Review: Boy Genius Report & Phone Arena's Nokia N97 Reviews (and another Nokia/N97 rant)

| June 13, 2009 | Reply

BGR and Phone Arena both review the Nokia N97. BGR’s is short, more of a quick summary, whilst Phone Arena’s is laid out over 5 pages. There are some intruiging differences between the two, but both seem to share this growing disappointment from the N97. It seems that whilst the N97 is a great phone in its own right, it is severely lacking behind the standard of 2009.

1. Boy Genius Report. <<Click<<


I’d agree with mostly everything that’s been said here apart from a few things:

  • – The placement of the spacebar – it’s a non issue and something you will not notice after using the device for a bit. Because of the placement of the Dpad, the QWERTY is shifted to the right, so your right thumb is best place for minimum travel to get to the spacebar.
  • – The layout of the keys in general are fine (can’t really say much about the tactile feedback though – need to test this out) and like the spacebar, something you will get used to fairly quickly.

BGR were very positive about the build quality, as well as the 5MP camera. Unfortunately that’s about it, and there seems to be more negative points from the BGR crew than positive.

2. Phone Arena <<Click<<


Phone Arena’s review gives explores the N97 much more, evaluating more than the key features BGR did.

Via Boy Genius Report and Phone Arena


Another Rant and Ramblings

The Nokia N97 is sort of a step in the right direction from Nokia.

ds5r984zhx2f6q4ehjepvizlr5031t-orgIf each feature had a threshold level of “good” to be reached, the N97 would meet it. So, had the N97 been viewed as a phone in itself without experience of other handsets, it would have been hailed as a fantastic handset.


  • the 3.5″ screen would have been great – had Samsung not shown us what the standard should be with the 3.7″ i8910
  • The processor and RAM may have been just fine – again, had Samsung not shown that we should really expect 600MHz and 256MB RAM.
  • The interface would have been OK – had we never have seen iPhone or Pre
  • The camera would have been fine, had we not seen the N82 with Xenon or the Satio with 12mp & Xenon
  • etc

This maybe good enough, if Nokia really did intend on making the N97 for mass market success. But then, that asking price crushes that notion, leading you to expect a lot more for your pound/dollar/local currency.


Unlike, say, the 5800, which was being compared to the likes of the iPhone – the 5800 was a small fraction of the cost of the competition that you could forgive it’s shortcomings. However, the N97 is very close to the prices of its high end colleagues, thus, little room for excuses about the N97’s deficiency when similar priced devices are delivering better.

If I’m going to spend, say,  £500 on a phone, I want to know that

  • it’s a damn amazing phone
  • it’s the best (for features I’m looking for) I can get for that price and that
  • there are no better alternatives available other than that phone.
  • (Great marketing however, can be used to effectively blind the general public into only knowing about your device)

In terms of hardware, it feels like the N97 made too many compromises (at least to impress reviewers), particularly being the “FLAGSHIP”. There is always something seemingly better in each aspect.  But what kills it more is the UI. If the N97 hypothetically had Andoid, or WebOS, or iPhone OS 3.0 experience, you could overlook much of the hardware, because the OS makes the phone just so easy to use. At the moment, it’s like Symbian is a limb gone gangrene and just needs to be amputated for the sake of the whole body.

Current contract prices with the N97 look promising, with overall total ownership cost totalling £527.11. If the N97 drops down in price quickly over the next few months after its release, it may just have the right recipe for mass market success.


Best UK deal for the N97 so far, found by reader, JoeL

As aforementioned, if each feature had a threshold level of “good” to be reached, the N97 would meet it (in some instances, surpass it). Additionally, the average consumer is still not as aware of the competition as they should be, and the wealth of features the N97 has maybe enough to wow them into buying it. That, coupled with an excellent price (and aggressive advertising) maybe just want the N97 needs to reach those expected 10 million in sales.

Whilst nothing can be done now about the N97, we can only wait and hope that future Nokia flagships do not succumb again to too many compromises. Nokia needs to deliver a real flagship that demonstrates the best of everything Nokia can offer, as well as raising the bar for all other manufacturers to reach, in hardware, software and services. No more step backs, leaving great features you’ve once had before, leaving us to watch other manufacturers pick up that feature you’ve taken out.


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Category: 5th Edition, Nokia, Nseries, Rant, Reviews, S60, Symbian

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]