What’s new in this year’s Framework Laptop 13: Part 1 (upgrades)

Apr 06 2023
by Nirav Patel
Holding a Framework Laptop Mainboard

At the Framework Next Level Event, we shared a range of new upgrades for the Framework Laptop 13: a matte display, improved 3.5kg hinges, and a higher capacity 61Wh battery. Each of these is a result of listening to the feedback from the Framework Community, running research surveys with subscribers to the Framework Newsletter, and generally thinking through how we can continue to make the Framework Laptop as excellent as possible.

Original and Matte display side by side

First, the new 13.5” matte display takes the exact display we’ve been using since launch made by BOE, and customizes it to make the top layer to have a matte surface. We’re keeping the same high 2256x1504 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio, 400 nit brightness, 1500:1 contrast ratio, and 100% sRGB color gamut. In the past, matte displays have sometimes been excessively grainy, blurring out the screen content. The matte surface on our new display avoids that with an ultra-fine structure that diffuses reflections without breaking display contrast and sharpness. This is actually the same surface material we’re using on the 16” display on the Framework Laptop 16. When we first saw the performance of it there, we worked with BOE to quickly bring it to our 13.5” panel.

Next, we’ve spent the last year working to reoptimize our hinge structure to tighten mechanical tolerances, get a balanced force profile, and reduce resonance, all while staying within the same physical constraints as the original hinges. With this, we’ve landed on 3.5kg force, between the original 3.3kg hinges and the optional 4.0kg hinges that are in the Marketplace. 3.5kg allows for one-hand opening while also holding the screen angle better while in bumpy environments like a car or plane. The hinges are rated and tested to 15,000 cycles of use, and are easy to replace if you ever wear them down after many years of use.

Battery life improvement illustration

Finally, for the new 61Wh battery that comes pre-installed in the i7 and Ryzen 7 configurations, we worked with our supplier ATL to figure out how to maximize capacity within the same physical form factor as our original 55Wh battery. We landed on getting 11% higher capacity out of a new lithium ion chemistry with higher energy density. This includes moving to a new 4.45V cell voltage. We’re releasing firmware updates for 11th Gen and 12th Gen Framework Laptops to support the higher resulting pack voltage, and are coordinating with Google on support in the Chromebook Edition too.

Those are a lot of useful improvements, but we’re not done yet. We’ll be back next week with Part 2 where we share some of the smaller refinements and optimizations we’ve made to the new Framework Laptop 13.

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