Sager NP9285 Review

by Reads (20,066)

Overview

The Sager NP9285 is one of the largest and most powerful notebooks on the market. It weighs 12 lbs, has a desktop Core i7 processor, and the fastest graphics card available – the Nvidia GTX 480M 2GB. Read our review to find out how monstrous this machine really is.

A special thanks goes to Donald Stratton of PowerNotebooks.com for sending us this unit.

Our Sager NP9285 review unit has the following specifications:

  • 17.0-inch WUXGA (1920×1200) glossy display with CCFL backlighting
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-930 quad-core desktop processor (2.8GHz/3.06GHz Turbo Mode, 8MB L3 cache, 4.8GT/s QPI, 130W TDP)
  • Intel X58 desktop chipset
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M w/ 2GB GDDR5 video memory
  • 6GB DDR3-1066 triple-channel RAM (3x 2GB)
  • 80GB Intel G2 Solid State Drive (SSDSA2M080G2GC)
  • 500GB 5400RPM secondary hard drive (Hitachi HTS545050B9A300)
  • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 wireless
  • Built-in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
  • Blu-ray reader/DVD burner (HL-DT-ST BDDVDRW CT21N)
  • 3-year labor, 1-year parts (year 2 & 3 paid by PowerNotebooks); lifetime 24/7 support
  • 12-cell Li-ion battery (6600mAh/14.8V)
  • Weight: 11.55 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.5″ (L) x 11.75″ (D) x 2.35″ (H)
  • MSRP: $3,250

The NP9285 starts at about $2,150. The most significant option on our test unit is the Nvidia GTX 480M 2GB graphics card, which is the single fastest notebook graphics card available; it commands a $495 premium over the base GTX 285M 1GB. Most of the other components on our test unit came standard except for the 80GB Intel SSD ($280), secondary 500GB hard drive ($85), Blu-ray reader ($120), and Windows 7 Professional 64-bit ($140). The NP9285 is also available with up to three hard drives/SSDs and the Intel i7-980X Extreme Edition six-core processor.

Build and Design
Breaking the scales at 11.55 lbs and measuring 2.35 inches thick, the NP9285 is a monstrosity. It looks visually intimidating and dwarfs other notebooks sitting next to it. Aside from its sheer size, the NP9285 has no outstanding design features. All corners on the notebook are softly rounded off. The chassis has a traditional rectangular shape.

The NP9285 is constructed of thicker-than-usual plastic; clearly there was little motivation to save weight. Tapping on the plastic with my fingernail did not yield any rattling sounds. Fingerprints and dust easily show up on the glossy plastic surfaces which cover most of the visible surfaces; I prefer matte plastic.

The chassis is rigid and resistant to flexing. The palm rest area does not flex when pressure is applied. The back of the lid is covered in a brushed aluminum sheet, which is visually appealing. It did not provide the protection I thought it would, however; pushing in on the back of the lid produced some minor ripples in the screen. Grabbing the lid by the corners and twisting causes more play than I would have thought as well. Fit and finish is good; all areas of the notebook seem to be built to the same level of quality.


Screen and Speakers

The NP9285 has a 17-inch display with a WUXGA (1920×1200 pixels) resolution and CCFL backlighting. This display has a 16:10 aspect ratio unlike the majority of today’s notebooks, which have moved to a 16:9 standard. This is a good thing; 16:10 screens have more resolution than their 16:9 counterparts. If the NP9285 had a 16:9 display it would only have 1920×1080 pixels, or about 10% less working space than1920x1200.

The general quality of the NP9285’s display is good. It is not dim by any means but I would not mind if it was a bit brighter. Contrast is satisfactory; colors are vibrant and stand out. Watching movies and playing games is enjoyable. Horizontal viewing angles are very good with minimal color shift; vertically the display is good to about 20 degrees off-center without much color distortion.

The NP9285 has four built-in speakers; two below the palm rest and one on either side of the keyboard. The speakers are unfortunately tinny and have negligible bass.

Keyboard and Touchpad
The NP9285 has a full-size keyboard with separate numeric keypad. It has a rubbery feel and quiet keypresses. Key travel (how far the key travels up and down) is average. The keyboard exhibits some flex when slightly more-than-normal pressure is used, which is disappointing and degrades the tactile feedback; the keyboard does not feel well seated at all. It simply does not have a precise feel. The layout of the three-column numeric keypad takes some getting used to. I wish the keyboard had dedicated Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys; they are integrated into the arrows keys instead.

The touchpad on the other hand is excellent; it has a textured surface which works great with both moist and dry fingers. The buttons are not as quiet as those on a ThinkPad but not loud enough to annoy others sitting nearby. Nonetheless they have a good feel and feedback.


Ports and Features

The NP9285 has an arsenal of input/output ports, most notably HDMI, eSATA, DVI, and ExpressCard/54. The NP9285 does not have USB 3.0.

Something I do not like about the port arrangement is how all four USB ports are clustered on the right side of the notebook; being right handed, I kept hitting cords while using an external mouse. All picture descriptions are left to right.


Front: S/PDIF, line-in, microphone, and headphone jacks


Rear: AC power, DVI


Left: HDMI, eSATA, CATV (enabled with TV tuner), RJ-11 56k modem, RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE-1394a mini-FireWire, ExpressCard/54 slot, 7-in-1 card reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/ Mini-SD), optical drive


Right: 4x USB 2.0, Kensington lock slot


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