13 with AMD Ryzen 7040U, I've been a big fan of the Framework Laptops. When first announced years ago the Framework Laptop sounded great in theory but ultimately questionable about how well it would work out in practice and whether they'd be able to firmly deliver and stand the test of time. Well, they've been nailing it with execution and continuing to prove themselves with each new iteration and making their upgradeable products all the more exciting and driving greater interest with each succeeding launch.
In not reading too much on the Framework Laptop 16 prior to its arrival, I was blown away by the additional customizability available with this 16-inch laptop thanks to the larger form factor while the motherboard, I/O ports, and other upgradeable options with prior Framework Laptops remain available. Framework also continues to make the design files open-source and leverage other open aspects of their upgradeable laptop designs to really offer a compelling solution. Plus, as with the Framework 13, there is nice Linux support. With the prior model there was initially a Linux hiccup causing the BIOS needing an update for the AMD graphics support, but the Framework 16 was in good shape. If you are running a modern Linux distribution with an up-to-date Mesa, Linux kernel, and AMDGPU firmware, you should be good to go.
The Framework Laptop 16 is a bit heavier -- fully kitted out it's a bit heavy, one of my few complains with the new unit. Plus in maintaining the slimness of the overall laptop if wanting to use the Gigabit Ethernet port it sticks out from the side of the laptop. The weight (with the discrete graphics module) and breaking the sleak design when using certain I/O ports / upgrades are really the only critiques I've had with the unit in my testing thus far.
Pricing on the Framework Laptop 16 starts at $1399 USD for the DIY model or $1699 USD for the pre-built version with Microsoft Windows pre-installed. It's more expensive than the Framework 13 as going for the higher-end Ryzen 7040HS processor plus the additional customizability options thanks to the larger design.
The base pricing on the Framework Laptop 16 is with the Ryzen 7 7840HS while the Ryzen 9 7940HS is available (5.1GHz vs. 5.2GHz maximum boost frequency) for an additional $200, there are DDR5-5600 memory options from 8GB up to 64GB (all replaceable DIMMs), up to two NVMe SSDs, the optional graphics module for enjoying Radeon RX 7700S discrete graphics rather than the integrated RX 780M graphics, various input module options from an RGB macropad to numpad, and the various expansion cards.
Another great feature worth pointing out with the Framework Laptop 16 is the display's 165Hz refresh rate that also supports VRR and FreeSync. The display is very nice with the Framework Laptop 16 with a 1500:1 contrast ratio and 500nit brightness.