Random Gadget Review: Nokia N97
It’s been a while since I posted anything on here, so I thought I’d get cracking and help out with some content…albeit not really related to what most of us specialise in…but what this site is all about: RANDOMNESS. Without further ado, here’s my thoughts on the Nokia N97, soon to be replaced in use with the HTC Desire HD (which I’ll endeavour to review once I: a) get it; and b) use and play around with it).
As with most of the phones I get, once I see something I like about it, I go on a not very thought
out endeavour to get it. mshaydown is all too familiar with my history with phone possession and how many I go through in a year while he patiently waits for something he’ll use for the next few years, while using the one he has already for the last few years. The predecessor to the n97 (in terms of possession, not said item’s actual previous model) was the LG Viewty, known only to me as my first touchscreen phone and the only phone with the option to record videos at 120fps (although with a not so nice resolution).
What attracted me to the n97 in the first place was essentially the form factor. While pretty much everything can be done by prodding the screen with your fingers, the n97 sports a QWERTY keyboard and the workhorse directional buttons for navigation, revealed when the screen proper slides off to a fixed angle off to the side (note the home screen now in landscape mode). The keyboard was a welcome relief from the tortuous time I had messaging with the Viewty that had a touchscreen (which was not very responsive) keypad or handwriting recognition (that was really sub-par compared to other smartphones that had handwriting tech) as your options for text input. So with the n97, you had a choice to use the keyboard, or tap away on the touchscreen keypad, or if you really like to, handwriting (stylus included with the phone, which I never used) to author those messages.
Having purchased this phone early on (before the release of the n97 mini) several weeks after it hit stores, the software was not what I expected of this sleek new phone. The n97 runs Symbian OS S60 5th ed, and took Nokia several software updates before the scrolling became much smoother than when I first bought it. The n97 has a bunch of features I’ll admit I’ve never really bothered to take advantage of, such as the accelerometer (or whatever it is called). There are a bunch of apps on the Ovi store that somewhat makes use of this, but the apps themselves provide limited utility in reality. Games are also available for download from the Ovi store, and me being cheap, decided to go for the free games (popular games could be purchased from the store for AUD $2 and up) which proved to be……meh. Be aware of getting third party themes to personalise the N97 too. While the Ovi store doesn’t host anything malicious in nature to the phone (to my knowledge anyway) custom made themes can very easily LAG the N97 to kingdom come, as I found out unfortunately with a theme that looked semi-decent that I downloaded from the store. I’ve since found something simpler and stuck with that and the performance of the phone is not hampered too much. The N97 is WiFi capable, meaning it can piggyback onto any wireless network and access the net if need be.
Camera comes standard on the N97 (DUH!!), with Carl Zeiss lenses capable of managing photos at 5megapixel quality. I’d still rather use my Canon IXUS 65 at 6.1MP but that’s besides the point. Should you find yourself in a position where you do not have a better camera, the one on the N97 does just fine. As always, low light is the archnemesis of all cameras, and the camera on this phone is no different. Kudos to Nokia for having a cover over the lens for protection, and for quick access to the camera. Just slide the cover down and the phone enters happy snaps mode.
Aside from the stylus, the basic N97 pack comes with the usual wired headset……set, USB cable, cloth to keep your screen clean and phone shiny, charger, and adapter to enable one to use the older Nokia chargers with the small tip and the larger tip; as well as a pouch that is tight when new eventually loosens out to a still snug fit to put your phone in, a life saver essentially since it only presents the top border of the phone to scratches should you drop it. That said, I HAVE dropped the phone several times (unintentionally of course) whilst still in the pouch, and picked the phone back up with nary a scratch even on the exposed side.
All in all it’s a robust phone, more than enough for everyday use for the typical person. Battery lasts for 3-4 days without charging and much use, 2-3 days if you get several calls and exchange several messages.