Maingear, which is known for making super-powerful PCs, just announced the Pulse 15. The Maingear Pulse 15, which is the company’s latest gaming laptop, combines an extreme amount of power in a relatively portable package. But is it worth the $2,000-ish price tag?
Measuring 0.75 inches thick and weighing 3.75 pounds, the Maingear Pulse 15 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-4710HQ quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics card, and a 15.6-inch 3K IPS display, whose exact resolution comes in at 2880×1620. On top of that, the base model Pulse 15, which costs $2,199, also includes 16GB of RAM, a 128GB mSATA SSD paired with a 1TB mechanical hard drive, and an 8X external DVD burner. Removing that last item from the configuration shaves $27 off the price. There’s no option to outfit the Pulse 15 with an internal optical drive, so you’ll need to go the external route if you want to use discs with it. The built-in Sound Blaster speakers offer name brand recognition. Network connectivity can be established via Ethernet, or 802.11ac Wi-Fi. You can slather the Pulse 15 in a color other than Black, but doing so adds at least $199 to the price, which seems steep. Available options include, Blue, Green, Orange, and more.
There’s some slight confusion though. Maingear told us that the Pulse 15 will ship with an Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU, which, according to Intel, is clocked at 2.5GHz. However, their config page indicates that only a 4700HQ processor running at 2.4GHz is available with the Pulse 15. We reached out to Maingear for clarification, and we were assured that the Pulse 15 indeed ships with a 4710HQ processor with a 2.5GHz clock, and that the Pulse 15’s configuration page will be corrected to reflect that.
Port selection includes four USB 3.0 connections, a pair of mini DisplayPort connectors, HDMI, and the aforementioned Ethernet port as well. The Pulse 15 offers a memory card reader too. As expected, the Pulse 15 runs Windows 8.1, and is powered by a 6-cell battery. However, if you’re really opposed to using Windows 8, you can configure the Pulse 15 to come with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit for no extra charge.
While the Pulse 15 will likely be able to run almost any game under the sun, we see two potential issues with it. First, 16GB of RAM is a bit much, and is probably double the amount that gamers need. Unfortunately, there’s no option to get a Pulse 15 with less than 16GB. Then, there’s the display. A 3K screen may make games and movies look great, but its inclusion in the Pulse 15 will adversely impact battery life, perhaps to a significant degree. Higher resolution is great, but going with a 1080p display would have lowered the cost, and boosted battery life while providing today’s standard resolution for gaming laptops, which is plenty good enough. As is the case with the system’s memory count, you can’t configure it with a lower-res display either. However, we can’t issue a full verdict on this rig until we get a review unit in.
You can check out a video preview of the Maingear Pulse 15 below, courtesy of YouTube.