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Nokia N97

Mobile phones

I've been playing with the Nokia N97 for a week now. Choosing the color of the device has never been so difficult : I like my mobile phones black, but the black N97 version has a dark brown back, and the front is more anthracite. So I opted in the last moment for a white device. It arrived a week later than expected, and judging by the size of the box, I feared that the webshop only sent me the car holder. Choosing a device only by internet preview pics & unboxing videos is deceptive - the box itself was 3 times smaller than expected. If you have small hands, you're apparently an ideal candidate for mobile device manufacturers to send device previews to. And indeed, after unboxing the device, it was about 1 cm less wide and high as expected. Same experience with my previous Nokia, the N80. Seems that most people really like small mobile phones, something I can't understand why.

The box content is rather dissapointing :
- a stylus ? Come on Nokia, the era of the stylus has ended 3 years ago. Get over it. It would have been great if you provided us with a USB memory stick disguised as a stylus, with a Nokia logo on it, but this stylus thing is waste of plastic.
- No car charger ? This is Nokia's flagship device, and no car charger provided ?
- No pouch ? No TV out cable ?

Luckily, lots of this is made good by the N97 device itself: Very sleek & sexy with a chrome bezel. Nokia hardware rules. The slide-out mechanism is great, and makes a nice sound when clapping open & close. There is unfortunately little or no tactile feedback from the keyboard, but apart from that it works fast. Battery life is very good, I get 2 days with moderate to heavy use; battery needs about 2 to 2.5 hours for a complete fill.

The performance of the N97 is rather surprisingly good, given its 434 MHz processor. The touchscreen is quite responsive for a resistive screen, though a capacitive one would have been far better. First thing to do is to fill the gorgeous 32GB space with new S60v5 applications. The OVI store is a good starting point, the list with applications grows every week.

I like the stability of Symbian; combined with the wealth of applications, this makes it a bliss using the device. Combined with the sexy look & feel, you'll get lots of attention when you pull out the N97. A question I get a lot, is if the functionalities are comparable with the iPhone. Well, hands up of those iPhone users whose devices can do the following :
- SSH to your Linux workstation/VNC control your windows desktop, read your email, while listening to your favorite MP3 files.
- follow your voice-guided satnav, while listening to your MP3 files, FM transmitted to your car radio.
Get it ?

Are there any drawbacks on the device ? Apart from the hefty price tag, hardly; initially there were numerous problems reported, but the new firmware took care of most of them. However, I'm still bugged with the following :
- The GPS has lots of trouble getting a fix on satellites; only while enabling A-GPS, I get a fix within the minute. Drawback if you don't have an unlimited data plan.
- The Accuweather widget doesn't refresh itself correctly (sometimes needs manual kicking)
I hope that next firmware upgrades will take care of this.

Apart from that, the N97 is by far the most pleasant toy I ever used. Definitively an allways-on device.


Interesting read, but you haven't looked at an iPhone closely I think

- SSH to your Linux workstation
There a number of applications in the app store, some even free, that do SSH, telnet..
- VNC control your windows desktop
Yup, there's an app for that. Several even. iSSH does the above too, and even includes an Xserver
- read your email
Basic functionality, multiple accounts, all the common protocols and some less common in a mobile device too. Oh, and all SSL
- while listening to your favorite MP3 files.
"It's the best iPod we've ever made" - Steve Jobs. And yes, while you're doing other things the music keeps playing
- follow your voice-guided satnav
There are 2 voiceguided Turn-by-Turn applications available, TomTom will arrive in september. They're not included in the device's price, I'll give you that one
- while listening to your MP3 files
See above
- FM
There's an accessory for FM - again, not included but also not impossible
- transmitted to your car radio.
Nearly every car manufacturerer will give you the option for an iPod connection kit, which will stream any audio coming from the iPhone to your car stereo. You can do this over A2DP bluetooth too, AND make calls handsfree over bluetooth

- Get it ?
I think I do, do you? ;-)

Still, the N97 is a slick device, and the higher resolution is certainly a big plus. Besides, for a first venture into this market, Nokia has done very well

..and its not their first venture. just look at the expressmusic series.

how well does your "conection kit" work with your kitchen radio, your radio alarm clock and the hifi rack in the living room?

yes i know, you can buy some device, plug it into the anus of an iphone and it will transmit fm.

but with the n97, its just the press of a key - and it will stop transmitting after the source of the audio goes mute. so no needles battery usage, no adiitional batteries in a additional device...

i njoy this particulary, while streaming all kind of movies and live tv shows (i.e. bbc world news) in my car
using the flash/real player during long drives. no worries, my eyes are on the road most of the times:P