When it comes down to the finish line, I'm just not that impressed with the Maingear Vybe 15 Ultimate. Sure, it provides great performance from a 15-inch chassis and it will handle most day-to-day tasks without blinking, and most games without stumbling, but I really can't get over the issue of battery life.
Through all of our tests, the Maingear Vybe 15 performs like a top-notch machine. That is, until you get to the battery life tests at the end of the review. I can live with it only having a 660M if it were to provide better battery life, but considering the machine can't even manage two hours in PowerMark, I'm not willing to settle. I would expect two hours of battery life from a machine like the iBUYPOWER Valkyrie since it has a 17-inch screen and older 675M GPU, but even that blows this system out of the water.
The performance, from a usage standpoint, is everything you could want out of a machine, save a 680M. However, you'll have trouble finding a 15.6-inch machine that crams a 680M into it. In fact, to the best of my knowledge I'm not sure of a single machine that has accomplished that feat as yet.
As long as you don't mind being tied to an AC outlet, the Maingear Vybe 15 Ultimate is a great choice. It excels at productivity tasks as well as gaming. You'll just never be able to use it while moving around for any decent amount of time. But considering most people are looking at gaming laptops to save space and be easy to carry to LAN parties, I'm not sure that this lack of battery life would prove much of an issue for that type of buyer.
If you're like me, however, you'll like having a long-lasting battery so that you can work outside in the lovely weather, or be able to make it through a three hour plane trip without needing to charge up somewhere onboard your flight.
It's really rather hard for me to recommend this machine as a must buy. For just shy of $2000 I would expect it to either provide a bit more performance or a bit more battery life. The GIGABYTE P2542G that I have been comparing this system to the entire way through is roughly $750 cheaper and provides near the same performance with better battery life.
I'm not saying it's a bad machine, because it isn't. It's just not the best bang-for-your-buck. If I were out looking to pick up a 15.6-inch gaming machine, I'd probably have to give this one a miss-at least this configuration. If you step down to the $1599, you'd be getting a better value.
However, with alternatives like the GIGABYTE P2542G out there, and plenty of new systems coming out with Windows 8, I just can't say this is a must buy. Sure, it will have its market and I'm sure some of you will buy it. That's fine because it really is a good system. But at this point, I feel you're paying for the Maingear brand and pizazz that comes with it.
With that said, it's incredible to me that they crammed a 256GB solid state drive, 750GB 7200 RPM disk drive, and a CD drive into a 15-inch chassis. That is an impressive feat, though it doesn't change my position on the machine.
It's a solidly-built machine and definitely worth taking a look at, though the money saved by going for an alternative could be put towards more games, something every gamer is always in need of.
To summarize, I think you're better off taking a look at the GIGABYTE P2542G unless you have your heart set on owning a Maingear machine, in which case this machine will deliver the performance you need and want.