Well, I’ve had this handset for almost 24 hours now, so its probably time to give a few first impressions.

For those following my Twitter stream probably already know I’m impressed with this handset. I loved my G1 (running Android 1.6), but the advances in 18 months are just amazing. The look and feel of the device alone is significantly more polished than its predecessors and Sense UI just adds some nice overall touches to make a truly complete experience.

Looking at the hardware, the casing is very solid and quite gripped, with an almost rubber texture on the back. It doesn’t have the plastic feel of the G1, myTouch or Hero whilst being significantly thinner and lighter. The difference in weight is pretty significant, I keep having to check my pockets to make sure its there. The screen is possibly the best mobile screen I’ve seen – looking at photos and watching videos has an amazing feel to it. It does suffer from the direct sunlight problem that all screens in this class do, but so far its not really been a problem. The snapdragon processor is certainly snappy – its put up with everything I’ve thrown at it so far and not really battered an eyelid. Audio is … impressive. Normally I am completely underwhelmed by audio on mobile phones, music is something I’m very picky about. My usual mp3 player is a Sansa clip, paired with Sure SE-210s and my listening tastes range from Rock to Classical and Spoken Word. Hooking up the headphones to this handset I was impressed. It’s about as good as the Sansa clip, which is am impressive standard in itself. Im probably going to be switching to the Desire for day to day listening, and keeping the Sansa for trips away, where I might need to conserve battery. My only complaint about the audio is that its a tad quiet. I don’t usually expect to need to top out the volume for music playback, but I’ve got a feeling that’ll get addressed in the next firmware revision.

Battery so far has been fine. Just don’t be a numpty and leave everything turned on all the time.

The software experience is solid, with all the usual stuff you’ve come to expect from Android with some 2.1 niceties thrown in. The social integration which comes with Sense UI is surprisingly good, I’m using the Twitter integration (widget and app) now and the ability to link contacts to various social networks is great. The software keyboard is pretty darned good as well – I’ve written this entire post in the WordPress application, and its guessed happily at most of the words with only a few corrections. Coming from a G1, I wasn’t sure how I would cope with no hardware keyboard by so far the larger screen and excellent software make up for that.

So yes, colour me impressed.