Nokia N97 review

Nokia returns to form with a high end smartphone/ mini UMPC

The Nokia N97
The Nokia N97

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Much has been made of Nokia's switch to Ovi Suite, and it seems with good reason as the new software gives you so much more than before. We're talking separate music, maps, photo viewers and even a home streaming tool to allow you to make the most of your Nokia phone.

The nokia n97

The software took nearly 35 minutes to download and install all the components (that's despite doing it off the bundled CD) and the first thing we did was to launch the Home Media Server.

We couldn't make it connect to anything, as all it wanted to do was continually eat up all our PC's memory and slow everything down, so we were gutted we never got to play with that properly and in the end happy that we hadn't burnt out the processor, such was the strain it appeared to put on our Windows Vista machine.

The nokia n97

The Ovi Suite was a lot more intuitive than previous efforts, encouraging us to sync across all our media, back up contacts and even throw it all online to make it safe forever as Nokia tries to integrate all its services.

We found no great urge to do so however thanks to a lifetime of ignoring bundled phone software, but Nokia's integrated approach certainly made it a lot more appealing.

The connections on the phone are varied and plentiful, with HSDPA super fast internet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, assisted GPS and the previously mentioned FM transmitter all present and correct.

The GPS was probably the best of the lot, taking just 20 seconds to initialise and find us while walking down Piccadilly Circus, where many phones have simply given up before thanks to the plethora of tall buildings and overhanging trees, although it was less successful when trying to do so on a train.

The nokia n97

The 3G was probably the worst of all the connections, as it frequently dropped out on us despite the signal generally being very strong.

What was more annoying was the insistence on using GPRS connection when losing 3G but then moving back into its signal; the phone wouldn't find the super fast frequency unless specifically told to, even though it should be surely automatic.

The other connections (especially Wi-Fi) were fast and easy to set up, and on that basis deserve full marks for the Nokia N97.

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.