Nokia N97 Review
5-megapixel, equipped with Carl Zeiss Tessar optics and double LED flash. Its interface is virtually the same as on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, which is, in turn, not that good. Interface itself is OK, although switching options on and off doesn’t feel comfy enough and they are plenty – you can choose between eight scene setting, variety of shooting modes, 4 color effects, white balance, exposure, ISO sensitivity, contrast, sharpness and multiple snapshot sequence. After taking a picture you can share it right away over the Ovi and Vox services, but others like Facebook, Picasa and Flickr are not available.
In terms of image quality, the Nokia N97 is a passable performer, no matter whether you want to see the pictures on your phone screen or in full size on your monitor. Warm colors in outdoor snapshots, taken even in bright lighting conditions, appear somewhat burnout. Still, images look realistic as a whole. Those taken indoors look great in full screen on the 3.5-inch phone display and not that amazing in real size, i.e. on a computer monitor, where you will eventually notice they lack enough details and are somewhat blurry. We are pretty disappointed with the snapshots uploaded on Facebook. Even lower and midrange cell phones deliver better results with this respect.
Nokia N97 sample video shot at 640x480 pixels resolution
Phone gallery feels comfy to use and allows several different filtering modes. Aside from being able to see them piled up, images can also be grouped by month or relevant album name, plus they are easily tagged. All told, we do like the gallery that is far better than the one on the Nokia 5800. It also opens and is operated much faster than its cousin on the Samsung OMNIA HD.
N-series makes rarely perform badly with multimedia. Most of those that have come out before the N97 feature cool and comfortable Multimedia Shortcuts menu that seems to have vanished into this air on the N97, replaced with Music and Videos&TV menus. As the names suggest, the former allows access to your audio files, online music store, where you can purchase more and FM radio, while the latter shows available video files. Let’s gets started with the audio capabilities of the device.
Audio player comes with a boring interface. Naturally, it offers several options to filter content – by album, artist, composer etc and it is a good there are several equalizer presets and sound effects you can take your pick from. As a whole, it is really easy to use, but we would have liked to see something newer, more modern and appealing. Take a look at our review of the Samsung OMNIA HD i8910 to see the much better looking audio player the Korean manufacturer has equipped their device with.
Audio quality through the stereo speakers is high and volume is quite loud, which makes the device a good performer, although the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic fares better with this respect. The provided earphones are the same as the pair coming with the 5800 and provide good sound, although not nearly loud enough to drown out environmental noises. In its role of music phone, the N97 is slightly worse than the best devices available at the moment, like the Sony Ericsson W980 and this is the reason we are not entirely happy with it.
The Videos&TV menu allows you to take a pick from several options – see recently watched content, all available videos, the ones captured with the device camera only or those downloaded from the Internet. They are played with Real Player, which comes with the operating system. It is not that we don’t like it, but seeing it makes us again think of the Samsung OMNIA HD and its better video player that happens to support subtitles. You will have to make do with the standard one on the Nokia N97 though. Its interface is easy to use and offers several options, although is nothing to brag about as a whole.
Videos coded at the native resolution of the screen (640x360 pixels) and in MPEG4 part2 format are played well. Image quality is not exactly perfect, but watching content on the 3.5-inch screen doesn’t make for bad experience, not at all. There is TV out, but you won´t be able to play HD videos like on the Samsung OMNIA HD which still remains the best device in terms of supported video formats and its capability to allow users to watch videos without having to convert content to make it compatible.
1. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
How is .11 inches thicker than the iPhone too bulky, yet the iPhone always gets a 10 from the "style section"
2. rrej (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)
Resistive touchscreen and probably with a hefty price tag, it's not reasonable to buy one especially this time of crisis. My .02 cents....
3. MTLance (unregistered)
ROFL Nokia can create a good X5800 but failed on N97, maybe the N series department is a major fail. Still if I want a high end smartphone I rather stick with Apple, Pre or HTC Rosie instead of this.
4. eddiecoaster (Posts: 3; Member since: 20 May 2009)
The N97 looks like great hardware with even better features. However the interface looks so dated.
5. Talhamid (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)
A thoroughly biased, uneducated review. The reviewer seems to have NO FREAKING IDEA about Symbian, S60 or the sheer range of apps available for each. The review fails to fully appreciate the multimedia capabilities. It seems HTC Touch Pro 2, with MORE niggles including worse call quality than N97, WinMo, even bigger size, worse camera, and slower speed, can get a 9 but this multimedia monster was destined for a 7. I know S60 can look dated, but is it a coincidence that flagship devices from Nokia, Samsung and S-E all have the same OS and interface? Did it ever occur to anyone that there might be some merit to Symbian after all? I think most US sites should stop covering anything other than Iphone or WinMo devices. They simply don't know or care enough about other OS's to cover them.
