MAINGEAR VECTOR 2 Review - A Choice For Gaming in 2020 — Micro Center

MAINGEAR VECTOR 2 Review - A Choice For Gaming in 2020

AlexSAlexS admin
edited June 9 in MAINGEAR


Gaming laptop popularity is increasing more and more in this day and age.  With technology forever evolving, the power of processors and video cards you see in high end desktops are now being found more commonly in mid to high-end gaming laptops.  

On top of that, the affordability for a higher end gaming laptop that can play most Triple AAA titles at medium-high settings with decent frame rates is reaching levels that the average gamer would be comfortable with when it comes to cost for performance.  

MAINGEAR aims to spearhead this demographic this year with their newest model, the MAINGEAR Vector 2.

 First Impressions

I was quite honored by my boss when he provided me this opportunity to review this golden sample for the MAINGEAR Vector 2.  At first glance, you notice the simple, yet elegant design of the case that doesn’t necessarily yell “GAMER!” to the world. 


For owners of the previous VECTOR, they’ll notice it looks quite similar to their own. That's because the case is nearly identical to the previous rendition. You know what they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  The full backlit keyboard is also an attractive feature and provides ample lighting in dark areas.  


Looking at the outside of the laptop, I noticed a healthy amount of ports suited towards a gaming laptop. Ethernet port, multiple video ports, USB-C, and more.  The ASUS ROG nor the MSI Laptop I’ve recently had possession of had nowhere near this sort of capacity. The build feels quite sturdy and the display itself doesn’t feel too flimsy either. 

 

For the remainder of the review, please use the shortcuts below to jump to whichever section you prefer.


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  • AlexSAlexS admin

    Hardware Specifications

    Internals

    Peripherals

    External Ports & Features
  • AlexSAlexS admin
    edited June 10

    Internals


         The MAINGEAR Vector 2 essentially upgrades many of its components to its newer rendition. Below I’ve listed the comparison of major hardware components between the Vector and Vector 2.



          Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  The VECTOR 2 uses the desktop variant of the RTX 2060 versus it’s less-powerful, mobile counterpart.  This makes a big difference in performance as the goal of playing TRIPLE AAA titles on higher settings is reachable.  

    An upgrade to the RAM from DDR4-2666 to DDR4-2933 makes a nice jump as well, with an open slot available if you wish to add another stick of RAM.  The last major upgrade would be the doubling of storage.  The 1TB NVMe SSD removes that worry of having to add and remove games occasionally and the VECTOR 2 also includes a second M.2 slot for adding even more storage.  

    You also see a processor upgrade to 10th Gen Intel with the i7-10750H 6-core processor.


    Speakers

         The speakers output a nice clear sound at high volume.  It’s pretty clear with very minimal distortion which I enjoy.  While this attribute is sufficient for most games and videos, a gaming headset will be recommended if you need more directional audio.


    Fans

         Underneath the mesh cage house two 5V, 2.25A fans that efficiently expel heat from the device.  Air flow can be felt strongly from the two vents on the side and the two vents in the rear. Like most gaming laptops, this does produce a hefty amount of noise under load but only under load. 

    The NODE control center also allows a FAN BOOST option to help cool the internals even more.  On idle or light use (office application, browsing the web) you’ll hear little to no fan noise.


    Battery

         Gaming laptops are notorious for draining the battery, even when using light applications.  Nvidia ® Optimus helps relieve this issue.  The VECTOR 2 comes with a 4-cell 15.4V 4100mAh battery that can touch 5-6 hours with light use on Battery Saver mode.  Light gaming will see a 1-2 hours on battery life.


  • AlexSAlexS admin
    edited June 10

    Externals


    Beneath the center of the display is a 720p VGA webcam with LED indicator and to the right of this, a microphone.  The most noise from a visual standpoint will be the side and rear portions of the laptop.  On both sides towards the rear, you’ll have a ribbed design for airflow.  On the back, you’ll also find additional ventilation to keep the VECTOR 2 nice and cool.  
    On the bottom of the unit, you’ll see some of the internals of the laptop that are covered by a sturdy mesh cage.  I absolutely love this design as you’re maximizing the amount of airflow to come through the bottom of the laptop without compromising the sturdiness of the chassis. 

