Nokia N97 Mini review

3 Feb 2010

An old-fashioned OS, but fully featured, with good battery life and a very attractive price. One for your shortlist

Nokia N97 Mini
Price when reviewed: 
400(£400 inc VAT)more
5

Nokia's N97 was hyped as the next big thing this time last year, but it took some time to materialise and, when it did, Nokia's first touchscreen smartphone was a letdown. The Mini is a far more accomplished device.

For starters, it has an attractive design - lighter and more compact than before. A gunmetal-grey metal battery plate at the back helps it feel more solidly knitted together. It retains the odd mechanism that kicks the screen up and out, revealing a full Qwerty keyboard beneath, but again this feels more resilient than on the N97.

And despite the fact that it's a smaller phone, it isn't more difficult to use. The keyboard is easier to type on than the N97; the keys are more responsive and have a firmer click to them. You don't even lose out on screen size and resolution either. Its 3.2in size and 360 x 640 pixels are exactly the same as its chunkier sibling.

It isn't just the hardware that's been improved. The operating system feels a touch slicker and more intuitive than on the original and battery life is also excellent.

And, as you'd expect, it's equipped with the full gamut of smartphone hardware, with HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, GPS, a proximity sensor and accelerometer, plus an FM radio tuner with RDS and 8GB of storage.

Nokia N97 Mini

As with the other S60 phones here, the Mini lacks the X factor. The operating system, although improved, is looking long in the tooth these days. The selection of apps in the Ovi Store is weak compared to Google and Apple offerings.

To compound it all we found web browsing sluggish via the built-in Nokia web browser (we suggest downloading Opera Mobile 10 instead).

That's a shame as battery life is well above average - after our 24-hour test (which involve 50MB of downloads, an hour of browsing, 30 minutes of phone calls, an hour of music playback and half-hourly e-mail checks), it showed a remarkable 90% capacity remaining. And although we're not keen on resistive touchscreens in general, this one is pretty responsive.

The big plus, though, for the N97 Mini is that it's available on some great-value tariffs. So if you're after a smartphone but don't want to break the bank, it's well worth a look.

Details

Price ex VAT £340
Price inc VAT £400
Cheapest price on contract £0
Contract monthly charge £25.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.dialaphone.co.uk
Overall rating 5
Ease of Use rating 3
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 7hrs
Standby, quoted 13 days

Physical

Dimensions 52.5 x 14.2 x 113mm (WDH)
Weight 138g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

ROM size 8,000MB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 3.2in
Resolution 360 x 640
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Symbian