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Samsung R520 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £470
inc VAT

A stunning laptop for the price, Samsung's R520 has everything you need. If you're on a tight budget, this is the model to buy.

If Samsung’s intention for its R520 was to create a budget laptop that looks and feels like a much more expensive model, it’s succeeded.

For starters, it looks stylish with its gloss-black lid (although this picks up fingerprints) and sleek case. It doesn’t just look pretty, though; the R520 is also incredibly well built, from the tough-feeling case to its protective lid.

While other budget laptop manufacturers have tried to squeeze in a number pad, Samsung hasn’t. This means that the keyboard has all its keys in the right place, and they’re all full-sized. It’s also technically one of the best keyboards that we’ve used, with each key feeling firm and giving plenty of travel and feedback. Our one annoyance is that the flat keys lie flush with the case, which can make it a little tricky to feel for the right key; with time, though, we’d definitely get used to it. As with previous models in this range, the keyboard has a special coating to prevent germs from spreading. In front of the keyboard is a responsive touchpad with great buttons.

Budget laptops often suffer from screens with poor viewing angles, but not the R520. Its 15.6in 1,366×768 screen is fantastic, with great viewing angles. Text looks sharp, whites are bright and the screen is evenly lit. With vibrant colours, too, it’s great to use.

Performance was good, particularly in our multitasking test, thanks to the 2GHz Core 2 Duo T6400 processor and 3GB of RAM. The onboard Intel GMA 4500M HD graphics aren’t capable of playing games. It’s good to see both HDMI and VGA outputs, since most budget laptops have only VGA. In fact, the R520 has a stunning range of inputs and outputs, including four USB ports, an SDHC card reader and an ExpressCard/54 slot. The stereo speakers are tinny, but loud and clear.

With a 320GB hard disk providing plenty of disk space for all your files, almost four hours of battery life and not-too-heavy 2.5kg weight, the R520 will be as useful outside of your home as in. With a low price as well, it wins a Budget Buy award.

Basic Specifications

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo E6400
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle15W
Power consumption active29W


Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366×768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory64MB


Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelTSST TS-L633B
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC
Other ports1x eSATA


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedCyberLink Power2Go 6, CyberLink PowerDirector 7, CyberLink PowerDVD 8, CyberLink PowerProducer 5
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return

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