- Excellent high-resolution display
- Solid performance for the money
- Thin and light
- Generic styling
- Subpar build quality
- Unsettled keyboard
The Sager NP5125 offers great performance for the money and is a capable gaming machine with weak plastic construction.
Notebooks with high-resolution screens priced below $1,000 are hard to come by. Sager’s latest mid-range notebook, the NP5125, has a full HD 1080p display, Nvidia Optimus technology, and Intel Core i5/i7 processors. Here’s our take.
Special thanks go to Donald Stratton of PowerNotebooks.com for sending us this evaluation unit.
Our Sager NP5125 review unit has the following specifications:
- 15.6-inch 1080p (1920×1080) glossy panel with LED backlighting
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Intel Core i5-450M dual-core processor (2.40GHz/2.66GHz Turbo Mode, 3MB L3 cache, 4.8GT/s QPI, 35W TDP)
- Intel HM55 chipset
- Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics card w/ 1GB GDDR3 memory
- Nvidia Optimus technology; can switch to integrated Intel HD graphics on-the-fly
- 4GB DDR3-1066 dual-channel RAM (2x 2GB)
- 320GB 7200RPM Seagate hard drive (ST9320423AS)
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN (Realtek RTL8191SE)
- Built-in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
- DVD burner (TSSTcorp CDDVDW TS-L633C)
- 1-Year Parts & Labor, Lifetime Sager Toll Free Support
- 6-cell Li-ion battery (4400mAh/48.84Wh/11.1V)
- Weight: 5.73 lbs.
- Dimensions: 14.72” (W) x 9.8” (D) x 0.98~1.46” (H)
- MSRP: $977
The NP5125 starts at $775; our evaluation unit is the same as the base configuration except for the upgrade to the 1080p screen ($60) and Windows 7 ($90). Overall, the specifications are very reasonable for the money.
Build and Design
The Sager NP5125 is a custom notebook built on the Clevo B1500M chassis. It has a pedestrian-looking exterior with no significant design features. Little evidence suggests the designers of this notebook intended it to look attractive. The chassis has a standard rectangular shape with mildly rounded edges. The NP5125 has a light weight for its class, coming in under six pounds and about one inch thin.
The construction is all-plastic. The plastic has a matte non-glare surface with the exception of the screen border, which is preferable to the glossy plastic found on many mainstream notebooks. Matte plastic is easier to keep clean and does not show dust and fingerprints as easily. The build quality overall is unfortunately below average. The plastic is thin and feels cheap, giving the notebook a hollow feel. Some rattling noises can be produced by tapping the plastic with a fingernail. The chassis itself seems to be of reasonable strength; despite the thin plastic it does not flex when pressure is applied in most places. The chassis bends slightly when grabbed by the corners and twisted, though nothing out of the ordinary.
The lid could be stronger; it gives way too much for my liking when twisted. The plastic on the back of the lid flexes noticeably and does not provide as much protection as it should; pressing in on the back of the display yields some ripples on the screen. The hinges securing the lid to the chassis are strong, however. Fit and finish is good; all areas of this notebook seem to be built to the same quality standard. On the whole the build quality, namely the build materials, leaves a lot to be desired.
Screen and Speakers
The NP5125 has a 15.6-inch screen with a 1080p (1920×1080) resolution and LED backlighting. The screen is definitely the highlight of this machine; it is simply gorgeous. Compared to the panels I have seen on most mainstream notebooks, the NP5125’s display is brighter and offers better contrast; black levels are good and whites are stark. Side-to-side viewing angles are near-perfect and there is minimal color distortion from above; from below, colors are accurate until about 20 degrees below center. The backlighting is almost perfectly even.
The downside of having a glossy display is all the reflections; using the NP5125 where there are a lot of light sources is somewhat annoying because the screen acts as a mirror. The 1080p resolution is the highest available on a 15.6-inch screen. It offers much more workable space than the low-rent 720p (1366×768) resolution offered on the outright majority of consumer notebooks – about 50% more, to be exact. This means less scrolling and the ability to use two windows side-by-side comfortably.
The NP5125’s two speakers are strangely located on the bottom side of the notebook underneath the palm rests. The speakers are tinny and harsh-sounding, perhaps some of the worst notebook speakers I have heard. Use the headphone jack, HDMI, or USB to get the best quality sound.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The NP5125 has an island-style keyboard where the keys are raised above the base. The keys have an unsophisticated plasticky feel when pressed. Fast typing is possible however typing confidence is undermined by rattling sounds; the plastic used in the construction of this notebook really lets it down here; the keyboard does not feel well-settled at all.
Like the chassis, the keyboard has little flex. The keyboard would be a lot more pleasant to type on if it felt more solid.
The touchpad fares much better than the keyboard. It is actually pleasant to use; the matte surface is easy to track on with dry or damp fingers. The two buttons provide acceptable feedback though are slightly noisier than I prefer, producing a mild clack. A biometric fingerprint reader rests between the two buttons.
Ports and Features
The NP5125 has a wide range of input/output ports. The most significant inclusion is USB 3.0, which is the new USB standard and up to 10x faster than USB 2.0. Ports the NP5125 lacks are ExpressCard and FireWire.
All picture descriptions are left to right.