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Nokia N97 review

Nokia N97 review
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Retail Price: N/A
AP Price: RM 910 - 940
The Nokia N97 is a S60 5th Edition mobile computer with a large 3,5", bright nHD (640 x 360 pixels and 16:9 aspect ratio) TFT color display with resistive touch screen. The device provides excellent user experience for internet and entertainment by combining qwerty keyboard with touch UI. Use the N97 to connect to mobile broadband using WLAN or HSDPA (3.5G). Find directions and locations with the integrated A-GPS and included maps. Additional features include game titles with N-Gage, a 5 mega pixel camera with dual LED flash and automatic geotagging of images and videos.
Review On : Nokia N97

THE Nokia N97 has been keenly awaited since its worldwide introduction late last year as it was touted to be the next big thing in the mobile market by many ­observers.

The phone is laden with features and it is bound to be a Herculean task to condense all the features and ­functions in one sitting so there is little space to waste.

Sliding tilter?

The first thing you will notice about this model is what Nokia officials call a “sliding-tilt” phone. This means that you push one side forward and it tilts up to give you that mini-desktop look and feel, which I personally think is excellent for all kinds of situations.

A Qwerty keyboard has always been a requirement for me as I like to feel buttons beneath my fingertips when I am typing an SMS, e-mail or URL.
Nokia N97 Review
HANDY: The N97 comes with a slide out Qwerty keyboard.

This particular keyboard is a tad small for my big fingers but after a few days I was typing quite fluently. Beyond the Qwerty keyboard, the sole traditional button is the silver menu button. Side buttons include a lock button, volume control and Camera toggle.

I was a little concerned about the wear and tear with the sliding-tilt hinge. Nokia have said that the hinge is made out of extremely sturdy ­material and that the phone has passed vigorous Performance and drop tests.

I can say that it has passed my own accidental drop tests and the hinge does look and feel pretty strong.

The only real issue I had with the physical characteristics of the N97 was the back cover and battery, both of which are unrealistically hard to remove and replace.

Having tried this on a variety of people with different finger sizes and varying lengths of fingernails, I have concluded that it is near impossible to take out the battery ­without a prying mechanism. Tragic.

Online ­sensation

Built for the Internet, the Nokia N97 ­allocates the majority of its ­touchable home screen to movable and ­customisable widgets for quick access to your online needs.

Users are able to put their widgets in specific “rows” and there are around five rows in total. It was really useful having a link to online news and social networking sites.

Given the relative speed of fixed line broadband these days, many a time I was able to go online and check for updates faster on my mobile than on my laptop.

It is especially useful when you are on the go and need information quickly. Its always easier to prove a point or win an argument when you have Google embedded on the front screen of your phone.

It would be practical to consider a mobile broadband plan to get the most out of the Nokia N97 without slowly bleeding your wallet dry paying off the data charges.

Rocket science?

The resistive touch technology coupled with Nokia’s Software makes for a very elegant combination. Navigating is by no means second nature, there are some hurdles in figuring out exactly how the web browser works.

One example is the zoom. There is a vertical tab that allows you to zoom in and out but, at least initially, you are not sure which part of the webpage it will zoom in to.

I still think that a Nokia phone is the one of the more user-friendly phones you can buy. This model has stayed true to that.

However as more and more ­functions get added to phones like this one, it just takes ­longer to find what you are ­looking for.

There were some bugs in the Nokia N97’s software post-release and I did ­experience some hanging and other minor glitches. According to Nokia officials, those ­imperfections were addressed in the first software update that is now available.

Wait, there is more

I took countless pictures and videos in the short time I had this phone with me. With 32GB of memory on board I never even thought about whether I had enough space for all of it.

The camera is just about as good as it gets on a phone and the video ­quality is quite impressive.

Given this, it was surprising that the voice recorder was not nearly as high end in terms of sound recording quality as I thought it would be. Some recordings turned out quite muffled.

The biggest disappointments were the speakers. The music output (specifically the bass) left something to be desired and you could barely make out what the other person is saying when you turn on the ­speakerphone at full volume.

My guess is that Nokia had packed far too much in this phone already and therefore the speakers were more of an afterthought (much like the removal process for the back cover and battery).


There is an inherent charm in the Nokia N97 that is inescapable. From placing it on a table and writing an SMS to surfing on a fantastically long landscape mode, it was all quite memorable as far as phones go.

Also, I thought the price was quite reasonable ­considering the usual trend with new releases of ­high-end and feature filled devices. That is not to say I consider it cheap though.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the phone and would recommend it to anyone looking for a powerhouse smartphone.

Pros: Unique sliding tilt; great to surf on; excellent fusion of Qwerty keyboard and touch technology.

Cons: Substandard speakers; cumbersome battery cover.

Nokia N97 Specifications:
3G smartphone
Camera: 5-megapixels
Display: 3.5in (640 x 360-pixels)
Messaging: SMS, MMS, e-mail
Connectivity: WLAN, HSDPA, USB, Bluetooth
Memory: 32GB Internal memory, MicroSD slot
Standby/talk time: 400 hours/360 minutes
Dimensions: 55.3 x 15.9 x 117.2mm (w x d x h)

Other features: Widgets, A-GPS
Price: RM2,480 (Check latest price)
Review unit courtesy of Nokia Malaysia, 1-300-88-1600.

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