From: Another Super Picky Laptop BuyerI too have returned several laptops in my quest for near perfection. I am pretty picky, but I also think we are going through a bad time for laptop computers in general. My theory is that since the IT bubble bust several years ago there is not nearly as high a percentage of manufacturer's dollars going into R&D. Combine that with the fact that consumers want ever increasing specs on these machines and the point we are reaching in terms of the heat vs. performance curve and the result is a lot of systems with various performance and design issues. When I look at laptops from about 2-4 years ago, even though they are obviously not very powerful, they are made better in terms of design, fit and finish and they don't have the heat issues we are dealing with in a lot of the newer systems. Older laptops may not have the higher screen resolution or the superior viewing angles but their screens are more consistent overall with fewer major anomalies.
Now, regarding the Sager 3790, I just got one a couple of weeks ago and I am very impressed overall. I am still ironing out a few minor issues. Once I get the system squared away I will post a more thorough review.
1. Overall design - this is a very subjective thing. I personally really like having the all the ports on the sides. I hate fumbling around the back of a machine to try to plug/unplug peripherals.
2. Quality of internal components - The choices for Hard Drive, Optical Drive and GPU I believe are superior components. Of course in the case of the hard drive, that is easily upgradeable by the user on most systems but of course that requires additional cost and time.
3. Screen - Very sharp, great color saturation, good viewing angles and fast.
4. Good customer service - I purchased from Powernotebooks, but apparently PCTorque also has excellent customer service.
5. Nice looking - I get comments from folks pretty much wherever I happen to break it out.
6. Very nice size and weight - Just the right dimensions and weight to be highly portable and still be packed with features and performance.
7. Touchpad and associated buttons have an excellent look and feel to them.
1. Keyboard design - I do not care for the way they chose to truncate the width of the Backspace, Enter and Shift keys to add Page Up, Page Down etc. to the side of the keyboard.
2. Fast Access Buttons on the front of the system - I have already disabled the IE and E-Mail buttons using TweakUI but the Wireless control being there is a huge problem. I am forever accidentally hitting it in the middle of doing something online. I am going to inquire to find if there is anything that can be done about this.
3. Case lid lacks rigidity - the slightest pressure applied to the back of the case lid shows as rippling on the LCD panel. This is, unfortunately very common with most current laptop designs. I believe that unless there is pretty extreme pressure applied the screen will be just fine. I will still be very cautious about how I transport this one, just to be on the safe side. Ultimately, only time and usage will tell.
4. Heat - I am one of the unlucky few who have heat issues. The main problem as I see it is that the fans do not come on very often. In fact, in most cases they do not seem to come on at all regardless of how hot the unit gets. Every once in a while they will run very briefly, only when it has only been on battery power and they still do not run long enough or often enough to change the temperature of the undercarriage or touchpad keyboard areas. Most of the heat seems to come from the area that houses the memory and CPU (not sure where the GPU is exactly). But it does not seem to be associated with the hard drive or WLAN adapter as I have seen implied elsewhere. Anyway, this issue is being addressed by Sager and I should have the shipping label in hand in the near future and as soon as I get the system back and I can test it out again I will provide a more thorough review.
5. Sound - The sound quality is actually quite good. The volume from the built-in speakers could be better.
Bottom line is, as many people have said, every laptop has some tradeoffs that must be made. The closest competitor to this system, at least that I have experience with, is the Dell Latitude D800. The D800 has very similar specs with the following exceptions:
1. More expensive for inferior components - can not choose faster 80gb hard drive, optical drive does not come with the best firmware choice (yes, you can upgrade the firmware but then Dell is not going to support issues you may encounter with -R or DL media), inferior GPU choice (personal preference for ATI), screens are not as bright.
2. Port placement - As I said earlier, I like the ports on the side business
3. Dell Support – What support? What a bunch of crazy nuts those guys are, they are lucky to find their behinds with a team of techs, a database, both hands, a flashlight and a diagnostic utility.
4. Heat – The D800 gets even hotter than the Sager and that is normal for that model.
5. Touchpad buttons - Absolutely horrible. and the two that are intended for use with the trackpoint controller do not even work unless you pound on them, ridiculous!
Anyway, that is my two cents. Give it a try, you may really like it. I think my cons on the Sager are very minimal.