Hands-On: HP Pre 3 and Veer
The Veer is the smaller brother of the Pre3. It uses the same basic form factor, but ratchets down the size to elfish proportions. It is small, light, and smooth. It also feels much cheaper than the Pre 3, and the build quality isn't as good (though, it's worth pointing out that these are pre-production units).
The Veer is vertical slider, with minimal buttons and outer controls. The slider mechanism felt pretty good, but the fit and finish was a bit off. Some of the seams weren't smooth, and the slider had a bit too much wiggle room for my comfort.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
In an odd move, HP ditched any sort of USB port. Instead, the Veer features an Apple-style magnetic connector that allows the Veer to charge. This same magnetic connector is used (with an accessory) to provide a 3.5mm headset jack -- the Veer doesn't have one without the accessory.
The microscopic keyboard is nearly useless. It is smaller than that of the Pixi/Pre devices, and offers even less travel and feedback from the rubber-covered keys. What's the point of including a QWERTY keyboard if the experience of using it is going to be so miserable?
The display is a smaller 2.6-inch job with 320 x 400 pixels. It looks about as good as the display on the original Pre. The Veer has an 800MHz processor, which is faster than what was originally offered on the Pre, and the small clock bump was enough to overcome the Pre's sluggishness. As with the Pre3, the Veer performed quickly and flawlessly. I noticed no hiccups with the user interface.
The Veer will only be made available with support for GSM networks, which earmarks it for either T-Mobile or AT&T in the U.S. Frankly speaking, this device would fit in perfectly with AT&T's line of quick messaging devices, despite its smartphone operating system.
Here's a video of the Veer in action.