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Nokia N97 review

Nokia returns to form with a high end smartphone/ mini UMPC

Our Verdict

The N97 is a great effort from Nokia with a solid chassis and a nice range of features. However, we can't help but feel that the phone has far too much unfulfilled potential for the concept.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 9.50 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 640 x 360

View full specification

For

  • Great touchscreen
  • Solid build quality
  • Impressive internal memory
  • Dual flash LED 5MP camera

Against

  • Unpredictable OS
  • Lack of video codec support
  • Chunky design
  • Underpowered processor

The Nokia N97 is the first handset from the Finnish company to have the Ovi Store on the phone from the start, and we took very little time to start having a root around.

We can only hope that the amount of applications available to browse on the phone accelerates quickly as the early selection pales into comparison when placed next to the hundred trillion or so applications available from the Apple App Store.

As mentioned above, we only managed to find one application to solve a problem on the phone, but given the love developers have for being the first to fix a phone's flaw, we can't imagine the problem will last for long.

We delved into a selection of the free ones on offer to see how effectively they worked on the Nokia N97, and we found a mixed bag of results.

The nokia n97

The first, called the Journey, was an interactive game where you needed to physically move to become involved. We started off by moving the 100 or so metres instructed to start our detective's mission, but after walking continuously for around 15 minutes nothing seemed to change and we quickly bored of the mission.

To be fair, we've read great things on the game from others on the internet, so it's certainly one that could showcase the phone's talent, it's just a shame we never solved our first murder.

The nokia n97

The next, SMS Preview, boded a lot better as it simply said it would show you text messages on the screen rather than having to open them.

In landscape mode this was a great feature, meaning you could look at what was in the message quickly (although the font is so small you then don't need to read the text and thus have to go into the messaging folder just to delete it). However, in portrait mode the preview pane stayed in landscape mode, meaning half the message was missing.

These applications were dumped at the bottom of the icon list in the applications folder rather than being grouped, so each time we got a new program to play with we were forced to scroll through scores of others to find it.

The bundled Nokia Maps is still a poor man's Google Maps, and looks set to stay that way on the Nokia N97 as the spinning globe idea just doesn't work on a phone with this kind of power.

It couldn't find Oxford St despite us typing it in three different ways, and from that moment we converted to Google Maps, which downloaded and installed quickly and also made good use of the on board GPS.

The nokia n97

Other neat applications on the handset include the FM transmitter, which (as you'd expect) transmitted FM nicely to a nearby stereo and thereby made speakers unnecessary (we still like that feature in any phone) and Reuters Slideshow, which was perplexing as it showed you the news in pictures only before you clicked in to find the story.

However, it was a nice and slick interface on the application, so we liked it for that and having to guess the news made for good clean commuting fun.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported16 GB
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Product FamilyN
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1800, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
Operating SystemSymbian
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time9.50 Hour
Product ModelN97
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution640 x 360
Weight (Approximate)150 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 360
Processor ManufacturerARM
Operating System VersionSymbian OS 9.4
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Instant Messaging, Email
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Caller ID, Conference Call
Height117.2 mm
Width55.3 mm
Depth15.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Product SeriesN
ManufacturerNokia
Product NameN97 Smartphone
Processor Speed434 MHz
Processor TypeARM11
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberN97
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nokia.co.uk
Marketing Information

Connect quickly with the touch and QWERTY arrow, Browse the web, navigate with touch and message your friends faster. Indulge in videos, music and pictures arrow and Enjoy 32 GB of your media on the brilliant 3.5" wide screen.

Package Contents
  • N97 Smartphone
  • Nokia Battery (BP-4L)
  • Nokia Travel Charger (AC-10)
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable (CA-101)
  • Nokia Wired Headset (AD-54, HS-45)
  • Nokia Charger adapter (CA-146)
  • Cleaning cloth
Limited Warranty2 Year
Standard Memory128 MB