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Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook review

Andy Vandervell



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Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook
  • Samsung R522 - 15.6in Notebook


Our Score:


Last year Samsung unveiled its 'touch of colour' design theme. This started on TVs, but soon found its way onto its monitors and somewhat less successfully its notebooks as well. Given the less enthusiastic reception, though, it's no surprise to see the Korean giant abandoning the theme in its latest notebooks for something a little less polarising. Its first effort is the R522 and it could be onto a winner.

Built around a 15.6in 16:9 ratio display the R522 is an ideal affordable all-rounder. Available for between £550 and £600, it features a decent 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400, a plentiful 4GB DDR2 RAM and a capacious 320GB hard drive. This trio of components provide a good mix for a family PC, providing enough processing power to perform relatively intensive tasks, like photo or video editing, as well as a decent amount of storage to boot.

You can probably rule out gaming on the R522, though, since it utilises Intel's GMA X4500M chipset, which is okay for undemanding older titles, but really struggles with anything recent. What it lacks in gaming credentials, however, it should make up for with frugal power use, something we'll be covering a little later on.

Outside of the core specifications the R522 has a decent feature set, though it is lacking a couple of things. For starters Wi-Fi is of the Wireless-G variety, which means slower data rates and shorter range, but there's also no Bluetooth. In fairness, a lack of Bluetooth is a common sight among more affordable notebooks, but some do manage to offer both Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, or at least one of the two, albeit by economising in other areas. Clearly if you want and need either the R522 might not be for you.

What the R522 does deliver is excellent connectivity. There are three dedicated USB ports, plus one further USB/eSATA dual-purpose port for a total of four USB ports. We can't remember the last time a notebook of this size and price offered this many. Joining the complement of USB ports is an HDMI output, VGA, Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks and a 54mm ExpressCard slot. On the front, meanwhile, just below the large selection of status lights, is a 3-in-1 memory card reader.

Samsung has also integrated a 2-megapixel webcam above the screen. Unlike previous machines, though, the microphone is also above the screen instead of by the keyboard. This makes a lot more sense, even if Samsung has opted to put the mic in the corner instead of the middle.


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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