Nokia N97 review

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

The Nokia N97
The Nokia N97

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Obviously with a 32GB internal memory, media is going to figure heavily on this phone, and it certainly does through photo, video and audio playback all on offer, as well as the usual sound recording options.

What is more confusing is how underpowered each one of these options is when used to the full extent we've come to expect thanks to great handsets from the likes of HTC, Apple and Samsung.

The nokia n97

The video player, for instance, doesn't play AVI files, which means most of our video collection is suddenly obsolete. An extensive search around the nascent Ovi Store found no solution yet (although it obviously is very early days) so that means the lovely widescreen display is going to be getting very little video use.

The MP3 player is admittedly fine, cranking out all the tunes we threw at it (DRM-free of course, but that's surely to be expected). However we were promised a Comes with Music variant of the N97 and with no such thing in sight, the music player just seems a little too bog standard, although the addition of the homescreen widget does help a lot.

The nokia n97

Similarly, the photo browser is a nightmare when you're trying to track down a photo that wasn't taken with the camera or in the same folder, with you being forced through the clumsy file browser to find where your ported snaps are being held prisoner.

However, this time the Ovi Store did give us a new photo browser, and totally unsurprisingly you could look at every photo on the phone in one swoop along an image wall.

We're a little disappointed that Nokia hasn't managed to sort out easy photo viewing in the box by now on its S60 handsets, having spent hours waiting and waiting for thumbnails to load on previous handsets.

We were a little bit more excited to find a YouTube icon in the applications menu, as tailored players are generally excellent on handsets. But once again we were disappointed that it was nothing more than a link to YouTube Mobile with an automatic full screen version, which was in itself grainy and underwhelming.

The nokia n97

Given the potential of this handset (and to be fair, it does have a great audio output even through the bundled headphones) we were hoping for a lot more on the media front and were left sorely disappointed.

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.