Review: AT&T HP Veer | webOS Nation
 
 

Review: AT&T HP Veer 197

by Derek Kessler Sat, 07 May 2011 8:56 pm EDT

The Veer '4G' is a good thing in a really small package

When the original Palm Pixi debuted on Sprint, we fell in love with the form factor and were then immediately turned off by nearly everything inside the phone. While Palm was able to fix it a bit by adding Wi-Fi to the Pixi Plus, the little webOS phone that could have been never really lived up to its potential. Fast-forward a year and a half to today and we now have the HP Veer. It's coming first to AT&T (and branded as the Veer 4G, thanks to AT&T's ever-changing definition of what constitutes '4G') on May 15th and so far it looks like it'll be exclusive to that network. The Veer packs the guts of a powerful smartphone in an incredibly small and attractive package.

Hardware

The Veer is the first truly new phone out of the Palm camp in Sunnyvale since the Pixi. The Pre Plus and Pre 2 iterated on the design of the original Pre, and the Pixi Plus added Wi-Fi, but at their cores they were still the same phone, just better. The Veer is a new design for HP, and a departure from the modern trend of larger and larger phones. In fact, there’s going to be some interesting competition when the Veer debuts on AT&T, as the Samsung Infuse 4G with its mammoth 4.5-inch screen will be going on sale the same day on the same network.

The Veer is a small portrait slider phone, available in black and white (our review unit, as you can see, was white). The front of the phone is filled by a a 2.63-inch 320x400 18-bit color capacitive touchscreen – exactly the same size and resolution as the Pixi. Coming from the 24-bit screen on the Pre, the color depth drop on the Veer is noticeable (you end up seeing more gradient lines). Unlike the plastic Pixi, the Veer is faced with chemically-hardened Gorilla Glass - a welcome and more durable change. Under the screen is the gesture area and an LED light strip that lights up to confirm your gestures and give you notifications when the screen is off. Above the screen are the proximity and ambient light sensors (hidden behind the glass) and a small slit for the phone speaker. Unlike the Pre 2 (the first of the glass-faced webOS devices), the soft-touch plastic body curves in to meet the edge of the glass around the front, restoring the “river stone” feel of the original Pre phones.

Around back the Veer takes an even more minimalist approach than its predecessors. The Palm logo inlayed into the soft touch material is gone, replaced by a silk-screened HP logo. A new addition is the AT&T logo further down on the back instead getting engraved on the slider mirror. Speaker and camera have been co-located in the top left corner. A secondary noise-cancelling microphone has also found a home in this corner, housed under the dotted grille with the speaker. The speaker is surprisingly loud and clear for its size, and only distorts when things get awfully loud. It’s not going to replace your stereo system at your next party, but you’re not going to have strain to use it as a speakerphone or as a quick music player in a hotel or at your desk. Noticably absent from the rear of the phone is a flash for the 5mp camera.

The Veer is the first webOS phone that does not have a removable battery, as such the Veer is the first webOS phone that does not have a removable back. This was the first of several concessions made to make the Veer as small as it is. The Veer is at least fully Touchstone-compatible, and apparently has the hardware to make it Touch-to-Share compatible with an eventual software update. Seeing as you need a TouchPad tablet also to take advantage of the Touch-to-Share capabilities anyway, it’s not a huge deal that it’s missing right now. Come this summer when the TouchPad is released, it’ll be a bigger deal.

We received a white Veer as a review unit, and to be honest, I was a little put off by the press images released for the white version of the phone. It seemed almost like a riverstone-shaped panda. Thankfully, that’s not so much the case in person. The soft touch body is more of an eggshell white than pure white, and while the glass front is still black, all of the accents around the phone actually are not. The exterior buttons are all smoked chrome, the speaker grille and ring around the camera lens cover are metal gray, and the charging port on the side is a nice dark gray. In fact, the only black on the outside of the phone (when closed) is the SIM slot cover and the interior of the lanyard loop slot.

The placement of all the buttons will be familiar to any webOS user: volume rocker high on the left, ringer switch top and right of center, and the power button on the top right corner. As mentioned previously, all are shiny dark chrome, and as you might expect on a phone of this size, all are small. Unlike on its bigger webOS cousins, the Veer’s buttons deliberately stick up from the surface with defined edges all around. This makes them much easier to find and press, and when you do so there’s a nice satisfying click. While the power button’s placement does wrap up around the corner a bit, the travel direction is mostly from the side. As a Pre user, that takes some getting used to, but it works quite well with the way the Veer falls into the hand (or at least this blogger’s hand).

Custom Charging Port

Wrapping up this exterior tour is the contentious charging port. Unlike the big brothers Pre and Pixi, the Veer does not have a micro-USB charging port, nor does it have a 3.5 mm headphone jack. HP argued that the body of the Veer was simply too small to fit all of the bits needed for those ports. It's a little difficult for us to see why a micro-USB port wouldn’t have been able to be fitted into the Veer, but we can definitely see where the headphone jack could have pushed HP in the direction of this unique port. For the record, a micro-USB plug measures in a t 1.8 mm thick in comparison to the 3.5 mm needed for the headphone jack, which also includes bulky (for a small phone) bits like springs.

HP’s solution was a magnetic connector system that is both genius and frustrating. To connect to a USB charger or computer, the Veer is shipped with a five-foot cable with a male USB plug on one end and the magnetic adapter on the other. The concept is reminiscent of the MagSafe design used on Apple laptops: there is a row of five pins flanked by two magnets on the cable, with a matching five contact points and magnet-attracting ferrous plates on either side on the phone. The connectors start to attract each other at about a centimeter apart, at which point they latch together. Like with previous Palm cables, the Veer’s USB cable has a silver circle on the top side to help you keep it oriented, as well as a large shaped cowl to ensure that it connects in the proper orientation. The cowl actually makes it impossible to get a connection with the cable upside down, though the magnets will still pull themselves towards the contact plates.

The headphone adapter users the same magnetic connection system, attaching this bulky growth of an adapter to the side of the phone. The size of the adapter wouldn’t be so galling if the Veer itself weren’t so small (in which case it wouldn’t need the adapter), but it’s a penalty we have to pay for still relying on old fashioned connections like the 3.5 mm TRRS system (first patented more than a century ago). The adapter snaps onto the side of the Veer with an even larger cowl than the USB cable, this time wrapping up around the front of the device. This design places the port itself up towards the front, which we suppose was a design concession to make the adapter as low profile as possible; by placing the port further forward than the pin connection, they were able to orient the internals along the device instead of massing them perpendicularly. It also smoothes out the back side a bit, but it’s still very obvious when in hand.

As with the charging cable, the cowl on the headphone adapter ensures that it only attaches in one direction, and that direction is with the cable pointed down. It wasn’t immediately obvious at Think Beyond when we first saw the adapter, but now that we’ve got our hands on it and can plug a pair of headphones into it, we can say that it’s a pain. Those that type on their phones with their left hands will have significant difficulty with the adapter, as it and the base of the cable will run along the side of the keyboard where your middle and ring fingers grip the phone, and your pinky has to content with the cable itself. Right hand typers will have to deal with needing to maintain a loose grip on the Veer with a headphone adapter, as the pressure point against your palm becomes the base of the cable, which lifts the adapter up off the phone. If you’re using the headphone adapter, you’re going to want to use both hands to type, as that gets the adapter and cable away from any pressure points. If you were to ask us, just having the adapter point up would have solved all the problems discussed in this paragraph. Alas, the only way it’s going to happen is if somebody builds one that points north.

The headphone adapter isn’t all bad. The magnets are strong enough that it will take a good bit of force for the phone and adapter to separate, but not too much force. In fact, we’d say it’s right on par with the magnetic attraction you get from an Apple MagSafe connector. The Veer will hang off the adapter or cable by itself, but a sudden forceful pull will separate them, as will deliberate force. The best way to remove both is actually by angling them back. The headphone adapter is at least smart enough to play dumb: it acts just as if it were the headphone port itself. When attached without headphones plugged in, audio plays through the speakers. If removed with headphones plugged in, the audio pauses, just as if you’d unplugged the headphones alone.

Speaking of plugging in the headphones, the adapter was incredibly tight. We don’t know if that’s indicative of all the headphone adapters that will ship with the Veer, but we actually found it difficult to plug headphones in with the adapter on the phone (partly due to the fact that we were trying to plug in along the side of the phone instead of jacking straight in).

