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March 20, 2004

Sager 8790-S and Accessories Review

Sager 8790 After using the Sager 8790-s over a week I must say that I'm still very impressed. Everything about it is nothing less than perfect.

I've done quite a bit of video editing with Adobe Video Collection Pro and even had some free time to squeeze in a little bit of gaming. The added performance of the 3.4GHZ Pentium 4 Northwood CPU with Hyper Treading and the 400DDR memory is easily noticed. I've had many laptops over the years and none of them ever came close to how a desktop performs. To tell the truth, at first I found it a little odd now having a notebook that out performs every other computer I use. But after the first couple days I found myself used to the speed and even stopped using my desktops in favor for the Sager.

In addition to its superb performance I can't begin to describe how much I like the 17" wide LCD screen. I must admit that I was a little hesitant to order the 8790 since it wasn't available in WUXGA. (WUXGA should be available this summer, but, I'm glad I didn't wait for it.) The smaller screen resolution hasn't been a hindrance at all and I find the crispness and clarity of the display to be a very welcome surprise. The display is also very well back-light, even in a brightly light room. In addition I've been unable to notice any artifacting or ghosting that is common with most LCDs.

Another welcome surprise was the feel of the keyboard and its touch pad. I've always been one that hated touch pads and preferred a pointing stick instead but I've found that this touch pad has perfect response and feel. The keyboard doesn't have that flexing problem that plaques most laptops and the key travel feels natural and comfortable. The only draw back with it is the wrist wrest can get a little warm and cause you to sweat a little. Some people might not like this but I don't feel its a serious problem or a reason to chose another notebook.

I have not received the removable sub woofer (as its on backorder) but I am still very pleased with the internal sound system. There are two speakers on either side of the keyboard and two on the front of the unit. While you can't expect these small speakers to fill a room with sound, they do produce very clear, quality sound. Additionally you can't compare the speakers with those typically found on a notebook as they're in a higher class, all by themselves!

I've only used the Internal TV Tuner briefly but I've found that it produces a very crisp and clear picture from cable TV, so much so, that it could easily be mistaken for a high definition picture! The included remote and software were easy to use and seemed well designed and very stable.

The notebook has an internal 7-in-1 card reader which is very convenient as you don't have to lug another item in your notebook case. It also reads and writes data to the cards faster than most USB card readers.

I only purchased the 8 cell battery since I typically never operate my notebooks away from A/C power. Nevertheless, I still tested the battery performance and found that I was able to watch a complete DVD movie while operating only on the battery and still had another 20 minutes of power left.

A few of my friends keep asking me if there is anything I would change on the Sager 8790 and I'm hard pressed to think of anything other than its weight. The notebook weighs in at around 9 pounds and because of its size it can be a challenge to pick up with one hand. Once you load it into your bag along with its power brick it can feel like you're carrying an ARMY sack. But this is the price you pay for a wide screen notebook with desktop power. When you compare the 8790 to other similar notebooks you'll find it is much lighter and thinner than most. I don't even want to imagine owning one of those other ones!

No matter how many extra things are built in to a notebook it seems you will always need other accessories. I'll quickly go over what else I purchased and how I'm liking them.

Because of the 8790's wide screen, it doesn't fit in most notebook cases, bags, or briefcases. Thusly I had to order this Targus Sport Deluxe Computer Backpack and even still it just barely fits in. While the case isn't exactly perfect for business situations because of its "trail backpack" styling it does have lots of room for files, papers, and other accessories. The case itself is also very light and comfortable to wear even when fully packed. Its a great bag for the price.

When working at my desk I still prefer a traditional mouse as opposed to using the track pad, especially for game play or when precision mousing is required. For this purpose I ordered the Logitech MX700 Cordless Optical Mouse for my desk. I also decided to get a corded Logitech MX500 Optical Mouse for when I'm traveling because its too much of a hassle to lug around the cordless mouse's power brick and charger. Both mice perform nice and are very comfortable to use for long periods. I also like that you can program the buttons to use your own custom settings.

One thing you'll notice after using any modern notebook is the bottom of them can be very hot to the touch. This is partly why you see them called "Notebooks" instead of laptops now. They're simply too hot for use in your lap. This is where my Manhattan Lap Desk comes in. It has a soft leather bottom which comfortably sits on your lap, and a rigid solid wood desktop that you can lay your notebook on while sitting in your favorite chair. Unlike other lap desks you may find at home stores, this is constructed from quality materials and is built to last. I've lost count of how many of those plastic lap desks I've bought and accidentally cracked while just moving it and my notebook from my lap to my end table. It also has a pocket on each side that is perfect for holding your TiVo or stereo remote.

While I didn't purchase this Canon MultiPass MP730 Multifunction Printer specifically for use with only my notebook, I'm still going to tell you about it. I've never been a fan of multifunction printers since they never seem to do any of their functions that great, that was until I heard my friend, Peter, rave about his. Canon really did get it right! It's prints are fantastic, it makes fast black and white and color copies, clear and detailed scans, and also has a dedicated fax that doesn't require you to leave on your computer. Since Canon is about to introduce newer models the price on the MP730 has dropped considerably making it an even better buy. Its print cartridges are also very inexpensive and available at Costco in addition to all office supply retailers. I highly recommend this printer!

I am receiving more emails that I have time to answer, each asking various questions about the Sager 8790. Instead of emailing me please go to and register to unlock all the secret forums. Literally every question that anyone can think of has already been asked and answered there. Browse the different forums or use the search feature. In the rare instance you can't find an answer to your question, post to an appropriate forum there, and someone will be happy to answer your question!
Posted in Product Reviews & Purchases by usrbingeek at 2004-03-20 19:42 ET (GMT-5) | 5 Comments | Permalink


Everything you are saying about this laptop makes me drool. :) I believe that this has the wide 17" screen. What are the actual dimensions (W x H) ? Also what video card does this come with? Thanks for sharing everything you have with us!


Posted by: Hyrum at March 25, 2004 02:23 PM

Yes, 17" wide screen and the new ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9700 (M11) graphics. 1.7"hx15.4"wx11"d

Posted by: #!/usr/bin/geek at March 25, 2004 02:40 PM

i have a sager8790 to i finly got it but it runs really hot so i am looking for a notebook chillpad but I cant find one for this 17in notebook i had a really hard time finding a back pack for it also because i didnt want to go with a 15in and stuff it in there can some one help or send me a link

Posted by: alex at March 31, 2004 11:19 PM

I have had my Sager 8790 since July 2004. It was a gift to myself. I would not buy any other brand of notebook. When this one quits I will buy another Sager. But I have recently started to experience smudging when I scroll. I think it is my video card (ATI Mobility Radeon 9700) is this a sign that it is time to buy a new notebook?

Posted by: Butterfly Cookie at June 26, 2008 01:07 AM

My Sager 8790 died about 2 years after I bought it and wrote the original post.

I've since switched to Mac and haven't looked back.

Posted by: usrbingeek at June 26, 2008 01:11 AM

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