On Friday 29th May ‘09 ,  courtesy Nokia Pakistan , I became the select few world wide to experience their latest flagship the Nokia N97 -  Black , it’s been 48 hours and I have thoroughly used the phone  both for business and entertainment and here are my thoughts about it .

n97 openabout n97

Nokia N97 is a good phone , will not call it great as it has some shortcomings .  First of all my fear of it being slow for having a 469mhz processor is resolved , for the applications which came pre installed on it , there was no lagging and no delays .

About the looks my impression is that the phone is an amalgamation of all that Nokia has offered in earlier phones and also borrowed from other device manufacturers but this doesn’t mean there is no originality , it is there but is under shadowed by the similarities .

When I first took the phone in my hand it’s approx 150g weight seems adequate , having a plastic body the phone is kept light weight but in no way it gives out the feeling of being cheap .  The back of the phone is matt coated plastic like many other N series phones

outside coverN97 back

the sides are metal like iphone and front has red and green touch sensitive buttons , one hard , physical silver color menu key and front camera and proximity sensor.  The left side features two stereo speakers beside microUSB connecter /  charger and keyguard lock .  On the right side are volume keys and Camera button .The bottom of the phone contains the Nokia 5800 style ridge to open the cover .

n97 top N97 bottom N97 other side N97 side

other speaker

When compared with iPhone and E71 , I found N97 to be thicker , due to it’s keyboard but not wider .   It’s width is almost same as E71 and is narrower than iPhone.

e71n97andiphone widthe71vs n97 back iphoneN97 height thickness closeuptrio thickness thickness height trio width trio width 2 trio width 3

The Slide mechanism is smooth and is based in 3 hinges , one on right side and two on left side .   There is also a film type cable hidden underneath the screen to send video /  audio data to screen and also take touch based inputs from the screen to the processor .  I’m still afraid that rough use by my kids could break the hinges any one want to try :p

dual hinge left dual hinge right hinge stripstrip 2 strip connect strip connecter 2

The first order of business was to enter the SIM Card and battery .  The back cover is to be opened the same way like 5800 xpress music , you have to pull slowly and gently from the ridge for the phone to open up it’s innards .  The unique feature when putting in SIM is the SIM tray which slides out and holds the SIM , a leap from inserting SIMs into small ridges like E71 .  To open the tray just pull it out , put the SIM and push it in .

bottom closeupN97 under cover n97 SIm Tray Tray with SIM

The battery is the same BP-4l as in E71 and could give hours of talk time ( for specs see the official Nokia site ).  The battery is easily inserted and unlike E75 is firmly held in place .

Camerabattery same as E71

To close the cover first start from the top by entering two prongs on back cover in their slots and press hard on the rest of the cover for it to close .

Inside cover

The start button is on the top of the phone and on first startup , the phone asks the usual information like country name , date and time .  In entering the country name, the phone makes use of the ‘smart keyboard’ as in Nokia 5800 like if I;m entering Pakistan and click on ‘P’ the keyboard now will only show letters corresponding to the countries available i.e instead of all 26 letters it changed to 7 letters and when I choose ‘A’ it went down to 5 letters . It makes text entry much easier. It cannot be applied to Word Processing due to names and dictionary and language limitations

start country smart keypadsmart keypad 2entering date

The key feature  of N97 is widgets which could be changed to give a unique experience to every one . Those concerned with privacy can swipe their screen and have the widgets disappear.The default widgets are contacts ( 4 can be added with photos ) , Accu Weather which makes use of Cell based /  GPS info for current weather , Facebook ,  Shortcuts menu ( 4 shortcuts can be added ) and Email Widget showing one email account .

phone startingconnecting peopletutorial blue widget details bluetheme main bluetheme widgets privacy

These widgets are all replaceable  , I can have AP , Bloomberg  , Amazon  , Calendar , Favorites , FM Transmitter , Hi5 , Music player , share online or slideshow as widgets , more can be downloaded from OVI Store .

widgetswidgets landscapeadding more widgetmain widgets add content choose content adding rss

Setting up of email is easy , it’s the generic Nokia procedure so no biggy .

messaging menu

In the main menu there is the usual array of options Calendar , Contacts  , Music , Web , Messaging , Photos , OVI Store , MAPS 3.0  , Video and TV , Settings , Games and Applications , notice there is no Download folder , it has been replaced by OVI Store .  Ovi Store is now available in Pakistan with a number of applications so filling up the phone with applications is easier .

main menuoffice menu inside office

In the applications menu, plenty of applications are provided to make the initial experience worthwhile without accessing OVI Store ,  The default included applications are  Notes , QuickOffice , Dictionary , Adobe PDF , Active Notes , Drawing , Joiku Spot , Traveler , Youtube , Accuweather , Amazon , AP News , Bloomberg  , Facebook , Hi5 , Slideshow , Boingo and QIK

applications default

The keypad is impressive , nice rubberized keys with bounce back comparable with a laptop , the D-Pad is also appropriately placed and I mostly used it for pages where font is too small to select an option and I can touch the wrong option although screen zoom option is available .

keyboard d-pad

N97 features selective updates i.e if there is a update available for an application  you don’t have to download the whole 100 +MB worth of data to get a minor update  just download few MB worth of update patch   . In my N97 ,  the software update menu showed updates  available for OVI Contacts and N-Gage in that too I had the choice if I want to update any particular thing or update both ,  I choose both and in 5 minutes the software was updated , no restarts , no data loss nothing . Way to go Nokia on that , you solved a major problem of mine .

software updatesoftware updatessoftware update listP6016840ngangage downloading (Medium)Ovi contacts

For those concerned about SKYPE , yes the software is not included with the phone but that doesn’t mean you cannot use Fring , I did and it worked impeccably , no flaws and no problems .

multitaskingconencting fringskypelogin fringmsn chatmsn call

As I’ve got a European model , the writing languages are English , Dutch and French.

writing languagephone language

As an N Series device , it has entertainment at it’s heart and also features N-Gage gaming , alas I was not able to play ,it’s my fault not phones ;)

n-gage menumore game adsngage games

Now it’s time to say good bye to the phone , I enjoyed my 48 hours with it the overall experience was good .

What do you think about this phone , how you find it as per the review or if you are one of the lucky few to have it , what’s your say on it , I await your comments

Farhan