Nokia N97 Mini review

Slick version of Nokia flagship phone arrives to upstage its big brother

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nokia n97 mini

The Nokia N97 Mini has plenty of smartphone firepower, and scaling down the design from the original N97 has made this a leaner and more attractive smartphone to carry around in your pocket.

The reduction in screen size and onboard flash memory are a shame, but the lack of bulk isn't. We prefer the reworked keyboard on this model, too, which is a very usable QWERTY effort. The N97 Mini ticks plenty of boxes for features, with its Wi-Fi and HSDPA connectivity, A-GPS, decent quality camera and a high-grade music player audio performance.

Smartphones are no longer just about volume of features, though, and Nokia's S60 5th Edition platform doesn't match up to the easy usability of the iPhone and Android touch control platforms.

It still feels and acts very much like previous S60 UIs for touch control rather than an innovative new system. As such, it may be easy to get to grips with and familiar for existing Nokia smartphone users, but it's hardly a cutting-edge touch control interface.

We liked:

The Nokia N97 Mini has stacks of attractive features and functions. Its connectivity options include Wi-Fi and HSDPA, while A-GPS gadgetry and Maps software are a useful in-pocket tool. Nokia has stocked up the online-based applications too, so there's plenty of out of the box stuff to play with. The home screen widgets idea also works well.

That QWERTY keyboard, though, is a very welcome addition for those who use their smartphones to do plenty of typing. It's comfortable and accurate to use and really adds to the fine messaging capabilities. And we like the tilt of the screen for viewability when the keyboard's slid out.

The music player puts in an impressive audio performance too and we liked the earphones supplied - plus there's a 3.5mm standard headphone socket in situ. Internal storage of 8GB is very welcome, even if it is less than the original N97's 32GB.

The 5-megapixel camera was good enough too, with a simply arranged user interface control system.
We also really admired the industrial-strength build quality, with no flimsiness in the bodywork.

We disliked:

It's not necessarily difficult to use, it's just that the S60 5th Edition user interface feels much like a straightforward touch version of previous S60 incarnations, so doesn't have the fluidity and easy usability - and freshness - of other rival designed-from-the-ground-up smartphone platforms. It does the job for operating the phone, and the resistive type screen is fine for that sort of display. But it doesn't feel that touch control has been fully utilised to open up the possibilities of the mobile user experience. Its traditional S60 phone conventions may, however, appeal to Nokia smartphone fans who want a familiar experience on a touchscreen device...

Though a Mini version of the N97, it's still no slimline touchscreen device - though its fine slider keyboard is an acceptable excuse.

Battery life has taken a hit from the original N97, with a smaller capacity pack included; with so many features to play with, that may be a handicap for some heavy users.

A small niggle is the balance of the phone when typing on a desk - we felt it could have easily been solved. And with this decent QWERTY keyboard we'd have liked to be able to edit or create documents out of the box rather than having to upgrade Quickoffice.


The Nokia N97 Mini is a decent device with plenty of features going for it, a good quality performance and build, and a very usable QWERTY keyboard to complement its hefty amount of onboard functionality. The 'Mini' label hasn't shaved a huge amount off the price tag though - it's £429 SIM-free at launch, with the N97 currently £449.

Despite scaling down some features, however, the N97 Mini is possibly more attractive as a pocket QWERTY-packing smartphone handset than its N97 big brother. Its familiar S60 user interface may get the vote from Nokia smartphone fans, too - though it lacks the pizzazz of some of its touchscreen rivals.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Wireless LANYes
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSCSD, HSDPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourCherry Black
Operating SystemSymbian
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time7.17 Hour
Product ModelN97 mini
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution640 x 360
Weight (Approximate)138 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Processor ManufacturerARM
Operating System VersionSymbian OS 9.2
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
Height113 mm
Width52.5 mm
Depth14.2 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time320 Hour
Product NameN97 Mini Smartphone (Unlocked)
Processor Speed434 MHz
Processor TypeARM11
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part Number002N0F7
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The sleek Nokia N97 mini integrates the web into your life and seamlessly connects you to your friends and favorite online services. Nokia N97 mini: connect to your friends and favorite online services and access rich web content with just a touch. The Nokia N97 mini features a customizable home screen, tilting touch display, full QWERTY keyboard, and 5-megapixel digital camera.