All eyes are on Samsung today, but that doesn’t mean that their in-country rivals are going to sit back and take it. Fellow South Korean manufacturer Pantech has just revealed their new flagship, the Vega Racer 2, and it’s a stunner. The phone will be out on the three biggest South Korean cellular carriers next week, though pricing is still up in the air.

Stop me if these specs sound familiar: a 4.8-inch 720p screen. a Snapdragon S4 processor, Ice Cream Sandwich (With the obligatory custom UI – sigh) and LTE connectivity. Yup, Pantech’s aiming straight for the Galaxy S III with this one, and it’s no coincidence that the official announcement came just before Samsung’s London event. The phone doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of today’s super-thin models at 9.35mm, but it makes up for it with a 2,020mAh battery – about 20% larger than most of the flagship devices out there.

There’s something interesting in the Vega Racer 2’s design: virtual navigation buttons, a la the Galaxy Nexus. Most tier one manufacturers seem to have ignored Google’s hint that on-screen buttons are the way to go, including HTC with their one series and the more reliable leaks of Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Currently there’s no word on distribution outside of Asia, and with Pantech’s position in America and Europe, it’s not likely.

[via The Verge]