Nokia N97 hands on review

Nokia N97 front open keyboard

Today we got our hand on a brand new Nokia N97 Black device, the phone every S60 geek wants to have in his collection. Although the Black version of the N97 has been referred to as the black sheep (by users favoring the Apple look alike design of the white version of this phone), we were very surprised to find out that this time Nokia have outdone themselves.

The black Nokia N97 looks really amazing in our hand, although not a business phone the polished metallic parts of the phone remind us of the ESeries and give the phone a more serious look. It is a phone that catches the eye for sure, but not only. Although in this review we will not speak about the software part of the phone, we must mention that that is a story for itself. We had a little time to try out the phone after the photo shoot and we will be using it as our primary test phone from now and WOW not only that this phone is super fast, the new S60 5th edition OS is enabling the hardware to really shine.
So lets start from the beginning. As first the box in which the N97 came was a bit different from what we are used to from Nokia's designers. Unlike the Nokia N96 which had a colorful box with many pictures on it, the Nokia N97 comes in a very stylish black packaging. It seems like this time Nokia is on the style run.

Nokia N97 box open

Once you open the box it is really full of things you might need, but unlike the N96 it does not come with a car charger included. Here are the contents of the box: Nokia N97, 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) and a cleaning cloth.

Nokia N97 what is in the box

Being a touch phone the Nokia N97 has a specially designed stylus included in the box that can be attached to the phone, but in our short period of using this phone we found the need for a stylus a bit let's say not so needed. Since the phone has a big display and all the things that you will need to press are large enough, you can do it with your fingers. In rare occasions like when you are browsing web pages you might find the included stylus very useful.

Another thing is that this time the 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery seems a good match for a phone of this class, especially having in mind that it's predecessor the Nokia N96 had a 950 mAh and drained it very quickly. A big step up since this phone has a big display, it encourages bigger Wi-Fi usage and has other functions that eat up your battery.

Nokia N97 keyboard close up

The slide out keyboard on the Nokia N97 is a masterpiece of its own. Having pretty large fingers, I usually have problems typing on laptops and let's not forget the Nokia E71 where you will have to use a tooth pick to dial a number. Well although this is a mobile phone keyboard, on the Nokia N97 I personally had no problems to type in text and even e-mails without a single mistake. It is way better then the onscreen keyboard we have seen in the Nokia 5800 and way way better then the keyboard of the E71 and the dial pad of the Nokia N96. Another thing that makes the Nokia N97 keyboard so great is the 4-way navigation key with center select which is very usefull, and not only for menu browsing.

Nokia N97 front

The other thing we liked is the front panel interface a simple 3 key combination of Call, End and the silver menu button. On the other side of the phone there is the 5.0 megapixel (2584 x 1938 pixels) 2.8/5.4 Carl Zeiss camera with auto focus and this time it has a slide cover protector not like the N96. Also not to forget the front secondary camera for video calls, QCIF (176 x 144 pixels), the light sensor and the proximity sensor all on the front panel.

On the left side of the phone are located the USB connector (finally unlike it's predecessor the Nokia N97 can be charged when connected to your desktop PC via USB, the only thing we can not understand is why Nokia uses this USB standard we have seen on the N96 and not the other more accepted one), the charging indicator lamp, stereo speakers and the lock switch. On the right side of the phone you have the camera key, volume up / zoom in key, volume down / zoom out key. On the top side of the phone there are the power button and the Nokia AV connector (3.5 mm) for compatible headsets, headphones, and TV-out connectors.  All in all everything is where you expect it to be.

Nokia N97 Gallery photos

Here are some of the photos we took while unpacking the Nokia N97.

