Yes they were handheld. The camera gives you an arrow and a median line to follow as you slowly rotate the camera. Pretty slick. I haven't worked with it in sunny days yet. Not sure if the camera would be able to handle shade into the sun panoramas without bleaching or totally dark shadows. The shot with the elaborate staircase on the left and the falls on the right might've been impossible to get right if the sun were out.
The exposure seems to lock once you start, so you have to start in the proper area to get the correct exposure. If I would've started in the shady part of the second photo, the falls would've been bleached out.
I don't think the HDR setting is available with the panorama stitcher.
I've been using the auto stitch feature in Photoshop CS4 for the last couple years and at first glance this seems to be equal to it, and it's instant. Impressive computing power.