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HP Veer 4G Review

July 31, 2011

The HP Veer 4G was released in May 2011 with little fanfare on the AT&T network. It is running WebOS 2.1, the most up-to-date version of the operating system.

 What makes this phone different than other smartphones? 

The physical form is smaller than any other smartphone on the market. It has a 2.6 inch screen and a slide-out physical keyboard. In this age of ever larger screens and phones, the Veer will easily slip into any pants pocket. The Veer is billed as “4G” but is actually HSPA+ rather than LTE. What does this mean? It means that web browsing is noticeably faster than on 3G phones, but doesn’t match true 4G speeds.

It’s running WebOS which was developed by Palm and first introduced in 2009. The primary differences between WebOS and other mobile OS’s are:

1) It is dependent on a physical keyboard in addition to a multitouch screen.

2) It has a superior multitasking user interface allowing switching between applications.

The Veer makes good use of the slide-out keyboard. While it takes an extra step to flip out the keyboard, WebOS allows you to cut a step out of many tasks to compensate. For example, once you start typing anything, WebOS prompts you to act on what you just typed and allows you to pick from a bevy of menu options including Google search, starting an e-mail, posting to Twitter or Facebook, among other options. In any other OS, those respective actions would require you to open an application first. WebOS allows you to cut to the chase.

The ‘card’ multitasking concept (see video) is the best in the mobile OS space. Well, at least Microsoft and RIM think so; RIM’s Playbook and Windows Mango have both blatantly ripped off the side-to-side finger swiping action that allows the user to cycle between apps.

Despite some of the advantages, the Veer has very little going for it. The multitasking is somewhat better than Android and iOS phones, but performance and responsiveness suffer as a tradeoff. The OS is more apt to hang and memory leaks often interfere with the theoretical ability to multitask. Sometimes an app will take many, many seconds to load when other apps are open. Other times, an app will refuse to open at all.

As for the size, the Veer’s greatest advantage is also a disadvantage. The small screen makes it less possible to do extensive reading or working on this phone relative to other smart phones. Even if you could deal with the small size and are looking forward to the svelte size, their is another catch: in order to plug in a standard 3.5mm headphone, you need to use a magnetic dongle that attaches to the side of the Veer like an ear. (see picture) This is unfortunately not a joke. The unique, small size of the veer is neutralized by an awkward accessory that hangs off of the side of the phone which effectively de-sleeks the phone.

magnetic dongle

Finally, this mini phone comes with a mini app catalog. The total app count on WebOS’s app store currently stands at around 8,000. Meanwhile, there are tens of thousands of apps on iOS and Android that are not available for the Veer.

Summary:

The Veer isn’t a bad phone, but there really is no reason to buy one. Over the course of 2 years (including mandatory AT&T voice, text, and data), an iPhone 4 would cost only 5% more than a Veer. Meanwhile, there are a slew of AT&T Android phones that are the same price as a Veer. One reason to buy this phone is the small size, but even the small form factor is marred by the headphone dongle. Another reason to consider the Veer is for WebOS which is unique, but ultimately offers no advantage over iOS or Android.

Verdict: 

Not Recommended

 

HP Veer 4G Specs

  • Screen: 2.6-inch, 400×320
  • Processor and RAM: 800MHz Qualcomm Scorpion, 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Camera: 5-megapixel, VGA video, fixed focus
  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Phone Price: $99 w/ 2-year contract
  • Service Price:
  • $1800($75/month 2 year with 2GB/month data, 450 voice minutes/month, 1000 texts/month)
  • $2040($85/month 2 year with 2GB/month data, 450 voice minutes/month, unlimited texts)
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From → HP, smartphone, webos

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