Nokia N97 Reviewed by Zeem

Nokia N97 is a Flagship device launched by Nokia on June 2009, the phone has a large 3.5” resistive touch screen on the face of the phone and a large QWERTY keypad beneath the screen which is revealed by sliding it out. It equips a 5 Megapixel camera with dual led lights, a GPS receiver, FM receiver, FM transmitter, stereo speakers and many more.


Nokia N97 has brilliant big 3.5” Touch Screen, the web browsing experience is awesome, although the touch screen technology is resistive it responds well to finger touches, the display is bright and vivid, the pictures looks good in it, browsing the net on N97 has made me keep away from my PC.

The typing experience on the on screen keypad is good, it’s easy to type short messages but I prefer the QWERTY keypad for lengthy ones. The On screen keypad has big large buttons with predictive text which makes it easier to type on but although I said earlier the screen supports finger touch the Resistive display at times miss one or two presses, using a little bit of nail comes in handy although a stylish stylus is provided I’m too lazy to pull it out and in, its only for the messages where you miss one or two apart from that the finger does the justice in music player and browser.
With the auto rotation option it’s easy to switch viewing modes from portrait to landscape and vice versa by just rotating the phone, viewing photos and browsing the web in landscape is very nice and pleasant to the eyes, with the auto rotation option on you don’t have the need to slide out the qwerty to go landscape.

On Screen Keypad
onscreen keypad landscapeOnscreen keybpad potrait

Web Browser Pictures
WebWeb browser 2
Web browser keysWeb browser options

Viewing pictures on the Nokia N97 is a fun experience, just swipe your fingers across the screen to go the next picture, The Enormous 3.5” display does it duty well after all it was made for that. The large display shows pictures large and clear same goes to videos, watching videos on the landscape mode is a fantastic experience, I watch video clips on youtube application which is available for free in Ovi Store, youtube has a wide collection of videos and its all on your N97, The application is awesome, once you press the play button it goes fullscreen, tap on it to reveal the semi transparent control keys, the phone’s display is made to be a PMP substitute.

PicturesPicturePicture options

Youtube Application

The Nokia N97 incorporates a superb feature in the home screen its nothing but the “WIDGETS”, The phone has 6 slots to use as shortcuts and widgets. The widgets which are only supported by Nokia N97 and N97 mini currently in S60 phones by Nokia is a wonderful feature for Social network lovers like me, there are plenty of applications in OVI store which supports Widgets like the Facebook Application. I currently use Facebook and Gravity as my twitter client, the Facebook widgets keep on feeding the latest posts, Pokes, Messages and friends request straight to my Home screen, which has left me out of the trouble of checking the site frequently for updates, if there is anything interesting press on it, it takes you direct to the full screen application. Apart from those you can have your favorite sites or news sites rss feeds flowing on to your screen to keep you updated, I have subscribed for Engadget one of my favorite tech site, the widgets does the magic of updating with the latest tech news.

homescreen with fbHome screen with playerhomescreen landscape fb

Although the widgets are a welcoming feature it is limited too, unfortunately The N97 doesn’t support Multiple home screens, so it has limited space for only 6 slots to load with your favorites, it is more than enough for many people where a slot will be allocated for Clock, one for Favorite Contacts, One for shortcuts and the rest for widgets.

After all the widget makes life easy keeping you up to date without having the trouble to check the website frequently.

I mentioned OVI store 101 times, so what is it?
OVI is NOKIA’s platform for Online services like Navi Map, App store, Email, photo sharing etc.
OVI Store is the marketplace for NOKIA Applications and Media, OVI Store has plenty of applications and media, some are free and some are paid.

OVI Store Screen shots
OviOvi gamesOvi apps

The Nokia N97 features a 5 Megapixel Camera with Dual Led Flash, it has plenty of options embedded in a touch screen menu. Slide the camera lens cover it takes you direct to camera mode ready to shoot pictures.