That’s nearly a thousand words on two magnets and five pin connections, but we haven’t touched on the worst part of the cable and adapter: third party compatibility. We don’t know if HP is planning to license out the magnetic connector to accessory makers, but you can kiss goodbye use of all your micro-USB cables. Additionally, if you’re ever out on the road, you better make sure you bring your Veer charging cable, because nothing your friends or family own is going to charge the Veer (unless they happen to have a Veer themselves, or a Touchstone). We wouldn't have spit on a third adapter that accepted microUSB-in for charging, either.

Case manufacturers are also going to have a heck of a time with the port. The way that the headphone adapter wraps around the front of the Veer will all but prevent snap on cases from protecting the entire right side of the top half of the phone, and will at the same time require a cut-out all the way down to the back side of the Veer to accommodate the rest of the cowl.

More than any other feature of the Veer, we can see this magnetic port being a massive deal breaker as soon as it’s explained to a potential buyer. Yes, it’s a concession made so that the Veer could be as small as it is and still maintain it’s smooth river stone shape, but it’s a massive concession that could in the long term greatly impact usability. In a world where smartphones are trending more and more towards universally-compatible connections like micro-USB, the Veer stands out like an Apple Dock Connector.

In short, if you’re considering getting an HP Veer, you should also give serious consideration to a Touchstone charger or two - Touchstone compatibility goes a very long way towards alleviating the adapter headaches. Of course, you’ll also have to get fitting micro-USB cables to go with those if you don’t have them already, as the Veer’s cable won’t work. You might also want to consider a set of Bluetooth headphones, though those two will likely require a micro-USB charger, so you’re stuck with two cables again.

Keyboard

Enough on the magnetic port, let’s talk keyboard. The Veer is small, and by extension, the Veer’s keyboard is small. In fact, it’s a whole row narrower than the Pre’s keyboard, but yet still has just as many keys. In fact, the Veer’s keyboard is almost exactly like a Pre keyboard that was squished in from the sides and the top and bottom: it maintains the same layout and almost the same curve, but everything’s just a touch smaller. And like anything squished from four sides, it rose vertically, giving the keys a very nice hump compared to the flatter keys of the Pre and Pixi. The taller humps make the keys quite usable, though we found ourselves using our fingertips and nails more of than we would have with larger phones. It’s also a side effect of the small size of the keyboard – it forces your thumbs to attack it from a higher angle, which is beneficial given the size of the keys.

The keyboard itself is surprisingly usable - as with the Pixi, the keys have a pronounced 'click' when you hit them and we found ourselves getting used to the size very quickly. Doubters should definitely give the Veer keyboard a chance - it's really good.

The edge of the slider is just as sharp as ever, and we care just as little as we did before. No reasonable typing style puts the sharp edge of the keyboard into your palm, and deliberately attempting to do so makes it impossible to actually type like a human.

The slider

On the inside of the slider is the main phone microphone. If you’re concerned about it being on the inside of the slider, don’t be. In our testing callers reported no discernable difference between having the slider open or closed (though having a finger over the rear speaker grille where the secondary noise cancelling microphone did cause some issues). In fact, callers reported that we sounded quite good, which we can attribute to being on AT&T’s 3G network. While it may not always be the most reliable network, it is fast and 3G calls sound great on it.

On the back side of the top half of the slider is a familiar sight to any Pre-owner: a mirror. Unlike on the Pre, however, this mirror is flat, and though smaller, delivers a nice clear and undistorted reflection. It’s good for more than just signaling planes overhead that you’re lost and can’t find a compatible charger cable. The slider itself has a slight curve, though it’s nowhere near as pronounced as the current Pre series phones. The curve isn’t as pronounced on the upcoming Pre 3 either, for that matter. Action on the slider is quite solid, with only minimal wiggle present on our review unit, and what wiggle was there required considerable force and happened without the loud clacking of the Pre. While this is just one phone, we’re hopeful that Palm’s slider quality troubles will be behind them as they finally move away from the Pre-series chassis.

You’ll want to use that slider when on calls. While having it open has no effect on the quality of the audio itself (though the microphone is moved a whole inch closer to your yapper), it does make the Veer significantly easier to hold. It’s actually a little awkward to use the Veer as a phone when closed, as I instinctively wanted to try and angle the phone so it was aligned between my ear and mouth, which led to wrist and elbow origami.

And that gets down to the final point on the hardware. It’s tiny. All these compromises are to get down to a stupendously small phone. In this time of smartphones that are bordering on tablet-sized, the Veer takes us in a new direction: smaller. And despite the small size, there’s not a lot of skimping on the specs. The Veer contains a speedy 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7230 processor that was able to handle everything we could throw at it, thanks to the assistance of 512MB of RAM (the same as the Pre Plus and Pre 2). The Veer does disappoint a touch with only 8GB available for storage, but in reality HP’s target customer for the Veer isn’t going to be using most of that, though heavy users like myself who sometimes lust after a smaller phone would certainly like more. And no, it’s not user expandable.

The Veer measures a scant 54.5mm across, 84mm from top-to-bottom when closed, and is just 15.1mm thick. And at 103 grams, it’s 10% heavier than the Pixi, but we suspect that the Gorilla Glass accounts for a large portion of that weight and it's a tradeoff we're happy to make.

It keeps coming up because it's true: the Veer is sit-and-gape-at-it-over-and-over-again small. Don't worry about the small size. Even with so much more packed inside, we can tell you assuredly: it’s all muscle.

Camera

The camera itself is a fixed-focus 5 megapixel shooter with “enhanced depth of field” technology, which really is just a way of trying to make up for the lack of autofocus by digitialy-sharpening and enhancing photos taken on the Veer. Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn of this EDF tech, but by and large it produces satisfactory results. We’d prefer an autofocus camera to take sharper photos and video, but here we are again talking about concessions made for the tiny package.

A concession for size we’re at a loss to explain, however, is the complete omission of a camera flash on the Veer. All Pre and Pixi phones have had a camera flash, and almost every modern smartphone has a camera flash these days. A single LED and a clear lens don’t take up that much room, and most smartphone users aren’t expecting DSLR-level miracles out a camera flash. I’m going to try to not harp on this too much, but it’s just strange that the design team couldn’t find room for a little LED somewhere on the back of this phone.

Quality-wise (flash aside), the Veer’s camera is mostly comparable to the Pre 2. In fact, on close inspection they appear to be exactly the same (at least from the outside). Photos are still bright and colorful, but due to the EDF processing, some detail gets lost when you zoom way in. Pictures on the Veer are taken at 2592x1952, while video is recorded at 640x480. Video is okay as long as your lighting is good. If it’s not, it’s not going to look so good. The camera has basic automatic white balancing, which is not so great for recording videos that are dark but have a bright subject. Things get a bit washed out and colors blown out of contrast.

Even though the Veer has two microphones (one in the front at the bottom of the keyboard and the other hidden inside the rear speaker grill for phone noise cancelling), it only uses one for audio recording. You might think that since generally what you’re trying to record will be somewhere in the range of the camera that’s on the back of the Veer, the phone might switch to the rear microphone for picking up audio. Nay, it does not; the front microphone is used for your video recordings. That’s not to say that the front microphone doesn’t do a bad job of picking up audio from the other side, you just have to be sure that you don’t cover up the pinhole if you’re recording with the keyboard out (which we wouldn’t argue against, as the extended position adds some much needed stability to the small recording platform).

As has been said many times, especially since the camera phone revolution, the best camera is the one you have with you. While the Veer’s camera isn’t the best smartphone camera out there, and it certainly can’t compare to any but the absolute cheapest consumer cameras, it’s still not a bad camera. It’s not fantastic, but it’s okay. 

There’s really only one complaint we have with the camera (excepting an almost-always-useless-but-we’d-still-like-to-have-one flash), and it might be a holdover from all the time we’ve spent with Pre phones: the flush-with-the-back placement makes it far too easy to lay your finger on the plastic lens cover, leaving behind a photo-ruining fingerprint in the process. It’s something we’re just going to have to get used to with the Veer.

Software

The Veer ships with webOS 2.1.2, a minor point bump over the version of webOS available to unlocked Pre 2 phones and some European Pre Plus owners. Right when we pulled the Veer out of the box it was wanting to download the latest App Catalog update to enable promo codes and carrier billing. We couldn’t find an notable differences between this version of webOS 2.1 and that on the Pre 2. Excepting that it’s running on a 320x400 screen. If you’ve used webOS 2.X on another device, it’s exactly the same on the Veer, just smaller.