    The Display

    The VECTOR 2 comes with a 15.6” Full HD, non-touchscreen display with a 144hz refresh rate.  As a former Counter-strike enthusiast, this instantly gave me good vibes and almost made me want to jump back into that game when I was playing a few rounds.  The colors are great and the picture is smooth all around.  The max brightness for this unit can touch towards 300 nits. 
     F1 2019 also performed quite well as driving at 195MPH+ speeds in a Mercedes F1 car looks surprisingly okay on the 15.6” display.  The clean and crisp display is definitely a pro for this gaming laptop.

    The Keyboard

    The VECTOR 2 comes with a full chiclet style RGB keyboard.  The keys work well for a touch typist and for hunt-and-peckers, the backlighting can help with locating keys with ease.  The NODE Control Software allows you to easily change the colors of the keyboard to your liking.  

    Touchpad

    The VECTOR 2’s Synaptics touchpad has a good size and has solid functionality for the laptop.  A green LED is placed in the upper left hand corner that can be double tapped to enable or disable the touchpad.  
    Two finger functionality is actually quite smooth in case you need to zoom in or out on a web page or document.  However, unless you’re playing RIOT Games’ Teamfight Tactics, or solitaire, plug in an external mouse.  Actually, do that anyways.  

    I/O Ports

    MAINGEAR gifts us a plethora of ports to choose from and for that, we thank them.  I do wish the USB-C port was display-enabled but the two mini-DisplayPort and HDMI output will do the job for most users.  
    There’s a USB 2.0 port included as well which I’m sure a decision was made for this port to be included.  Placement of all ports are pretty optimal as well.  Shouldn’t cause too much interference with heat exhaust coming out from the ventilation. 

    Networking

    For wireless and Bluetooth capabilities, the VECTOR 2 comes with an Intel 9462NGW wireless/Bluetooth card.  It meets the 802.11AC standard with Bluetooth 5.0 so your wireless needs should be covered. Also included is an RJ45 port for gamers who prefer a hardwired connection.

    The Chassis

    Going over the case, you have a very sleek, yet simple design. A matte black surface covers the case with the iconic MAINGEAR logo centered on top.  Upon opening the laptop, you reveal the full RGB chiclet style keyboard, two nicely placed buttons for Power and Performance Mode and LEDs to signify Power, Battery, and CAPS Lock.  
  • AlexSAlexS admin

    0% Bloatware

         So when it comes to the advertised 0% BLOATWARE by MAINGEAR...it’s true.  The VECTOR 2 comes with a clean installation of Windows 10, its NODE Control Center and that’s it.  Definitely a pro in my book. 

    The NODE Control Center is also really easy to use.  From monitoring temps/fan control to changing the colors of your RGB Backlit keyboard, the software is there and very convenient.  The software is also linked to the Performance Mode button I mentioned earlier, so you can cycle it from Office, Gaming, or Turbo modes with the single press of the button.  More on the software here

  • AlexSAlexS admin

    Final Thoughts

        The MAINGEAR Vector 2 would be a nice addition to anyone’s gaming arsenal.  The battery life is surprisingly lengthy with normal applications such as Office or web browsers.  

    MAINGEAR’s decision to use the desktop variant of the RTX 2060 pays off with great performance.  The 144hz panel just makes everything better.  The Vector 2 is truly a sleek option for on-the-go gaming.  

         If you're coming from the desktop world and still would like to get an affordable mechanical keyboard and mouse to bring along, I'd recommend the Inland MK-S RGB Gaming Keyboard (Ten-Keyless) and Inland GM76 Gaming Mouse.  Very affordable options with great quality for some intense gaming.  

    Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next review!

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