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The Sony Ericsson Arc won't repopulate the world after a great flood, but this Android smart phone still has plenty of talents.

At first grasp, the Arc is shockingly thin. In fact, it unseated the LG Optimus Black as the thinnest smart phone in the world only a day after the other phone's launch. So if you want every picometre of space in your pocket, the 9mm Arc will save you 0.2mm compared to the Optimus Black.

In that emaciated frame, Sony Ericsson has packed a new kind of screen, which it says has better colours and contrast thanks to the Bravia technology that it uses on Sony TVs.

There's also an 8.1-megapixel camera on board, and our shutter fingers are twitching to try its fancy new CMOS sensor, which it calls the Exmor R. It's back-illuminated, which should make it better for taking photos in low light situations, which is home turf for a camera phone. This kind of sensor is just making its way into compact cameras, so it's exciting to see it on a phone, although the Arc's lens has to be up to the task too.

The camera also shoots 720p video, and the phone has a mini-HDMI out, and comes with a cable to connect it to your TV's HDMI port, so you can enjoy your movies on the big screen. 

The Arc boasts Android 2.3 Gingerbread, ensuring that the Arc isn't as out of date as Sony Ericsson's previous attempts at Android phones, such as the Xperia X10. Android provides the brains of the operation, including access to the Android Market app store for zillions of apps and games.

The Arc has a single-core processor, but it's running at 1GHz and in our early hands-on tests, it felt smooth and responsive to use. We'll be giving it a full run-through closer to its release date sometime this spring, when you can expect to buy it on a £35-£40 per month contract.

Are you looking forward to boarding the Arc? Then get clicking on the gallery above to ogle its curves.

The Arc offers all of Android 2.2's features, including the ability to sync with your online Picasa photo albums.
At 9mm, the Arc is skeletally skinny at its ends -- and in the middle it's a wafer-like 8.7mm.
The Arc's 8.1-megapixel camera is assisted by an LED photo light and a fancy new kind of CMOS sensor.
The Arc's 4.2-inch screen is bigger than the iPhone 4's 3.5-inch one, but doesn't have as high a resolution.
Compared to the iPhone 4, the Arc is a smidgen thinner -- 9mm compared to 9.3mm.
Sony Ericsson has tweaked the Android UI, including a different lock screen.
You can turn off the Bravia display engine if you want to see how it affects the phone's video, although Son Eric says it doesn't hurt the battery life to keep it on.
The Arc has a bundle of widgets and shortcuts that aim to get you to your media more quickly, including this shortcut folder -- one of four you can pin to the bar along the bottom of the screen.
A mini-HDMI port on the top requires a special cable to connect to a normal HDMI port, but one will come in the box with the Arc.


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