Carrier billing is not enabled by default in the App Catalog; you must set it up on the phone. Set up is handled via the App Catalog preferences screen: the only thinking required on your part is remembering what state you live in (for tax purposes).

It took a few days into this review for HP to work out some issues with the carrier billing system, but it’s now up and running just fine. It works just as if you were using a credit card (assuming you’ve set the carrier billing as your default preference), the Purchase button in the App Catalog simply charges your AT&T account and you pay when your bill is next due. Purchase authorization does take several seconds longer than when buying with a credit card, but once it goes through the app downloads and within a few minutes you’ve got a receipt in your email. It just works. 

The Veer is capable of running practically every app that worked on the Pixi. The vast majority of Mojo apps will scale perfectly down to the smaller screen of the Veer, though PDK apps have to be rewritten for the smaller screen. As such, there are fewer PDK apps available on the Veer, though standards like Angry Birds are obviously present. We wish that HP had tried a bit harder to get more developers on-board with Pixi/Veer compatible apps. The webOS App Catalog already feels small compared to other platforms, the extra culling for the small screen resolution doesn't help.

Thankfully, unlike the Pixi, the Veer is more than capable of handling these intensive apps and more, all at the same time. It’s amazing what robust hardware can do for the experience.

As we saw with the Pre Plus, having 512MB of RAM on hand significantly improves the webOS experience. The Pixi and original Pre had just 256MB, and both would randomly throw up “Too Many Cards” memory errors with a single – or zero – cards open. Double the memory on the Veer doesn’t double the capacity for multitasking – it increases it immensely. Before, where the Pixi would lock up to the point of requiring a battery pull and reboot, the Veer moves along like a champ. Which is a good thing, as you can’t pull the battery on this phone. Like the Pre Plus and Pre 2, we were able to launch dozens of apps before the Veer started to exhibit any serious signs of lag.

In fact, we were able to launch every single app that comes on the phone and a few more we downloaded all at once. That amounted to 42 apps total, and then we realized there was nothing more to launch without downloading something new. Included were some heavyweight apps like AT&T Navigator and Angry Birds, and while the phone felt slower, it was still light-years ahead of the Pixi and was definitely capable of handling more.

This being a webOS 2.1 device, there aren’t many surprises to the Veer. It has Exhibtion (which works fine on the smaller screen), it has the new launcher, it has Just Type search with Quick Actions, and it has voice dialing. It’s a webOS 2.1 device. As an AT&T webOS phone, the Veer does ship with AT&T Navigator, Mobile Hotspot, and YPmobile preinstalled. Both AT&T Navigator and Mobile Hotspot require a corresponding (and pricey) plan from AT&T, and both work exactly as you would expect. AT&T Navigator gets you from A to B using maps continually downloaded from the server, but also includes real time traffic data to keep you on the fastest possible route. Mobile Hotspot shares your speedy HSPDA and less-speedy HSUPA connection with up to Wi-Fi connected five devices, and rapidly drains your battery in the process.

There are two AT&T customizations to note. The first is during the boot process the AT&T logo screen is displayed on a bright white screen, a departure from every other webOS phone that showed just the Palm or HP logo on black. Second is the default ringtone, which is AT&T’s supremely annoying and overused ringtone instead of any one of the custom webOS ringtones included. I hadn’t customized the ringtone by the time my first call came in, and the last thing I had expected to hear was the AT&T ringtone. It’s possible that these AT&T “touches,” along with the big AT&T logo on the back of the phone were concessions HP made to AT&T just to get them to carry the Veer. After all, the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus never sold incredibly well on AT&T, so it may have taken some convincing for the Veer to be allowed on Ma Bell.

Daily Usage

In day-to-day use, the 800MHz processor inside the Veer is more than adequate. Coming from a 1GHz Pre 2, I was used to having a fast webOS experience, and the Veer didn’t disappoint. As noted above, the 512MB of RAM go a long way towards ensuring a solid multitasking experience.

It wasn’t until I pitted the Pre 2 against the Veer that I saw the difference between the two processors. Freshly booted with neither phone overclocked, the Pre 2 to proved to be marginally faster than the Veer at most tasks. We’re talking fractions of a second when firing up an app that takes two seconds at most. The difference wasn’t painfully obvious until we tried launching Angry Birds Lite. The Pre 2 had the game running in just under four seconds, while it took the Veer a full eight seconds to get to the point where music was playing and birds were chirping. For most users, that’s not an interminably long wait, certainly it’s better than I ever logged trying to open one of these games on my old 600MHz Sprint Pre. For what it’s worth, a few apps (like Music and Memos) actually opened faster on the Veer than the Pre 2, though it’s not entirely clear if that was because the Veer had fewer music files and memos to load. On the flip side of that coin, Email opened a full half second faster on the Pre 2, and that was with an extra Exchange account that the Veer didn’t have to deal with.

Heading into this review, what concerned me most about the Veer was the battery life. It has a 910mAh battery inside, and it’s not one you can swap out for a fresh one should it die (and as discussed above, you’ll need to be sure to have a charging solution on hand if you anticipate running low during the day). At 910mAh, the Veer’s battery is notably smaller than the 1150mAh batteries present in all Pre and Pixi phones, and those batteries can be replaced should they be drained while on the go.

Our fears proved to be unfounded. We don’t run any intensive battery tests when reviewing phones, because really they’re never indicative of most real-world use situations. Besides, we’re heavy smartphone users, our day-to-day use of the phone is intensive enough as it is. All that said, during our testing the battery proved to be surprisingly long-lasting, even in comparison to the larger battery found our Pre phones. Starting off in the morning with a full charge and using the Veer as my primary phone, I ended every day with some juice still left, generally somewhere between 30% and 40%. That’s definitely far better than my Pre 2 managed, it generally was knocking on 20% or lower by the time the sun dropped below the horizon. During the course of the average day the Veer handled several calls, close to an hour of web browsing (all over cellular), Twitter and news readers that were constantly checking for updates, a bit of Google Maps usage, and dozens of emails both received and sent.

We can attribute the longer life of the to a few things. The 800MHz Qualcomm processor is likely more than 20% less power hungry than the 1GHz chip in the Pre 2. The Veer is also a GSM device, which historically have proven to have better battery life than their CDMA counterparts (like our Pre 2). CDMA phones have a tendency to be fairly stupid when it comes to searching for signal – they’re like addicts and will search and search and search if they can’t connect, at great expense to the battery. GSM phones, like the AT&T Veer, will see that they can’t connect, shrug, and try again later. Lastly, there’s what’s generally the biggest battery hog on any phone during normal use: the screen. The Veer has 1/6 fewer pixels than the Pre phones, which requires both less energy and processing power to display things, and a smaller backlight. That backlight also just isn’t quite as bright as the Pre’s, proving to be dimmer at all settings.

The fun comparison to make, however is with the Pixi. Here the Veer blows its comparison phone out of the water, and to be fair the Pixi has just 256MB of RAM supporting a 600MHz Qualcomm processor. The Pixi’s also running webOS 1.4.5, so this really isn’t a fair comparison, but it’s still a telling one to make. As the Pre 2 was the phone the Pre should have been, the Veer, or at least its guts, is the phone the Pixi should have been. While compromises were made to get the Veer down to size, HP didn’t compromise on the chips like they did with the Pixi. The end result is that the Veer is supremely more capable than the Pixi in almost every way. In fact, the only area in which the Pixi wins is in thinness; it’s still 10.85 mm to the Veer’s comparatively chubby 15.1 mm. There’s also the form factor question – the thin candy bar slab or the thicker but tiny portrait slider – and that’s a matter of personal preference, though in my opinion the Veer’s form is the superior one.

The Veer proved to be faster and more capable than the Pixi (we tested against an original Sprint Pixi) in practically every way. Downloads happened faster over Wi-Fi, apps open and work faster (example: eight seconds for Angry Birds Lite on the Veer versus twelve on the Pixi), and by virtue of running webOS 2.1, apps can simply do more. That’s not even mentioning the power that having twice the RAM on the Veer has over the Pixi; as mentioned above we were able to open 42 apps on the Veer before we ran out of apps to open; the Pixi we tested against could manage four before putting up the two many cards error, and they were four rather lightweight apps (Contacts, Memos, Tasks, and Web).

