They...uh...look different. They're named differently. A Defiant Class starred in a television series for a few seasons.
I take it you mean differences in mission type and what not. Well, since we know virtually nothing about the Saber Class, it's hard to say. I never got the impression it was that bad-ass of a ship. The Defiant seemed to be a departure from the norm when it was new, but the Saber Class might be newer than the Defiant. So it could also be some kind of small, fast, gunship. But who knows...
I reckon that the Sabre Class is one of the other 'weapons' that were created to battle the Borg - as mentioned by Shelby in BOBW and Sisko in Emissary - no they didn't say exactly what they were - but we did see one - that was the Defiant. Why not the Sabre?
-------------------- "Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica." - Jim Halpert. (The Office)
Steamrunners apparently had registries in the 50K range, and the Akiras and Norways are in the 60K range. The Sabre is also supposed to be 60K, but an apparent mislabeling of at least one picture has it in the 80K range. Make of that what you will; the last "new" ship we knew of was the USS Sao Paulo, at NCC-75633. Asssuming she was fresh from the yards (as her ded. plaque seemed to indicate, IIRC), the Sabre is erroneous and is really in the 60K range.
According to the fact files the Saber-Class is a battle cruiser that was developed to fight the borg after wolf 359. The NCC-6XXXX reg makes this unlikey, however it is possible that the entire Saber-class was refitted from what ever function it filled before to the fast and manuverable battle cruiser that was seen in ST:FC and DS9 in responce to the Borg threat.
It's about time Starfleet racked out ships with registries beginning with 8 and 9. Right now it's 7, 7, 7... Look at the Rhode Island! It's from 2404 or thereabouts, and still has a 7 number! And the Challenger appeared in 2400, with regisrty 71099 or something.
The real life reason for that is that Okuda (or Sternbach, whoever started it), got a perverse pleasure out of making the registry numbers variations on "747". Tsk. Dragonball fans have their vegetable puns. We get Bukaroo Bonzai and HILARIOUS NUMBERS.
We have 7 and 4. For the "205", and two and five together, and bingo! Seven.
7 and 4 again. "656" = 6 - 5 + 6 = 7.
What fun maths is. I am laughing now.
-------------------- Yes, you're despicable, and... and picable... and... and you're definitely, definitely despicable. How a person can get so despicable in one lifetime is beyond me. It isn't as though I haven't met a lot of people. Goodness knows it isn't that. It isn't just that... it isn't... it's... it's despicable.
Haw haw haw! The Saber probably was intended to serve as an escort like the Defiant, and also to fight the Borg. Same as the Norway-class, except we've seen the Saber going on to bigger and better things (Dominion War), while the Norway will remain in FC forever.
Now, now, now. The Norway is not simply going to remain in First Contact forever. It kinda sorta made an appearance in an episode of Voyager (as a silhouette on a ship chart). I just can't remember the episode name, it had Chakotay going undercover to learn about a Species 8472 plot to invade Starfleet Command and Earth and the local Taco Bell.
-------------------- The philosopher's stone. Those who possess it are no longer bound by the laws of equivalent exchange in alchemy. They gain without sacrifice and create without equal exchange. We searched for it, and we found it.
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That doesn't mean that the CGI model of the ship would even exist any more. Only the Encyclopedia images are preserved for all eternity...
Regarding the Saber, most scaling cues indicate a ship far bigger than mere Defiant size. The portholes or the lifeboats could be taken to be of Galaxy size, or a deck count made and 3.5m deck height assumed, all giving a ship slightly bigger than a Constitution. Or the teeny weeny bridge bulge could be chosen to be of a minimum size that could actually hold a meaningful number of people inside, making the ship almost Excelsior-sized.
In any case, 170 meters makes for a very funny Saber, with shuttlebays barely capable of taking a type 15 economy-size shuttlepod.