Nokia N97 Mini review

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

Nokia N97 Mini
The N97 Mini is a slightly cut-down version of the full-blown N97, but it's still a winner

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nokia n97 mini

The N97 Mini may share much of the heavyweight gadgetry of its N97 big brother, but Nokia has scaled down the power available, supplying the N97 Mini with a 1200mAh battery pack rather than the 1500mAh one included with the N97.

Consequently, Nokia quotes more modest battery life estimates for this model - 310 hours on standby or 4 hours of talktime in 3G network coverage (compared to 6 hours talktime or 400 hours standby on the N97).

nokia n97 mini

The actual amount you get will, in practice, vary from user to user, depending how they use the phone and how much certain power-hungry features (Wi-Fi, GPS, browsing, video watching, and so on) are employed. In our tests, we usually got 1 to 2 days of power between usage, which was adequate if not exceptional for this type of handset.


A comprehensive set of organiser tools and apps are embedded on the N97 Mini, in typical S60 fashion. The phone's Office folder includes Quickoffice document viewing software, and an Adobe PDF viewer.

nokia n97 mini

You might have expected that, with such a text-friendly QWERTY keyboard-packing device, Nokia might have incorporated the facility to edit or create new documents in Quickoffice, but sadly that's not the case - you'll have to subscribe to upgrade the Word, Excel and PowerPoint document reader to do that.

Convertor, calculator and Active Notes are included too, plus a Dictionary that provides translations and speaks words.

Naturally, extensive calendar and contacts functions are to hand, which are tweaked for the touchscreen environment, a few buttons adding to the calendar's easy usability.

A notes function and a voice recorder are onboard too, plus there's a text to voice message reader for reading out texts and other messages. Various clock and alarm functions are intuitively accessible using the touch interface and widgets, while a Search facility usefully enables users to tap in searches to hunt either online or within the handset itself.


The N97 Mini is a tri-band WCDMA handset (900/1900/2100MHz) with HSDPA support for data download connectivity at up to 3.6Mbps (though, of course, real life rates will be considerably slower than this maximum figure). In non-3G coverage areas, quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) ensures connections with GPRS/EDGE.

nokia n97 mini

WLAN (IEEE 802.11b/g) provides high-speed data connectivity on home Wi-Fi hubs, office networks or public hotspots; it's reliable and does a good job at maintaining speedy data connections.

A WLAN wizard helps users set up connections, though we felt the process could be made easier and more intuitive for novices, particularly for secure networks where guidance from the phone is sparse.

Bluetooth 2.0 is supported on the handset, and a TV-out facility is available (though no lead is provided in-box). A USB cable is supplied, however, so you can hook it up to a PC for syncing or transferring content, either via the supplied Ovi Suite software or in mass storage mode.

Nokia's Ovi Suite software enables users to sync and manage media between their handset and PC (there's no version for Mac). Contacts, calendars, notes and media can be synchronised easily or backed up, and a Sync on Ovi facility enables you to back up information online.


As with the N97, satellite-based location finding, route-mapping and location serarching is possible using the onboard A-GPS technology and Nokia's Maps software. Maps of the UK and Ireland are pre-loaded though you can update these if you're heading abroad.

The A-GPS system was remarkably fast to lock onto satellites and determine our precise position, even in places without particularly a good view of the sky and from our office. It responded quickly to changing positions, and the onboard compass feature mean the map view you get can switch orientation quickly to reflect where you're looking as you alter your position.

nokia n97 mini

This version of Nokia's Maps software has been upgraded for toucscreen usability and, with mapping information pre-loaded, responds quickly when reloading. Onscreen '+' and '-' zoom icons work almost instantly in adjusting the map, while a search tool provides a quick way of looking up places or addresses.

The quality of the mapping is excellent, and searches worked effectively and quickly, and routes appeared to be efficiently planned for walking or driving. Maps can be viewed in 2D, 3D or satellite images can be used.

In addition to the useful standard Maps facilities, full satellite navigation with turn-by-turn voice guidance is possible, too - though this is initially only offered as a 10-day trial, after which you can subscribe to the sat nav service on a daily, monthly or annual basis. Additional licences can be bought to enhance the service further, including city guides and live travel information.

nokia n97 mini

Among the other additional tools and applications are a Boingo Wi-Fi hotspot access application and JoikuSpot tethering software and Vlingo voice operation software for controlling the phone. An over the air software auto update app is also included.

There are plenty of other bits of functionality to be found elsewhere too. A remote locking facility, for instance, enables you to lock the handset if it goes missing by sending a pre-determined text message to the phone.

A turning control sensor function also enables you to silence incoming calls or send alarms to snooze by just turning over the phone. It's worth exploring the menus, as the supplied manual certainly doesn't cover it all.