Nokia N97 £499

1st May 2009 | 11:00

Nokia N97

Can old man Nokia still kick it with the smartphone newcomers

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

The N97 is a great effort from Nokia with a solid chassis and a nice range of features. However, we can't help but feel that the phone has far too much unfulfilled potential for the concept.

Like:

Great touchscreen; Solid build quality; Impressive internal memory; Dual flash LED 5MP camera

Dislike:

Unpredictable OS; Lack of video codec support; Chunky design; Underpowered processor

Nokia releases more smartphones than just about anyone else and the N97 is billed as the company's latest 'flagship' device. The metal body feels great in the hand but, weighing 150g, is heavier than we were expecting, although the look is sleek and minimal. This larger size is due to the slide-out QWERTY keyboard hidden behind the 3.5-inch touchscreen display.

The new Homescreen allows you to populate the page with all your favourite apps, such as your contacts, favourite RSS feeds, as well as social networking sites YouTube and Facebook. There is a keyguard on the side of the N97 that allows you to slide the keyboard out on a rather ingenious hinge. Once open, the screen sits at 45 degrees, which makes it fine for typing in the hand, but less so when resting on a desk. The keys are individually mounted and are well spaced. You type with your thumbs and, while the navigation pad looks a little odd positioned on the left-hand side, it proved highly usable.

With full HSDPA connectivity, accessing email and general web browsing is quick and easy. There is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in as standard. Other features include GPS that works seamlessly with Nokia Maps 3.0, as well as support for N-Gage – Nokia's higher-end gaming platform.

Then there is a 5-megapixel camera onboard that uses a Carl Zeiss lens and comes with its own lens cover. Image quality is great and with 32GB of built-in storage, you can make the most of the Nokia's built-in multimedia functions.

Powered by Nokia's own Symbian S60 5th Edition OS that has been designed for touchscreen displays, the N97 has a brand new homescreen that makes personalising the device a lot easier. The software is responsive, with programs loading quickly.

The Nokia N97 makes accessing email and responding with full replies easier than ever. The screen is sharp and bright, but it is the QWERTY keyboard that makes this a truly impressive smartphone.

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