The Nokia N97 seems like its been a long time coming, but the first white review unit has dropped onto PhoneMag’s desk. Packing US-spec 3G HSDPA, the NAM N97 is, by now, visually very familiar, with its large 3.5-inch 640 x 360 resistive touchscreen, tilt-and-slide hinge and full QWERTY keyboard. After the cut, check out our N97 first-impressions, plus the unboxing video and a full hands-on gallery.
Specification highlights include a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with Carl Zeiss optics, 32GB of storage, A-GPS and Bluetooth. There’s also WiFi b/g and USB 2.0 connectivity, plus both an FM radio and FM transmitter for piping your audio through a car stereo. Up front, controls are minimal, though there’s a dedicated camera shutter button, and the N97 also supports TV out and microSD cards up to 16GB.
The display is bright and clear, but Nokia’s insistence on resistive rather than capacitive touch technology does make it less responsive than, say, that of the iPhone or Palm Pre. S60 5th edition is also a little frustrating in how it handles touch, for instance in requiring two presses – one to select, one to actually activate – controls such as app shortcuts. Meanwhile the QWERTY buttons suffer a little from their shallow depth, lacking the tactile feel you’d get on a BlackBerry for instance. The lined-up layout may be easy on the eye, but it makes hunt-and-peck typing tricker than a more traditional offset arrangement.
It’s early days with the software possibilities, but Nokia have high expectations both for their out-of-the-box app experience and for future changes as third-party developers start to release more apps through their Ovi distribution platform. Preloaded there are widgets for Facebook, AccuWeather and others, which have homescreen plugins for at-a-glance information; the N97 also supports various types of email and IM, with the latest news being upfront on the homescreen.
Our first impression of the Nokia N97 is that it’s a more serious, business-like device than, say, the Palm Pre or iPhone, though the company themselves are at pains to highlight its entertainment and multimedia functionality. We’ll cover all of that in our full review; until then, enjoy the unboxing video and gallery below.
Nokia N97 unboxing video: