Mobile contracts have hit headlines as much as the handsets which come with them in recent months. Most controversial were the pricey O2 iPhone 3GS tariffs so it's nice to see the Nokia N97 hitting shelves in a far more generous form.
Consequently price plans come out well with 18 month contracts from £35pm and above landing the Finns' flagship smartphone for free. All plans include an additional 300 minutes of free 3 to 3 calls each month alongside free voicemail access and free, unlimited Skype use. You will need to add £5pm on top for flat rate data but it's still a million miles from the 18 month £34.26pm O2 iPhone 3GS contract which will land you with a handset cost of £274.23.
A quick refresher on the N97. It packs a 3.5in resistive touchscreen, sliding Qwerty keyboard, 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash, 32GB of native storage plus 16GB compatible microSD expansion slot and the usual goodies of HSDPA, WiFi and aGPS. You'll also find the Ovi Store for third party applications pre-installed. Downsides are the handset is chunky at 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9 mm and not the lightest at 150g.
Pre-orders are available now with shipping from early July. I must add that for me personally the N97 doesn't match up to the iPhone 3GS, but perhaps most importantly in today's bullet ridden economy with these prices it doesn't have to...