Sager NP8156 Gaming Laptop Review

Final Analysis And Verdict

It’s refreshing to see a system like the Sager NP8165. Its updated Intel Core i7-7700HQ grants the system additional performance in several of our synthetic benchmarks, including a notable improvement over the Acer Predator 17’s i7-6700HQ in single and multi-core performance in Cinebench. The 7th generation processor also demonstrates improved scores in workloads using PCMark 8’s Adobe Creative and Microsoft Office suites. Storage speeds are adequate as well, but the Sandisk X400 doesn’t deliver quite as much random read and write performance as the MSI’s SK Hynix drive, or the blistering sequential speeds of the Acer laptop’s LiteOn RAID 0 configuration.

The Sager NP8165 provides exceptional gaming performance for its price, and right on par with, or slightly better than the MSI Phantom Pro in almost every game. Nvidia’s GPU technology has improved to the point where previously demanding titles such as Metro: Last Light Redux can easily be run in excess of 60 FPS with minimal, or no graphical tweaking. However, as GPU technology improves, so does game quality and the demands of those more powerful game engines; our NP8165 struggled in new titles such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Ashes of the Singularity.

The NP8165’s build quality is top notch as well. The brushed metal construction is solid and robust, but what’s most impressive is how rigid the plastic parts of the chassis are. We’ve found the bottom panels on several laptops to be points of weakness in the past, but the NP8165’s panel is quite sturdy. The only downside stems from one of its major upsides: the brushed metal finish easily attracts smudges and fingerprints.


One of the major compromises to owning a gaming laptop is battery life while gaming. A gaming laptop lets you play wherever you want, but a good gaming laptop lets you play for longer, and the upper limit we’ve found has been around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the NP8165 delivers little more than 1 hour and 30 minutes, which is about as low as we've seen.

Another major consideration is the extra heat generated from the laptop’s closely packed components. A good cooling solution should be able to keep both the CPU and GPU cool, even at full load. The laptops we've tested use a unified cooling solution connecting heat pipes between both the CPU and GPU heatsinks and the exhaust fans, but the NP8165’s CPU and GPU cooling solutions are kept separate. This doesn’t appear to have any effect on GPU cooling during Furmark, but the CPU’s temperature skyrockets well into dangerous territory.

The Sager NP8165 has a decent Full HD IPS display with G-Sync. The display’s low black luminance and decently bright white luminance result in crisp contrast. However, RGB balance is slightly hampered by low green levels, making the NP8165’s display look more purple than normal. The grayscale and average color inaccuracies are rather high as well, and the gamma levels dip well below 2.2 at medium to maximum brightness.

The Sager NP8165 comes in at $1,600, making it a direct competitor to the MSI Phantom Pro, which is priced at $1,500. The two have nearly identical specifications, making performance strikingly similar. For an extra $100, you’re paying for the NP8165’s robust build quality, which the MSI laptop seems to lack, but you’re also sacrificing much needed storage space. The Sager has a 256GB SSD, which will fill up quickly, and while the MSI laptop only has a 128GB SSD, it also has an HDD for large media files and games. The Phantom Pro doesn’t have the best cooling or battery life either, but it is still significantly better than the NP8165 in that regard.

And such are the trade-offs at this price point.

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21 comments
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  • jaber2
    If I was looking for a gaming laptop your test has convinced me this isn't it, and that I should look at acer
  • JQB45
    I was interested till I saw "Inefficient CPU cooling", that's when I decided this wasn't for me. The lack of a standard hard drive to go with the SSD wasn't a deal breaker for me as a 1TB HDD is a fairly cheap and relatively easy upgrade. But I've had a laptop with poor cooling - Never Again will I allow myself to have a laptop with poor CPU OR GPU cooling.
  • Giroro
    I'm looking at Sager's configuration tool.

    The M.2 SSD defaults to a 250GB Western Digital blue SATA drive. A SanDisk X400 isn't even a selectable option.
  • deadsmiley
    Good review. I have dealt with Sager and cooling issues before with my NP8278. SHOULDN'T have to deal with it.
  • Clamyboy74
    You forgot to mention another deal-breaker, it can switch between G-sync and optimus if you want to save battery life. I don't know how you guys could possibly miss this, its mentioned in the manual too (C-2 in the back of the manual)
  • Clamyboy74
    Also, many resellers (Xoticpc, HID, Gentech) sell this exact laptop for a lower price (WITH 1TB HDD around $50 less) than the sager store, and you get a much better warranty along with it through the reseller. There is also a 120hz option (although it costs extra) which is nice and might be a good investment for fps gamers. Lastly, xotic and HID both support prema bios, which allows you to tweak many settings that are locked by default without voiding warranty, so you could undervolt the cpu and get an even better battery life. Best thing about sager/clevo to me is the huge amount customization that they allow, unlike every other manufacturer
  • HERETIC-1
    Hi Alex,
    Need to move the decimal point in the specs-even the evil crapple can't
    make a lappy that thin.(.098" 2.5mm)
    In your internal description-" two 2.5" SATA slots and one M.2 slot for storage"
    I believe there's 2 x M2 slots-I think if you go NVME you can only use one-
    but if SATA you can use both...............................................
  • cats_Paw
    +35 dollars for a thermal compound.
    Btw, check the difference in price between a 1060 and a 1070....
    Then check the price difference between a laptop with a 1060 and a 1070 (everything else the same).

