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

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.

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.