Maingear eX-L 15 Gaming Notebook Review

Accessories & First Boot

Let's be frank, at nearly $2,500 for a 15-inch laptop, the eX-L 15 will have penny-pinching gamers running the opposite direction. But it's worth mentioning that buying a system from Maingear is an entirely different experience than ordering from budget-minded system builder. In addition to high-end parts, Maingear offers the "white glove treatment," starting with a hard case binder. You also get lifetime phone support and a 30-day zero dead pixel guarantee for the machine's display.

Pop open the binder and you'll find more than just the usual assortment of paperwork. Here's what was in ours:
  • Handy multi-tip screwdriver with small tips for working on notebooks and other portable electronics
  • Maingear T-shirt
  • Maingear mousepad (cloth)
  • Detailed invoice
  • Original Windows 7 install disc
  • Driver disc
  • Notebook user guide
  • Custom Maingear user manual with lots of tips and warranty info
At the time of this publication, Maingear was also offering a couple of freebie add-ons, including the Shogun 2: Total War! game and a laptop stand. Not included with the system is a carrying bag or gaming mouse, though Maingear offers a handful of the latter to choose from when ordering, ranging in price from $19 (Logitech M110 Optical USB Mouse) to $149 (MadCatz Cyborg R.A.T. 9 Wireless Adjustable Gaming Mouse).

One thing that even boutique system builders have trouble avoiding is the temptation to shovel bloatware on their systems. Third-party software vendors pay big bucks to have their programs pre-installed on OEM systems, which can help keep prices down, but at the expense of performance, at least until you go through and remove all the rubbish. Maingear, however, advertises a 'Zero Bloatware' policy, saying:

"Large, multi-national computer manufacturers have commoditized the PC market by subsidizing their products with the installation of intrusive, third-party software. They are paid to do this. This software bogs down your system and prevents it from running at its highest potential. It also has the tendency to make your system unstable or may conflict with software you wish to install. All MAINGEAR systems eschews these tactics as we believe that YOU are the customer, not a third-party software provider. We build purebred PCs designed for performance and reliability, not billboards and advertisements."

Maingear didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk by delivering a system completely devoid of performance hampering trialware and other garbage that power users don't care about.

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