Camera Mode Screen
CameraCamera options

Camera options 2Camera flashCamera settings 3

Video Mode
Video modeVideo options

N97 packs in a touch screen Music player with an equalizer and many other options. The music player does it s duty well, when listening through the headset BH-905 (not supplied with the phone) the experience is good enough to replace a dedicated mp3 player, YES I MEAN IT, don’t forget the N97 packs a 32gb on board memory, yes it with a G, I found it quite too much for me to be frank, I didn’t load videos on it but yet it has my whole audio collection and it has plenty of space left to use anyways let’s get back to the music player, It has the usual bell and whistles as other music player on a phone with big album art support, playlists support, last played song and most listened songs etc.

Music Player
Player PortraitPlaylistAudio settingsEqualizer

FM Player
The Phone has an inbuilt FM Receiver and Transmitter, the music application has the FM right below to listen to your Local FM Stations, it has 20 Presets to save your favorite stations, the quality of the sound is above par, has very rich deep bass, apart from that it has nice transitions with FM station name and frequency running in the background while listening to it. Yes it has RDS a standard feature now in all phones and loudspeaker option to listen on loudspeakers and the rest as the usual FM player in a modern phone.

FM animationFM stations

Did I say FM Transmitter above? I did, The FM transmitter application is found separately in applications folder which you can move where ever you want, it comes in handy when you want to play your songs on your phone to your home FM player or car stereo without connecting any wires just simple play anything you want, set the frequency, start transmitting. I tested this feature a couple of times, things work magical but wasn’t happy with quality and it wasn’t a feature I would use.

FM Transmitter
FM Transmitter

The sound quality on the loud speakers aren’t what I expected although it’s a well known fact it is not an Xpress Music device but the loud speakers could have been little better! But not really bad at all, it’s just not what I expected, maybe I had high expectations. The Phone has stereo loud speakers both on either side of the phone with many options for ringtone settings like 3d ringing tone effects etc.

It’s a well known fact that The Nokia N97 packs a slide out QWERTY Keypad but what’s not known is the experience on typing it. The Phone packs a 3 row QWERTY keypad with a navigational D-pad placed on left hand side. This is not my first experience with a QWERTY but this is my first experience with a super awesome QWERTY. The first 2 days I really felt uncomfortable with it, I felt like typing on the touch is better, but when days passed by and I got used to it, it’s so easy and comfortable to type on it, I spend most of time chatting with friends on msn messenger on pc but the experience with N97 has changed me, at late nights I chat for hours using nimbuzz (which is available for free in OVI market) in my N97, it has totally avoided me from making me use my PC in the night. The QWERTY has well spaced keys with a shortcut for symbols, access key to Numbers on top and the Shift key but I find little to no use of the D-Pad on the left anyways we are not going to lose by having anything extra. Typing on QWERTY once you get used to it is so easy but my extra large fingers kept on hitting the bezel of the phone when reaching the first row of keys which is little bit annoying but im sure it will be completely fine for an average person. This has made me decide to go for a QWERTY Keypad packed phone always.


My Verdict on the QWERY Keypad “A winner, every touch phone should have a QWERTY for lengthy emails or long chats.

Nokia N97 is second to nothing when it comes to connectivity, it has state of the art connectivity, from Bluetooth 2.0 to wifi to HSDPA. The N97 has got all the connectivity options currently available in any mobile phone in the market place. Pairing up the Bluetooth and wifi is easy and same as the other S60 phones so there isn’t anything much to talk about. The phone is fast enough to load web pages within seconds, thanks for HSDPA technology in the phone, which has made browsing the web on the phone a pleasure. Then when it comes to wired connectivity it has the micro usb port, which they want to make it standard in future devices too.

Connectivity Screen
Connectivity 1Connectivity2DSC02295

The Nokia N97 is quite a large device which fits into the hand perfectly, the size of the phone cannot be trimmed any further because of the large 3.5” Touch display and the QWERTY SLIDER below which contributes a lot the overall size of the phone.

