HP Veer 4G Smartphone Preview

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Summary and Conclusion

HP Veer 4G Summary: HP's Veer 4G is an interesting device, with distinct pros and cons. For starters, this phone is only available on AT&T, which puts it at a disadvantage right away. For $99 on a 2-year contract, potential AT&T buyers have a ton of great options -- everything from an iPhone 3GS to a slew of very potent Android-based phones. It's also only available on AT&T; that is to say, HP will have a very limited reach with this phone, and when you're desperate for developer support, you need to get a phone out onto as many networks as possible.

Calling the Veer a 4G phone is also somewhat of a stretch. Some reports suggest that this isn't even an HSPA+ phone by definition, because it doesn't support enough of the performance-enhancing features of the specification. Regardless of all that, the somewhat dated 800MHz CPU seems to struggle when downloading and rendering complex webpages over Wi-Fi, so having the extra connection speed on this particular phone probably won't do a ton of good anyway. Of course, the Mobile Hotspot feature does indeed make good use of it, but given AT&T's historically clogged data networks, we wouldn't suggest buying this phone if you're looking to tether very often.

Then, there's the size. The Veer is just too small to adequately show off the intricacies of webOS, and it compromises too many basic things for the sake of being small. The fact that you have to carry around a dongle to use standard headphones, not to mention a proprietary charging cable, defeats the purpose somewhat. You still end up packing extra peripherals, so the entire package swells in size. The keyboard, while nice, still requires fingernail typing, as it's just too cramped. The 5MP camera also leaves something to be desired.


We think the HP Veer 4G is a poor choice to showcase webOS 2.x. We suspect that the operating system -- which is great to use, good looking, and reasonably snappy -- would have a much better showing on a Pre 3 or TouchPad, both of which are coming some time this summer. But the Veer 4G hardware has too many deficiencies for us to openly recommend it. The only demographic that we could reasonably recommend this phone to is the tween / teen crowd that places a high value on style and size, and is willing to make use of AT&T's bare-minimum $15/month data plan. In a month or two, this phone will likely be offered for free on contract, and it may be a solid choice for parents needing to extend an AT&T family plan in order to give their child their first smartphone.


Ultimately though, webOS really impressed us. It's an solid operating system in almost every regard, and even outperforms Android and iOS when it comes to things like multitasking. Sure, the email system needs improved, and there needs to be a way to add more shortcut icons to the bottom taskbar, but HP has a hit on their hands if they can launch nicer hardware. The Veer 4G isn't it. It's too small, too niche, and forces too many compromises. We think the Pre 3 has a much better chance at getting consumers excited, but we'd recommend steering clear of the Veer 4G for now unless you fit into a very narrow niche who values ultra small form factor of this device.

  
  • Really small, if you're into that
  • Great build quality
  • Good battery life
  • webOS is Excellent
  • Very responsive

 

  • Too small to be a workhorse smartphone
  • Low screen resolution
  • Available only on AT&T
  • Poor email management
  • Proprietary charging port

 


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