reviewing the n97 from a user point of view
After a full week using my new Nokia N97, I can officially say that it’s quite a great phone. Mind you, it’s still far from perfect, but the experience in itself was more rewarding than when I got the iPhone. It has all the features that you can think of and none of the awful limitations of the iPhone.
The Battery life, compared to the iPhone is great.
The phone suffers a bit due to the underpowered CPU and/or poor graphics rendering. The user interface animations are sluggish and the graphics in the games are poorly anti-aliased. This is a feature that should be addressed in a future version of this phone. This however doesn’t make the phone slow or unresponsive, it’s just the animations that are not so good to look at. It probably needs a RAM increase as well.
The device operating system feels a bit unfinished. some of the features appear like no customisation has been done to port the Symbian Operating System to a touch interface, I don’t see the need of a scroll bar when you can very easily implement kinetic scrolling into the interface.
There is a MAJOR lack of widgets, the keyboard is awesome but Email reading is not stellar. It’s not capable to read HTML email. most probably there might be an HTML capable email client for Symbian available, however I didn’t find one yet.
PC Synch is incredibly great using the OVI manager. It automatically synchronises the phone contacts, messages, music and photos automaticallly when you connect the device. very handy indeed and very nice interface.
Maps 3.0 is a great application, expecially if you live in large countries. It has a great interface, and it also has information for travellers and also map overlays to pontpoint several touristic places, accomodation, services, transportation etc… but the maps for some smaller countries like Malta, it’s extremely bad. It’s not even close to the iPhone version. You can still download google maps though
Camera, its absolutely awesome, its one of the best I’ve seen on a mobile phone. The level of detail is great and colours are nice and vivid. Not as vivid on night shots though where the colours looked a bit dull.
Web browser on the phone is good, and it supports flash.
Customisability is a feature that is completely absent from the iPhone. By downloading themes from loads of sites on the web, you can customise the appearance of the phone. The themes are able to change the appearance of the wallpapers, operating system icons, animations and more. there are tons of themes available. You can even customise the Nokia n97 to look like an iPhone.
Screen is absolutely gorgeous, the quality is great and the colours are also very bright and vivid. This doesnt disappoint.
Firmware updating is handled much better than the iPhone’s updating since it keeps all your settings, applications and files so you dont actually have to re-install all the software you have made on the device everytime you update it. This is absolutely great! – you are still advised to back up your data in case something goes wrong.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Nokia N97 - A pretty good smartphone
For today's sophisticated mobile user looking for his first non-linux smartphone, N97 comes like a breath of fresh air. It contains all the features one has gotten used to with an Iphone or a Google G1/G2. The menu can be a little tricky at times (to be honest, I am still finding my way around it; still not able to locate the call log :P) but once that has been mastered, the user will be astonished at the marvel that is N97. I am using a vodafone upgrade(sim-free) UK black model.
I am very surprised at how light the phone is. Compared to my previous phone - a Google G1, its much more compact and lighter. Applications and features wise, initially it does not seem any different from the 1000s of models nokia has released over the years. But the added advantages become clear very soon. First of all, there is the configurable phonetop(If it can be called that), which allows the user to place all the important applications and phone features on the first screen of the phone and have one touch access to them. The mailing and messaging systems are very intuitive and one can set up and configure a mail account very easily. 'Mail for Exchange' is a very impressive application that allows a former Google phone user to download contacts/calendar/notes directly onto the N97. This saved a big headache for me as the PC suite does not readily import the CSV format of the contacts that can be exported from one's google account.
The phone contains a powerful Carl Zeiss powered 5M pixel camera that takes very smart pics even in the dark. For a person like me who likes a point-and-shoot camera, this is a wonderful addition to have in one's pocket. It is GPS enabled in the home network and from the OVI suite, one can download detailed maps of any country. This would mean that one need not use GPS/roaming services for maps while on holiday!! The audio player is not only good with the headphones but can also play really well when connected to a full component speaker system. The video playback is also good and is very useful when travelling. The phone comes packaged with a mini speaker system and TV out which are very useful. With 32GB of built in space, one can store all the music/videos one wants and not be bothered to replace them very often(if at all).
