Teen talk: Should HP have skipped the Veer 4G?

Teen talk: Should HP have skipped the Veer 4G?

Summary: The HP Veer 4G is a small webOS smartphone, but seems to be a step back from the previous Palm devices. Mal spent a week with the device and posts her impressions.

SHARE:

HP and AT&T launched the HP Veer on 15 May and instead of spending time with it myself I passed it along to my 15-year old daughter Maloree since I figured it was more the kind of device she would enjoy using. I spent a few minutes with it and was not impressed, especially after discovering it functions more like a Pixi than a Pre and wouldn't let me download and use all the games I purchased on my Pre Plus. Check out the image gallery and Mal's thoughts on the device below.


Image Gallery: Check out a few photos of the HP Veer 4G for AT&T. Image Gallery: Back of the HP Veer Image Gallery: HP Veer and Dell Venue Pro

Specifications

Specifications for the HP Veer 4G include the following:

  • HP webOS 2.1
  • 800 MHz Qualcomm processor
  • Quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS
  • 2.6 inch 320x400 pixels touch screen display
  • Integrated 8GB flash drive (6.1 GB available) with no expansion card slot
  • 5 megapixel camera with EDOF
  • Integrated A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • 910 mAh non-removable lithium-ion battery
  • Dimensions: 84 x 54.5 x 15.1 mm and 103 grams (3.31 x 2.15 x 0.59 inches)

The HP Veer is a very small device with a full QWERTY keyboard. It works with the existing Touchstone charger and has an integrated back that supports placing it on the Touchstone. The display is small and the memory is limited so this is not a power user smartphone.

Mal's first impressions

At first I thought that this phone was way too small, slippery and inconvenient. I did like the white coloring on the outer shell of the device. Also the start up of the phone was really slow and boring. Usually they incorporate some vibrant colors or entertaining logos. The keyboard seemed really small and my thumbs kept hitting each other when I first used it.

After 10 minutes of use

The gesture area was very confusing at first and all I knew how to do with it was go back to the home screen. So I recommend going through the tutorial which is under the system page, then scroll down to gesture tutorial. Also when messing around with the phone, I found that you can layer the cards on the home screen or have them side by side to scroll through. When you don't want that card on the screen anymore you can also throw it away by flinging it upwards. I also thought the email was easy to do, just a normal standard email app.

After one day of usage

I went to the Palm App Catalog and looked for some games and apps that are on my iPod touch and sadly they didn't have many apps available for this device at all. So the only ones I downloaded were Fandango, Facebook, and Backgrounds. Fandango was normal just like any other device. I really enjoyed Facebook and how you can easily download pictures and videos straight to Facebook. I received pictures from my e-mail and then uploaded them straight to Facebook. The phones screen is very clear and high-def for such a small screen and the backgrounds showed up very clear. The battery life lasted exceptionally long for having data and texting.

Thoughts after one week

The keyboard started getting easier to use and navigating around the phone became familiar after a week. The messaging had features like Facebook pictures showing up with my contacts and the same photo appearing with phone calls. I text message quite a bit and liked the messaging app. After sending a text it turned a grey color and when successfully sent the color turned green. The person you were having a conversation with had a background color of blue. There was also support for smiley face and other icons.

When I showed a couple of my friends at school they said things like, "cute!" "I wanna get one it's so small", "I love the tiny keyboard and white shell", "Is this a fake phone?" So this phone got many varied opinions. When talking on the phone it is very awkward to hold and I have average sized hands. Because of the size it can be difficult to text and hold, it's very slippery. The camera and video quality is poor and sound isn't picked up very well and the picture is not clear. When talking on the phone the sound is poor and breaks out frequently. The data does load quite fast and it rarely loses service.

Mal's recommendations

This phone might be good for an 8-12 year old because of the size and how it can get boring after a while for teenagers with more experiences with phones. Since children are getting phones so early now it might do OK, but i don't think many teenagers and rarely any adult will be interested in this device. Also the charger and headphone adapter are like no other phone so that can be very inconvenient. I believe they wasted money and time on making this phone and they could have made one like it, but much better. My dad showed me the website for the Pre 3 and that is one I think I would like to use.