The difference between the two phones is night and day even for the screen. If you look at the specs, the Veer and Pixi seem to have identical displays: a 2.63-inch 320x400 18-bit LCD. But compared side-by-side, the Veer’s display is notably clearer. The reason is that glass overlay on the Veer, whereas the Pixi has a plastic front.

Call quality on the Veer was quite excellent. The dual noise-canceling microphones worked well at isolating low-level ambient noise, and callers reported that we sounded quite good. All of the calls ended up being placed over AT&T’s 3G network, which provided surprisingly excellent call quality. Historically AT&T’s 3G network hasn’t been the most reliable, but thankfully that’s improved significantly over the past 18 months.

The phone speaker on the front is quite loud, as is the rear speaker. But you wouldn’t know it from basic alerts and system sounds. For whatever reason those are almost frustratingly quiet on the Veer, and turning up the volume to here the card toss swoosh results in alerts like ringtones coming in exceedingly loud.

A good amount of fuss has been dispensed over the Veer being branded by AT&T as a “4G” phone. We’re going to come right out and say that it is not a 4G phone. On AT&T, the Veer has HSDPA+ and regular HSUPA. What this translated to, at least in our Cincinnati testing area (with excursions to Columbus and Akron) was download speeds generally between 2.5Mbps and 3.5Mbps, and uploads stagnating between 0.3Mbps and 1.0Mbps. In several tests the fastest we managed was 4.96Mbps down, and 1.23Mbps up (using Speedtest.net’s Flash-based bandwidth tester). Fast? Yes. In fact it’s faster than many cable internet connections in the United States, and certainly faster than 3G on any carrier. But 4G fast? No. All you have to do is look at the speeds achieved by LTE phones like the HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon, which manages to average around 7-8MBps down and 3-4Mbps up. And while even Verizon’s LTE network doesn’t meet the standardized definition of 4G (100Mbps), it’s certainly more worthy of claiming to be 4G over AT&T’s HSPA+ network.

Not being 4G is only a bummer if you claim it is in the first place, which was a mistake on AT&T's part. Thought of as simply a 3G phone, the Veer's downloads are nice and fast. For all that speedy downloading, the phone is only good so long as it’s able to connect the network, and that’s an Achilles Heel for any phone on AT&T, not just the Veer. While I was able to get a HSPA signal in major metro areas like Cincinnati, Columbus, and Akron, as soon as I strayed to far from civilization (even while still on major interstates), I was forced down to EDGE data. It got even worse when I visited my home town of Mount Vernon, Ohio (population 16,990), where AT&T coverage was spotty at best. Sprint and Verizon, meanwhile, rocked 3G all over town.

So what’s it like to use the Veer as a daily phone? In the time I’ve been testing it out and just plain using it, I’ve got admit I probably smiled a bit every time I pulled the phone out of my pocket. The Veer is actually the first phone I’ve used in many years that I felt comfortable putting into a pocket instead of a nerdy hip holster like the hip holster-wearing nerd that I am (for what it’s worth, my first mobile phone was a Kyocera dumb phone that was literally the shape and size of a candybar, after that came Treo smartphones). Then again, I also didn’t have any nerdy hip holsters that didn’t also swallow the Veer whole like an exogorth devouring a Millennium Falcon.

The tiny size has forced me to adjust the various ways I grip my phone. It took some getting used to; I nearly dropped and juggled the Veer several times just trying to take the first batch of photos. The buttons, despite their smaller size, have proven quite easy to use, possibly more so than on the Pre that I’ve had nearly two years to get used to.

Transitioning to the Veer’s smaller keyboard has not proven to be a problem. I like to think I have rather average hands, and the Veer proved to be no problem to type on. Sure, the keys are smaller than on the Pre, be specific half a millimeter shorter and a smidge under a millimeter narrower (making for keys that are 3/4 the size), but the taller and more defined hump to the keys make them just as, if not more, usable. The keyboard is also quite clicky, a step up from the somewhat gummy feeling on the Pre phones. In essence, the Veer’s keyboard combines everything that was great about the Pre keyboard with everything that was great about the Pixi’s keyboard.

Coming from a Pre 2 with a larger screen and more pixels, the Veer has proven to actually be an easy adjustment. Sometimes there’s a double take at how something has been cut off by the shorter screen, especially when notifications are in play, but by and large it’s been the same experience as on my Pre 2, just smaller. And as soon as I can use the same Palm Profile on multiple devices, then I’ll be getting one.

Target Audience

All of this leads to one final question about the Veer: just who is HP targeting with this tiny smartphone? It’s a hard question to answer, but after showing the phone off to a few feature phone owners that were resisting the upgrade to a new big-screened smartphone, the answer started to crystallize: they’re going after the Centro crowd. Contrary to popular opinion, not everybody wants an iPhone. For some that’s just too big of a phone, despite its svelte profile. The Veer, on the other hand, is just as capable (if lacking in the apps department) while still managing to fit into a small but useable package. To quote my mother (a marginally satisfied Sprint Pixi owner) upon handling the Veer: “It’s adorable. I want one.”

The phone is meant to succeed where the Pixi failed; it’s a smartphone for the dumbphone crowd, but not one that’s going to leave them disappointed. For all of my harping on the magnetic connector and non-removable battery, it’s important to note that things like a standardized connection and having the option to carry multiple lithium cells aren’t important to the dumbphone crowd. They’ve been living like that for years (though more dumbphones are adopting the micro-USB charger standard). To them, 8GB for storage is a revelation, and the ability to run multiple apps on a phone this size is mind blowing.

The only real sticking point for this potential Veer buyer is going to be the headphone adapter, but it should be a quick upsell to a Bluetooth headset for any salesperson worth his salt. It’s not immediately obvious when looking at pictures and videos, but once you get your hands on the Veer you can’t help but want one. It’s like the days not that long ago when each new phone was successively smaller than the last, and hailed as a technological innovation. There’s something about a piece of technology that seems impossibly small but yet still works so incredibly well that appeals to the masses.

Just as Apple has managed to sell buckets of MacBook Air laptops despite the fact that they don’t come with a disc drive, only have two USB ports, and don’t have user-upgradeable RAM or hard drives. The average user doesn’t care about those things, and the allure of “it’s so small” is almost always too much to resist.

To throw fuel onto the tiny fire, AT&T has set a most reasonable starting price for the Veer: $99.99 with a two-year contract. That’s the sweet spot for the starter smartphone; it’s where the Centro did incredibly well. On specs alone the Veer could very easily be a $150 smartphone, but it simply wouldn’t sell as well. Even though the price amounts to a mere pittance compared to the cost of the service plans you’ll have to pay for over the two-years of the contract, the draw of the $100 smartphone is strong. There will no doubt be numerous sales with the Veer going for $75 or even $50 on-contract, so long as the marketing campaign is good we can’t see any reason why the Veer wouldn’t sell well.

Conclusion

The HP Veer is a tiny smartphone that dosn't sacrifice power for size - though it does sacrifice some conveniences that smartphone owers usually take for granted. As a smartphone, it’s a full-powered machine. The 800MHz processor working in concert with 512MB of RAM to run webOS 2.1 prove to be a winning combination. I could go on at length (again) about the problems with the magnetic power connector, but in the end it’s not the biggest of deals (though it is the biggest potential deal breaker). Is the AT&T HP Veer 4G the perfect smartphone? No, but really there is no such thing.

It’s a matter of preference for choosing something like the Veer over something like the Pre 3 (or Infuse). While we as smartphone enthusiasts might be drawn to the next newer and bigger phone, the hope for the Veer is that there is an untapped market of users who want something much smaller. The Pixi failed in that it wasn’t a capable smartphone, even for its size. The Veer, on the other hand, would be a perfectly good smartphone if it were Pre-sized. I’ve said often that the Pre 2 is a great little phone, which it still is. The Veer is an awesome tiny phone. It’s not the most powerful phone on the market. It doesn’t have the best camera, and it won’t have the longest battery life. But it’s not pretending to be those things.

The Veer’s selling point is that it’s small but still lets you do everything you could do with a phone twice the size. With an attractive price point and endearing design, the Veer practically sells itself. Of course, that’s all dependent upon a good advertising campaign, which we’re hopeful HP and AT&T will be able to pull off. The Veer has rekindled this blogger’s lust for tiny technology. While I still find myself wanting something big and powerful like the Pre 3, I can still easily make a case to myself for getting a Veer. It’s just so darned cute.

