Nokia N97 Mini (NXX/N97i/N97 Lite?) coming Q4 2009?

| August 2, 2009 | 4 Replies

Back in mid-June, rumours had started to trickle around about the “N97 Mini” coming to our shores soon via Vodafone. No images or details were given, except that it was apparently going to be “competitively priced” and could be available later this year.

Recently, photos have been circulating of that supposed N97 Mini, yet it seems no one is either sure if they’re real or what the exact specifications are.


N97 Mini features the same slick flick-tilt-slide of the N97; this feature has never failed to impress friends/family, particularly when they don’t know about that hidden keyboard and then suddenly discover it, “ooh, it looks like a tiny laptop!“. Their only concern was the size and the price – May have been deal breakers for other potential N97 owners, possibly something the N97 mini will fix?


Image from via engadget

This device is only fractionally smaller than the original N97 itself, but with smaller display, missing D-Pad, an E-series like back and a missing lens cover.

N97 Mini Specifications.

Official full specification is unknown.



Gleaned from the specs bar, the specification of the N97 Mini/NXX is pretty much the same as the N97.

  • Slide/Tilt form factor (Same as N97)
  • 8GB internal memory (N97 has 32GB)
  • 5MP Auto Focus Carl Zeiss Lens, no lens cover (N97 has possibly same 5MP camera, but with lens cover)
  • nHD 3.2″ touch screen (N97 has nHD – (640×360), but at 3.5″)
  • A-GPS (Same as N97)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 (Same as N97)
  • 3G HSDPA (Same as N97)
  • USB 2.0 (Same as N97)
  • FM RDS  (Same as N97)
  • QWERTY keyboard (N97 has QWERTY keyboard also, but different arrangement)
  • Battery capacity unconfirmed (N97 has 1500 mAh)
  • Compass feature unconfirmed(N97 has compass)
  • Micro SD slot unconfirmed (N97 has microSD slot for expansion under the battery cover)
  • CPU unconfirmed (N97 has single CPU 434Mhz Arm 11)
  • RAM unconfirmed (N97 has 128MB RAM, around 40MB at startup)
  • OS unconfirmed – (possibly still Symbian S60 5th Edition like N97)

If you’re considering whether to either get the N97 or the N97 Mini, the biggest deciding factor could be whether the N97 Mini will have a faster CPU and more RAM than current N97.

It’s not just a numbers game – faster CPU will give the device legs to run for the long term, i.e. 434Mhz may be enough for the N97 when it was released, but what about several months down the line when there are more resource intensive applications?e.g. for when it can be upgraded to Symbian^2?

Additionally, for true multitasking, we need adequate amounts of RAM. It’s no good having to manually close one app just to run a new one. Let users close the apps in their own time, not as a RAM limitation

Just what is the “N97 mini” trying to be?

  • A smaller N97? Current N97 may be a tad large for some.
  • A cheaper N97? QWERTY Nseries for the masses? Smaller screen, “only” 8GB mass memory
  • An improved N97? Fix previous hardware niggles, capacitive display, faster CPU, more RAM, better speakers?

Smaller Screen, no D-Pad, no lens cover.

The move from 3.5″ to 3.2″ has not given the “N97 Mini” the reduction the rumoured name implies. Side to side, they look pretty identical, with any actual size loss requiring scrutiny with a ruler. (Width maybe slightly more obvious and overall, the accumulated reduction may prove a more comfortable fit in the hand)

n97 side

image via

Unless the “N97 mini” is sporting a capacitive display, the reduction in screen size indicates an attempt to cut down on production cost. In terms of screen usability, the move “down” to 3.2 may not be too terrible. The 5800 has an identical size, and the Palm Pre seems to have an acceptable 3.1″ touch display. If Nokia were looking to just condense the N97, they could have kept the 3.5″ screen but scraped off some space wastage left and right of the screen, removed the D-Pad and centred the QWERTY (and thus spacebar too). Check out this crude MS-Paint job below.

Nokia n97iIn addition to a smaller screen, the “mini” also has lost the D-pad and lens cover. On this instance, such removal might actually have been necessary.

  • D-pad was never taken advantage of in the N97, (the only real use could have been in gaming), in every other situation, having to use the D-Pad hindered the progress of the touch UI. e.g. for precision web browsing, as fingers often wrongly clicked links. However, we do still get a more traditional 4-button arrow keys placed on the right hand side.
  • Lens Cover – usually I would never condone removal of one, but too many N97 users have reported self harming/self-scratching N97 lens covers so this may provide a solution for them. Even if it never scratched one single N97, that slide mechanism needed improvement anyway, as it looses it’s springiness as it gathers dust, eventually becoming a pain to open/close. There are plenty of camera phones without lens covers, so this probably won’t even be considered as missing. Anything other than a complete alteration to the lens cover would have been inadequate.

On another note, no lens cover = torch app becomes easier to use. Also, with the Dual LED moved further away from the lens, you should be less likely to see light bleeding washing out your low light pictures.

Keyboard Rearrangement

The culprit for why the N97 Mini is still long, despite having a smaller screen is the QWERTY keyboard. Although the Mini does away with the D-Pad, it doesn’t just shift the remaining QWERTY to the left. Instead of having 11 keys on a row, now there’s 13. (38 buttons in total, compared to 34 in the original N97)

  • The D-Pad becomes traditional arrow keys, placed on the right for more convenient use with just your right hand.
  • Number shift key has moved to the left
  • Symbols key moved to the left
  • An additional dedicated buttons for full stop. Apostrophe and comma have been also separated! They should have never been put on the same button in the original N97 in the first place!
  • Certain secondary function symbols have been moved around, e.g. “:” is now with “.” instead of K. Quotation marks are with L instead of B, etc.

N97i keyboard

Hopefully, these keys have much better tactile feedback than what many N97 users are reporting. Although some fault maybe due to poor batches (black N97 perhaps better or Finland made N97 better?), we need to know the keys have been pressed. Right now, the only solution for me is to have keypad tones turned on – something I’ve always turned off in every other phone I have ever owned.


The N97 mini is not at all what I had imagined. I thought the next iteration of the N97 bloodline would either have been the keyboardless, faster, slimmer N97 with same 3.5″ screen, same internal features, possibly with xenon flash and improved camera, as seen in a video interview with Nokia Designer Axel Meyer.


Nokia and touch UI fully realised?


Super Slim N97, hehe.

Perhaps the mini isn’t so much a successor, but a quick fix. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised really. We all guessed that Nokia would potentially release an “i” version (or Mini in this case), which basically attempts to address issues that should have been sorted out in the first place. Maybe it was a good idea to have smaller screen/less mass memory so it isn’t completely superior to the original N97.

When will it be officially announced – Nokia World in Sept 2nd 09 maybe the right timing. Announce and release the mini early and ride the media attention created for the N97.

For Nokia’s sake, I hope this is one of those interim solutions to maintain buzz on Nokia whilst they prepare something insanely good for 2010. Revved up N900/Rover anyone?

Image via (I can’t seem to find the actual post)


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Category: 5th Edition, Nokia, Nseries, Rant, Rumours, S60, Versus, Video

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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]