Matt's final thoughts

Mal was more impressed with the HP Veer 4G than I was, likely because she has never really used webOS for an extended period of time. However, even after just a week Mal was bored with the device due to lack of apps and the small display. I signed in with my Palm account, but none of the games I bought on my Pre Plus were available to use on the Veer so it is more like a Pixi with application limitations.

I also held a couple of calls with Mal and the quality was the worst I have heard on a phone in a long time. She tried speaker and handset modes and with both I heard static and unclear conversations, even when she was in an area that was fairly quiet. I had her call on my wife's N8 in the same location and the call was crystal clear.

IMHO, HP should have released the Pre 3 first and then maybe thought about including the Veer with a HP webOS tablet if there strategy is to sell a dual device partnership. The Veer 4G is a downgrade from the Pre Plus and Pre 2 and is not a good device for HP to launch as their first smartphone with webOS.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Mobility, Telcos, Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

6 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Sounds like the KIN but wihtout the great KIN Studio feature

    Not surprised though, HP knows jack about phones and all the palm brains fled after the acquistion. Once HP gets good look at how webos does on smartphones and tablets they'll wise up and drop this line entirely and jump on WP and W8 tablets. Otherwise Dell will eat their lunch...
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Teen talk: Should HP have skipped the Veer 4G?

    I agree completely Matthew - for the longest time I've been very confused by HP's strategy with regard to releasing their devices. Like you, I think the Pre3 should have come out first, and should have been their flagship phone, and then the Veer and the Touchpad could have come out together...the big tablet, and the itty-bitty version of the flagship Pre3.

    That's what Apple has done forever: bring out the iPod, get everyone using it, establish the product line's 'cool factor', and then start off-shooting all kinds of lower-class cousins (ie. the iPod mini). Imagine if Apple had brought the mini out first...what would people have thought of this terribly underpowered device with no screen? It wouldn't have sold at all! But they brought out the flagship device first, increased excitement, increased the cool factor...and then sold millions of lesser-rate, cheaper off-shoots.

    In HP's case, it makes even *more* sense to have done this, because they're purposely trying to suggest that if you have a tablet, the Veer is all the phone you need. So why launch it before the tablet???

    It makes no sense at all.
    gumfactor
    • Agreed...

      @gumfactor : Apple is a lot wiser than HP on this side. Any iPhone user can pretty much tell you that after a while using the browser, you become accustom to the interface and simplicity, but start demanding more, so they brought the iPad out.

      Later on they bring in lesser grade spin offs. That's the reason most people believe that a cheaper iPhone 4 will be released on September and the iPhone 5 (with 4G) will wait until next year.

      Next year they will bring in the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 and set the new mark for the segment, and so on and so forth....
      cosuna
  • Niche Specific

    "Mifi's" or portable hotspotting devices are the hot ticket now adays, running across more and more consumers having them. The only crux is they cannot do basic things that a cell phone can do. E.G. certain devices cant even get the security sms to register for their online account for data usages. I would love to have a portable hotspot in this shape and size. I can pull my "real" smartphone out of my pocket for smartphone uses. If i cant reach to my trusty talk'n'text'n'web default device i can always pull out my "pocketable hotspot" as a backup.
    sevanuik
  • Good for simple travelers?

    Considering this is a mini GSM smartphone, this would be perfect for travelers - lightweight, hands-free bluetooth supported, SIM card supported, smartphone app supported.

    The only thing that may be inconvenient would be the proprietary battery plug. I suppose HP wanted to persuade users to buy the wireless charger setup.

    The Pixi isn't so bad and works well for many non-power users I know. With double the processing power, the Veer could be a pleasant upgrade for most Pixi users.
    zdnetviewer
  • RE: Teen talk: Should HP have skipped the Veer 4G?

    Mal needs to have her own column!
    Skipper Tom