6. McMillian (Posts: 29; Member since: 07 Apr 2009)
Phone Arena's final review score's are completely irrelevant to their scores in each individual categories. If you add up the N97's individual scores in each category the average came out to be 8.5, but Phone Arena gave it an overall score of 7??? does that make any since? And if you check out the Palm Pre review they gave it an overall rating of 9.9, but if you add up the individual scores in each category yourself the score really comes out to be 8.9??? obviously Phone Arena is bias when it comes to its reviews and chooses favorites based on manufactures and OS.
9. Talhamid (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)
Thats what I said, thanks for backing that up with numbers. Moreover, as I said, PhoneArena seems completely unaware of the vast Symbian ecosystem that is available on the net.
10. drewsky (Posts: 147; Member since: 04 Jan 2009)
Hey Yall are right, I hadn't realized that. I think most people particularly in the U.S. aren't famaliar with the Symbian OS. Since the OS isn't used as much as WinMo. Phonearena gave the Pre 9.9, and the Omnia i8910 a 9? I know its early, but I SERIOUSLY doubt the Pre is better than the Omnia HD(i8910).
18. chris4chelsea (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Jul 2009)
I totally agree with Talhamid. I have used most OS except the latest andriod, Palm Pre which i m quite interested in exploring. Previously, I had iphone, WinMo, Symbian (nokia & ericsson). I currently use a N97. Honestly speaking, iPhone has the best OS but after several versions, the interface is pretty much exactly the same and the camera is nowhere near as good as the N97. Therefore, I chose not to wait for the 3GS. WinMo is the worst OS of all, super slow, very buggy, worst camera/photo quality, super boring interface, messaging feature sucks big time... etc Omnia HD is nice but its more expensive than the N97, besides who would want to watch a movie on his/her mobile...
7. Andrewtst (Posts: 377; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Another failure from Nokia. Won't even think of it at all. I am still waiting Samsung i8910HD appear in my country. :-)
8. Talhamid (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)
Andrew: it is not wise to decide success or failure on this site's reviews. Try the phone yourself, or at the very least, check out reviews of mobile-review.com or allaboutsymbian first. By the way Omnia HD appears more attractive to me too, just so you know I am not a blind Nokia fan. But I am still uncertain about how Omnia will match the email and syncing features offered by Nokia s60 phones, not to m mention facilities like backup, ovi sync etc.
11. Andrewtst (Posts: 377; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Try already, I won't judge without trying. I often go test phone once it out. He He.. and I check all phone site I knew everyday... Omnia HD i never try yet, not available yet in my country - Malaysia. But from internet review and some video show at youtube, it look impressive than Nokia N97. For sync issue, I not sure about that because that is not my main point of consideration.
17. 13commander (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Jul 2009)
I totally agree with you i think phone arena doesn't like Nokia n97 or maybe they don't know how to calculate the score. ROFL
12. Diego! (Posts: 508; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
I think the camera is not that good. But I wanted to ask where the outdoors pictures were taken from? The place looks amazing!
13. tarun.chatwith (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
i checked out n97 at pune today,,it's quite a nice set but what about the fact that at 128mb ram & with slow processor,single arm11 cpu with 434mhz compared to 369 of that of 5800!!! nokia is fooling people with twice the price but the same slow interface,,, can someone who has used it can clarify that will n97 will also be slower also i've been waiting for omnia hd i8910 to be released in india ,which has much greater processor at A8,800MHZ BUT samsung is not reliable,,don't know which way to go!!!!!!however i'm using 5800 currently which is working pretty well considering it's a music oriented phone!!!!! please can someone clarrify it since omnia is much better than n97 is what i feel
19. chris4chelsea (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Jul 2009)
Agree i used samsung b4.. its not that reliable, and the finishing isnt that good compare to nokia phones. i m using the n97. its so far so good but i hope that the new firmware can fix some of the bugs
14. rumeo (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Although I've not yet tried all these nice phones that are mentioned at the end, I think the N97 is the best over all. Just the Homescreen with online update is it worth to buy one, because that's what I missed for years. No fiddling in the menus to search today's activities, just have a look at the screen and you know what you wanted to know. I real innovation with great potential without comparison. GSM: no word about the compass, OVI maps is simply the MUST have application that helps you to find any place with a minimum of data traffic. And sorry, it's free guys. The authors give the HTC better notes. Maybe readhttp://www.allaboutsymbian.com
/features/item/Head_to_Head_Thto see another opinion. Palm pre is nice and innovative but no Video ?? Still a 9, are you kidding ? Well to have started with CDMA instead of GSM means it was made for the US. If it finally arrives to the rest of the world star will not shine anymore that bright. At the end, I regret to have registered to this page in order to write this comment. e_Nokia_N97_and_HTC_Touch_Pro_ 2.php
15. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)
looks like a real nice phone but looks to bulky.........rather get the 5730 xpressmusic or whatever ALSO A SMARTPHONE AND MUSIC PLAYER WITH A SLIDE OUT QWERTY
21. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
You really need to feel the device. The N95 was bulky. This is nowhere near that and I can proudly say that since I actually own one. If you think this is bulky than I hate to say it but the 5730 is a half millimeter thinner, and you won't notice the difference so it's just as "bulky" as the N97. True, it doesn't have the camera that sticks out, but you don't even feel that when it's in your pocket. Trust me, this phone, for everything it has, is darn thin.