Pros

It’s friggin’ tiny 800MHz processor and 512MB RAM HSDPA+ and HSUPA Good, but small, keyboard $99.99 on-contract Carrier-billing as an app purchase option

Cons

Non-standard magnetic connector for charging and headphones 2.63-inch screen Few available PDK apps No camera flash Non-removable battery

197 Comments

Nice, now just release it in the UK for £250 unlocked and we're good to go...

cool phone but **** it! I want the pre3!!

lol, you sir have a small hand, i just put the pre2 in the palm of my hand and proportionally it looks exactly the same

Then you, sir, must have a big hand.

I Just saw the Veer in person for the first time. You really can't appreciate it's size until you see in in person. I mean Tiny!! I don't know how it would work for me because it wasn't a working model. But WOW it's small.

I really don't know why everyone is trolling HP about this adapter. A Magnetic adapter like this is what I've been waiting for on a phone for years.

Any phone including the Pre eventually gets screwed by by constantly plugging and unplugging a 3.5mm Jack into the top of the phone. Eventually the socket will break causing the headphone adapter to no longer work and often preventing the phone speaker from working as it thinks its in headphone mode.

With this magnetic adapter it is quick and simple to attach and remove and will never wear out. You won't lose it because you can just leave your 3.5mm headphones plugged into it and just make it an extension of your headphones.

As for charging and syncing surely the whole point palm has been pushing is that it charges wirelessly. I havn't plugged my Pre into a cable for 2 years. Thanks to Wifi Media sync it also syncs wirelessly so whats the point of having a micro-usb port?

If only HP marketed it as an innovation instead of a weakness perhaps it wouldn't be a deal breaker at all.

I've only had a problem with the Pre's headphone port. No other phone or MP3 player has EVER given me that an issue.

Its a negative because, like many people, i have multiple microUSB ports at work and at home...if i owned this phone i would have to constantly bring my micro usb magnetic adapter everywhere I go. Its an inconvenience for people who use multiple chargers.

Just like when I take my MacBook Pro, I have to bring the specific charger for it? I don't see this as a big problem. We are making it into a problem.

When this adapter was 1st displayed at the February show, the complaint from this audience was that it would always fall off or disconnect while in your pocket. I have now read/watched about 4 or 5 of these reviews and NONE of them say the strength of connection is a problem; in fact, most are quite impressed.

I think we simply dislike change, because many here keep changing their mind as to why they dislike the device.

I never liked the fact that Apple always used their own custom chargers/ports instead of using standard ones.

That's cool, but it certainly hasn't had much of an impact on the popularity of their devices.

When you take your MacBook Pro around, you aren't thinking about the size of the adapter because the device itself is so large.

This isn't a fair comparison at all, considering the entire point of building a small phone is to have it be more portable.

What they should sell are magnetic adapter plug-ends that plugs into micro-usb. I have like 4 micro-usb cables already and don't want to buy a whole new set of them with the magnetic tip.

Trolling? Really? Derek thoughtfully elaborates at length on why this is a problem, and you dismiss it out of hand.

It's fine for everyone to say 'Well, just buy a Touchstone...or three" or "Just buy Bluetooth headphones" or "Just buy a Bluetooth deck for your car or adapter". But featurephone users - who this device is ostensibly for - are not going to want to drop a lot more money over the $99 purchase price to get a full experience.

Derek's comparison with the MacBook Air - a good one, actually - does ignore that the PC industry was moving away from physical media already, as evidenced by the popularity of netbooks, so its pain points were lessened over time due to factors beyond Apple's control. But in the Veer's case, the industry is now COALESCING around MicroUSB as a standard, and Bluetooth functionality for car stereos is still few and far between, whereas "Aux inputs" are far more widespread.

The charging depending on you taking your ONE custom cable with you everywhere is also a problem.

All that aside...great, balanced review.

Feature phone users will have to change their phone habits regardless when they buy any smartphone. Besides, people waste money on all sorts of extra accessories for their smartphones. Today's touchstone prices are comparable to phone covers, so why not buy one?

Why not buy ONE? Because they'll likely need it in multiple locations.

And it does nothing to solve the audio problem.

What audio problem? I didn't see any report about an audio problem. Which dreamland are you coming from?

That you'll either have to take the headphone adapter with you everywhere you go (and hope you never lose it) or shell out for bluetooth headphones and/or a bluetooth head unit.

But hey....Derek calls it a deal breaker and explains why many will be turned off. Josh Topolsky says you're almost guaranteed to lose the adapters and doesn't like the look or function of them. I CANNOT imagine why would this be a problem for anyone else...

Or, like someone else here suggested, just always have the audio connector connected with the headphones you always take. There, problem solved.

Unless you also plug this in via cable to your car's Aux input or you use those headphones for other purposes. Ooops...problem NOT solved.

When you take your iPhone or whatever phone you carry , don't you also have to carry the ear buds that plug into the device?

When I get a break & go on a business trip, I often go for a long walk. I take my Pre & my headset/earbuds w/me every time so I can hear the music/podcast/radio app.

It is such a hassle w/the Veer that I will have to carry the headset--oops I already do that now.

The "hassle" is that at least TWO prominent reviewers say it is so tiny, you are almost guaranteed to lose the adapter. No review (Laptop, PcWorld, This is My Next, even PreCentral) lists this as a positive attribute.

You're already asking new customers to "adapt" to a new unproven OS and a potentially challenging screen and form factor. Why introduce ADDITIONAL obstacles?

If those 'two prominent reviewers' who are obviously careless about their property, and obvious webOS haters told you they saw aliens you'd believe them too, right?

Yeah, Josh Topolsky and the reviewer from Laptop Mag - which gave the original Pre 4 stars - are obvious WebOS haters.

Since I'm only finding the haters, please find me the "lovers" of this device from sites that are not WebOS enthusiast sites. Not one from the first three pages of Google (so far, it's just Josh, PCWorld, and Laptop Mag) has scored above 6/10.

When Laptop Mag runs polls that WebOS wins, they're the best. When they call it like they see it, they are WebOS haters. Sad.

Dude, you're unbearable... Take your negativity to another site, and learn to adapt and deal

While we're at it, This Is My Next, Laptop Mag, and PCWorld should go to another reality. Clearly, this one is too negative. Good to know that Middle Eastern oppressive regimes and this board's moderators agree on information management policies.

Am I the only one who takes issue with the term "unproven OS" ? Geez, if there's one thing that everybody seems to agree on is that webOS is one of the best (if not THE best) mobile OS out there.

As far as the headphone jack... I've got a simple solution for you. Don't like it... don't buy it. You aren't going to convince anyone one way or the other who has their mind set. And, its already in production, so you sure as heck ain't gonna change HP's mindset,

When you build something that small, cramming as much as they did into it, you have to make sacrifices. While I for one am not buying it, the headphone thing would not turn me off. I merely want the bigger screen of the Pre3.

I would literally have to buy 5 for how many chargers i use. (i have micro usb cords in my living room, guest room and bedroom and i have one at work and my car charger).

Its not just one.

Why? Just plug it in when you go to bed at night. As mentioned in this review the battery should last 1 whole day.

They are still pretty cheap.

It is NOT the only custom cable. My MacBookPro requires its own charger. I always take both my computer & my phone on my trips. Even though my Pre uses the microUSB, I still require both chargers. It won't be any different if I purchase the Veer.

I do think it was a good, thorough review.

Derek is making a mountain out of a molehill with the headphone/charging port.

The battery life is good enough to not have to bother charging it more than once a day, so unless you're going to be away for more than that. A person already brings a charger cable if they're going somewhere overnight, so that's not a big deal.

Plug the adapter into a set of headphones once and leave them plugged in. Typing on these phones usually is a two handed operation anyway, so the section on that is also a waste of space. Cases? Nearly all the cases for Pre style phones suck and are a waste of money, so it's not a big loss either. The charging/headphone jack could be integrated into a beefy Otterbox case if they so desired.

I agree. In terms of cases, I know some will want one, but I don't know many Pre owners who have a case--one female friend who got a case w/flowers all over it. Others, like myself, either got nothing or got a cover to protect the screen, but not a case.

If Pre3 would be thinner with the magnetic port then I would rather have the magnetic port than having a USB and headphone jack on the phone. I only plugin the phone via USB when I want to mess with the apps and stuff so I never carry a USB cable with me. I have a touchstone charger at my office and one at my house.

