Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 hands-on (video)

The much-anticipated Galaxy S III this is not. What you are looking at above is the Ace 2, a mid-ranger from Samsung's stable of smartphones that's exclusive to the European market for the time being. Loaded up with a dual-core 800MHz CPU and a TouchWiz-skinned build of Android 2.3.6, the phone moves along smoothly, though the slight delay between touch recognition and transitions takes a bit of adjustment for those used to higher-clocked handsets. It's also a typical design for the OEM, encased in plastic and registering with a good balance of weight in the hand. We'd have hoped the unit would've felt much lighter, owing to the materials employed in its construction, but that extra bit of heft does help elevate it away from any sense of cheapness. As you can tell, we had an opportunity to spend some time with unit, so follow on after the break for a few more first impressions.

Like most of the company's latest handsets, the back casing is marked by subtle grooves that make for a secure in-hand hold. Beneath that removable cover lies the 1,500mAh battery and SIM slot. While the phone does come pre-loaded with 4GB of internal storage, users will have the ability to augment that capacity via a microSD slot located just below the volume rocker on the Ace 2's lower left side. A 3.5mm headphone jack resides up top, with a tiny power button off to the upper right edge.

If you're looking for the company's signature high contrast OLED displays, look elsewhere, the 3.8-inch WVGA display used here is moderately vibrant despite the lack of any over-saturation. That said, we did need to crank up brightness considerably to adequately view the screen in a well-lit environment. Keep in mind, however, that the Ace 2 isn't dressed up in high-end specs to impress; it's meant to be a workhorse for the everyday user, so we'll cut it some slack. It's slated to hit the UK this April, so if this middle of the road entry's caught your eye, you'll know where to find it.

Mat Smith contributed to this report.