Samsung announced the newest entries to its surprisingly popular Chromebook series Monday with the aptly named Chromebook 2 laptops. With two screen sizes, a bump to the usual specs, and a new leathery look, these lightweight devices are a significant upgrade — but aren't quite as cheap as their $250 predecessor.
The new 13.3-inch model strikes a balance between the small, ultra-low-cost Chromebook and "real" laptops that run Windows or OS X. For $400 you get a 1920x1080 screen, which should be very sharp at that size, 16 GB of storage, 4 GB of RAM, and the latest Exynos 5 Octa processor from Samsung — which offers some improvements but no great leap in performance.
Most noticeably (other than the size), this model has an imitation leather finish, complete with fake stitching, all plastic of course. Some may appreciate this new feel and detailing, and others might find it in horribly poor taste.
Meanwhile, $320 gets you the 11.6-inch version, which apart from an updated processor and better battery life appears to be much the same spec-wise as the original Samsung Chromebook. If the extra hour and a half of battery is worth $70 to you, go for it, but otherwise you'll probably be fine with the old version.
Whichever size you choose, it should be available in April from Google or your favorite retailer.