Now onto the not so smart features. The phone tends to install all the applications directly to phone memory and not onto the 32G hdd, this means that the mail retrieval application keeps getting disabled very often due to lack of space. I am yet to come across a way to automatically get applications installed onto the hdd. The touch screen seems a little clumsy compared to the capacitive screens of the other phones and needs to be pressed hard to register a touch(to push a button for example). Scrolling can be a real bother initially. The keyboard takes some getting used to, specially after a G1 as the numbers don't have their own buttons and the space bar is located on the right. Nokia seems to have redeemed itself by providing a stylus that gives much better control and most importantly it can be used to access features on the phone on a cold day while wearing gloves. The OVI store will come as a major disappointment to the users of Iphone and Google as there are hardly any applications in each category and most of them are paid. But there are a few sites out there which provide a solution.
All in all, a very decent smartphone for those willing to give Symbian OS a chance
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Nokia N97 - a smart choice for a smartphone?
Ok so for the price I was looking to spend on a phone the options were: iPhone 3GS 16GB or a Nokia N97, each retailing at around £450. After choosing the Nokia, this is what I have discovered.
Lets start with the good points:
1) The screen has a high resolution, sharp and bright display. Its big enough to actually view proper sized photos and web pages on without needing a magnifying glass.
2) The touch screen is highly responsive, and suprisingly the screen is not a grease-magnet for fingerprints like some other touch screen phones on the market (however Nokia do supply a cleaning cloth with the phone just in case you happen to have particularly grubby hands!)
3) For a phone being marketed as a smartphone and not a camera phone (like the Cybershots) the camera is pretty good. With a 5MP capability, pictures are sharp and clear. It also has an inbuilt auto flash and auto focus function. There is also a video capture option, but we'll come to that later..
4) It does look like you just spent a months wages on it. I had the white version of this phone (it also comes in black) and it was very sleek and smart. The battery cover is a matte, pearlescent white. There is chrome effect on the front that doesn't look plasticky, because it is proper metal. When you put it on the table in Starbucks whilst meeting friends on a morning coffee break, they'll say "wow, thats a nice phone", not something you get with your standard candy-bar style. Then, when you hand it to them and they slide out the QWERTY keyboard they're even more impressed, and you know that secretly they were wishing they hadn't just upgraded to a face-lifeted version of their old phone.
5) Its packed with neat little gadgets like an FM transmitter, GPS Mapping and much more than can be accessed via the OviStore app already pre-loaded. However, these applications offer nowhere near what you can get on the iTunes store, and they tend to be a lot more expensive.
Ok and now to the not so good:
1) The battery life is appalling. If you need to have your email client, facebook, wi-fi or twitter running constantly then expect the battery to be zapped pretty darn quick! Even with an overnight charge, with a normal days usage its usually on its last legs by about 8pm. I'd suggest investing in a car-charger or spare battery if you are unable to access a power outlet for a long period of time. I do believe that having such a big hard drive doesn't help this problem, as I have since owned a mini version (8GB) of this phone, and don't seem to get the same problem.
2) The video capture isn't great. The playback shows the frames as jerky and the sound is also poor quality. But the most annoying thing is that you cannot Bluetooth your videos to another device. Pointless or what?
3) If you are not a contract with a large data usage allowance you will be in serious trouble. Whilst the features on the homescreen can be set to offline, if you forget it mean leaving data streaming constantly.
In conclusion, the Nokia N97 is an excellent smartphone. It has impressive looks, high tech features and a good quality camera. If you can get away without having to leave your facebook, email or other apps running on the homescreen then the battery holds out. But for the price, you may wish to look at other phones on the market, including its younger sibling the Nokia N97 mini (8GB).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
`First impressions of the Nokia N97
It is an excellent phone and all round computing device. Although it feels a bit fragile. But I suppose thats like any of these high-end phones. I think though, that when I go roughing it, I will need to get another more basic phone.
I am sure it must have a little hard-disk inside too because it makes faint mechanical noises when I press buttons and use some functions. I also read in other reviews about problems with touch-screen responsiveness and general issues with the flipping of the screen from vertical to horizontal. I found none of these problems. But I am a bit more heavy fingered with it than most maybe.
But what I found nice about is that when it came to number/text input, you could just opt for the keyboard or touchscreen without any glitches or issues. In fact, I am well impressed with how the keyboard and touchscreen compliment each other for input. Neat.
The camera is good, but the video phone (a separate lens) is not something I understand yet. I'll get there though.