Nokia N97 box Nokia N97 box open N97 box silver logo Nokia N97 box open Nokia N97 what is in the box
Nokia N97 front Nokia N97 front open keyboard Nokia N97 keyboard close up Nokia N97 keyboard opened Nokia N97 back with an opened keyboard
Nokia N97 top view Nokia N97 bottom view Nokia N97 side view Nokia N97 side view Nokia N97 front panel
Nokia N97 front panel Nokia N97 camera Nokia N97 side Nokia N97 MicroSD memory card slot Nokia N97 SIM card slot

Since we had a few other phones in our office we decided to make a few photos so that you can compare the size of the Nokia N97 against the look and feel of other phones. Our first idea was to compare it to the iPhone and although the iPhone looks a bit wider it it way slimmer than the N97. We also compared it to the Nokia N96 and the HTC Touch Diamond which was floating arround so here are the phones of this side by side form and shape battle.

Nokia N97 vs iPhone Nokia N97 vs iPhone Nokia N97 vs Nokia N96 Nokia N97 vs Nokia N96 Nokia N97 vs HTC Touch Diamond

In these few hours we have spent with this phone, we liked it a lot. It surely takes a time to get used to it since we have used the Nokia N96 and other similar Nokia devices up to now, but it seems that the N97 is going to be our primary phone from now on. Soon we will be releasing a more detailed review of the N97's features so stay tuned.

More on Nokia N97:




Found under: Nokia N97 hands on review, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 review, Nokia N97 photos

Nokia N97 hands on review - permalink
Published on 13.06.2009 in Symbian Freeware Blog

Comments: Nokia N97 hands on review

Posted by Vladi on Saturday, June 27, 2009 11:19
Really amazing phone, I have the white N97 and I think it is the best phone ever made by Nokia. There are things that can be better but... there is always space for improvements.
Posted by Joe on Sunday, June 28, 2009 22:33
On the commercial for the N97 we have seen that the screen rotates smoothly with a visual transition, while in the version I have the screen just blanks and shows rotated. Is this a marketing technique that Nokia uses, if so it really sucks.
Posted by aDVL on Sunday, June 28, 2009 22:54
Having the Nokia N97 for a few days, I used the phone's camera to take a few pictures but I must say I am disappointed. In low light conditions even the built in flash does not do much. And about the low light videos they are really bad. But what can you expect from a phone it is not a camera after all.
Posted by Raj Vimal Chopra on Saturday, July 25, 2009 18:14
I dont agree with what aDVl says. N 97 has a superb camera and in low light conditions its dual flash Rocks with day like pictures.
Posted by Speedy101 on Thursday, August 06, 2009 13:42
Does it give u a list of open program if u hold in the menu button?
Posted by on Saturday, August 08, 2009 19:42
@Speedy101: Yos it does!
Posted by on Sunday, August 09, 2009 20:04
supar & beast
Posted by Rhiannon Cook on Monday, August 17, 2009 22:43
I have a N95 and am disappointed in the music set up. I found that i have directories saved on my memory card, but once i place it into my phone, i can only view them as an "all songs" list and create playlists from there...this takes forever! Is the n97 set up in the same way???
Posted by mariana alvarez intriago on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 22:13
Hay algunos que revisado Qué temas para el N97 pero no animados hijo, que alguien me diga o los del feed Si en este teléfono los temas no se Mueven, pues yo les he comprado a mis hijos varios de la serie E y N y estos telefonos Son muy Atractivos puesto que los temas móviles que se instalan si se Mueven pero en el N97 no, es mas lo acabo de corroborar al bajar sus temas "muertos, inmóviles, pateticos" que pasa diganme por que mi decepcion es tanta ya que el N97 El tacto no me gusta solamente lo compré Porque creí era de mejor tegnologia, ¡ah la memoria compartida me decepcionó pues toda la información primero se comparte a la memoria de teléfono y luego hay que estar trasladando todo a la masiva Lo que es muy engorroso en Estos tiempos modernos que todos queremos hacerlo con un toque ja ja asombroso no creen, espero que las actualizaciones incluyan sofwares Para mejorar Estos errores por ejemplo.
Posted by Ammar on Sunday, September 12, 2010 03:42
which batter n97 or iphone 3gs.
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pls call recorder
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Posted by Sahil Sehdev on Monday, June 20, 2011 06:43
i like this phone very much
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