Samsung R520 review

Samsung offers yet another strong entry-level laptop

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Our Verdict

Great performance, usability and features at a price that's hard to beat

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Powerful processor
  • Very portable
  • Great features

Against

  • Screen not that great
  • 3D power is lacking

Samsung's entry-level laptop range is among the best you can buy, offering reliable build quality and great usability. The R520 is a stylish example and combines impressive performance and a fantastic specification.

The eye-catching chassis uses a combination of glossy black plastics on the lid – which are a magnet for scratches and smudges – and matt silver on the interior, to great effect. Build quality is good, but we did notice an excessive amount of flex to the screen panel.

The slim dimensions and light 2.6kg weight make this a surprisingly portable machine. This is strengthened by the lengthy 214-minute battery life, making it a great choice for basic travel use and working around the home.

Usability is excellent. The spacious keyboard features large keys that move firmly and quietly. The large touchpad and mouse buttons are equally effective. A blue light frames the touchpad and is activated whenever the pad is touched, thus aiding usability in low light conditions.

The 15.6-inch screen features a 16:9 aspect ratio. Its widescreen design makes it perfect for watching DVDs and working across multiple windows side by side. Images are sharp, but brightness, colour and contrast fail to match the excellent screen on laptops from the likes of Asus.

Dual-core power

Almost all laptops in this price range will feature dual-core processors, but the R520 has a particularly powerful variant. Its Intel Core 2 Duo chip has a faster and more efficient design than its rivals and provides ample power for quick and reliable multi-tasking.

Graphics performance via the integrated Intel GPU is also capable, but falls behind the more powerful dedicated chips available. There's plenty of power for home photo and video editing, but you'll struggle to run 3D games.

The 320GB hard drive will store an incredibly high volume of data for such a low price. The dual-layer DVD rewriter lets you save up to 8.5GB of data to compatible disks, and an SD card reader is also fitted, for use with your camera.

Network connectivity is also excellent at this price, with 802.11.n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet providing the fastest wireless and wired connections currently available. An HDMI-out port also lets you connect to an external HDTV, for Full-HD playback of high-definition content.

Although its screen and graphics fail to match some laptops, the fantastic power, mobility, usability and features of the Samsung R520 make it a better choice overall. At this low price, there's very little to fault here, making it a great laptop.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelMobility Radeon HD 4330
BluetoothNo
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
eSATAYes
FireWire/i.LINKNo
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DVINo
Product FamilyR
Processor ModelT4200
ColourBlack, Silver
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Premium
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.55 kg
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelPM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 512 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedNo
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR2-800/PC2-6400
Height37.2 mm
Width376 mm
Depth255.8 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesR
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelR520
Product NameR520 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNP-R520-FS02UK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

The All-rounder. Mobile entertainment has never looked better than with the Samsung R Series, delivering all you need for High Definition videos and gaming while at home with friends or family - or wherever you choose to be.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • R520 Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Bus Speed800 MHz