16. Edouardo (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)
IPhone is dead... Nokia 97 is really better (right a little bit bulky... :( In India they sell it with a pouch...why Nokia does not provide one in USA & Europe ? I just found one, very nice :http://www.noreve.com/langue/e
n/product/Housse_cuir_Nokia_N9but I am looking for a pouch... If you can help me... 7_Tradition.html
20. Broder (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jul 2009)
The review itself isn´t bad, but the conclusion is biased and unreliable, the author of this review definetely doesn´t like the N97 and takes it the personal side. I´m sorry, but recomending the Touch Pro 2 and, even worse, the iPhone 3GS in place of the N97 is ridiculous. Nothing against the Touch Pro 2, it´s a great phone with very powerfull hardware, but stepping back for a camera/video quality I had 3 years ago is just NOT acceptable for someone like me, that´s always looking for the best all-arounder. They also mention the N97 has a serious problem by not having a on-screen virtual QWERTY keyboard. HELLO! IT HAS A REAL QWERTY KEYBOARD, in fact, the that´s what makes the N97 such an interesting device: good camera, good screen, good symbian smartphone power AND a QWERTY keyboard! No normal person in the world will ever want to loose their time with an awfull on-screen keyboard when you can type with the real, fast and responsive thing that´s a REAL keyboard. In fact, I can type faster with a alphanumeric T9 keyboard then with a on-screen QWERTY. I use alot of typing in my phone, so having a QWERTY is essential, in fact, I guess alot of people do, if not there weren´t be so many QWERTY handsets in the market... for all of those who don´t need so much typing performance in their mobile and can live with touch-only input, then the Omnia HD is certainly the best all-arounder. As I see things today, the only REAL alternative for the N97 is the OmniaPRO: the camera is just on par, the screen is even bigger and it punches a faster processor and more RAM, the only real downside of the OmniaPRO is the WinMO OS, and, forgive me, but WinMO just can´t beat Symbian reliabilty.
22. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
68.5/80 = 8.5625 That's wierd. This should have received an 8.5. Maybe you guys entered a number wrong when you averaged out all the scores. Surely you didn't take points away in the end just because. I mean, our scores are averaged when we write our own reviews and post them, so it would only make sense that your scores are averaged too.
23. lbredsten (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Sep 2009)
I so much wish it was a good phone. I'm an otherwise loyal Nokia fan, and I have owned and used an N97 for over a month now. The feel of the hardware is what I expected. Genuinly sturdy. Nice. The software ruins the whole experience, and it is clear that the user testing has not been done properly. Bugs even prevent proper use of the primary function of a mobile phone: picking up when it rings, and placing calls. When it then comes to the nice-to-have widgets and apps, it only gets worse. My recommendation to potential buyers: Buy another phone, or wait, and look for the reviews, and observe when they have come to fix the bugs in the in the OS and native apps. Then re-consider buying.
24. Mellisa (unregistered)
This phone is Really amazing and i love this phone ...I got it from Puremobile.com and Love this phone
25. mobilephonehut (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Apr 2010)
While the Nokia N97 is packed with features and offers the freedom of an unlocked phone, its clunky touch interface, sky-high price tag, and outdated operating system make it hard to recommend when there are better touch-screen smartphones on the market.
26. ContractsCompared.com (unregistered)
The Nokia N97 is still a great phone despite some newer models coming. It's packed full of features such as a qwerty keyboard and 3g. To find the best deals on Nokia N97 contracts check outhttp://www.contractscompared.c
32. buy provera (unregistered)
Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2012
33. kcay1021 (unregistered)
I'm loving this phone! It has everything that I wanted for a smartphone. The camera and video quality is good, web browsing is fast, and I love the qwerty keyboard. It's an efficient phone and I just love it!
34. LodeStar (Posts: 28; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
my last phone from nokia, and i cursed it, wont buy any phone from nokia!!!!