Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook - Samsung R522

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


So the feature set is pretty solid, but the new design is what really sets the R522 apart since it's probably the most refined notebook in its class - putting the likes of the Toshiba Satellite A350-11N and Dell Inspiron 1545 to shame in the process. It achieves this by keeping things simple.

On the outside Samsung retains its now trademark glossy black lid. Yes, it does attract fingerprints and grime, but it's very classy too and is enhanced by smartly tapered edges that merge seamlessly with the rest of the machine. Inside, things are similarly uncluttered. Gone is the slightly garish 'touch of colour' and glossy black finish; in is an attractive and muted gunmetal-grey effect that has the look and feel of brushed metal, though we rather suspect it actually isn't metal at all. Frankly, whether it is or not is beside the point, since it's very attractive and eliminates the irritants of fingerprints and grease that plagued the last generation of Samsung notebooks.

This contrasts nicely with the sliver of glossy black that surrounds the keyboard, but the really funky touch comes with the touchpad. Not only is it nicely integrated into its surroundings, but it also has a rather nice backlit strip running around it that lights-up blue when in use. It's a really cool feature that elevates the R522 above the usual throng of mid-range notebooks. All-in-all the R522 has all the hallmarks we look for in notebook design: comfort, cohesion and a little bit of class.

This refinement in design is matched by good input devices. Utilising a tile-style keyboard (not be confused with isolation), the keyboard sports an excellent layout. All the important keys are in the right place, while Samsung has even added Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys down the right-hand side of the keyboard - a far more intuitive positioning than seen on many notebooks.

Keys themselves sport a nice amount of travel and a crisp, positive response, though we think this style of keyboard does feel a little light and flimsy. However, it's not a big issue and the touchpad can't be faulted. It's nicely positioned and the two buttons, signified by a single rocker-style button, are crisp and pleasant to use.

Crisp and pleasant are two words that can't be attributed to the speakers, though. Tinny and harsh, they turn rock music into an unbearable mosh pit of noise, while other music doesn't fare much better thanks to a complete lack of bass. So though they're passable for the occasional online video clip, in every other respect they're trounced by the fundamentally superior efforts of the Toshiba A350-11N. Were one to put its speakers on the R522 you'd have one very impressive system.


April 27, 2009, 6:44 am

Regarding battery life quotes like included within not just this review, but those for other notebooks too, how does one gauge the battery wear? Is it possible to predict battery wear and include it in this review? E.g. battery life in 1 year is expected to be instead of the original 3 hours 30 minutes, 1 hour and 30minutes.

I ask because I purchased the acer 5920 reviewed on this site near enough 2 years ago, and the battery life was self measured at 3.5 hours, and after a year now does not last 40 minutes on battery. Future battery life is a very important but often negated part of a notebook review. I'd never even known about heavy battery wear until experiencing it first hand. I know lith-ion batteries degrade over time, but some notebook batteries wear down faster than others etc....


April 27, 2009, 6:27 pm

@darkspark88; I believe that would be very difficult for the reviewers to determine, especially when they have the machines in hand for such a relitively short period of time. I do share your pain though, I find Acer batteries to be particularly bad at holding the juice after those first 6 months or so, especially if you forget to run down the battery every so often. I have the 5930, which I believe uses the same battery as yours, and it now barely runs for 1h30 after 10 months whereas before it would go for a jolly good 3hours. Acer are introducing an auto swtich off system in their laptop adaptors in their latest machines which should help allevate thesse issues - we can only hope other manufacturers take up this system as well.

Geoff Richards

April 27, 2009, 7:43 pm

I don't have a link to back this up with, but I do recall that running a laptop on AC power all day is believed to be detrimental to it's long-term life. That's in addition to any kind of "expected number of recharges"


April 28, 2009, 2:14 pm

To be fair, all laptop batteries seem to deteriorate at about the same rate. At least to the extent that in a couple of years you can expect battery life to have significantly dropped. In the case of my Samsung Q35, from around 5 hours to about 2. This is something that is nearly impossible for us to fairly predict, though.


August 21, 2009, 4:02 pm

I like the look of this machine. It seems to have everything that i'm looking for, but is it better than the medion akoya s5610, or the sony vaio vgn-ns20j/s. I have been working on this question for a while and a recent magazine I purchased said the Sony was clearly the best. I can't, for the life of me work out why but any help would be greatly appreciated. Your Michael.


September 8, 2009, 10:50 pm

Thagun you should go for it, go for the model with the dedicated 512mb graphics card. It's a great laptop.


December 14, 2009, 1:28 am

I couldn't see this machine in a BB store, so I ordered it blindly after rejecting HP, Dell, Compaq, and several other competitors. I needed a machine badly since my last computer was actually falling apart. It came 5 days later (standard shipping) and I was pleased with its easy setup and Vista's operation. It even comes with a free upgrade to Windows 7. Here is the good news...

Its light enough to travel around the house and around town with, the screen is very bright, and the construction is solid and sturdy. The speakers allow the music to be heard in the next room, albeit without bass, but can be quiet enough to be a bedroom television/DVD player for me. The mouse pad has a cool blue ring around it so you can find the mouse pad in the dark. Its completely useless and can be turned off in BIOS, but adds a bit of Samsung's style to the laptop. She gets an A+ on wireless range, power-sipping energy efficiency (very high on my list), an HDMI out, the graphics accelerator, cd burning, aesthetics, and available USB ports. Seriously, who uses more than 4 USB ports simultaneously?

Here's the bad news. I'm not too stoked about the keyboard arrangement. The keys are chiclet-style, meaning my big fingers roll right off of them easily. Also, the the delete, home, pg up, pg down, and end keys are horizontally placed on the far right side of the keyboard, so i have to actually look when using these quick keys while typing. There are no quick media buttons, which I had on my last laptop and I now miss them dearly. The AC cord plugs in on the left, and is extra long, but i always seem to sit on the wrong side of AC jacks in my house. Beware of fingerprints, the matte black finish collects em like candy. Vista automatically partitions half of my hard drive for backup space, and I wish it wouldn't do that. The SD card slot is completely open, which makes me think dust WILL collect in it. Oh, and I paid full price for it a month ago (629).

If you like RAM speed, tons of GB of memory, and want a lightning quick machine WITH blue-tooth, look elsewhere and pay more. Otherwise, this might be just what the PC Gods ordered... I recommend for the non-techies and light techies.

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