What We Think
If you have a limited budget and want a good mixture of style, strength and some pace too, then the RV520 is a great machine. Samsung have done everything well here on this great budget laptop and with prices competitive in this area it can be bought at bargain sub £500 prices.
When you’ve created a winning formula why change it? This certainly seems to be the approach Samsung took with the RV520, the largely identical, albeit smaller brother of the RV720, we’re quite fond of.
Priced in the mid £400s for a model with 6GB of RAM, the RV520 offers affordable computing with relatively quick pace in sturdy, reasonably smart and stylish shell. In fact apart from the reduced screen size and slightly lesser weight, you’d swear it was the RV720 from a slight distance – no bad thing.
Like the RV720, the RV520 is a silver, almost aluminium looking machine with a textured two-tone lid. All of which makes for a product that feels like it’s at the premium end of similar priced machines. Coming in at 2.4kg, the RV520 is a well-built laptop and doesn’t go in for the cheaper plastics of competitors such as the Acer Aspire 5750G. It’s not HP Pavilion DV-6 attractive, but as the worldly know, it’s not all about looks in this game.
We’d never claim it was designed in an Italian style house, but it’s shell is eye-catching when compared to the run of the mill, generic grey offerings that exist, and remember at this price it’s all relative. Samsung has included the gloss black keyboard, with isolated chiclet keys and even includes a numeric pad, for the accountants among us. It’s a nice keyboard with responsive, quite sharp keys. The touchpad is great, aside from the use of the chrome finish on the lower buttons, which quickly ended up like an FBI agents desk with fingerprints. However, it’s a good sized touchpad, considering the 15.6inch screen, which is conducive to swift single movements right across the display area.
One of the most significant differences between the RV720 and RV520 comes in the form of the display on offer. The 15.6inch screen is smaller, but we found notably more reflective than the larger Samsung. This glossy quality makes it a little difficult to sometimes see in outdoor scenarios.
Of course the smaller screen also has a lower 1366x768p panel, though that said, it’s a sharp display, if not a little lacking in vibrancy and a tad flat as regards colour. Sound was quite bland, with little depth however.
Samsung has added a Movie Colour Mode software to enhance films viewed on the laptop, though when compared to their TVs, or indeed other Samsung displays, we found the RV520 more suited to work than play. Saying that there’s plenty of power there for movies playback .
The inclusion of the Intel i3 2310m processor is a welcome one. Even without the Turbo Boost abilities of larger Intel chips, it’s still impressive. It does come with the Hyperthreading abilities and also a 3mb cache which aid pace. Its 6MB of RAM is more than the larger RV720 and is conducive to faster computing and handling of tasks.
We threw it into the gnarly jaws of our Performance Test 7.0 benchmark test, which saw it return a score of 1055.3 – about what we expected. This would suggest it can perform multitasking, and is perfect for office applications and older games. However, we’d expect it to struggle with video editing, or most of Adobe’s creative programmes. It does have a nice and generous 750GB HDD – perfect for storage.
Of course, we also did our 3DMark06 test, showing the RV520’s 3D abilities – mainly used in the gaming field. Scoring 3735 without anything other than the integrated Intel 3000 Graphics card on the i3 chip means it’s by no means a goliath and is okay for video, though would cough back up anything too wanting.
Connectivity can be achieved through the 3xUSB2.0 ports, the VGA, HDMI, Gigabyte Internet port, Bluetooth 3.0, or 3.5mm jack. There’s no sign of a third generation USB port, which would offer faster transfer of files. Battery life is quite good and it scored 181 minutes in our BatteryEater test.
Samsung has stuck to a formula here and created a very good machine for a relatively low price. This is a well built and very usable machine, with all the necessary technologies required for a wide range of everyday tasks. It also offers enough oomph for a little bit of multitasking and good battery life for working away from the mains. Though, the screen is lacking a little and the pedantic among us didn’t like the chrome touchpad buttons, which were prone to fingerprints.
Overall the RV520 is a very good attempt at a budget price point and really will meet a lot of people’s requirements for everyday computing.