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HP Veer Hands On


HP Veer Hands On

The HP Veer is a teeny tiny touchscreen slider phone that uses the same WebOS operating system as found on the Pre 3 and houses a full qwerty keyboard. The combination makes for one of the most usable small smartphones we've seen.

Announced alongside the Pre 3 and TouchPad, the Veer is the baby of HP's WebOS family, and duly it looks as cute as can be. The 84 x 54.5 x 15.1mm body is only a millimetre or two larger than the itsy bitsy Sony Ericsson X10 mini but is infinitely more attractive thanks to a curved shape with a nice soft-touch plastic finish. It feels markedly more premium too, thanks to the 2.6in LCD being covered in a tough glass sheet.

Slide the phone open and a full qwerty keyboard is revealed. We tried an English version (unlike the azerty on shown in these pictures) and found it to be surprisingly effective. The rubber finish of the keys provides a good grip, the click of the keys is nice and defined and the layout is excellent. Inevitably things are a little cramped (the keyboard is slightly smaller than that of the Pre 2) but we really didn't find it significantly more difficult to type on than any other physical keyboard. Though the small screen means it would have been limited benefit, it's still somewhat annoying that there's no option for an onscreen keyboard.

Round the sides you'll find a volume rocker on the right, mute switch and power button on the top, and 5-megapixel camera on the back, which disappointingly lacks and autofocus. All told the form factor feels great with all these controls falling easily into place.

Under the back cover is a receiver for the TouchStone wireless charger: just place the phone on a TouchStone dock (available separately for about £30) and it starts charging – no need to plug anything in.

Also under the hood is an 800MHz Qualcomm Scorpion processor with Adreno 205 graphics. This isn't as fast as most current smartphones and it did seem that little bit slower at opening programs. However, the actual interface seemed nice and snappy and responsive. Also present is Wi-Fi, GPS, accelerometers for gaming and auto-rotating of the interface, and of course 3G, though a radio tuner is lacking.

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