HP Veer 4G Review - Getting Us Excited for Pre 3by Brian Klug on June 7, 2011 5:01 PM EST
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- HP Veer 4G
We touched on the Veer when it first hit our doorstep with a this just in post, and since then I’ve been using the device daily and trying to get an understanding for where it fits in both HP’s vision for WebOS and the greater scheme of things among all smartphones. The Veer’s launch is quite honestly a puzzling one. Usually launches are top down - launch the big flagship first, then reduced size and price ‘lite’ editions afterward that build off the flagship’s success and appeal to niches that aren’t served by the primary device either due to cost or size. For that reason, the Veer launch initially seemed a bit backwards, but factor in HP’s desire to get excitement for WebOS 2.0 started and ignite interest for the Pre 3, and things begin to make sense.
Size Comparison: (Left to Right) HTC EVO 4G (Sprint), Palm Pre Plus (AT&T), HP Veer 4G (AT&T)
The HP Veer 4G (henceforth just Veer) is the Palm Pixi’s obvious spiritual successor. It’s refreshed with a faster SoC, better camera (but without an LED flash), WiFi, WebOS 2.0, and repackaged in a different, smaller form factor. The two bear the same exact same screen size and resolution (2.6 inch, 320x400), and both include a keyboard in a diminutive package. One of the Palm Pre’s original differentiators was the inclusion of a keyboard, and thus far every WebOS device has likewise included one. For extremely small devices, hiding a keyboard somewhere isn’t exactly an easy task.
Left: Palm Pixi, Right: HP Veer 4G
The Pixi included one by sticking it beneath the display, resulting in a long and skinny phone that ended up having a funny aspect ratio. The Veer, however, keeps a much more Palm Pre - like form factor with sliding keyboard.
If the Palm Pre full size devices could be described as feeling like smooth river rocks in the hand, the Veer is more of a pebble. It truly feels like a scaled down Palm Pre. It’s small - no, that doesn’t even do it justice. It’s downright tiny.
The Veer has an outline just smaller than that of a credit card, and hides a four-row QWERTY keyboard away in the slider and only tacks on 4.25 mm of thickness and 10.5 grams in the process compared to the Pixi.
While the overwhelming trend right now is ever increasing display size, it’s obvious that HP recognizes an unfilled niche on the other side of the spectrum for something incredibly small. There’s definitely a market for devices with pocketable size that don’t “print” with tight fitting clothing. I’m told by my female friends that having a small device that fits those criteria is a big part of smartphone shopping. That said, the Veer is still thicker than a bunch of other phones, which is perhaps an even more important criteria for female shoppers.
Whether the Veer goes in the front pocket or is small enough to make it into the back pocket is ultimately a matter of clothing choice and personal preference. I will say that it’s refreshing to carry something around that doesn’t weigh my pants down, though at times it’s easy to forget there’s anything in there at all when checking to make sure you’ve got keys, wallet, and phone.
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peskypescado - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - linkI have been a webOS user for a couple of years now and I can tell you that the Touchstone definitely charges _significantly_ faster than the same AC charger just plugged into the phone via microUSB. I'm not sure exactly why, but it is consistently faster on both of the Pre's we have at my house. For me, it is a bigger benefit for why I use a touchstone than the convenience of just being able to set my phone down.
Brian Klug - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - linkInteresting - I mean that definitely bears itself out in the results. I originally ascribed the differences to just charging management, but there definitely seems to be something said for the touchstone charging faster. I'll see if I can find more.
Johnmcl7 - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - linkI'm guessing as SE devices rarely seem to get mentioned here that they're just not available in the US? Their X10 Mini Pro is a very similar design and size to the Veer although I think SE's design is better in a few ways, they've gone for a horizontal slider (or whichever way round it is when you turn the phone 90 degrees to use the keyboard) which gives more room and makes for a better keyboard. The keys are well spaced and have a solid 'click' when pressed so that despite its size it works well, better in fact than some of the bigger qwerty devices I've used. The X10 Mini Pro has a 3.5mm port onboard and a micro USB port (for data and charging) plus the back is removable to get access to the user-replaceable battery and has expandable storage through microSD.
Unfortunately it's also an ARM11 SoC although it's driving a small screen compared to other smartphones, SE's customisation on top of Android is a bit messy in places as well although in general performance isn't bad. The phone seems to have had reasonable appeal, it's particularly popular amongst my female friends looking for a small phone to slip in a handbag/pocket.
Penti - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - linkYes they have, but the SE X10 Mini Pro isn't a fluid phone in regards to performance and it's not that hard to use the gd 3.5 mm adapter you snap on, or a USB-charger & data cable both included in the box. It's not that you can't use those.
However the X10 Mini Pro is or was available directly from SE, or from Verizon and AT&T. So on. But the new Xperia Mini Pro should come any day. And it's hardly the only cell phone with a slide out keyboard.
As a Swede I would just say stay away from SE basically. They are not up to the task and un-updated software is just a pain. I wouldn't want to use timescape either. It's basically in regard to the X10 mini a phone even too weak for Angry birds.