    Its a rip off.
  • JQB45
    151198 said:
    +35 dollars for a thermal compound. Btw, check the difference in price between a 1060 and a 1070.... Then check the price difference between a laptop with a 1060 and a 1070 (everything else the same). Its a rip off.


    Just for reference, what is the difference? I felt the same way when comparing the 960m or 965m to the 970m.
  • drajitsh
    Unless you live deep inside a cave, in Siberia (cold & dark) why would you want a laptop with such a horrible display and poor cooling.
    If you are not gaming, or the laptop is overheating, you can always switch off the DGPU and use the iGPU, but I can't think of any case where you can switch off the CPU
  • inmyrav
    Is it loud?
  • Brandon_29
    Sager has a ton of model selection. Personally the choice to review here is in question. Plus they often offer several screen options. I have a Sager I purchased from XoticPC and it has a very nice IPS (1080p) display. I have owned several Sager's. So far the only issue I have had with any of them is heat (on some, but not all) and I had one cracked bezel around the bottom side of the screen. When I purchased my last one it was 600 cheaper than the exact same specs from anyone else. It still runs like a champ and I have never had any issue gaming with it. It came with a free cooler stand, but I never needed to use it.
  • hst101rox
    So that cooling solution is basically an MSI GS63VR or GS73VR .. and they are planning on releasing a 7700HQ with a 1070 GPU option within a month or so.
  • hst101rox
    No bottom pics of the fans you took off to get the manufacturer of the fans, model numbers, voltage and amperage?
  • hst101rox
    You didn't mention if the CPU throttled when it reached that high temperature. It probably did..
  • nibb0r
    Thanks, Clamyboy74 for mentioning that this model can switch between G-sync enabled and Optimus enabled. That was my first question after reading this review, because it sounds like that ability (very useful, I think) is exclusive to only some Clevo/Sager laptops.

    But I also would like to know if this laptop supports charging via USB-PD? Alexander says "the DC power input" as if the power connector is the only way to charge, but given that this laptop has two USB Type-C ports (very good to see!) I hope that they support the gamut of options this port could provide. I want to plug in only one cable to my laptop to connect USB peripherals, ethernet, displayport monitors, and to begin charging. On that note, do these USB Type-C ports support full 40 Gbs Thunderbolt 3, or are they limited in bandwidth as we see in the XPS 15?
  • nibb0r
    Thanks, Clamyboy74 for mentioning that this model can switch between G-sync enabled and Optimus enabled. That was my first question after reading this review, because it sounds like that ability (very useful, I think) is exclusive to only some Clevo/Sager laptops.

    But I also would like to know if this laptop supports charging via USB-PD? Alexander says "the DC power input" as if the power connector is the only way to charge, but given that this laptop has two USB Type-C ports (very good to see!) I hope that they support the gamut of options this port could provide. I want to plug in only one cable to my laptop to connect USB peripherals, ethernet, displayport monitors, and to begin charging. On that note, do these USB Type-C ports support full 40 Gbs Thunderbolt 3, or are they limited in bandwidth as we see in the XPS 15?
  • hst101rox
    How much CPU load is incurred by Furmark? Thought it was light on the CPU but extremely heavy on the GPU.
  • Clamyboy74
    2444676 said:
    Thanks, Clamyboy74 for mentioning that this model can switch between G-sync enabled and Optimus enabled. That was my first question after reading this review, because it sounds like that ability (very useful, I think) is exclusive to only some Clevo/Sager laptops. But I also would like to know if this laptop supports charging via USB-PD? Alexander says "the DC power input" as if the power connector is the only way to charge, but given that this laptop has two USB Type-C ports (very good to see!) I hope that they support the gamut of options this port could provide. I want to plug in only one cable to my laptop to connect USB peripherals, ethernet, displayport monitors, and to begin charging. On that note, do these USB Type-C ports support full 40 Gbs Thunderbolt 3, or are they limited in bandwidth as we see in the XPS 15?


    No. Usb c cannot supply enough power to this laptop since it is rated around 180 watts under full load, and usb c only supports ~60 watts max. As for thunderbolt 3, there is no mention of it, although I dont know why you would use a dGPU when you have a 1060 already.
  • nibb0r
    Unfortunately, just looking at the laptop's load can't fully answer if it supports USB-PD. Yes, most chargers only support 60W or 65W but the specification does allow for up to 100W. And there exist gaming laptops that do lose charge when plugged in and under load, anyway, with the AC adapters they came with.

    I know that with a laptop using more than 100W there is no chance to indefinitely power the machine over USB-PD but idle usage is generally well under 30W on even high performance laptops, and so I would find the feature still very convenient.
  • StormFalcon
    Just wanted to point out, this laptop is actually $1400 as configured not $1600. Never buy things directly from the manufacturer. Get it from Xotic.