Nokia’s N97 was one of the most hyped handsets of last year, but for many the final product didn’t live up to expectations. It was bulky, the keyboard could have been better and its software wasn’t as robust as it should have been. Nokia did address the latter with a significant update, but the other criticisms remained. As a result, it’s difficult not to see the N97 Mini as Nokia’s attempt to right some of these past mistakes. As the name suggests the handset is essentially a shrunken version of the original with a few features removed, reduced or revised, but thankfully Nokia has managed to do this without really affecting the core DNA of the phone.
When you first pick up the phone the difference in size really is very noticeable. Whereas the N97 was a bit of a tank, the Mini is more of a hot hatch. It’s considerably narrower and thinner and as a result is not only much more pocket-friendly, but also much better looking too. It’s still a tad heavy, tipping the scales at 138g, but if anything this only helps add to its robust feel, which gives you confidence that it’ll stand up to its fair share of knocks and scrapes.
Naturally, the smaller form factor means the screen has had to be reduced in size. It has been shrunk from 3.5 to 3.2in, although the resolution remains untouched at 640 x 360. Unfortunately Nokia has stuck with a resistive touchscreen rather than going for the capacitive display that we’ve seen on the recent X6. But while the Mini’s screen isn’t quite as responsive to finger presses as the one on the X6, it’s certainly not bad by resistive standards. What's more, it’s nice and bright and text and graphics look slightly sharper than they do on the original N97 as the pixels are now packed closer together.