Framework Chromebook: Upgradable & Customizable

Framework and Google have announced the new Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition.

As the name implies, this is an upgradeable, customizable Chromebook from the same company that released the Framework laptop last year.

User-upgradable laptops are rare enough already, but user-upgradable Chromebooks are nigh unheard of. While the audience size for such a device may remain to be seen, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for repairability in the laptop space.

Multiple parts of the Framework are user-customizable, though it’s unclear whether every position that’s adjustable on the Windows Framework can also be adjusted on the Chromebook. In addition, each part has a QR code on it which, if scanned, brings up the purchase page for the part’s replacement.

Most excitingly (to me), the Chromebook Edition includes the same expansion card system as the Windows edition, meaning you can choose the ports you want and where to put them. I don’t know of any other laptop, Windows or Chrome OS, where you can do this, and it’s easily my favorite part of Framework’s model. In addition, you can choose between USB-C, USB-A, microSD, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, high-speed storage, “and more,” per the press release. HDMI, in particular, is a convenient option to have on a Chromebook.

You can also upgrade memory and storage — I don’t necessarily expect the need to bump RAM and storage to be as high for most Chromebook users as it is for Windows users, but the option will be there for folks who want it.

The bezels are also swappable — they attach magnetically to the frame. All Framework bezels are compatible with the Chromebook Edition, meaning there are a few different colors available, and you should pretty quickly be able to snap them on and off.

Those are the only upgradable elements listed in the press release Google. So you may ask if the rest of the chassis (the processor, in particular, as that’s a big draw of the Windows laptop) will be upgradeable. In response, Framework founder Nirav Patel said that the Chromebook Edition is “directly compatible with most of the parts in the Framework Laptop ecosystem.”

The Chromebook includes a 2256 x 1504 3:2 display and weighs 1.3kg. Inside is a 12th Gen Core i5-1240P. There’s a privacy switch to cut power from the camera and microphones. But the main reason to buy this laptop, if previous Framework models are any indication, will be that you, as the user, can repair it.

Preorders begin today in the US and Canada at $999. Products are slated to ship in early December.