HP Veer 4G Review

Introduction and Design

HP indeed managed to turn some heads in the industry during their “Think Beyond” event back in February, where they unveiled their treasure trove of new webOS devices ranging from small, medium, and large offerings. Starting with their smallest bundle, the HP Veer 4G is headed to AT&T’s lineup bringing along its cute form factor, while still paying homage to some of the Palm Pre’s legacy with its miniaturized appearance. For a smartphone, the HP Veer 4G definitely comes off as being approachable thanks to its diminutive size, but let’s hope that its size doesn’t hinder it from making it usable with most operations.

The package contains:

  • HP Veer 4G
  • Proprietary USB Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Get Started Guide
  • 3.5mm headset jack adapter


Impressively, the HP Veer 4G is one amazingly compact smartphone that basically looks like a miniaturized Palm Pre – but it feels much more sturdy than its forefather. Literally able to fit comfortably within the palm of our hand, thanks to its rounded edges, the handset retains that pebble like appearance with its contrasting white exterior and completely clean looking polished display. Moreover, we’re digging its tough plastic construction mainly because dirt and debris stand no chance when it comes to sticking on. Clearly, it’s better constructed than the original Pre, while there is still a little bit of weight (3.63 oz) with this surprising ultra-compact model.

You can compare the HP Veer 4G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Due to its tiny size, we’re greeted with only a 2.6” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 320 x 400 pixels and support for 262k colors. Blatantly, the tight spacing undoubtedly limits our interaction, especially when it comes to scrolling and pinch zooming. Although text might look clear and distinguishable in the app panel, it’s rather difficult to make out with the web browser – thus requiring us to zoom-in as much as possible. Thankfully though, we like its natural looking color production and great viewing angles, which combine together to allow us to still view stuff on screen under direct sunlight.

Below the display, we find the handset’s gesture area, which is used to execute a variety of functions, and even act as the handset’s notification system as well by illuminating when messages come in. Sadly though, especially being an HSPA+ enabled device, the HP Veer 4G lacks a front-facing camera.

Requiring some force to get its keyboard exposed, we’re presented with the familiar 4-row keyboard layout that’s been the staple of all webOS smartphones thus far. Without a doubt, buttons are extremely cramped, which makes it a challenge to use for anyone with larger fingers, but we like the acceptable feedback that buttons exhibit when they’re pressed. Mainly due to its small size, our output in speed typing is indeed limited.

Quite distinguishable to the finger and well sized since it juts out from the left edge of the handset, we’re bummed to find out that the volume rocker has a stiff feel to it when pressed. Additionally, we’re not fans of the proprietary data/charging port on the right side, as opposed to finding something more traditional like a microUSB port. However, there are magnets on there to allow either the USB cable or 3.5mm headset adapter to fasten tightly onto it.

On the top edge, there’s a spot for a lanyard, plastic cutout that hides the SIM card slot, vibrate switch, and the handset’s prominent and tactile dedicated power button.

Flipping it over, we find only the handset’s 5-megapixel fixed focused camera, which regretfully omits a flash – with the speakerphone grill positioned directly next to it. Unlike previous webOS devices, there is no easy way to access its battery, which really requires you to meticulously pry off its rear cover. After carefully removing it, the rear cover is still attached to a ribbon cable and the battery is protected by a metal plate.

HP Veer 4G 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

Don’t let its small size fool you because the HP Veer 4G is packing a powerful 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7230 Snapdragon processor that dishes up one exquisitely fast platform experience. Almost on par to performance of the Palm Pre 2, there’s no hiding the fact that the Veer 4G is one responsive device – especially when fluid executions are abundant throughout its operation. Personalization aspects might still be on the slim side, even more when you’re only limited to wallpaper changes, but we’re still presented with some of the great aspects of webOS 2.1. Specifically, you have the Stacks feature that organizes cards on top of one another for better organization. Furthermore, the “Just Type” feature allows you to use the keyboard at any time, type something in, and it’ll aggregate relevant content from a variety of sources locally and online.

The functionality of the address book hasn’t changed much, but it’s nice to see that we’re able to easily sync contacts from other sources like AT&T Address Book, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft Exchange, and Yahoo.

Still required to use the physical keyboard for all your messaging needs, you can run the Messaging app to compose SMS and MMS messages very easily. However, the keyboard’s cramped nature thoroughly decreases our rate of input – and it doesn’t make it any easier for people with larger fingers. Also, the app functions as the instant messaging client, which supports services like AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo from the onset.

