New HTC Merge hands-on impressions and pictures

While we’re oohing and aahing over the T-Mobile G2 and its unboxing, the folks at Android Central have also got some hands-on impression of the HTC Merge (aka Lexikon), which is headed to Verizon soon. As we reported previously, the phone has Bing mapping and search installed, with no Google search on board. You can download both from the Market, but to get rid of Bing, you’ll have to wait for the phone to be rooted (Who knows? It might be done by the end of the day.)

The HTC Merge has still not officially been announced, but this version looks very close to final. The hardware looks great, with a four-row physical keyboard described as clicky and responsive. The sliding mechanism is tight and feels like it will last.

The impressions also say the shell feels “just a tad plasticy,” but that the phone has a great balance and the build quality feels good overall. This is a Verizon “world phone,” just as the DROID 2 WE is, so it has a SIM card slot for overseas roaming.

It comes with Android 2.2 on board (finally, it feels like it’s becoming the standard… and we’re already waiting for Gingerbread). Sense UI lays on top of that, but not the newest version that HTC showed off.

We look forward to seeing the announcement for the phone, the final build and specs, and more media on this slick handset. Check out the rest of AC’s impressions for more pictures.

via Android Central