As far as the audio jack the only time I use it is when I want to plug my phone into my car. Everywhere else I have devices that can play audio through Bluetooth. Plus I think the audio sounds better through Bluetooth than the headphone jack for some reason.

I personally wouldn't even consider buying a product that can't support A2DP. I have been using my Motorola S9 headphones since I had my Treo755 and that's almost 4 years ago. There is no excuse for devices to not be able to support A2DP.

"If only HP marketed it as an innovation instead of a weakness perhaps it wouldn't be a deal breaker at all."

While I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with your statements above, you DID have me laughing when I read this. Hasn't this been what's held webOS back since the beginning? Had it simply been marketed properly, it would have been something. Hopefully, HP will improve on this, but this phone comes out in a week and I haven't seen a single ad, not TV, not print, not on Pandora, etc.

My hope is that the magnetic adapter can be 3rd-partied, and someone comes out with a super-strength one that has to be pried off!!!

All the reviews say the magnetic connection on the Veer is very strong. I don't think ANY said expect it to fall off.

WOW. Great review. How words is this? It was super long

Looks to be over 7200

7462

Cut out the whining about the headphone port and it would been a normal length review.

They had to find some reason to hate it. It's what P|C does.

"While I still find myself wanting something big and powerful like the Pre 3, I can still easily make a case to myself for getting a Veer. It’s just so darned cute."

Yeah, I hate it.

Bravo Derek, fight back.

Good review but i'd like to point out...many phones on CDMA have a power save mode that will stop the phone for searching for a signal constantly if it doesn't find one for a while. For whatever reason, the Pre did not have this on Sprint and attributed to its pretty bad battery life when not around service unless you turned on airplane mode.

yeah i think my OC pre lasted like 3 days when i turned just 3G off alone. EVDO is a battery hog for sure

I don't think the phone will do well given it's target market.

It's simply a bizarre device for HP to relaunch webOS with.

Also regarding the 4G, one should test it in what AT&T defines a 4G area? HSPA+ and enhanced backhaul (the culprit).

They did. On WebOSroundup.com

The thing is, this isn't the relaunch. It's the second (after the Pre 2 launch) prelude to the relaunch, which makes even less sense.

But yeah...it doesn't move the needle in terms of the app situation, or the schism between WebOS 1.4.5/2/3.0.

That will only happen with the real relaunch, which should include 3.0 devices (Pre 3 and/or TouchPad) on every US carrier.

Considering the Pre 3 won't launch as 3.0 (it's just 3.0 upgradeable with no indication of when), it won't move any needles either. The Touchpad will get all the attention.

Re: all the 4G hub-bub...the carriers used their marketing to push the standards into "compliance" one could argue. HSPA/+, LTE, WiMAX et al were not "4G" as the ITU had never fully defined the standard. VZW started pushing LTE as 4G, as T-Mobile and Sprint started with their networks. AT&T actually didn't push the issue that much. Once ITU redefined the standard though, *BAM* there was everyone with a 4G device, including AT&T. So, from a HSPA+ standpoint, the Veer is "4G"...most consumers will never know the difference. We, the techno-philes, understand the realities, but we're a small minority and it really doesn't make much of a difference.

Pre 3 please.

Nice review. Here's hoping a Pre 3 review unit is on it's way to your door!

That adapter sure looks like it gets in the way of using the device when charging or listening.

Side ports are pretty much a pain in general unless they are near the top or bottom on the side.

AWESOME REVIEW Derek!

You, along with the crew at Precentral are the reason why this is the premier webOS website. Articulate, detailed, and extensive writing that is a pleasure to read.

Good job!

It is. LOL. I asked why no review yet and he said it was coming. Reading this, I know why it took so long. He ended up using this as his personal phone and enjoyed it too much.
Soon as an unlocked(able) version is figured out I'm getting one!

yeah u guys really don't suck at all

LOL...the panic and frenzy the competition's troll crowd displaying as HP/Palm/webOS goodness comes nearer is amusing!

The should have built it to whatever size was necessary in order to give it standard inputs. I would have bought one on day 1. As it is. I will have to stick with my underpowered pixi+. such a shame... people do not want non-standard inputs. This review confirms what a pain in the neck they are. In any case, why won't they just build a phone in the traditional treo/pixi form? That's really all I want.....

I don't know about that, it looks like it might be more convenient to have your headphone wires coming down the side of the phone, rather than coming out from the top.

I.E.- iPod touch

Does this phone also take 5 min to boot up?

Which phone also takes 5 minutes to boot up?

No. There are plenty of video reviews that demostrate/time the boot up. it still takes a long time, IMO, but it was w/in a couple seconds of the Pre 2--they were both at about 1 1/2 minutes as I recall from the reviews.

Can't you reboot the Veer by holding the power button and flipping the ringer switch, like with every other webOS phone? Why would you pull the battery when you can reboot it with minimal effort?

Trouble is if its a smartphone for the dumbphone crowd, it still requires a smartphone plan. I definitely think that could be an issue.

Thanks for the review. I'm definitely going to take a look at them in a local AT&T store (I'm already on AT&T) but definitely leaning towards a pre2 or simply waiting it out with my pre+.

This would be a great upgrade for my kid who now has a Pixi. Only problem is that we are on Sprint. I wonder if HP will upgrade Pixi with similar cpu and Ram for people who want the candy bar form factor.

god i wish. From the START i wanted them to make me the pixi of my dreams aka have the guts of a pre but be a pixi. right now i'd be happy if it just had the guts of a pre2 but in a pixi form factor. Lets hope it happens

Hi all,

I'm just glad it's here. I want HP to have a phone for every user, which translates out to several different sizes with and without keyboards. We are not all the same and we all have different needs. I myself want the Pre3 but as a Centro user, I do see the desire to have a phone that is small for discrete purposes.

Back in the days when I was still a 3 piece suit man, a smaller phone would have been very desirable.

Take care all,

Jay

One thing i didn't see you mention in the camera potion....does it have autofocus? I need autofocus :(

You clearly didn't read it. It says

"The camera itself is a fixed-focus 5 megapixel shooter with “enhanced depth of field” technology, which really is just a way of trying to make up for the lack of autofocus by digitialy-sharpening and enhancing photos taken on the Veer."

i believe he mentioned it, but no it doesn't. it uses extended depth of field to compensate.

Josh Topolsky's review is up:

As it stands now, the Veer has taken the remaining embers of excitement I had about the operating system and its devices and all but extinguished them.

Score: 5/10

http://thisismynext.com/2011/05/09/veer-4g-review/

I agree... what was HP/Palm thinking releasing such a low end device 1st as their "re-entrance" into the mobile game. I'm so frustrated right now... i couldn't wait for a new WebOS device and i've been waiting so long... but the more i read and especially based on these reviews... I just feel like i'm rooting for a team that just doesn't understand what consumers want. They have a serious GEM in WebOS and are completely blowing it w/ Obvious fails. for example the Veer, a small phone when the trend is w/ large screens. or the Touchpad, a tablet that was designed around a year old about to become obsolete product (iPad1). I'm not sure how much longer i can hold my breath for them. My excitement is fading... I completely agree w/ Joshua Topolsky's statement. it echo's my own.

Does it really matter which device gets released as the "re-entrance" device? If the Veer flops, will it really affect Pre 3 and Touchpad sales?

Are you being serious?

Are YOU being serious?

Of course!
Many non-technical people out there don't do their thorough research. So if they hear from someone else, the veer runs webos, the veer is not for me.

Then when they see the pre 3 and see webos associated with it, all those negative comments about the veer will come to mind and therefore they will think "oh this also has webos so it must be bad because the veer is bad"

I dunno, rsanchez. Did the failure of the Pre and Pixi affect how the Palm Pre 2 was launched and how many carriers adopted it?

In the UK at loeast, a big fat zero out of the 6 main carriers and all their virtuals. That includes O2 who had exclusivity on the Pre, Pixi and +. Once your brand has been labelled a dog with the masses, it's almost impossible to shake that off, or convive a dealer to sell them once they've been burnt by poor sales and excessive returns - ask Fiat and Skoda. The fact the that the black Veer and Pre 3 look just the same on the shelf or poster as the notorius Pres to evervyone but the fanbois, and shout the same cheap plastic isn't going to help, especially when you're competing against the ZTE Blade at the budget level (GBP70 contract free) to chic flagship alu-bodied iPhones and HTCs and Nokias.

