Samsung RV520 review

A budget laptop with a great processor

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Product features

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

View full specification


  • Good performance
  • Good build quality
  • Generous storage and RAM


  • Highly reflective screen
  • Integrated graphics

The Samsung RV520 is a fantastic budget laptop with power and build quality that belies its meagre price tag. Anyone looking for something that can perform every day tasks with ease would do well to fork out for this portable.

As soon as you unbox the Samsung RV520, you get a feeling for the quality of the build. The silver and black lid is textured, and looks sleek and business-like, without being bland and boring. There's little flex in the lid, and when you open it up, the smooth silver wrist rests and black isolated keyboard continue this quality look and feel.

Typing on the keyboard is comfortable, and the keys are well spaced, meaning that we were instantly able to start typing long documents without making regular mistakes. The track pad was smooth and precise, and while we've used better-quality mouse buttons, these are also well made.

Under the hood is a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3 processor (clocked at 2.1GHz) that offers more than enough power for watching videos, playing rich web content such as web games, iPlayer and Flash web sites, as well as multitasking multiple applications. We'd recommend anyone to buy a Sandy Bridge machine and the Samsung RV520 shows that this doesn't have to be expensive.

The reward is performance that will meet most home users' expectations. In our lab tests of the processor and graphics, the results yielded exactly the performance we'd expect.

This laptop is faster than most budget machines and able to multi-task media, documents and web pages without problems. You won't find much that will challenge the RV520, until you start editing pictures in Photoshop or editing your home movies, which would be slower than Intel Core i5-based machines.

Battery life was also strong, and the Samsung withstood our rigorous tests for 184 minutes, or around three hours. This is a good result, and if your day consists of just checking emails and surfing the web, you can expect it to last even longer.

Samsung has also included 6GB of RAM in the RV520, which, again, is significantly more than on most budget laptops, and means your applications will load faster, and your whole system will feel more responsive. We noticed fast resuming from sleep and quick loading of large applications, which is all down to that extra memory.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 184 minutes
Cinebench: 7634
3DMark 2007: 4064

Storage has also been given a big boost in the RV520, and there's a whopping 750GB hard drive with tons of room for movies, music, photos and more. This is a lot more storage than we'd expect to find on a laptop in this price band and is another reason why this Samsung offers great value for money.

On reflection The 15.6-inch screen is one of the most reflective panels that we've seen on a laptop, and using the RV520 in our bright office was almost impossible. If you're a mobile worker, or have your laptop positioned near big windows, it would be advisable to think twice before purchasing.

The Samsung played HD movies without any problems, but it was here that the screen let the side down again. The problem is that, while the picture was clear and pin sharp, the colours were flat and devoid of vibrancy. While playing our HD videos was technically not a problem for the Samsung RV520, we wouldn't recommend this as a laptop for movie lovers.

Interestingly, the Samsung was equipped with some built-in software, which recognised when a movie was being played and enhanced the display to 'Movie Colour Mode.' This didn't help the problem, though and looks like an admission from Samsung that colour vibrancy is an issue on this model.

The Samsung weighs 2.7kg, which means it's easily carried in a bag, but people who spend their life flitting from place to place will want something lighter, and the RV520 is definitely not ultra-portable.

The Samsung RV520 is a fantastic budget laptop that can handle home computing and business tasks with ease. The Sandy Bridge processor provides enough power to enjoy media, pictures and music and the keyboard and build quality are good enough to work comfortably on.

It's not brilliant for movies, and anyone looking to get creative will come up short against the low-end Intel Core i3 processor, but for most consumers, this is a highly recommended purchase.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyRV
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli3-2310M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed2.10 GHz
Processor TypeCore i3
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.40 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM65 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height36.2 mm
Width379.8 mm
Depth255.5 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesRV
Product ModelRV520
Product NameRV520 Notebook
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNP-RV520-A04UK
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

If you want practical usability and reliable performance at an affordable price then the Samsung RV520 notebook has it all - and more. Its stylish design, incorporating an ergonomic Island keyboard, looks like a top of the range model. Its 15.6" HD LED display produces the sharpest images and boldest colors, with the most accurate widescreen representation of movies and games. The addition of genuine Windows 7 Home Premium means everyday tasks are much simpler, and its unique Fast Start technology also lets you wake your notebook from sleep mode within seconds of opening the lid or pressing the power button. And with Samsung's PhoneShare you can even connect to the Internet using your smartphone - so you can browse, socialize or send e-mails wherever you are.

Package Contents
  • RV520 Notebook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year