Most of the time, computers are viewed primarily as merely tools to get work done or a means to access content from the internet. But once in a while, a device comes along that can thoroughly charm its user. I’m writing this post from a device that I find is simply a joy to use: a Framework 13 AMD laptop running elementary OS.
I have found excitement in a laptop in the past: when I got my first MacBook Pro running Mac OS X Snow Leopard. That operating system was so clean, and the hardware so sleek, compared to what I had known before, that I was captivated by the device. But over time I learned more about technology, and my values changed. I’ve come to place high value on hardware that is repairable and upgradeable, and meanwhile Apple moved only further from those features. I also learned about open source software and the importance of user freedom.
Choosing a computer often means difficult tradeoffs between quality, repairability, upgradability, and compatibility. But what Framework has achieved with their laptops is such a compelling option, and running it with elementary OS just feels so good. Repairable hardware that still feels premium. Open software that is beautiful, polished, and works great on the hardware. And upgradeable options so this could remain a daily driver for a long time to come. What more could one ask for?
The DIY Edition of the framework might sound intimidating, but I think it is the way to go. Their guides for assembling the components are straightforward and easy to follow. And having gone through the assembly will mean you will have sound familiarity with options for upgrading component in the future. In fact, it’s even pretty fun to put together and be able to say you built your laptop yourself!
There was one tweak that elementary OS required. By default, the screen resolution is not quite optimal. What I found to work well was to keep the default resolution (2256×1504) and default HiDPI 2x scaling. And just change the text size in Settings > Desktop > Text from the default 1.0 down to about 0.90. Also, changed dock icon size from default 48 to like 46. And in Firefox, changed the default zoom to 90%.