Hello N97! :o The First Nseries Touch Screen Phone!

| December 2, 2008 | Reply

Having taken some time off from the blogosphere to concentrate on University (meh), news of the Nokia N97 has brought me right out of my cave to go, “WOW!”

I actually found the story from Digg whilst taking a revision-break . The significance of that (apart from that it shouldn’t be my first source for Nokia news) is for any mobile device other than the iPhone to get to the front page, the device must have some major appeal.  Nokia’s previous offerings that attempted to succeed the mighty N95 only had small incremental changes which really didn’t seduce the purchasing masses, especially considering that the current paradigm of the ideal phone/smart phone had been redefined by Apple’s iPhone…

…then came the Nokia N97.

The N96 and N85 hadn’t really given me anything new enough that wasn’t balanced by always ready and powerful xenon of the N82. Although the N97 “only” has a 5MP camera with “only” LED flash and a respectable 48GB (potential) of space, 32GB of which is built in, there are 3 main features that really impress me enough about the N97 to switch to it: These are:

3. Form Factor/Design:

[image from Robert Scoble]

The N97 has a slideways/landscape slider like the internet tablet N810, except for that the screen pops up at a 30 degree angle when revealing the physical QWERTY keyboard, whilst the N810 stays flat. Aesthetically, the N97 is beautiful. I’ve never been a fan of white/silvery phones as they never appear as they do in renders or just look cheap, but this doesn’t look too bad. In black it is undeniably sexy and unashamedly iPhone like, which is perhaps one of its strongest appeal to less technologically minded consumers,

“It looks like an iPhone but it does a whole lot more things! I’d rather get that!” It’s still quite a chunky monkey though in comparison to the iPhone but with a physical QWERTY keyboard, that’s more than understandable.

Probably my only niggle about the design; opening is not as elegant as Sony Ericsson’s XPeria X1’s method of tilting the screen, it looks slightly like a DIY job, just propped up with an extra piece of plastic.

[Image from Robert Scoble]

Back in, 06 I think, a photoshopped image of a phone that had the possible new Nokia UI surfaced, and it looked like the gorgeous 8600 Luna. It looks like the N97 except that the N97 is real! 😀

Below, Black N97 looking similar to both the iPhone and ancient photoshopped image of a Nokia phone. Either way, it looks incredibly hot. Although both 3.5 inches, the N97 utilizes a better 16:9 true widescreen aspect ratio.

[image from Robert Scoble]

The N97 looks really small there. If it was the same touch screen only form factor, therefore as slim if not slimmer than the iPhone, and if Nokia would sort out the material used at the back, I’d say that the N97 was the better looking device. Still though, it’s very close aesthetics wise, and only those brainwashed into “MUST HAVE iPhone ONLY” could knock it.

[image from Robert Scoble]

2. Increased pixel count.

I missed the 416×352 resolution of the N80 and N90, and for such a long time, successive flag ship phones had to endure with 320 x 240.

The N97 has 640×360! Not Nokia’s highest, the internet tablets have that point; but it’s a small leap in the right direction. It’s higher than the iPhone’s 480×240 but MORE IMPORTANTLY, the aspect ratio is TRUE 16:9 widescreen. This is absolutely fantastic because which means you have a more effective use of the 3.5 inch display when viewing widescreen videos, i.e. No/less BLACK BARS. The move to true widescreen is also important considering YouTube’s evolution to 16:9 true widescreen, so newer YouTube videos can be seen in their full non-letter-glory that you would get when viewing on a standard 4:3 screen.

Below demonstrates 16:9 vs 4:3, and how most of the time, 16:9 is the most effective aspect ratio.

Image from

Combined with the sizable collection of videos the N97 can carry, (if a 90minute DivX video takes around 700mb, that’s at least 22 movies stored on a 16GB memory card alone! 68 films if you want to fill up the entire memory!)makes the N97 quite practical portable video player . Fingers crossed the N97 meets the 4.5 hours of video playback. Although I would have hoped for more, this possibly means 270 minutes giving you enough time to finish any single part of the Lord of the Rings and still have juice left for other applications. Should you want to complete the whole LOTR Trilogy on the N97, you can always use portable chargers like those provided by Powermonkey or Proporta.

Higher pixels means also means  richer visual experience for viewing photos and browsing the internet. You’ll see more of your photos not just physically, but more detail, and this is especially useful when browsing the internet as you can read the small font text without necessarily having to zoom in as required on lower resolution devices.

1. 3.5 inch touch screen. Nokia Nseries’ first touch screen phone! Finally! I love my N800 and somewhat like the N810, and had always wished they were phones (and could be used in portrait). There are of course many touch screen phones available but none, even the Jesus-phone, had met the criteria of smartphone features I had gotten used to from Nokia and Symbian’s S60. Touch screen will add another dimension of interactivity with S60, and for Nokia, appeal to the iPhone crowd.

As much as I’d love to go on about my new found love, the N97, I must get back to my revision :(. To recap though on the features:

1. Huge memory, 48GB potentially, 32 built in, 16GB from micro-SD.

2. Huge Screen, 3.5 inches high resolution 640×360 pixel, true 16:9 widescreen

3. Sexy iPhone-esque aesthetics with a landscape/sideways slider revealing a QWERTY keyboard.

4. 36 hours of audio playback and 4.5 hours of video

Below are pretty standard features from Nokia’s high end Nseries phones.

5. 5th Edition Symbian S60

6. 5MP Carl Zeiss Tessar lens and dual LED flash

7. GPS (Sat Nav and other GPS related features)

8. HSDPA (3.5G)

9. Wi-Fi

10. USB 2.0

11. Stereo Bluetooth A2DP

12. 3.5mm headphone jack.

13. N-gage Gaming capabilities

Without having tested in in person yet, my main concerns are: 1. the processor/UI -  is it sufficient to produce a smooth and responsive experence? 2. The build – is it solidly made with the right materials or poor construction with cheapy plastic? 3. The battery life – it’s important that a multimedia device has STAMINA to utilize the features it boasts for a reasonable amount of time.

I can’t wait to see it for real! I hope Nokia markets this right because it deserves to be in the hands of people who wanted a smartphone and ended up getting an iPhone. Seriously, it is actually an excellent phone that deserves to be given a chance.

Amazing Features + Great Aesthetics + Top-Notch Marketing = WIN/iPhone Killer haha.

It’s a step in the right direction as iPhone killers go, it’s one of the closest. But not yet perfect enough to deal the killer blow. Things to improve on: should be slimmer, use better materials, have Xenon Flash, increased MP count, optical zoom maybe, fast(er) processor, widescreen video recording, better battery life. Hopefully with all these features, it’ll find its way beyond just the niche of tech-enthusiasts.

Check out these video from NokiaConversations



Here’s live demonstration from


Thanks for reading 🙂


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Category: 3rd edition, News, Nokia, Nseries, Symbian, Versus, Video

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]