When it comes to looks it’s a stylish looking device with an Engraved Nokia Logo on the side. When the QWERTY is slide out it looks sleek. The back of the phone is plain with the Camera and Nokia NSeries Print on it.


The Slider mechanism is a brilliant piece of engineering, with a gentle push on the bezel of the phone, tilts the Screen Upwards while sliding backwards to reveal the QWERTY keypad and the D-Pad. When QWERTY is slide out the display rotates to landscape mode and sliding it back the display goes to portrait mode when the auto rotate option is off.

The Sliding Mechanism

The Phone with QWERTY Keypad out

I found the build quality quite good for the phone, everything looks and feels firm including the slider mechanism, since I’m using this for 2 weeks I cannot really comment on it, should use for a couple of months to comment on it and it depends on the usage and user too. Modern electronics are too complex, dropping them or abusing them may start to give troubles sooner or later, but I hear from others and even I feel The Nokia N97 mini Build quality is better than N97 due to the metal additions to the phone.

When it comes to pocketability it slides into my jean’s pockets without any hassle, Nokia N97 isn’t small or either bulky, it’s good in size for its features.

The Nokia N97 is provided with a Micro USB charger which connects to the Micro USB port on the Phone’s left side, now everyone will be wondering then what about the Nokia traditional charger?

There is a good news and a bad news for it, the bad news is it doesn’t have the traditional Nokia charging port but the good news is the Nokia N97 comes with a converter to accept the traditional big pin and small pin charger which you won’t like to always carry around unfortunately.

Ok here is the Surprise!

Although Nokia dint add a traditional charging port to the phone it has implemented USB charging, let’s all rejoice! So it has taken away the trouble of carrying the converter or charger to your friend’s place where you want to spend time or stay over.
The Battery Life is the next BIG Question.
Nokia has packed in the BP-4L battery with 1500mah which is the same battery found in E71,
It takes approximately 2 Hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours to go full charge when the phone is on.

The battery lasts for almost a day for me with full brightness, browsing the net and Facebook most of the time and listening to songs on and off while not forgetting to snap some pix, I’m so sure it will last for at least another day that’s 1+1 = 2 days if display brightness is reduced and the frequency of going online is reduced. It couldn’t have been any better, they can’t fix in a larger battery which will further increase the phone size but still it all depends on the usage, come on 24×7 Online and lasts for day, what you want more? Fuel Cell ?

The Nokia N97 is made for teens and young adults for those who want to keep an eye on their social networks with what their friends up to, chat with them online, keep updated with news on the GO! Listen to songs, snap pics while you’re out or Home. It’s an ultimate multimedia phone for the urban guy.

Nokia N97 has almost totally transformed me from relying my pc for facebook and browsing the net to rely on Nokia N97, it does almost all my needs to keep me away from my PC, it keeps me updated with my friends status, pictures and posts on Facebook to my Phone’s home screen directly, Gravity does its duty by updating the twitter feeds, RSS does it duty and the Nokia N97 got an enormous 3.5” large display to browse the net which I do most of the time, so what else? Im more than happy with Nokia’s N97, its keep me mobile by letting me take my online needs with me everywhere I go.


Large Display
Comfortable QWERTY
Web browsing Experience
Built in Ovi Maps – not really worth it in Sri Lanka because the details are less but Europe and America it Rocks.


Limited Widget Screen – wish it had more space to add more widgets and short cuts
Loud speakers
Resistive Display- You need a bit of finger nail to do the job with finger

The Nokia N97 is a Multimedia Monster with Social Skills, It’s meant to go Online 24×7.
It’s not just a phone it’s an All in One Phone.

NOKIA N97 Photo Gallery

connectivity options currently available in any mobile phone


  1. Nice review there… Although I really think the FM transmitter is a pretty useful feature, esp. when you've forgotten ur auxiliary input cable while driving. It is not very clear and the transmission is in mono (not stereo) but it gets the job done…