The first thing you'll notice about the Veer 4G is just how small it is. The second thing you'll notice is just how much power a teeny phone can pack. The Veer, a WebOS smartphone from AT&T, is only the size of a credit card before you pull out its handy keyboard -- and only about the size of a deck of cards after that.
But don't let its size fool you; even though you may think you'll lose it in your pocket, it's so small. The Veer has a very responsive display, a powerful 5-megapixel camera with video capture, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, along with mobile hotspot capability. And while the price for the Veer is reasonable, that doesn't mean it's a low-end device.
Instead, it's just different from the giant smartphones we're all used to seeing -- and that's not such a bad thing.
Since the keyboard pulls out, the entire front of the Veer is the touch display, which is very nice. Of course, if you're used to larger, iPhone-like screens, you'll feel lost with the measly 2.6-inch display. But the colors are bright and images look good -- it's really quite capable for general use. However, since it's a bit square, you'll have trouble seeing some webpages, even though you can view in either a portrait or landscape setting.
The keyboard is another great touch, but it takes just a little getting used to. It's easy to send texts, but the keys are a little close together, so if you have large hands, you won't like it.
As the first device to run on WebOS 2.1, it takes some getting used to if you're used to Android or iOS, but it does have several great advantages. For one, WebOS lets you to search by just tapping a couple of letters, rather than searching through several apps. In addition, you can more easily find contacts. WebOS also has a standard appearance that lets you to arrange different icons onto other home screens. In addition, a "Gesture" area below the screen allows you to flip back and forth between functions much easier than searching for home, back and menu buttons on rival smartphones.
If you're into social networking, the Palm App Catalog has an official Facebook client, but there is no official Twitter program. WebOS also has a great email client, but if you're addicted to connecting quickly, the Veer will make you wait. New emails don't immediately appear, but rather, at preset intervals -- unless you set your preferences to allow them to come in as they arrive.
The Veer works off 4G, but you can also connect to Wi-Fi. Web browsing is disappointing because of the small screen. It does have a good zoom button, but it takes a lot of scrolling to get through a typical web page -- a frustrating aspect if you like checking updated sites.
The Veer also works quite well as an entertainment device. It's preloaded with Amazon's MP3 app, and the sound quality is pretty good. It lacks a headphone jack, though, so you'll have to use a magnetic dongle if you want to listen privately. In addition, WebOS doesn't have a Kindle app, so if you want to read e-books, you'll need to download them as PDF files, which can be very inconvenient.
Overall, the Veer is a capable device, with a decent camera, a nice but cramped keyboard, and speedy 4G service. But as noted, it's very small and may not be suitable for all smartphone users. But its functions, convenient size and a great camera make it a good choice if you want a smartphone without dealing with typical smartphone size. ♦
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