Nokia N97 Mini Review

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The Nokia N97 Mini is the next step in the N97 line of smartphones. Nokia is well known for making some very solid phones with that rivals any other smartphone in the market. We’ve spent some time with the N97 mini, putting it through its paces with its 3.2 inch resistive touch screen, 8GB of internal storage( expandable to 16GB microsd), 5MP Carl Zeiss lens dual flash camera, front facing camera for video calling and reviewing different features to see how well this phone fairs.

Hardware

The N97 mini is a well designed smartphone, starting with size of the phone. Which fits perfectly in your hands. The steel casing for the battery bay gives a very clean professional finish to the phone. Flushed rounded edges give the phone a classic look that says modern, simple, yet power tool. The physical buttons on the devices are well placed and not protruding, keeping the phones overall look flushed and sexy. with just a home/menu button & a Call and end button. The front of the phone is keep clean and simple

The 3 layer keyboard is interesting with its spacebar moved closer to the right side of the board. The keyboard is still very usable ( I grew to like the layout very much), but does take some getting used to with the space bar. Another great design feature is slide up screen, which makes using the 3 layered keyboard much easier and watching videos more casual. Though the slide out mechanism can be a little hard to maneuver at times

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****VIDEO REVIEW***

OS

The Nokia N97 Mini runs Symbian OS v9.4, Series 60 rel. 5, for some out there. Symbian OS is like a world in Russian or French. Frankly not many in the US know or understand the OS that well. Nokia’s approach to OS applications is one of in-depth functionality. Once you power on the phone you have a home screen that is full customizability to add what ever widget or Icon you wish to have readily available. You also can access various  other apps by using the option button on the touch screen to access other running apps.

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The OS is fully features with full functionality from a fully stocked app store, which allows for creating a highly customized experience.  Email on this phone is a beauty, yes its very simple and doesn’t have cool fancy application but with the new announced Nokia email., you can added up to 10 different email accounts and it works with every major email service out there ( Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Ovi mail).

Ovi store, though not on the phone, was a very easy and simplistic experience. Navigations was easy and search for apps was sorted out by app category or through an app search. Although the phones does not support T-mobile 3G, I was surprised how effective and fast Edge was on the phone. I could easily check and update my Facebook pages, access email.

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What sets the OS back is the round about approach. As I mentioned early the OS is capable of everything any other smartphone on the market. The lack of a unified or structured layout, fragments the phone into compartmentalized unit. Making it hard to find certain setting functions or even access apps. Another point of concern is the on-screen keyboard, which could have used a more modern uptake. Yes its very usable, but all your options for an onscreen keyboard is a T9 variation in either vertical or landscape mode. Though you can download keyboards from the market place and also use the physical keyboard

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Camera

There is a reason Carl Zeiss name has been attached to Nokia Series phones for a while. Simple, the pictures come out great and the video quality was solid. I took pictures with the camera indoors and outdoor to give you a good look at how pictures turn out as well as some video recordings both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor Photos

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Outdoor Photos

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*** Indoor & Outdoor Video***

OVI MAPS

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Navigation is big within the mobile space. I personally don’t own a GPS and don’t see the need since I have a phone that has a map and can navigate.With Google have its own version of map navigation on their Android devices. One does have to step back and take not that Nokia does offer maps in 180 countries with navigation in 74 (impressive numbers). The issue remains, does it work well. Answer is: its does. Granted I didn’t have the speak turn-by-turn directions activated. But the GPS navigation functionality worked very well in our video test.

Pros

  • Solid phone build
  • 8 GB internal storage ( expandable to 16GB)
  • Integrated email functionality works well with any email service
  • Ovi Maps ( free and good)
  • Great camera and video recording
  • Phone data services work very well on Edge network
  • Battery is exceptional ( 4hr charge, almost two full days of use)

Cons

  • Slider hard to open
  • OS is functional but cumbersome
  • T9 only for onscreen keyboard

Conclusion

The Nokia N97 Mini is a well built  solid and sexy phone. It has all the trimming you would want in say a luxury car like a BMW.  Solid camera integration, excellent battery life, integrated email services, OVi maps and 8GB of internal storage. On the down side the the OS needs your patience to learn all its nooks and carnies. That being said the N(7 mini is and excellent phone to have. Once you spend time with the device you do fall in love with all its features. For a business traveler this is an idea phone with lots of features that adds a quality experience.

**Notes*** I hope a T-mobile America version of this phone is released. I enjoy its functionality especially well on edge let alone a 3G service

SPEC Sheet

General
2G Network
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

3G Network
HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100

HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 – American version

Size
Dimensions
113 x 52.5 x 14.2 mm, 75 cc

Weight
138 g

Display
Type
TFT resistive touchscreen, 16M colors

Size
360 x 640 pixels, 3.2 inches

– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
– Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
– Full QWERTY keyboard
– Handwriting recognition

Sound
Alert types
Vibration; MP3 ringtones

Speakerphone
Yes, with stereo speakers

– 3.5 mm audio jack

Memory
Phonebook
Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall

Call records
Detailed, max 30 days

Internal
8 GB storage, 128 MB RAM

Card slot
microSD, up to 16GB, buy memory

Data
GPRS
Class 32

EDGE
Class 32

3G
HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps

WLAN
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, UPnP technology

Bluetooth
Yes, v2.0 with A2DP

Infrared port
No

USB
Yes, v2.0 microUSB

Camera
Primary
5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, Dual LED flash, video light

Features
Geo-tagging

Video
Yes, [email protected]

Secondary
Yes, [email protected]

Features
OS
Symbian OS v9.4, Series 60 rel. 5

CPU
ARM 11 434 MHz processor

Messaging
SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email, IM

Browser
WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, RSS feeds

Radio
Stereo FM radio with RDS, Visual radio

Games
Yes, DJ Club Tour + downloadable

GPS
Yes, with A-GPS support; Ovi Maps

Java
Yes, MIDP 2.1

– Digital compass
– MP3/WMA/WAV/eAAC+ music player
– WMV/RealVideo/MP4 video player
– TV-out
– Voice command/dial
– Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Video and photo editor
– Flash Lite 3
– T9

Battery
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh (BL-4D)

Stand-by
Up to 320 h (2G) / 310 h (3G)

Talk time
Up to 7 h 10 min (2G) / Up to 6 h (3G)

Music play
Up to 32 h