Framework laptop - first impressions

I've been using the Framework laptop for a few weeks now, and would like to share first impressions. In short -- it's the best laptop I had in years.

First, there are a few things that this device gets exactly right: screen, keyboard and trackpad. The screen is 3x2 which means you can get more vertical space for code and documentation. You may think that it's not too much of a difference compared to 16x9, but it's enough to compensate for browser's tab bars and search field, or the window decorations of your editor if you have them. The key travel is pretty decent and the keys are not too mushy. I even prefer this keyboard to the thinkpad's.

Now, the trackpad won't compare to the one you find on a macbook, but it's in my opinion ahead of thinkpads and many other options I've tried. It has a glass surface and is large enough to use comfortably. Palm rejection is decent and I didn't have any issues with ghost touches registering while I'm typing on the keyboard.

Other hardware issues that I was used to in other laptops, like "coil whine" where you hear a high-pitched buzz while the laptop is actively working, are not present. Time will tell if it's just coincidence or good engineering.

Now let's talk about ports. The ports on this machine are configurable, and I find 4 ports to be just right for me to cover the basic needs. Here's the modules I purchased:

And the most interesting part that is the easiest for laptop manufacturers to screw up is Linux support. Many laptop manufacturers try to minimize the price of chips that go into the machine and so don't care about the sourcing from any other perspective. If it has drivers for windows -- it's enough. So you get weird bugs like sound disappearing completely after you plug and unplug the headphones, or inability to properly control fan speed or screen backlight. Best case scenario for these laptops is that you have to spend time to hunt down configs and custom firmwares on wikis that often go out of date as you update the OS.

With Framework, if you get the latest Fedora build, everything works out of the box, even the fingerprint reader (which is the thing that almost never works on other laptops under Linux). I also find the default ACPI and suspend options good enough, but people report that enabling deep sleep on Linux works without major issues as well. This is something to be tested and I'll share my experience in the next posts.

I don't know what has taken the industry so long to produce a perfect Linux laptop, but here we are in 2021. If you don't know what to buy, the Framework laptop is what I would wholeheartedly recommend.