Nokia N97 : Mobile Phone + Web Tablet [Review]

I have been playing with N97 for more than 15 days and here is a candid review of the mobile (review of OVI store is also lined up). The review is primarily from a usage perspective and not from a historical/comparative perspective (i.e. T-mobile G1 vs. iPhone 3G?)

First of all, let me tell you this that Nokia N97 isn’t positioned as a phone, but as a mobile PC (or a web tablet)– and pretty much lives upto that expectation .

3.5in display – offers great real estate for one to play with the device. Home screen offers customizable widgets – right from your mailbox to RSS feed to any application that you would like to add. (I have configured my homescreen to show emails, feeds, shortcuts (opera, music, calendar, notes), fav contacts etc.)

Slider Design – If I were to pick one reason why I consider N97 a PC, it’s the slider design. The slider has been smartly designed for you to not hold the back side, the tilt is perfect for one to use the mobile like a PC.

N97 - The Ultimate Touchscreen Phone from Nokia
N97 - The Ultimate Touchscreen Phone from Nokia

QWERTY Keyboard – For some reason, I fail to understand why Nokia decided to move the space key towards right. Similarly, the shift key on the right side makes for a bad experience. Having said that, the keys are good enough for typing (I still miss my 5330) and far better than most of the mobile phones.

Search – Nifty implementation of search – spans across contacts, applications, bookmarks, browser history etc. Handy utility, if you ask me.

Web Browsing – Owing to the real estate (640*360px), browsing is actually a fun on N97. The coolest part is that in-built Nokia’s S60 Web browser presents a larger version of the web page and you can quickly jump to the section (i.e. zoom in) you want to read – just by tapping that section.

The web browser is touch enabled and works like a breeze. What’s really awesome is that you do not need to worry about the mobile version of a site – wider screen and browser friendliness makes the browsing as intuitive as desktop.

Touchscreen – Inconsistent experience – for some actions, you need double click, most works well otherwise. And once touchscreen hangs, it could be a pain in the butt (the only way out is to restart).

Even the built-in accelerometer has a little bit of lag when you switch (or flip!) from portrait to landscape mode, though one gets used to it after a week or so!

Battery Life – If you use it like a PC (i.e. browse/play and more), you charge it like a PC (i.e. everyday)! Plain and simple. (do I need to say more?)

Camera – Personally speaking, this one is my fav. N97‘s 5 mega pixel (and upto 14X zoom) pretty much replaces my camera.

The BIG Question

At a price of $699/Rs. 35K +, is N97 a good buy?

Well, my honest answer would be – It Depends.

It depends on who you are and why you need a smartphone?

If you are the one who wants to weigh the cost of N97 against buying a laptop (costs the same), this isn’t for you (you aren’t that type)

But, if you are the one who is a on-the-move person, has a need for mini PC and an amazing mobile experience (includes browsing), N97 is just for you!

What’s your opinion?

Next – Review Ovi Store.