Nokia N97 versus the 5800 XpressMusic

Well, TechRadar got a little treat this year at CES, with Nokia deciding that it would not only showcase the new flagship N97, but it would do so next to the recently released Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic... TechRadar spied a comparison piece coming up.

So, let battle commence. Has Nokia cannibalised its first major touchscreen device already? Or has it not managed to scale the not-so-high heights attained by the Tube?

Good and bad news

Well, there's good and bad news, and we should probably start with the latter. The operating system, the S60 5th edition, is still present on the N97, which means another good amount of laggy and possibly crashing programs, unless the company invests a huge amount of time developing the system before the N97's release in a few months.

The good news is Nokia has quickly jumped on the touchscreen bandwagon, and has surpassed its efforts of only a few months back by including all the things that you;ve read long and hard about since its announcement in December.

The QWERTY keyboard is probably the best addition to the party (unless you're desperately in love with storage, in which case the 48GB possible by mixing the 32GB on board with a 16GB microSD) and works very, very well.


Having tested a whole host of mobile QWERTY keyboards, including the recent Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 and the T-Mobile G1, this is easily the best of the modern bunch, with almost zero finger slippage. The touchscreen keyboard works pretty well too, where the Tube's effort is prone to an annoying level of inaccuracy.

The slide out design allows the screen to sit at a very nice 35 degree angle, so users can watch video without the need for a stand, such as the one seen in the Nokia N96, which we felt was a bit too high.

The N97 also has a 5MP camera with dual LED flash, just like that in previous N-series handsets, which thoroughly owns the 3.2MP single LED effort from the Tube.

Obviously the Tube will eventually have the added bonus of the Comes with Music service (despite not launching with it later this month), so it wins in this category... oh, wait, no the N97 is apparently going to have a CwM variant as well. So no dice there, sorry 5800 XpressMusic.


In fact, there are relatively few things that the Tube has over the N97, apart from being smaller: Nokia 5800 has compact size of 111 X 51.7 X 15.5 mm while N97 has a dimension of 117.2 x 55.3 x 17-ish mm.

Of course, you could look at the price... the Tube will cost around half the price of the N97, at £250 compared to nearly £500, but even that difference doesn't seem to be enough to make you plump for one over the other.

The N97 is a faster, better designed and more responsive unit that feels more tuned for media... little touches like the ability to move different application panels around the front screen just add icing to the cake.

So if you're into paying less for your phone and must have a Nokia touchscreen, then by all means buy the Tube. But it's hard not to feel that waiting a few more months and saving up a bit for the N97 will make for a better phone life over the one or two years you end up with the handset.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.