Maingear Vector laptopSource: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/Windows Central

Maingear isn't as big of a name in the gaming space as Razer, Lenovo, and the like. However, the company has catered well to what PC gamers want in a desktop or laptop. With its latest laptop, the Vector, Maingear has hewed close to that reputation with a solid piece of gaming kit that looks good, too.

There are certainly a lot of great portable gaming rigs out there, but the Maingear Vector manages to hold its own against some of the best of them. Plus, it does it at a relatively affordable price. Let's dive in and see how it stacks up.

Gaming done right

Maingear Vector

$1,200 at Amazon

Bottom line: The Maingear Vector is as capable as it is stylish. A mix of great hardware and a solid price make it an excellent choice for PC gamers on the go.

Pros

  • Solid specs for price
  • Vivid 144Hz 1080p display
  • Nice port selection
  • Extra power on tap

Cons

  • Webcam sits under display
  • Underwhelming battery life
  • Flexible body

Maingear Vector technical specifications

Maingear Vector laptopSource: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/Windows Central

Category Spec
Display 15.6 inches
1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)
Non-touch
144Hz refresh rate
Processor 9th Gen
Six cores
Intel Core i9-9750H
Up to 4.0 GHz
RAM Dual channel
Up to 32GB DDR4-2666MHz
Storage 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
6 GB GDDR6 VRAM
Ports USB-A 3.1 x 2
USB-A 2.0 x1
USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2) x 1
RJ-45 Ethernet
Mini-DisplayPort 1.2 x2
HDMI 2.0 x 1
SD card reader
Mic and headphone
Audio Two speakers
Sound Blaster Cinema 5
Touchpad Microsoft Precision Drivers
Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi AC 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0
Camera 1080p @ 30 FPS
Battery 64Whr
Dimensions 14.16 inches x 9.58 inches x 0.78 inches
Weight 4.16 pounds

What you'll love about the Maingear Vector

Maingear Vector laptopSource: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/Windows Central

Slim gaming laptops are now becoming the norm, but the Vector does it in style. Relatively understated on the outside, the Vector keeps to a stealthy black aesthetic that reserves the usual RGB lights you'd expect from a gaming PC for the keyboard and a glowing Maingear logo on the hinge. The fan grates also have a slightly aggressive look to them, but it's nothing that would stand out as an eyesore.

The only other notable adornment is the prominent reflective Maingear logo on the lid, but it blends into the body of the laptop in a way that's unobtrusive and looks pretty slick. The sides are flanked by your usual spread of USB ports, an SD card reader, and an expanding ethernet port. One of my favorite things about the Vector's ports is that the power input is at the back of the laptop, keeping it firmly out of the way. It sits next to a USB-C port, two Mini DisplayPorts and a full-size HDMI port, so you won't find yourself wanting for ports.

What's impressive is how much power Maingear has stuffed into this relatively small and unassuming chassis. Inside the Vector you'll find an Intel Core i9-9750 processor and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1660 Ti powering the whole machine. And in my testing, those two components give you plenty of headroom for great looking gaming on the go.

I mostly tested the Maingear Vector with bouts of Doom and Borderlands 3. In Borderlands 3, I was able to hold above 60 frames per second, occasionally jumping up to 90, with ultra settings across the board. Dropping the settings down to the lowest presets gave me averages between 100 to 120 frames per second, even through massive firefights.

What makes the gaming experience more delightful is that you can pull in more power with the press of a button. Maingear has included a dedicated button next to the power key that allows you to switch between Office, Gaming, and Turbo modes. Switching to Turbo will ensure the laptop is tapping into its full power, but at the cost of some significant heat and intense fan noise. Still, it's a nice little touch that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Maingear Vector laptopMaingear Vector laptopMaingear Vector laptopSource: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/Windows Central

Another thing that pleasantly surprised me was the keyboard. I type on a mechanical keyboard all day long under normal circumstances, so I'm used to the noisy, tactile feel of the keys under my fingers. The Vector goes the opposite direction by including silent keys that are pretty delightful to use. You still feel a moderate click when the key actuates, but it's entirely silent and the travel is relatively low.

The 15.6-inch 1080p display is also bright, crisp, and vivid. There are slim bezels around the top and sides, with the only potential downside being the tall bottom bezel. However, the bottom bezel just sort of fades away as you run around whichever virtual world suits your fancy. The matte finish is also a nice touch, and it cut down considerably on the glare I typically experience with my work laptop.

Maingear's choice of a 1080p display is also a really good move here. It's may not be as dense as a QHD or 4K panel, but the panel looked crisp in all situations. Only having to push a 1920 x 1080 resolution also allows the hardware to really shine with excellent framerates while having less of an impact on battery life.

