CNET First Look
HP Veer 4G (AT&T)The HP Veer 4G looks cute and even packs in a good amount of features for the price and size, but ultimately, the smartphone's compact design hinders usability and limits its appeal.
Hey, everyone. I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and today, I've got your First Look at the HP Veer 4G for AT&T. This tinny-tiny device is the latest webOS smartphone since the Pre 2 and it's probably one of the cutest phones I've ever seen. It's got a very attractive pebble-like design and the white model that I have here is particularly eye catching, but what will probably grab your attention the most is the size. As you can see, the Veer is really small and there's certainly good things about the compact design but I actually think that HP made the Veer too small 'cause there are a number of problems that come with it. The first is the screen. It only measures 2.6 inches diagonally so if you're trying to do anything like view a webpage or a map, it's really difficult and you'll be using the pinch-to-zoom feature a lot. Even simple tasks like making a call gets frustrating because the on-screen dialer is cramped and if you want to read an e-mail, there's a lot of scrolling involved. Luckily, you don't have to enter text using the touchscreen since there is a slideout QWERTY keyboard. To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for the keyboard because the layout is pretty cramped and the buttons are small, but with some practice, you can actually get around it without too many problems. It's not ideal but I wouldn't say it's unusable either. The last issue with the design is the proprietary ports. Because the Veer is so small, HP couldn't fit in a headphone jack or a micro USB port, so, instead, they put in this magnetic connector on the side. With it, you can connect this headset adaptor and then plug in your headphones so you can listen to music. I just think it's a bad idea. Number one, it's an eye sore and because it sticks out of the side like this, I can see it easily getting ripped off just putting it in your pocket or if your headphone wire gets caught on something. Also, it's small so it's easy to lose when you're not using it and I've already misplaced it several times while reviewing the phone. The other issue is with the magnetic connector, you have to use the charging cable that comes with the phone, so if you're running out of battery and you don't have it nearby, you're toast, so, overall, I just think it's a flawed idea. It's really too bad because the Veer 4G offers a decent set of features. It's running webOS 2.1.2 so you're getting some of the latest functions like Stacks which groups together similar tasks for better multitasking, and Just Type which expands on universal search by letting you type search terms and even status updates from anywhere on your phone. Unfortunately, I think it's just hard to take advantage of any of these features with the phone's design. Set at a reasonable price at $100 on contract, but AT&T has a number of other devices for $100 or less, like the HTC Inspire 4G, that will provide a better experience. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your First Look at the HP Veer 4G for AT&T.