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Nokia N97 Mini - Nokia N97 Mini

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



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Nokia has also redesigned the slide-out keyboard. This is a good thing as the original N97 version was a bit of a botch job. For example, we hated the D-pad that Nokia added at the right-hand side of the main QWERTY layout as it meant you constantly had to stretch your thumb over it. The keyboard on the Mini does away with this pad and replaces it with standard cursor keys arranged towards the bottom of the main keyboard. But it’s not just the layout that has improved, the new keys are also better as they have a little more travel. That said, they still don’t give as much response as they should and we still found it fairly difficult to type on at speed. The faster we tried to type; the more we felt limited not only by the feel of the keys but also by their doubling up of functions.

As with the new X6, the Mini runs Nokia’s Series 60 5th generation operating system. Next to the likes of the iPhone, Android or Palm operating systems, Series 60 is really starting to show its age. The 5th generation version may have been re-jigged for touch input, but it still seems bolted on over the top rather than properly integrated into the OS as there are too many inconsistencies littered around the user interface. For example, some menus and options require a single tap, while others require a double tap to activate them. Scrolling isn’t as fluid as it is on the iPhone or Android and switching between portrait and landscape mode is slow.

Furthermore, in landscape mode the phone tends to present you with overly large touch boxes on the right of the screen that take up way too much space. And while Nokia has added some home screen widgets for stuff like weather, Facebook and mail, many of them have a slightly unfinished feel. For example, the Facebook widget is quite sluggish to use and didn’t always update properly.

Like the original handset, the Mini has a 5.0-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics. This has a dual LED flash to assist in low light and auto-focus to help you capture sharper shots. However, the lens cover on the original has been removed, so you’ll have to be more careful with it in order to avoid scratches when the phone is tucked away in your pocket. The snapper is actually good by camera phone standards as colours look bright and vivid and detail stands up pretty well when you view shots on a computer monitor. As ever, pictures taken in low light suffer from a lot more graininess, even when the flash is being used, but on the whole the camera is pretty impressive.

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January 7, 2010, 6:17 am

mmm, not sure now what to buy, really like Nokia, i have yet to have a bad Nokia phone. Currently using a 6110 Navigator, and love it, probably the best phone i have had ,but was thinking of a change. The X6 has mixed reviews, same with the N97 mini, both phones that i really fancied. Think i will stay as i am for a bit longer unless anybody has some good suggestions.( not I-phone )


January 7, 2010, 2:16 pm

@DB What is your Budget? What features are you looking for in your next phone? I.e. Touchscreen, GPS ect? What do you want to use your phone for (i.e. mobile internet, music player)

A good place to look is the GSM arena as you can search for the features that you are interested in having, then check out the reviews on each phone individually


If you want to stay with Nokia's, and youre not that fussed about having a touchscreen (I know im not, I text and do short messgaes much quicker on a touchpad than a touchscreen) then maybe the Nokia E75?


Dave 1

January 7, 2010, 2:24 pm

If it helps any I'm up for renewal at the end of the month and I'm looking at either the Motorolla Milestone or the N900. Nexus One is intriguing but ideally I want a keyboard

Martin Daler

January 7, 2010, 6:53 pm

@db what sort of reviews did your 6110 Navigator get? I often find it best to strip out all the judgements from the reviews, just read them for the factual info and then make your own judgement.

Tom Rees

January 7, 2010, 7:24 pm

I have an N97 mini, on Orange (not orange branded though), and I thoroughly recommend it. I haven't had any problems with it. It's true that the interface isn't as slick as competitors, but that's an inconvenience rather than a major problem. And you have to weight that against the better spec (screen res, keyboard, camera, etc).


January 8, 2010, 3:46 pm

Thanks for the comments Stelph, as for budget, this is not a problem, i was going to spend up to about £400 pounds. I always buy sim free now as i have the deal i want from my current operator.


January 16, 2010, 4:36 pm

I've had one of these handsets from Orange now for almost 2 months now, and although the handset itself is nice and sturdy and the interface is Ok and quite user friendly, I'm looking to get rid of it, these handsets are awfull with signal strength (side by side with my old trusty N95, one has 4 bars the N97 has no service) and random crashes/power offs (on the latest software), I'm on my 3rd handset now with the same problems and Orange have decided to pull the product from their range I just found out. It's very unfortunate !


March 5, 2010, 1:27 am

Just bought an N97 mini, and love it. The screen is excellent, the operating system seems to be ok, had no problems with freezing and the battery life is good. No probs, recommended

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