3DMark

Time Spy (Higher is better)

Laptop GPU Score
Maingear Vector GTX 1660 Ti 6,161
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q 6,406
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 RTX 2080 Max-Q 7,128
Lenovo Legion Y730 GTX 1050 Ti 2,568
Lenovo Legion Y7000 GTX 1060 3,975
Dell G7 15 7588 GTX 1060 3,792
Acer Predator Triton 700 GTX 1080 5,809
ASUS ROG Zephyrus GTX 1080 5,551

3DMark

Fire Strike (Higher is better)

Laptop GPU Score
Maingear Vector GTX 1660 Ti 14,052
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q 14,669
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 RTX 2080 Max-Q 16,303
Lenovo Legion Y730 GTX 1050 Ti 6,890
Lenovo Legion Y7000 GTX 1060 10,137
Razer Blade 15 GTX 1070 13,560
Acer Predator Triton 700 GTX 1080 14,572
HP Omen 15 GTX 1060 8,722

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
Maingear Vector i9-9750H 5,257 23,718
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 i7-8750H 4,975 22,294
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 i7-8750H 5,067 22,578
Lenovo Legion Y730 i7-8750H 4,793 19,085
MSI PS63 Modern i7-8565U 4,909 14,466
Lenovo Legion Y7000 i7-8750H 5,134 22,540
Razer Blade 15 i7-8750H 4,872 17,910
Acer Predator Triton 700 i7-7700HQ 4,834 15,298

PCMark

PCMark Home Conventional 3.0

Device Score
Maingear Vector 4,451
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 4,789
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 5,102
Lenovo Legion Y730 3,731
Lenovo Legion Y7000 4,097
Acer Predator Triton 700 4,205
Dell G7 15 7588 3,853

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

Device Read Write
Maingear Vector 2,801 MB/s 1,581 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 3,395.1 MB/s 1,549.7 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 3,356.5 MB/s 1,388.1 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y730 3,244.8 MB/s 1,335.4 MB/s
MSI PS63 Modern 3,300 MB/s 1,875 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y7000 3,493.5 MB/s 1,653.8 MB/s
Razer Blade 15 2,722 MB/s 1,217 MB/s
Dell G7 15 7588 521.5 MB/s 303.4 MB/s

The SSD in the Maingear Vector isn't the fastest out there, but it's a difference you likely won't notice in general use.

What you'll dislike about the Maingear Vector

Maingear Vector laptopSource: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/Windows Central

The main disappointment I have with the Maingear Vector is with the webcam position. While the camera does an okay enough job for video chats and meetings, it's placed under the display. This means it will be looking firmly up your nose when in use.

With as slim as the bezels are surrounding the rest of the display, I understand the reasoning behind the webcam position. However, I would have loved to see a smaller camera module in the top of the display, similar to how Dell has incorporated the camera in the slim top bezel of its latest XPS 13 series. If you pick up the Vector, you'll likely want to keep an external webcam around for the occasional meeting, or just deal with the nose-cam.

Another area of concern is the chassis itself. Don't get me wrong, the Vector feels like a very solid laptop; there's nothing cheap about it. However, the polycarbonate body has plenty of flex to it when you're using the keyboard. Simply resting your wrists on the laptop causes the area around the trackpad to flex inward. Thankfully, that's slightly offset by the soft-touch surface, which feels really good to the touch.

Finally, there's battery life. This is a common complaint among gaming laptops, so it's not entirely unexpected. However, if you're planning to use the Vector for extended periods away from a power outlet, you'll be sorely disappointed. I was only able to achieve a few hours of battery life in general use while unplugged. Add in some gaming, and you're going to drain the battery quickly.

Unfortunately, that also means you'll have to lug around the fairly sizable power brick. Again, this is usually the case for gaming laptops, but it means you'll have to account for more weight and bulk as you tote the Vector around.

Should you buy the Maingear Vector gaming laptop?

Maingear Vector laptopSource: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/Windows Central

If you're in the market for a gaming laptop, then the Maingear Vector offers excellent value for the money. The Core i9 processor and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti offer up plenty of power to push framerates to excellent heights in most demanding games. Moreover, the Vector's understated design is a breath of fresh air and won't make for a distracting statement piece while you're out and about.

4 out of 5

The Vector won't be a solid choice for general office work because of how battery hungry it is. However, if that's your main concern, you should probably direct your attention to the slew of great Ultrabooks out there. For PC gamers, however, the Vector is an excellent choice for a portable gaming rig.

Sleek power

Maingear Vector

Solid gaming, solid price

The Maingear Vector holds its own at a great price. If you want an affordable portable gaming rig with plenty of power, the Vector is absolutely worth a look.

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