The guys working in Lund for SE would probably do a lot better job at one of the Chinese manufacturers any way. Nobody in China will miss their factories either. It's virtually a collapse business and has been for years any way. Seriously they are not competitive, and in the states you got stuff like Motorola Milestone/Droid and Droid 2, and so on that's popular instead I guess. The SE's might fit the people who only text and so on. But that misses the point, and it's overpriced and old legacy stuff by now.
Johnmcl7 - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - linkOf course it's not the only phone with a slide out keyboard but it's one of the few that's so small. As a non-Swede I think the advice to stay away from SE odd, there's not many phones like the X10 Mini Pro and it has the Veer beat in just about every way going despite the SE being a much older phone. I haven't seen these 'fluid' problems you mention and the phone is popular amongst my female friends.
Penti - Friday, June 10, 2011 - linkIt's an abandoned phone by now any how. If the Xperia Mini Pro will be any good I don't really know, but it can't be worse and is out any day.
As I Swede I'm proud of Ericsson and so on in the telecom industry, they are good and successful, still have manufacturing in Sweden for that matter, but simply not SE. SE is one of the failed mobile brands to begin with, they sell roughly half as many phones as 2007, they are among the ones that have gone bad together with Motorola which collapsed al together but with products looking strong even though they are at about 20% of their 2007 volume and less then that of their 2006 volume (which are just begin to sell again in Sweden mind you at least they are looking up), LG that has stopped growing, SE isn't that respected. Something like Motoblur I would probably prefer over Timescape as it's less intrusive. SE has really screwed up with their software and launcher. I'm fine with running the stock UI and launcher, but you don't really have that choice from mentioned brands.
But hey, at least the new Mini Pro doesn't look like it's from <2009.
It's however a common problem with games and other software lagging on the X10 Mini Pro. The UI has pretty much constantly had performance problems. I.e. not being fluid. (Doesn't mean all users experienced it or that they experienced it over all time they had the phone.) They have messed it up so many times on the firmware side. It's simply not recommended for smart phone usage here.
However a slim company like SE with no software expertise or manufacturing expertise and not much to speak of wouldn't be a loss if they disappeared. They are just building phones with Qualcomm chipsets and not contributing much, they need to pick up if they want to continue delivering phones. They might manage to do it with their revised software on Gingerbread+ but that remains to be seen.
A X10 Mini Pro is however about the same size like something like this HP Veer though, or other non-keyboard smartphones for that matter (X10 Mini non-pro is the one that sold here in Sweden and that Three etc peddled.). I simply wouldn't recommend the X10 Mini to anybody for that matter. 320x240 is simply not suitable for smart phones. The new model will also be a 3" phone although about the same physical size so it's not really that significantly smaller then any other phone. Smaller then the Desire Z and equivalents yes. Old device is simply not in the same league as this HP Veer or most smart phones, small or large. New Xperia Mini Pro however looks much improved. Not saying HP Veer is a feature phone replacement for the same crowed however. SE's device is clearly trying to grow up though. But at 320x480 is still aimed at low-end users.
Not that I like using Android in landscape mode however. I think a vertical slider is much better in most cases, however on phones like N900, E7 (Nokia) I would prefer the landscape mode and keyboards. However if you like an Android with horizontal keyboard there is lot of others to choice from other then SE, I did think about buying one even though the X10 Mini wasn't in question then do to it's software troubles. Anywhere from Motorola, Samsung, LG or a few other devices in the unites states, where you often have branded devices like T-mobiles (HTC) G1 and G2 and MyTouch series. I don't see SE filling a space there really even though it's sold by the operators and stores there. While here in Europe we haven't seen as many choices.
jnmfox - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link"...still thicker..., which is perhaps an even more important criteria for female shoppers."
"Whether the Veer goes in the front pocket or is small enough to make it into the back pocket is ultimately a matter of clothing choice and personal preference."
"I will say that it’s refreshing to carry something around that doesn’t weigh my pants down"
robinthakur - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - linkIt's all rather sexist tbh. Lots of men don't want a massive brick of a phone and value a slimline handset that can fit in skinny jeans or tailored jackets without ruining the lines. It's not just a girl thing. This often seems to come up on tech sites, and seems to assume and imply that all men wear baggy jeans and dress like hobos...
HowQuaint - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - linkI'm coming up on 2 years with an original Pre and it's getting long in the tooth. Seems to "forget" to send me calendar notifications and lock up all the time, plus I've already had to replace the battery. I've been thinking about tossing it out a window and getting a nice Android device or maybe even a dumbphone, but HP might woo me back if Pre 3 (or even Veer) won't have these reliability issues. It's somewhat disheartening to see they still haven't learned their lesson with not having enough options, for example I get poor cell coverage at work so turning off 3G might keep the phone from draining its battery on a daily basis. The funny thing is that despite all the hate for the original hardware, mine has actually been pretty robust -- I'm more of a fan of the hardware than of WebOS and never experienced the wobbly keyboard issues.
Lt.PorkyPine - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - linkI also have made my original pre for 2 years. I love the OS and have had only minor hardware troubles. Had to have my pre replaced one. I hope to get the pre 3 so long as it comes to sprint. I'm very excited about the new hardware and 2.0.
Hopefully HP can start to bring regular hardware updates to the webOS platform. It will also help if the comments from HP about licensing webOS to 3rd party hardware makers like HTC and Samsung are true.