By Patrick Avenell (Follow me on Twitter)

SYDNEY, NSW: Samsung will tonight be launching the Galaxy S II, the most anticipated Android smartphone of 2011. This handset has already been released in some markets, meaning Australians that couldn’t wait till 1 June 2011 to receive the world’s thinnest dual-core smartphone had the opportunity to import an overseas unit.

One such man is Liam Hedge, who purchased the Galaxy S II from online store GSM Nation.

We asked Liam for his thoughts on the handset, which he is using unlocked on a Telstra Freedom Connect $59 plan.

“It's fast — really fast,” Hedge said. “I was using a jailbroken iPhone 3GS, which had a quarter the features and lagged as well. I have taken this phone through ridiculous hurdles and have yet to experience the smallest amount of lag. This includes playing a graphics heavy game whilst playing music and acting as a server and remote to my PC.”

 Hedge said the touch screen is very responsive and quick, so much so it is almost too quick, leading to accidental taps.

“The Super AMOLED+ screen is a sight to behold. When you can watch HD video on it, and notice the significant difference. The colours are pure and sharp and the blacks are true black from what I can see.”

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As HTC last night explained at the Desire S and Wildfire S launch, with so many Android smartphones now on the market, how the manufacturers use Android is integral to the performance. Hedge said Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface are both excellent.

 “Android 2.3 is great. I've only played with 2.2 (Froyo) on the Galaxy S, but this is a decent step up. Straight out of the box the interface is intuitive and pleasant and the new Swype that comes packaged with Samsung's devices is considerably better than its predecessors.”

On the con side, Hedge said there were issues with the Galaxy S II’s battery life.

“Like most Android devices, it can suffer a little here because you risk trying to get it to do too much. So far my major concern has been it dying at around 5:30pm or so after taking it off the charger at 8:30am. This is partly because I use it very intensely, but it is an issue worth noting.”

Finally, Hedge urged consumers to follow his lead and investigate purchasing smartphones outright from importers. He said this allows users to choose their own carrier avoid being locked into contracts. Alternatively, if you do import your smartphone, you will not get the extra features that are optimised for the local market by the carrier.

The author of this story will be at the Samsung Galaxy S II launch tonight. Click here to follow all the action on Twitter.