I got my 9880 not quite three weeks ago, and I have to say that I'm just astounded at the engineering that went into this thing. In spite of my many sacrificial bananas, it has one schizoid pixel -- sometimes it acts like it's stuck (green), other times it plays dead. Kind of amusing, in a perverse sort of way. It can be annoying, but I'm getting used to it. I also had the "chirping fan syndrome," but the S7 firmware update fixed that like a champ. (I haven't applied the S8 updates because, after many painful years of doing otherwise, I've become an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" advocate.)
This is the first new laptop/notebook I've owned. My wife has had an 8880 for the past (roughly) three years, and has has no problems with it, other than an overheating problem that we've solved by periodic cleaning of the airflow path. (Numerous dogs in the house make for a pretty sporty environment for fans...) In fact, one of the things about her Sager convinced me that these puppies are bloody solid machines: before we understood the overheating potential of clogged vents, etc., her machine would shut down with little warning. When I finally got smart enough to check for dust and hair in the vent screens and radiator fins, I noticed that the plastic cover over the CPU had gotten so hot that it deformed under the weight of the computer above it (that panel has one of the "legs" on it). I cleaned out as much as I could get to (aided by judicious application of a small Shop-Vac), restarted, and it worked as if nothing had happened. Pretty amazing.
While I am a geezer, a nice aspect of age is the fact that I've been around for a good chunk of the Evolution of Computing. When I was a grad student in the late '70's, the machine of choice was some flavor of a PDP-11 or, if you were lucky enough to work in a rich group, an early VAX. Different VAX models became the norm, but IBM PC's and Compaqs were somehow starting to horn in on the action. Rare VAX's still exist, I'm told, but the rest of the story is history, in any event. As I upgrade computers, I've been keeping a log of the time it takes to execute a FORTRAN program I use in some of my research. The results have been astounding (at least for me). Unfortunately, I'm still loading things on my 9880 (I've only had this sucker for a couple of weeks and a few days), so I haven't had the chance to benchmark this one yet. I'll start a thread about that as soon as I get a chance. Heh. For some reason, I have a feeling that it's going to be pretty fast...
One thing that I really, really pay attention to is the feel and dynamics of the keyboard. I'm going to use my 9880 quite a bit at home to do research as part of my job, and I have to say that one of the main reasons I picked the 9880 is that it has the numeric keypad. I've played with my wife's 8880 (when she lets me!), and the keyboard seemed okay in terms of feel. Until the 9880, I was using an IBM 600E, which has THE best keyboard in terms of "feel" that I've ever used, bar none. After half an hour of using the 9880, I have to admit that it feels almost as good as the 600E. (When I was in the process of trying to narrow down candidate laptops, I went to the little Dell stand in the local mall and tried the keyboard of an XPS2, and it just didn't feel very good to me. YMMV, of course, because I can't think of anything on a computer that's a more subjective thing to use than the keyboard. Another strike against the XPS2: it didn't have the numeric keypad, either.)
You know the quote from Arthur C. Clarke about a sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic? Well, that pretty much sums it up for me and the current breed of laptops. I can certainly understand how others might thing I'm out to lunch in a big way, but I wouldn't trade the perspective that I have on this whole Evolution of Computing thing for anything. It's been nothing short of miraculous, and here I am typing this on one of those miracles!! Wowee. (Interesting fact: The Apollo guidance computer [yes, the one that took the guys to the Moon and brought them back] ran at 2.048 MHz and had a total memory of about 72KB!!!)
Anyway, the 9880 is big, it would need a personal nuclear power supply to be considered really portable, and the touchpad does some unexpected things once in a while when I type. On the other hand, it could well represent more computing power than existed in the entire US defense system at any point in the 1960's for all that I know, I can miraculously play a movie at an amazing resolution in its own window as I wait for a numerical model to finish running, and it would let me view the evolution of planetary systems on its incredibly detailed screen if only I were smart enough to tell it how to do that. It's obviously a generation or five past the 600E I've been using.
This probably hasn't answered your question, Speedcap, but at least you might have an idea of where I'm coming from.
Sorry this has been so long...