What I am still trying to figure out is how to get online cheaply. What I do like is that you can control this at the highest menu level quite easily. So despite many web apps wanting to take bandwidth, you can control their access globally, and individually.
But what I don't like is the lack of explanation of how configuration of the web "access points" should be done. Which can be 3G, MMS, WiFi or Bluetooth. I am fairly technical, and I like to be able to manipulate my phone. And not have it manipulate me. So this aspect of it I find frustrating. Or rather, that detailed in-phone help explanations of what options represent is severely dumbed down. I maybe need to research the Nokia website more. But maybe thats just me. The operator O2 seemed to know what it was doing because it offered to configure my phone nearly as soon as I switched it on with the O2 SIM.
This phone was also obviously subscribed to Vodaphone at some point. Because their iconic red tick comes up at startup and has a MyWeb entry on the bottom right. I am with O2 and I don't like mixed ownership like this, with traces of previous operators. So I must learn this too, as to how to remove these artifacts.
The GPS "Maps" feature I find a bit weak. It always wants web-access to give me my position?! I am used to a TomTom and that locks on easily to GPS without any web link and presents a map quickly. This ATTEMPTS to do the same, but I think it is a lot worse at it. I don't know about any compass feature yet either. That seems a bit dead actually. I doubt I will use this aspect of the phone much anyway. But it might be better in the windscreen of my car if I get a holder.
So my next stage with this new phone is to get a little WiFi network setup in my house, so I can at least browse cheaply here whenever I want. And then sort out a good 3G internet connection. None is being offered to me by O2 in this area, so I may have to change operator to do that.
A great phone! It is surely better than anything I previously had. It is not an iPhone but it is very usable and slick. Enjoy the keyboard but to unlock the true power I must get the weblink working.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
A good mobile phone but not excellent
Nokia N97 seems to have pretty much all that one can desire; of course it has no coffee maker or hair dryer, but if you need constantly an access to world wide web, a memo, a map, a media player, a good camera and if you also need a mobile phone, this device can be all them. I was looking for a mini laptop (netbook), but since N97 has similar features and it fits well into my purse, I chose the phone instead of the small laptop.
What is really good with N97, is that you can customize it by yourself pretty well. You can download useful widgets, themes, sounds, games etc. directly from Nokia's Ovi store to your phone. Some of the widgets are free, some are not.
The phone has also a touch screen, which seems to be a trend with all new cell phones at the moment. This is my first touch screen device, so I can't really combine it with anything. However, the screen seems to respond even to quite gentle touches. The bigger your fingers are the harder it is to use the phone, I think. Then you'll have to use the little stylus that comes with the phone.
The problem with big fingers can also occur in another way. Nokia N97 has a QWERTY keyboard. It can be slided out under the screen for typing. Although the keys have a nice matte surface, it can be difficult to hit the right key because they're very close to each other and very small. I had a similar problem with my old phone, Nokia E70. Also that comes with a QWERTY keyboard.
For a Scandinavian N97 gives one other problem; we use a lot of letters like ä and ö, but although Nokia is a Scandinavian brand this cell phone has no individual keys for these letters. If your phone has a Scandinavian language pack installed, you can find these letters hidden under other keys. It's a bit tricky.
The language pack isn't an easy case. For example, if you speak Greek, Japanese and English, you can't just go and upload these language packs to your phone by yourself. If you have bought your N97 from UK, it probably has only English installed. To change this, you'll need to go to the Nokia custom service and ask them to upload a more suitable language pack to your phone. I had to do this with my N97. It had French and English language packs, but in the operation I lost the French pack while I got a Scandinavian language pack instead. In my case this doesn't really matter, but for somebody else... Plus, this operation is not free. I had to pay about 30 euros for it.
Although N97 has very good features, it's too early to call the phone excellent. I haven't used mine for long yet but it has crashed several times already. This has usually happened with the phone's web browser or camera.
N97 is also hungry for energy. While I had to charge my old E70 once in three days, N97 needs to be charged once in a day. It helps if I turn off N97's fancy effects and set also its weather, e-mail and news widgets offline. BTW, if you keep these widgets online and don't pay for the data transfer just a monthly fee, you will soon get a huge phone bill. With N97 you must have a pay monthly contract with your operator for the internet use, since this phone is made for web surfing.
At the moment Nokia N97 is a good moblie phone despite its little faults. I presume it gets just better when the next firmwire update is available.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.