Unlike some of its more celebrated rivals, the X520’s aim is value for money. You'll need to look twice at its spec sheet before you realise that this 15incher is actually thinner than an aluminium unibody 13in MacBook Pro and only a touch heavier, too.

While you're busy marvelling at its size, though, don't forget to be similarly impressed at its price tag. At less than £700 it's an affordable desktop replacement that's as easy to lug around as most 13in ultraportables we've been paying over the odds on for years.

Low-end looks

If you want cutting-edge style, the X520 isn't the laptop for you. Its glossy finish and thick screen bezel convey a fun and friendly look that helps to mask the fact the build quality isn't quite as good as it could have been.

The screen hinge and keyboard feel particularly flimsy. The former wobbles if you type too hard, although the latter is too spongy to pound away for too long anyway.

These are the kinds of compromises we'd expect to make to keep the price down. The bigger issue is that the 1366x768 resolution just isn't high enough for the panel size.


While it's a crisp number of pixels to cram into a 10-13in monitor, it starts to lose definition in the X520’s 15in display and means you don't get a huge benefit from the larger physical screen area. Windows will still pile up on top of each other if you've got more than a couple open.

11-hour battery life

There is one area where the Samsung outperforms all its rivals, whether big or small, and that's its incredibly battery life. It kept going for 11 hours in our tests, making it one of the longest lasting notebooks we've ever tested.

To achieve that, the components inside are fairly basic. It sports an underclocked Intel CULV processor and an integrated graphics chip. These are fine for most tasks, but it's no games machine like Acer's Timeline X, for example.

Despite the headline-grabbing size and price, then, the X520 does come with a few caveats that stop it achieving must-buy status. Importantly, though, there's no killer flaw that should put you off either – and a big screen without the bulk is exactly what many of us need.

Stuff says... 

Samsung X520 review

A stylish, lightweight option for anyone seeking a simple laptop on a budget

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