This was a much better review than what Precentral had to offer. A 5 out of 10 sounds about right and is probably being kind. Hopefully Precentral raises its standards just a bit for the Pre 3 review.

I see the Veer being more harmful then beneficial. That's sad..

Most depressing part of that review:

"When all is said and done, I didn’t think the phone’s performance was notably speedy. In fact, I found myself quite annoyed by system slowdowns and freezes that I’ve seen in earlier handsets, which I largely chock up to the software itself"

Looks like it's on to waiting for WebOS 3.x on phones to get it right. This is the fourth strike in that area.

Why is it depressing to you? I would think that would be your favorite part.

No, not at all. As someone who LIKES new and exciting things in the phone world, and who has owned at least one device from every modern smartphone OS (except for Blackberry. And I've owned two separate WebOS and Android devices), I want good things to happen for HP. I WANT more choices and more competition.

That they have yet to solve the stutters (which Josh showed on video) and glitches that have plagued the OS since day one is depressing. It leads me to believe that they may not be fixable. And that would truly be sad. I am still in love with WebOS' potential. I just need that to manifest itself. Apple and Windows Phone 7 have set a smoothness bar that everyone (including Android) is falling short of.

I haven't seen/read the review yet. Did he show video of his "system slowdowns and freezes?" I have watched at least 3 video reviews that demonstrate that it is extremely quick w/o freezes, etc. Even the reviewers seemed surprised that a measly 800MHz processor could be so quick.

It's amazing how completely different Derek and Josh are on their impressions of this phone. I don't really see Derek complaining about any sluggishness or slowness at all (outside some slowness in loading apps). How about flicking the contacts list and seeing how fluid it is? How about doing that while the phone is busy doing ONE other thing (that's usually the deal breaker test). I think Josh's experience is more along the lines of what most people will experience for themselves - soon. I agree with him on webOS being the most elegant mobile OS but he's spot on with his concern about such little change/improvement in the 2 years that this OS has been on the market. I want it to succeed too but the pace of maturity here is surprisingly slow. I'm now VERY worried for the Pre3.

Stuttering aside, what about the lack of progress in the native apps? The only time they've ever gone back to finish them is for the tablets, which tells you exactly where their focus will be going forward.

Wow he really **** on the veer lol, although with good reason nobody wants this **** especially with FAR better phones for the price on att. Nobody in their right mind would choose the veer over better options.

The more I think about the price, the less sense it makes. If the aim is to land a newbie looking to try their first smartphone, why come in at a price DOUBLE what AT&T charges for the LG Quantum, iPhone 3GS and Samsung Focus?

I didn't realize that the charging port doesn't detach from the USB cable.

Seems like it'd make more sense to just have a micro-USB input and then the magnetic output, similarly to how the headphone adapter works.

I've been contemplating my first WebOS device for almost a year now with hopes of new hardware. I'm an iphone user currently, and have been since 2007 (with a short stin to the Samsung Captivate...i think i just threw up in my mouth a little). After lusting over the pre3, that little "smile" that the reviewer got everytime he looked at it has enticed me in just the same way...Only sunday will tell whether I jump at the new device or "veer" (yes, pun was intended, thank you, thank you.) toward waiting for the pre3!

great review. however, the small thumbnail pics, it would be helpful when they are clicked on to all be a standard size that not huge. i opened some on my 22inch monitor and it nearly filled up the screen. not good. so reupload the originals at a smaller size.

also, after reading the review, yes the veer is original, yes it hasnt been done before, but that doesnt mean the market will respond to this 'experiment.' a good experiment in the same context is when apple first introduced the iphone, or the ipad. completely different, a new idea, and completely received. this veer, has the ability to not do well because of the risk it bears. it's basically a pixi slider. ? i am not seeing the innovation of the transgression to the next generation devices. they just cannot get away from the pebble. its sad. i do admire the use of the magnetic cable, but part of it feels to me like an 'engineering deadend' when they cannot even fit the headphone jack into the phone (as thick as it is already!). that was a hit and a miss on some levels for people who value a standard headphone input, and fear of losing that little adapter.

and ill voice the concern of others when i say that when you are going big, you do not bring out the weird small phone that brings mixed emotions and doesnt really have a good target audience. you bring out the champion pre3 and its broad appeal. why should the pre3 be released later than the veer? its basically the same phone, but bigger. its running similar software? doesnt make sense.

there might be a lackluster launch of the veer, negative feelings towards hp, then no one wants to wait around for the pre3. i dont know, but i wish them the best.

The website photo issue has been bugging me too - make the Lightbox popup pics smaller please Precentral!

Should it say, "a whole column narrower" than 'row'? I found this confusing.

I'm seriously getting so frustrated w/ Palm/HP right now. I want to use WebOS so badly and I can't wait for a new phone and i'm holding out till they make a good one. BUT it just seems like they keep swinging and Missing. The Veer? every phone right now has a large screen... why would you do the opposite of what is popular w/ specs that are lower than most others? The frustrating thing about the touchpad is that they aimed to be spec for spec for a soon to be outdated iPad1. I love WebOS and I'm seriously so frustrated w/ the constant disappointment. How about look at the market... do some research... find what ppl like and see whats trending, and then build that. It's like they just don't get it. Joshua Topolski's review was a 5 out of 10. that's how other Tech Bloggers view HP's FIRST MOBILE phone released as an HP product. 1st impressions are everything. the veer i feel failed to impress the majority market AND was a horrible 1st impression of what HP can do w/ WebOS and smartphones.

Here's a bit of accessory advice for someone with a little more drive than I have -- develop a dongle with a 3.5mm male stereo plug on one end and a micro usb female jack on the other and wire it such that you can plug your standard micro usb plug cable in on one end and the other into the magnetic headphone adapter on the Veer to charge it. That way you don't have to take a special cable with you everywhere.

The non standard charging is a total deal killer for me, I have micro USB cables in all three computer bags, my wife's purse, the glove box of the vehicles...they are cheap. Never without one on a trip. One has to wonder what HP was thinking, when they designed this. I agree with the poster who stated they should have just made this phone large enough to contain all standard connections for today's phones. Seems simple to me, but I don't have an IQ of 135 and common sense measured at 0. Seems some at HP do.

Anybody with Apple product knows about multiple adapters.

Have an iPad? Cannot charge it with my iPod nor my iPhone adapter.
I can kinda sorta get it to charge with my Evo adapter but it takes all day....and I mean ALL day.

A other have mentioned the MacBook Pro is also its own adapter.

Not to mention the video out adapters for Apple laptops. Those are a serious pain in the you know what.

Is this a big problem for Apple sales?

LOL. Of all the things HP copies from Apple, the LAST thing should be something considered a PROBLEM for them. Try copying their app launch speed, UI speed, app breadth, ecosystem...ANYTHING except their mistakes.

Who considers this a "problem" for Apple? If it was such a problem, Apple would probably change or their sales would slow.

"Have an iPad? Cannot charge it with my iPod nor my iPhone adapter."

Not true. My iPhone/iPod/iPad adapters are all interchangeable.

The exception is my old iPhone 3G adapter, that I keep at work, charges my iP4, but not my iPad.

Nice review. I guess I just dont understand what HP is doing with Web OS. Maybe I have missed all the clamor for a smartphone this small. Perhaps HP is right and there is a huge demographic for this. I dont see it though.

Instead of this tiny thing, HP would have been so much better served creating a phone that actually competes in todays market place rather than a phone that fills white space that Im not even sure exists.

Less than 50% of phones that are sold are "smart phones". While the percentage is increasing rapidly, there is still a huge audience out their that is yet to dip their toe.
A phone like this could appeal to not only a teen female demographic but also to those who do not want a big bulky intimidating looking phone but would not mind more features.

If we were on AT&T this phone would be perfect for my wife.
She thinks my Evo is a "monster" and she hates it.

If HP really wants to reach out to previously untouched demographics and to expand the market from which marketshare is derived from, they should look at how Apple did it.

They released a brand new OS with rock solid speed and stability on a lustworthy form factor, then lowered the price to cut the legs out from competitors still hanging around at $249-299 (Like the original HTC Touch for Sprint).

By contrast, HP is releasing a slightly tweaked OS that has already failed once with not-quite-as rock solid speed and stability on a divisive form factor at a price point that AT&T's popular iPhone 3GS is already beating!

