HP Veer hands-on

HP launched the Veer at the beginning of the February. We know we’ve already brought you a first hands-on of it at the time, but now the dust has settled we were able to get a second longer play with the new mini model at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and wanted to share that with you.

Following in the footsteps of the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini handsets launched last year, the HP Veer is a miniature version of the Pre 3, taking with it some features from previous Palm models like the Palm Pixi.

The screen has set the size - in this case 2.6-inches and incidentally that’s the same size as the Palm Pixi’s screen.

To make Veer considerably smaller, HP has basically turned the Pixi from a candy bar design to a slider hiding the very small QWERTY keyboard when not in use.

But that’s the only similarity to the Pixi. This is a full on smartphone packing webOS 2.2, a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 800-MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage, and is a HSPA+. It also has Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, plus an accelerometer, and proximity and light sensors.

With the Veer being so small HP has had to lose some features, mainly the 3.5mm headphones socket. Instead those who do want to listen to music or make calls via a wired headset will have to attach a magnetic accessory.

It’s the same for the charging. There is no micro USB socket either, but HP tell us that there will be both the 3.5mm stereo jack dongle, and a cable that goes from the magnetic connector to USB in the box when the phone launches in Europe in the next couple of months.

Build quality thankfully is considerably better than previous Palm models playing to HP’s strengths and manufacturing skills. Running our fingers around the rim of the slide out QWERTY keyboard for example was a lot softer than previous feelings we’ve had with Palm models where you felt like you were scraping your fingers across a sharp chef’s knife.

As for actually using the phone, it's certainly small and those with big hands will feel that more than the rest of us. The keyboard for us personally was just too small, and the screen not suitable for surfing the web - certainly from our first impressions. 

We would also worry that if you're on a bumpy bus or train its going to be impossible to do anything productive on this device apart from make calls or check the weather. 

Where this is likely to succeed however is with people that want to not be bogged down with a smartphone that is large and bulky. If that sounds like you this might be one to check out later in the year once you've had a chance to measure up how well this will fit into the palm of your hand. 

HP has told us that the HP Veer will be launching in the US in "the spring" and UK, although no UK release date has set. 



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