Samsung's latest Chromebooks come wrapped in faux-leather, on sale next month for $320 and up

It's been over a year since Samsung released a new Chromebook, and since then the competition has been heating up: Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba all sell Chrome OS devices now, as does Acer, which has been at it from day one. Accordingly, Samsung is refreshing its lineup: the company just announced the Chromebook 2, which comes in 11- and 13-inch screen sizes, and will ship next month starting at $320 for the smaller version (the bigger one costs $400).

Perhaps even more interesting than any of the spec bumps, though, is the new design. Confirming some leaked photos that began circulating two days ago, the Chromebook 2 sports a faux-leather lid with a soft, rubbery finish and fake stitching at the edges -- yep, just like the Galaxy Note III, Note Pro 12.2 and other recent Samsung devices. In-hand, it actually feels quite nice, and might even be easier for children to grip, assuming this ends up in classrooms. It also has a thin silhouette, which we're told was modeled after the ATIV Book 9 Plus (formerly called the Series 9 Ultrabook). It's generally a pleasing design, although the plain plastic underside makes for a mullet sort of look: premium on top, bargain-basement on the bottom.



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