More than functional at its core, the email experience is lagging behind the competition primarily because it omits common features that are being set by the competition – such as threaded view. Again, the tiny display poses a problem as well since we’re required to do plenty of scrolling to read emails. In terms of setup, you’re normally required to provide your email address and password for automatic setup.

Interestingly enough, there aren’t that many third party applications preloaded with the handset, but the few on there include YPmobile, Amazon MP3, and Quickoffice. Unfortunately, the platform still lacks a free voice guided turn-by-turn application solution, but you still have Google Maps to get your by. However, AT&T Navigator is on there for you to use, but it still requires a monthly subscription.

Camera and Multimedia:

The 5-megapixel camera of the HP Veer 4G might seem appealing at first, but after snapping a few photos, it’s evident that it produces some below average images. In fact, outdoor shots appear to be overly sharp looking, though, fine details are pretty much non-existent. Moreover, they tend to look over-exposed, which generally makes the colors appear off tone.  Understandably, photo quality is reduced with indoor shots due to their blurry and grainy looking production.

Horrifically, the handset’s video recording quality is much worse with its super pixelated looks, sensitive exposure, and muddy visuals. Even though its shoots at a smooth rate of 29 frames per second and its audio recording is clear, the VGA (640 x 480) videos produced by the HP Veer 4G are just downright terrible looking.

HP Veer 4G Sample Video:

Running the music player, its interface is again familiar with other webOS smartphones – since it displays things like the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls. However, we’re not thrilled by the audio quality of its speaker since it’s crackly and muffled in tone at the loudest volume setting.

Overlooking the its minute display, we’re able to enjoy watching a video encoded in MPEG-4 1280 x 720 resolution – but you can only watch it in landscape. Thanks mostly to its fast processor, high quality videos pose no problem as the handset effortlessly plays it smoothly with its plentiful set of details and natural looking colors.

Like previous webOS devices, the HP Veer 4G relies only on internal storage as opposed to the flexibility of microSD card storage. Graced with decent 8GB of memory, which is actually 6GB out of the box, it still does make you want to reconsider what to keep around.

Internet and Connectivity:

With the “4G” moniker in its name, the HP Veer 4G is an HSPA+ enabled device, and much like the other “4G” equipped devices on AT&T’s lineup that we’ve tested, actual data speeds aren’t all that noteworthy. However, complex pages still load up in a timely manner – albeit, the screen size can make things look rather indistinguishable at first. Still, kinetic scrolling is pretty smooth and responsive, though pinch zooming can be a pain due to the small display. Additionally, we’re able to interact with some Flash content, but you’ll need to click on it in order to load. Nonetheless, we’re still pleased with the web browsing experience of the handset.

Being a GSM smartphone and all, you’ll be able to use it in just about any part of the world. Moreover, we’ve already mentioned it’s an HSPA+ enabled device, but unfortunately, we’re not too happy to see upload speeds hitting 0.22Mbps on the average. Of course, you have Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi on board – the latter of which offers mobile hotspot functionality for up to 5 Wi-Fi devices.


Outputting a good amount of audio through its earpiece, voices are clear and audible without any instances of background noise or static heard. However, our callers say that our voice is crackly in tone on their end of the line. In addition, the speakerphone proves useless with its muffled tones and weak volume output.

Luckily, this small bundle of joy manages to retain a solid connection to the network during our testing without any major fluctuation in signal strength. On top of that, we didn’t experience any dropped calls in the greater Philadelphia region.

Granted that we’re able to get by an 8-hour work shift on normal usage with the handset, it still doesn’t offer that resounding 1 day of usage. In our testing, we managed to get 6 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge, which beats the 5 hours rated by the manufacturer, but its lowly 910 mAh battery still doesn’t provide enough juice to keep today’s smartphone users going.


As much as we absolutely adore is quaint form factor, we find that it’s also its Achilles Heel at the same time. Specifically, we’re limited in our output with certain functions, like typing up messages or reading emails, that seem to make it become more of a chore than anything else. Even more, the HP Veer 4G lacks the battery stamina to fully provide the juice that smartphone users are accustomed to seeing at this point. Finally, its $99.99 on-contract price point might seem appealing, but when you place it next to other comparably priced devices, like the HTC Inspire 4G, it quickly loses out in a variety of departments – albeit, it still presents us with an acceptable webOS experience.

Software version of the reviewed unit: HP webOS 2.1.2

HP Veer 4G Video Review:


  • Super compact form factor
  • Solid construction
  • Fluid platform experience


  • Slow “4G” speeds
  • Cramped keyboard
  • Below average battery

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