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HP Veer needs a magnetic adaptor to plug in your headphones

HP talked up its new Veer webOS smart phone's slimline size when it was unveiled last week, but it has emerged that there's a price to pay: the lack of a 3.5mm headphone port.

The HP Veer was unveiled last week at HP's webOS launch, and impressed us with its dinky charms. It seems its tiny size comes with a few drawbacks, however, including the lack of a 3.5mm headphones port. If you want to plug in your cans, you'll need a magnetic adaptor.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the adaptor wasn't being shown off during HP's demo of its new smart phone. PreCentral got its hands on one though, and has published close-up photos showing how it will lock on to the device. It clips on to the Veer's side so your cable runs down the length of the handset. The site thinks it's "funky", which we assume is in the smelly sense of the word.

As we noted in our hands-on preview last week, the Veer really is tiny, measuring just 55 by 84 by 15mm, with a weight of 103g. But the more we find out about the handset, the more we wonder if its minuscule nature is compromising a few too many features.

Besides the lack of a 3.5mm jack, we thought that pairing the powerful webOS software with such a small 2.6-inch screen was "akin to putting a shark's brain in a goldfish", although it grew on us. Watching videos was a mixed experience too: the Veer looks like it'll be fine for YouTube clips, but less fun for squinting at longer-form TV shows or films. Arguably, if you buy a smart phone this small, you're not expecting it to be a mini home-cinema.

Even so, the Veer manages to cram in a 5-megapixel camera, GPS and 802.11n Wi-Fi, along with a keyboard that looks tiny, but is refreshingly easy to type accurately on. At a time when many smart phones are getting bigger and beefier, the Veer certainly stands out from the crowd.

We've been here before on the 3.5mm jack question, though. Remember the very first Android handset, the T-Mobile G1? The lack of a 'phones port on that device was widely criticised, and swiftly remedied in subsequent Android smart phones.

Something tells us HP may encounter a similar backlash, despite its magnetic adaptor. If and when the HP Veer 2 emerges, it will hopefully manage to squeeze one back in.