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The more we get our hands on Samsung's dual-core flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S 2, the more we like it, once we got used it to its wafer-thin plastic case and ultra-light weight. Its featherweight predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S, was surprisingly light, but the Galaxy S 2 is like an After Eight mint with Einstein's brain.

Those brains are thanks to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. It gives the Galaxy S 2 an almost endless pile of features, including the ability to act as a mobile hotspot to connect all your devices to the Web over the phone's 3G connection.

Android is especially handy if you're a fan of Google's own services, such as Gmail and Google Maps, since those apps come built-in. But it also has access to a huge supply of additional programs and games on the Android Market.

Samsung has topped things off with a few treats of its own. Our favourite is the Swype virtual keyboard, which makes typing and texting faster, because you don't have to take your fingers off the keys to use it. Instead of tapping each letter one at a time, Swype works by guessing what you're writing when you run your fingers over the word's letters. It does a shockingly good job, and it makes typing faster once you're used to it.

The Galaxy S 2 also has an improved screen, which it overloads with superlatives by calling it the Super AMOLED plus. At first glance, it's not a wild improvement on the Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy S, but we'll have to put them face to face to find out for sure.

We can't wait to pit the Galaxy S 2 against the LG Optimus 2X and the Motorola Atrix in a battle of the multi-core titans. All three phones claim to make multi-tasking faster thanks to their 1GHz, dual-core processors, and the Optimus 2X has already lived up to its promises in our speed benchmarks. You can depend on us putting the Galaxy S 2 through the same torture test when we get it in for a full review.

In the meantime, take a stroll through our hands-on photo gallery by clicking the photo above. 

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