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Samsung Chromebook 2: Stylish Design, Octa-Core Power, Premium Price

As Chromebooks become more popular, OEMs are rolling out increasingly-premium designs like the Toshiba CB35-A3120 Chromebook. Hoping to cash in on the trend, Samsung is rolling out the Chromebook 2 series. Available in 11.6 and 13.3-inch varieties priced at $319 and $399 respectively, the new laptops promise longer battery life and more power with a stylish design.

Design

The lid of each Chromebook 2 is swathed in faux leather material similar to that used on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Note Pro 12.2, but with a slightly more textured surface. The inlaid Chrome emblem adds a welcome pop of color to the presentation while the silver chrome Samsung logo gives a nice touch of bling. The 11.6-inch model will be available in white and black while the 13.3-inch will only ship in silver.  

MORE: Chromebook vs. Tablet: Which Should You Buy?

At 2.43 pounds, 11.4 x 8.06 x 0.66-inches and 3.09 pounds, 12.72 x 8.8 x 0.65-inches, the 11 and 13 Chromebook 2 laptops are slimmer than most of the competition including the  Toshiba CB35-A3120 Chromebook (3.3 pounds, 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.8 inches), HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook (3.8 pounds, 13.66 x 9.7 x 0.83 inches) and Acer Chromebook C720P (2.98 pounds, 11.34 x 8.03 x 0.78 inches).

Specs

The 11.6-inch Chromebook 2 features a 1366 x 768 LED display, a 1.9-GHz Samsung Exynos 5 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM. a 16GB eMMC Flash Drive. The 13.3-inch version has a few more bells and whistles including a 1920 x 1080 LED panel and a 2.1-GHz Samsung Exynos 5 octa-core BPU with 4GB of RAM. Similar to its little brother, it has 16GB eMMC Flash Drive. While both displays delivered bright, vibrant color, the 13.3-inch screen had clearer, crisper images.

According to Samsung, the notebooks are the first to have Google Hangout certification and  have dual-array mics and 720p cameras to deliver a seamless video conferencing experience.

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As for ports, the Chromebook 2 has a port for USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI. A microSD reader, combination headphone/microphone jack and DC jack can also be found along the sides of the laptop. In an effort to provide a more comfortable typing experience, Samsung has revamped the keyboard, using the same curved key design featured on the upcoming Samsung ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition. During our short demo, the keys cupped our fingers slightly while giving us firm, springy feedback.

When it ships in April, Samsung is claiming 8 hours of battery life for the 11.6-inch Chromebook 2 and 8.5 hours for the larger version. 

Software

The Chromebook 2 just wouldn't be a Samsung product without some exclusive software. To that end, the company is bundling the Chromebook 2 with 1-year of premium service from AirDroid and Wunderlist. An Android device manager app, AirDroid lets users access their Android devices from a web browser over a local Wi-Fi network. That means users can make calls, send and receive texts and access their smartphone's apps from the Chromebook. Wunderlist shares and manages to-do lists in real time.

Available in April for $319 and $399, the 11.6-inch and 13-inch Chromebook 2 might be just the laptop for students and mobile professionals alike.

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.