MWC 2011 – Samsung Galaxy S II hands-on

The successor to one of 2010's top smartphones – Samsung's Galaxy S – is here. We went backstage at Sammy's press event to get our hands dirty

Samsung dedicated nearly all of its MWC press event to the Galaxy S II announcement (although we still don't really understand what the chaps above were up to outside). And that means the company has big plans for this little device.

We say little, because at 8.49mm thick the Galaxy S II claims the spot of world's thinnest mobile. For today, at least. It's thinner even than Sony Ericsson's Xperia Arc, launched last month at CES. And it feels almost slate-like in the hand, thanks to a hectare of screen estate (actually 4.3in).

On the back, there's an 8MP snapper with 1080p movie shooting skills while the front cam will beam images captured at 2MP to whoever's lucky enough to be on the receiving end of your video call.

But let's get back to that screen, a deep black pool of gorgeous Super AMOLED Plus beauty. It's so sharp you could poke your eyes out with it and the black is so true, we couldn't tell where it ended and the bezel started under the demo room lights.

The Galaxy S II runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Samsung has seen fit to give it a lick of UI paint all its own. Thankfully, it's sparser than previous efforts, leaving most of Gingerbread's finery intact. The hubs that last year hit the Galaxy Tab – music, social, books and games – have arrived on the smartphone, though whether  punters really want to buy their wares from the manufacturer remains to be seen.

In use, we found the Galaxy S II beyond reproach – Gingerbread runs lag-free on the GSII's as-yet-unspecified dual-core brains and looks razor sharp on the Super AMOLED Plus display. Videos and pictures (granted, Samsung's pre-loaded library is probably not typical of your jobbing smartphone photographer) were astonishing in depth and detail.

As ever, all this is based on a brief encounter with Samsung's new headliner, but if the first impressions bear out in a full test, we are salivating in anticipation of a package from Mr Samsung. You, of course, will be first to know.