Upon closer inspection of the Maingear Pulse 17, we find some great component choices.
One of the most important devices on a notebook, the keyboard, was developed by SteelSeries, and is one of the better scissor-switch options I have used. The Pulse 17 also features a software-customizable RGB backlight underneath the keys. While this may seem frivolous, a backlight is always a great feature on a laptop, and being able to customize the color allows you to put a personal touch on the machine.
The trackpad on the Pulse 17 is nice and large. It is an integrated unit, which you click down to activate the mouse click. At times this felt sticky to me, but was adequate for normal day-to-day operations. For gaming, you would definitely want an external mouse, but that is always the case with gaming notebooks.
The paint job itself is an impressive aspect of this computer. The finish is similar to automotive paint and clearcoat and has held up remarkably well during our testing. Maingear is currently offering this in 8 different color variants (a $150 charge) or will allow you to customize the color for $200. Considering the execution, I think the $150 charge is a fair deal, and the end result will not disappoint someone who has the itch for customization with their computers.
Taking a look at the sides of the Maingear Pulse 17 reveals the connectivity options, as well as the impressive thickness of the machine.
Here we can see a myriad of ports. Gigabit Ethernet, Full size HDMI, two Mini DisplayPorts, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, and analog audio connectors are all welcome additions to a gaming notebook.
On the other side, we see two more USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, as well as the power connection and a Kensington lock port. Having the power in the middle of the side of a notebook is a bit awkward and seems prone to internal damage. I would have liked to see it towards the back of the machine, although with the slimness I understand why a choice like this was made.