Initial Impressions Of The N97

Imitial Impressions Of The N97

I left you with the following as the last part of my last post, ‘this is the week that Nokia either shines or moves to the B list of the cell phone market’. From the launch of the N97 today, all indications are that the only place Nokia is going with this is upwards. The device packs specifications equalling a fanboy’s dream, we had been waiting for Nokia’s QWERTY Nseries for long, but when they gave it to us they didn’t forget to include touch too. S60 Touch, Nseries and QWERTY make for a killer combo. Specifications to make you drool below.


  • S60 Touch 9.5 OS S60 5th Edition, running Symbian 9.4 OS
  • 3.5″ nHD Screen (640×360) (!)
  • Haptic Feedback
  • Slideout QWERTY (!)
  • Dimensions – 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9
  • Weight 150g
  • 5MP Camera with Dual Led Flash – with sliding lens cover
  • 32 GB Onboard Memory with microSD slot = 48GB currently. (!)
  • N-Gage (!)
  • 1500mah Battery (!)
  • COMPASS (!)
  • Customizable Home Screen with Widgets (RSS, Weather, Facebook, Ovi)
  • 400 hours of standby time
  • 320-400 (3G/GSM) hours of talk time
  • 4.5 hours of video playback and over 37 hours of audio playback
  • The Nokia N97 is expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2009 at an estimated retail price of EUR 550 before taxes or subsidies.
  • Photos here.
  • Official Spec Sheet Here


  • AGPS
  • WIFI
  • 3.5mm Jack
  • TV-out
  • No stylus built into the phone, but one will be included in the box.

THE N95 OF 2009

There you have it folks. A lot to take in. The ‘N9x’ series usually bring in the absolute cutting edge in technology, if you think Nokia missed a trick with the N96, you will agree that they more than made up here. The N97 is the first Nseries touch device, the first to feature a QWERTY, the first S60 5th Edition device with N-Gage, the first with a killer battery, the first to have a compass, the first with 32GB of internal storage and I hope I’ve not missed something. That’s a lot of firsts. Although we’ve heard about N-Gage Touch before, we’ve seen a non Nseries with a compass too, the Eseries has QWERTY but what we’ve not seen is one device that does it all. The N95 of 2009.


For a full QWERTY 3.5″ touchscreen device, the N97 has pretty pleasing dimensions too, its longer and wider than the N82, but thinner. (117x55x16 v. 112×50.2×17.3 mm of the N82) When you slide the keyboard out, the screen tilts, so you can let it lie on the table as you watch video or even type.


This is the only place the N97 can be asked to take some flak. In my opinion what is bad is not the 5MP lens, but the dual LED. I am perfectly happy with the 5 Megapixel camera of the N82 or the N95, 8 MP is welcome but not a requirement. The dual LED experience for me hasn’t seen that great. It hardly compares to a Xenon and I’ve hardly found it to be useful as a tool in the video mode as my subjects are usually further away. But looking at the complete package the camera is no where close to being a deal breaker.


I guess I will be able to say something concrete about it once I play with it, however from the pictures the keys seem very usable for even those with large fingers. Haptic feedback for screen touches provided via general vibra feedback, as on the Nokia 5800 is also there.


The multimedia package of the Nseries is well known by now and good enough for being a dedicated player replacement. The one thing that will stand out here is TV out. Currently, our Nseries devices project 320×240 pixel images on the much larger TV which makes the image look stretched (in the non Image/Video mode) while playing a game or something of the sort. With the Much better inherent resolution the N97 will become a killer portable gaming console/video player/web machine that can be hooked onto the TV.


I can’t say I am surprised by this announcement, what I am surprised by is, is its coming at Nokia World. I was expecting a Nseries Touch with a physical keyboard from Nokia soon, the QWERTY was an added bonus. We have just witnessed a true flagship being announced, one with which no one can find too many faults. The success of this device is also certain, even Nseries + QWERTY would have been enough, but since the world is raving about touch Nokia had to follow suit.

The real measure for its actual success will be how much time Nokia takes to make it available for people to buy, we’ve seen consumers having been made to wait, yet devices selling like anything, but that time is long gone. If it becomes available in early March or around that time, great. Else, the adjectives quantifying its success will keep becoming smaller. Nokia are you upto it?

17 thoughts on “Initial Impressions Of The N97”

  1. Although I jusr bought a N85 3 weeks back and tend to keep my phones for more than a year, I’ve started saving to buy the N97 the day its launched (I just hope Nokia don’t screw up on this one). It looks too good to be true.
    I had plans to replace my laptop in the coming months, who knows this might be the replacement!

  2. One thing I like most is battery. Now I won’t have to charge it every day. 😀 Other thing are nice too. 🙂

  3. obviously it will be like a umpc but not exactly a replacement and the specs are just too much to be believed..i’m going for this.

  4. Any news on the release date of this baby?i’ve been usin an n81 for over a year now n want to go for the tube (5800) but now am in 2 minds whether i should wait for the guys?

  5. I was wondering just today, if the N96 is after all the best that Nokia could do as a flagship product (yes N85 is a mainstay but still…) and I was wondering when the next BIG thing – as Vaibhav said – another “N95”-esque release was due.

    Well done Nokia. I think the specs are great but for me, the pivotal spec is the battery – 1500mAh…. this is just fabulous. Waiting for the first reviews !

  6. I’m really excited for the N97!

    One tiny clarification for this article, the N95 screen is 320 x 240, but the TV-Out is at 640 x 480. It looks pretty good on an SD tv, or at 480P.


  7. great posts on the N97 …

    I share the exact same concerns as you to be honest …

    Xenon flash – if they can put it on the “lower” phones why can’t they put it on this one to make it absolutley supreme … is it too much to ask really?

    Release date – certainly another area where the N96 fell apart … I mean, there’s useful anticipation, but they took so long that competitors easily caught up to them …

    I think they must try their hardest to get the N97 out as soon as possible ( I want one tomorrow, lol!) … but that of course, they must make sure the firmware is smooth as before they do so!

    Cheers for the great posts today,


  8. I have stayed off N96, N85, N79, 5800 for my N82. But this was what, I guess, I have been waiting for..:D

  9. @ mathew
    Sorry mate , though i dont have an N95, i do have an N82 and can tell you that it definitely does not do 640*480. its basically 320*240 thats stretched to VGA and this can clearly be seen on an HDTV. But now the TV Output is definitely going to rock !

  10. And yeah i really think that though this device deserves a Xenon Flash but i’m definitely willing to give it up for this device.
    I’m definitely selling my N82 to buy this the moment it comes out 🙂

  11. I have an N82, proper flash would defiantly be a welcome addition want eye candy too, the UI has to be sleek as.

    Would like to see the same specs but with the KB removed personally, especially if the bulkiness is caused by the KB. Thinner than the N82 is sweet, similar thickness to e66 form factor would be narly IMO…

  12. Dhruv, Matthew didn’t say the N82 has 640×480 TV Out, he said the N95 does, and he’s correct!

    Vaibhav, I think you may need to make a small amendement, unless you’re you sure about 340-400 “hours” of talk time! 🙂

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