I said it over at the other WebOS place that they needed to include a HP branded blue bluetooth headset with this phone. One that was flexible like the ones made by Plantronics.

Only then could you have said, cut the cord, go wireless. As Derek said, sales people need to upsell bluetooth headset for this. And touchstones.

Excellent review! All of my concerns have been addressed (adapter, battery life, etc...) and now I can safely say that I will take the plunge. With all things considered, I feel like this will meet my needs. Great job!

Cute phone charm, Derek. The review seems a bit too optimistic for me in comparison to other things I've been reading. Perhaps sticking with webOS for so long has made us a bit less demanding than the iOS/android crowd.

Really nice review, Derek. If the Veer were on Sprint, I'd be tempted. (I'd resist, because that would mean the Pre3 would likely also be on Sprint, but I'd be tempted.)

My ex-girlfriend comes to me constantly for gadget advice. A couple of months ago, she asked what she should replace her Sprint Centro with. I recommended she wait to see if the Veer would hit Sprint.

Nope.

I wrote dan@sprint.com and spoke to a rep who said that Sprint "hasn't decided" whether they're carrying the Pre3, and the decision will be based on demand, like that expressed in my email.

Folks, write dan@sprint.com and demand the Pre3.

If the Pre3 doesn't come to Sprint, I -- one of the biggest webOS fanboys out there -- will be going Android. Just sad.

How's the headphone out audio quality? I hear it's supposed to have excellent audio performance.

After watching his video, I am embarrassed. That is just sad. So what has been improved since the Pre-? Once again, the reason people buy an iPhone is because they work.

On the brighter side, you can tell he really wants WebOS to be great.

This phone is going to get
hammered by reviewers that don't have a routing interest in WebOS.

More hammering:

http://www.laptopmag.com/review/cell-phones/hp-veer-4g-att.aspx

"Viewing content such as web pages on the Veer 4G in portrait mode proved to be a challenge; we had to pinch-to-zoom or flip the phone around to make out text on NYTimes.com. We also had to squint to play Angry Birds, and we have 20/20 vision."

"The HP Veer 4G doesn't really offer anything that would tempt an iPhone or Android phone owner to buy this device. It's more like a messaging phone that can do a lot more. But even viewed in that light, the Veer 4G doesn't hit the mark. While the design is remarkably small and pocket-friendly, the screen is tough to read in portrait mode, and you have to attach an awkward accessory just to plug in headphones. We think the phone would have worked better as a landscape slider. The video camera is also unimpressive for a $99 smartphone when you can get 720p video recording--and better games--for $49 from the Samsung Focus. The bottom line is that the Veer 4G is more fun to show off than it is to use."

Thanks for the update.

Isn't that the same site where the Pre always wins the March madness bracket? They may not enter the Veer in the next one :P

Good catch. But the March madness and other polls they run are run by fair, open-minded people and are totally legitimate. The Veer review was done by an Android or iPhone fanboy with a hidden agenda who hates America.

So...hopefully, that explains the difference.

gold

You better throw a sarcasm tag on that because these comments are full of really intelligent people who enjoy literalism.

LOL! You forgot your sarcasm tags sir!

Isn't there some way HP can do a focus group or something BEFORE they "Veer" down a path like this? The thing is a marvel of engineering - to be able pack all of what they have in the thing .. but it looks like it needs to ship with a magnifying glass (or a magnifying glass 'patch') to make it useful to the masses. That's what the reviews seem to be saying so far.

I'd LOVE to have HP prove the Precentral readers wrong about this - and sell tons of these things, but I think the Precentral community is going to be right AGAIN and the Veer will die a quiet death without anyone hardly knowing it ever existing, except the HP accountants.

HP PLEASE read the comments on this site! The contributors here are almost always right!

I already have numerous Touchstones, BT headsets, and BT headphones.

The "in-the-box" Veer charger dongle and jack adapters will go in my desk drawer right next to my SPre earbuds and holster. I need something to keep the desk from coming off the floor...

Another mixed review:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/227377/hp_veer_4g_a_supercompact_webos_ph...

"In the end, the design really isn't for everybody; people who want to watch a lot of videos or play graphics-intensive games should either wait for the Pre 3 or check out the iPhone 4 or an Android phone on AT&T. If the Veer's small size appeals to you, be sure to spend some quality hands-on time with the phone first. The keyboard really is a pain to use, and with no software keyboard alternative, you're stuck with it."

I would be lost without you.

You're always welcome to post rave reviews for counterbalance. I haven't found any yet. Everything's been 5/6 out of 10.

Why the trolling?

Because you can troll "negative" people around here all day long, but "negative" news, reviews, or opinions should be shuffled out of sight so as to not hurt delicate feelings and/or morale.

Snark aside, how sad is it that they closed the equivalent thread on the boards ostensibly because it was getting too "negative".

Is this PreCentral.net or HeadintheSand.net? The forums make it difficult to tell the difference sometimes...

That's surprising since the thread was pretty civil. I see an attempt was made to get another more "positive" review thread going.

Because trollers who will NEVER get the phone, or put their hands on a webOS device to see if they actually like it comes all the way across to make shitty comments.

You mean honest comments? Most of us are waiting for the Pre 3 or slab. We're hoping webOS can evolve despite HP pulling a Veer.

LOL. I've bought a Pre and a Pixi, not to mention lots of apps. "Jay" whatever his name is has never bought a WebOS device. But...yeah...he's the contributor.

Yes but the people who would buy this phone will never read that thread since essentially this phone is hoping to be bought by the uninformed.

Guess I should have told everyone to keep their head in the sand! Then the thread would have stayed open and the mod wouldn't have posted a comment making me out to be a troll, without even giving me a chance to respond. I thought I was being pretty helpful in that thread too. Guess not!

Wow, Derek. Your hands must be small because those are the only Veer photos I've seen that don't make it look really tiny in a person's hand. Was George Costanza not available to be your hand model?

yeah i was equally surprised at how small derek's hands were.

You know what they say, small hands, small.....

...gloves.

I though it was wee-wee.

LOL!

The little *** gets it :P

Thanks for the review. Looking forward to seeing one in person.

external headphone & charging attachment, how long till most users lose that....

DOA.

the headphone attachment would be lost more i think. going to the gym, going out running, etc.

My problem with this phone is that it adds another slider phone to Palm's portfolio. The Pre2 was just recently released, that phone is small enough, why release a smaller version? My Pre+ looks like midget compared to my co-workers phones. They could have just done a Candybar design like the Pixi but the Pre2's 3.1 screen. How many slider phones does HP/Palm need? Seriously.

Sounds like you're having P...re envy...

Speaking about target audience for the Veer, I think I might be considered collateral damage. Like I posted in the Veer forum, I'm a guy who carries an iPhone4 for work as well as a personal phone (Epic) and an iPad around all day on the job. I'm going to welcome the tiny Veer into my life this coming Sunday with extreme jubilation as I will no longer have to carry two HUGE phones around 6 days a week. I've been wanting to get back to webOS for months now, and with the positive praise I've seen for the Veer so far (Josh T not withstanding), I'm ready to take the plunge.

Man, I hope the Veer sells a ton, because it's a device that deserves to be popular.

i dont think the veer deserves that much credit. it seems like the device to fill in the cracks.

palm should have created a custom headphone for the new connector.

I'll take anyones microusb cables that theyre throwin out, my 2 have gone bad, and theyre needed for the TS. (yes some have found alternate ones that fit, I havent tho!)

and ive been realizing as lot of people dont care for cases. Shocking to me, but! Eh.

also, I want everyone to be clear that the veer, touchpad and pre3 were designed by palm. Hp doesnt have their hand in any of these.
this is a much better review than what wor posted, plus I appreciate that you folks call it 3g. Very cool.

what does the edf mean for qr code scanning?

as for the battery, its removable (from what ive seen on protoypes), but not recommended as the touch-to-share is connected via wire to the back, which is the part thats not 100% removable. Hth!

No, but the difference is that being non-standard and having special ports is considered a boon in Apple products, and a deal-breaker in others. It's the Apple Sympathy bonus, otherwise known as the Think Different Effect.

Before you ask, the Think Different Effect will always work only for Apple - even if a plurality of devices are made by them and _actually_ thinking different would by necessity entail buying something else.

I noticed we can't discuss the poor to middling reviews of the Veer on the forum any more.

Thanks Berd.