Although we have yet to test retail products based on Sandy Bridge's mobile incarnations, I think the verdict is pretty clear, at least as far as the quad-core Core i7-2820QM goes. That chip enabled Intel's review notebook to plow through our synthetic and application tests with almost the same ferocity as a desktop offering of the same class, yet power consumption was low enough to enable an impressive six hours of web browsing with our 71-Wh battery. I don't think it's unfair to say that the i7-2820QM truly delivers the best of both worlds: desktop-class performance with true notebook mobility.
The Core i7-2820QM deserves some accolades for its gaming performance, as well, however stifled that might have been by Intel's still-immature drivers. Provided Intel continues to release new drivers with compatibility improvements, I think we may find ourselves in a world where notebooks really don't need discrete GPUs unless they're to be used for serious gaming. The fact that Intel is offering HD Graphics 3000 across its entire mobile lineup may mean even relatively low-end, dual-core Sandy Bridge notebooks will pack the same punch as last year's laptops with decent discrete GPUs. That'd be huge, and I think it'd be a boon to PC gaming as a whole.