Laptop of choice, after much research
I have been researching laptops for about a year, read countless reviews, watched numerous Youtube laptop reviews. I consider myself an enthusiast/power user, I am willing to tweak a laptop to make it run more efficiently/cooler. But I am also very much a mainstream user in that I value the aesthetics of a laptop, how light-weight/sleek it is, the quality of the screen, and balance between battery life and performance, and of course I also look for value in a laptop. I must say - the Max-15 ticks all those boxes for me. In my opinion, this laptop gives you the best value for the money out of any laptop I've come across in my research. I got the liquid metal thermal paste upgrade, 2 year extended warranty, RTX 2060 option. So far, I am very happy with the performance. The laptop also looks very professional and sleek, it looked better in person than in photographs and certainly cleaner looking than the Mag-15. It is very light-weight, and I've been able to get around 5 hours of battery life doing normal tasks (screen brightness at 45%, better battery setting, office mode) like watching Youtube videos, surfing the web using WiFi. It's no Mag-15 but certainly good enough for me. I keep comparing this to the Mag-15 because that was the other laptop I had my eyes on. I did tweak the laptop and capped the maximum CPU wattage to 45 watts, I think 100 watts maximum that the laptop allows is too much for my use case. Although I do appreciate that Eluktronics provided the flexibility to tune to your liking, and the laptop can certainly handle higher CPU wattage, especially with liquid metal, I like to keep CPU/GPU temperatures under 80 C while playing games. Red Dead Redemption 2 came as a free game with the laptop purchase and I did get a chance to test it. With CPU wattage capped to 45 watts, performance mode set to Game Mode/Auto fan, 1080P and generally setting all graphic settings to High, the game ran smoothly with respectable frame rates (between 45-90). Never did the game stutter. CPU/GPU temperatures never rose above 80 C, which I think is perfect for laptop longevity. I do not like pushing the system to the extreme just for more frames per second. The area in the middle of the keyboard and above the keyboard deck near the screen do get toasty, but I think this is par for the course for any gaming capable laptop and any metal chassis will conduct heat much more than a plastic one. The fan does ramp up when playing games and while it is audibly loud (especially if you happen to be sitting in a quiet library) it is not obnoxiously so. Most importantly, the fans do a superb job at cooling the laptop under heavy use. The membrane keyboard is quiet and feels nice to type on, but any laptop keyboard takes time to adjust to and I still can't type as fast on it as my regular keyboard. The lack of Thunderbolt 3 port and full size SD card slot doesn't bother me, but then I am not a content creator. If you want WiFi 6 this laptop doesn't have it. I personally don't have a router that supports 802.11ax so it doesn't bother me. To me, the Max-15 provides the least amount of compromises for your money which is the name of the game with laptops. One small thing I will mention is I did have to go to the Eluktronics Support page to download and install the latest THX Audio drivers to make it work on the system that was shipped to me. Personally, THX Audio sounds kind of weird to me compared to the standard RealTek Audio. Maybe I just don't have the proper headset to fully take advantage of it. When all is said and done, I am very happy with my purchase. This laptop also doesn't require a BIOS update like the Mag-15 to fix the GPU and Microphone issue.