The size limit for a large-screen laptop that you can still slip into a bag and carry around comfortably is 16 inches, and this slice of the market is hotly contested. Priced at around just £500, the 15.6-inch Samsung R520 is about £100 cheaper than the 17.3-inch that we liked so much. Does it offer the same good deal but in a smaller package?
Two of a kind
Externally, the R520 bears a very close resemblance to its bigger brother. It's finished in silver on the inside, rather than the R720's matte black, but it has the same glossy black lid and overall design -- it's just smaller. The 16:9 aspect ratio of its 15.6-inch screen means the R520 is a wide laptop (it measures 376mm across) and, weighing 2.6kg, not one that we'd want to carry on a daily commute.
The extra-wide case means there's room inside the R520 for a separate numeric keypad, but Samsung hasn't fitted one and so there's a good inch and a half of empty space at either side of the full-size keyboard. The wide, flat and excellent keys are the same as on the R720. The R520 also has the same comfortable trackpad with glowing blue perimeter.
For laptops measuring between 13 and 16 inches, 1,366x768 pixels seems to be the resolution of choice these days, but we think it offers the best balance between legibility and on-screen space with 15-inch screens. The R520's display is clear and bright, but colours aren't as well-saturated as we'd like. Movies look rather washed-out as a result, but this is really only noticeable when the R520 is directly compared with another laptop.