Sager NP8850 Review

by Reads (23,534)


  • Pros

    • Stellar performance
    • Good build quality
    • Excellent cooling system
  • Cons

    • Options raise price quickly
    • Huge and heavy
    • Sub one-hour battery life

The Sager NP8850 is a top-shelf gaming notebook with the latest technology, including a 2GB Nvidia GTX 480M graphics card and an Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processor. Read our review to see how fast this machine really is.

Special thanks go to Justin Nolte of for sending us this evaluation unit.

Our Sager NP8850 review unit has the following specifications:

  • 17.3-inch 1080p (1920×1080) glossy panel with LED backlighting
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-940XM Extreme Edition quad-core processor (2.13GHz/3.33GHz Turbo Mode, 8MB L3 cache, 2.5GT/s QPI, 55W TDP)
  • Intel PM55 chipset
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M w/ 2GB GDDR5 video memory
  • 8GB DDR3-1333 dual-channel RAM (2x 4GB)
  • 80GB Intel G2 Solid State Drive (SSDA2M080G2GC)
  • No secondary hard drive
  • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN wireless
  • Built-in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
  • DVD burner (TSSTcorp CDDVDW TS-L633C)
  • 3-year labor, 1-year parts warranty w/ lifetime technical support
  • Li-Polymer battery (3800mAh/42.18Wh/11.1V)
  • Weight: 8.35 lbs
  • Dimensions: 16.25” (L) x 11.0” (D) x 1.69~2.25” (H)
  • MSRP: $3,639

The NP8850 starts at $1,998; however our test system has numerous options that quickly raise the price. The single most expensive option on our evaluation unit is the Core i7-940XM processor, which is a $905 upgrade from the base i5 dual-core processor. It is the fastest mobile processor available. Other notable options are the 80GB Intel SSD ($225), 8GB of RAM ($215), and Windows 7 Ultimate ($200).

Build and Design
The NP8850 is a larger-than-normal 17.3-inch notebook with a modest exterior based on the Clevo W880CU. Like most Clevo-based customized notebooks, Sager notebooks are built with an emphasis on performance rather than looks. The chassis has a rectangular shape with no outlandish curves. The silver trim going around the chassis adds a touch of style. The only oddity about the design is the upraised section below the screen, which appears to support the display hinges and strengthen the chassis.

Most of the notebook is covered in non-reflective matte plastic; the only glossy plastic in sight is the screen border. Matte plastic is much preferred to the glossy plastic found on so many consumer notebooks since it does not pick up fingerprints or show dust as easily. It is also more durable and easier to clean. The NP8850 is constructed entirely of plastic and the overall build quality is good. The plastic is thick and does not make a cheap sound when tapped. The chassis bends only slightly when grabbed by its corners and twisted. The palm rests and areas surrounding the keyboard exhibit little flex when pressed.

The lid is reasonably stiff given its size and resists twisting. It also provides good screen protection; pushing in on the back of the lid does not yield any ripples on the screen. The hinges firmly anchor the display to the chassis and are not too tight or loose. My only complaint about the lid is that it only tilts about 40 degrees past vertical. Fit and finish is good; there are no rough edges or corners and all parts fit together with even spacing. The notebook has consistent quality; any given area is of the same quality as any other. I did not find any weak points in the chassis.

Screen and Speakers

The NP8850 has a 17.3-inch screen with a 1080p (1920×1080) resolution and LED backlighting. This is one of the better quality screens I have seen in this size. It has a high contrast ratio; black levels are deep and whites are stark. The backlighting is almost perfectly even with only the smallest hint of bleed at the edges. Side-to-side viewing angles are good with minimal color distortion; vertical viewing angles are acceptable to about 25 degrees off-center.

Despite having four speakers (two on either side of the keyboard), the sound is tinny and high-pitched; there is little bass to speak of. The best way to enjoy audio on the NP8850 is to use one of the many audio output options including HDMI.

Keyboard and Touchpad
The NP8850 has an island-style keyboard where the keys are raised above the surface and have more-than-usual spacing. The keyboard has an unsophisticated plasticky feel but has a direct action, allowing for fast and accurate typing. There is no perceivable flex. The keys require enough actuation force that resting fingers will not cause them to depress; the matte finish makes sure fingers stay in place.

The keyboard is not quiet but if typed on softly is no louder than keyboards found on most consumer notebooks; it should not disturb people sitting nearby. I wish the keyboard had dedicated Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys; instead they are integrated as secondary functions into the arrow keys. Additionally, the three-column number pad takes some getting used to.

The touchpad has a smooth matte surface that is easy to track on. The buttons feel good; they have a dimpled surface and are quiet. A biometric fingerprint reader is located between the buttons.

Ports and Features

The NP8850 has a respectable assortment of input/output ports. Notable ports include USB 3.0 and DVI. One strange design aspect of this notebook is the flap that covers the rear ports – I do not know it was not simply left open.
All picture descriptions are left to right.

Front: IR receiver, on/off status light and battery charge indicator light

Rear: Exhaust vent, HDMI, AC power, two USB 2.0, RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet

Left: RJ-11 56k modem, CATV jack (enabled with TV tuner), 7-in-1 card reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD), IEEE-1394a mini-FireWire, one USB 2.0, optical drive

Right: Headphone, microphone, S/PDIF, line-in jacks, USB 3.0, ExpressCard/54, eSATA, DVI-I



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