Samsung's last Chromebook was a smashing success, a $249 laptop that sat at the top of the Amazon charts for virtually its entire lifespan. Now the company's announced its successor, the leather-clad Chromebook 2, which comes in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch frames, and represents a big bet from Samsung on the future of Chrome OS.

The $399.99, 13.3-inch model is one of the most high-end Chromebook models yet, at least on paper. The 3.09-pound body has a 1920 x 1080 screen, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and Samsung's latest Exynos 5 Octa processor. The processor is hardly the most powerful chip available to Samsung, but Chrome OS has typically not required high-end silicon, and if Samsung's promise of 8.5 hours of battery life is true then the tradeoff may well be worth it. For $319.99, the 11.6-inch model steps down to a 1366 x 768 screen, a slightly slower processor, and eight hours of battery. But it keeps the same storage, RAM, port selection, and weighs just 2.43 pounds.

A clever middle ground between the too cheap and the too expensive

The larger model comes in black and white, the smaller only in "Titan Gray." Both come with the same stitched-leather back that works well for Samsung's Note devices, combined with some of the sleek aesthetic charm of the Ativ Book 9 Plus. They're among the best-designed Chromebooks ever made, and make big promises: if Samsung's made the first Chromebooks that are good, good-looking, and affordable, it's going to be a quick climb back to the top of the Amazon charts.