Nokia N97 Mini Review – Upgraded Full Feature Phone

Nokia N97 Mini Review: Released in 2009, this phone reflected the speed at which the market moved. Previous phones in this series were the Nokia N95 and Nokia N96 – both excellent handsets at the top of their game. The Apple iPhone came in and disrupted things with its new touchscreen interface. This would be a feature that would be here to stay, and would be featured in virtually all the top phones since.

The Nokia N97 was the first bite of the cherry. This was a phone jam-packed full of features, equalling and in some cases bettering the iPhone. Once aspect where this didn’t was the touchscreen, which used the older style resistive technology. Compensating for that was a full QWERTY keyboard. Sliding out from underneath the screen, this provided a bigger typing area than the Blackberry handsets and only made the phone marginally thicker. The phones versatility gained it a large following: it was basically the ultimate business and leisure handset rolled into one.

One of the sore points was the price of the handset, with the N97 just as expensive as the iPhone. The Nokia N97 Mini sought to readdress this and came in a slimmed down size and also a slimmed down price. On both counts the reduction was pretty small, and this was a high-end handset in its own right. Much of the basic specifications remained the same and only a few features were removed.

Full specifications here.

In time the use of multi-touch screens would render the keyboard redundant. This design persisted in a few other handsets such as the rare Nokia N900, but models such as the Nokia N8 and Nokia X6 ditched the keyboard.


Nokia N97 Mini Review Pros:

The design was virtually identical to the Nokia N97, although it was 12g lighter. We have excellent build quality and a very efficient use of space to allow for a keyboard.

The keyboard gives good separation to the keys and is much less cramped than something like the Nokia E72. This makes it much easier to use, and for typing long texts is superior to even a multi-touch phone.

The screen has a high resolution of 360 x 640: the same as the Nokia N97 but in a slightly smaller size. This gives an effective better pixel concentration.

The camera was 5MP with a dual flash and video recording: far above iPhone standards at this time.

Nokia N97 Mini Review Cons:

This was still a heavily priced handset. The keyboard and screen made a large premium over the older Nokia N96.

The nature of the keyboard sliding out meant it was harder to protect the phone with a case. The slightly smaller size meant that the D-pad navigation seen on the Nokia N97 was replaced.

As with the Nokia N97 and Nokia 5800, the screen type was resistive. Although some improvements had taken place this was still quite an unfriendly experience relative to the iPhone.

The operating system also was not a smooth as Apple or Android. Here the Series 60-based software was quite dated and originally designed for non-touch phones, such as the Nokia 6600.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects

Many of the Nokia N-Series are classics. We can count the Nokia N97 among that, although the more eclectic versions may be worth more. For the meantime the Nokia N97 is still widely available and should hold its value well.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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