Thoughts on the Nokia N97

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After using the Nokia N97 for a few days I thought I’d record my initial impressions. In general it’s a great evolution of the N95, although the camera specs are not actually improved (The N95 camera is still pretty good!). The N97 feels like a cross between the Xpressmusic 5800 and the E90, with higher (N95 level) specs and a big leap in memory capacity (32GB standard, with option to add up to another 16GB via micro SD memory card). The N97 touchscreen experience is welcomely much better than the XM5800, but still not as fluid (and the UI is not as intuitive) as the iPhone. I think Nokia are struggling to reign in the iPhone, especially with the upcoming iPhone 3GS that answers most of the iPhone 3G’s short-comings!

What I miss most on the N97 in comparison to the iPhone 3G is the wealth of applications available, and so integrated via the iTunes Store – the Ovi store experience has so far been pretty meager :-(, and I’m still having to rely on some golden oldie Java apps – thankfully they mostly run far better on the N97 than the XM5800 due to the inclusion of the built-in keyboard on the N97.

There are three areas the the Nokias walk all over the iPhone – video out (screen mirroring – great for demos), broader bluetooth connectivity, and ease of mass memory storage connectivity.

N97 the Good:

  • It looks cool!
  • Nice physical keyboard, but not as good as the E90
  • Great camera
  • Touchscreen feels nice and relatively responsive
  • Nice all-in-one device, almost a laptop alternative (If there were a wider variety of apps available)
  • Relatively good battery life – in comparison to the N95!
  • USB charging FINALLY!
  • Good built-in memory capacity
  • Nice screen – bright and good resolution
  • Web Browsing experience almost as good as the iPhone (Trumps the iPhone with Flash compatability!)

N97 the Bad:

  • Ridiculously expensive – makes it easy to choose the iPhone 3GS instead!
  • Stupid dangling stylus/plectrum for handwriting – should have been integrated into the case.
  • Lack of native applications
  • Charging via USB ONLY! – having to carry an adaptor to use my older Nokia chargers to work with it!
  • UI and software BUGGY – crashes with any RSS widget on homescreen! – although it seems to be much more stable after the firmware update
  • Doesn’t feel ground-breaking after having used the N95, E90, and XM5800 – so you do kinda wonder about being able to justify the cost when upgrading from these!
  • No A/V cable included in the package!
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