Archive for January, 2010

>The Nokia Human Research Department – Noka N97 Mini

January 21, 2010


Over the summer, I tore myself away from my Blackberry, and purchased a brand new N97 and used it as my primary smartphone for several months. My tweets (@Crazyphoneguy) from July 2008 onward bear testimony to how much I enjoyed the N97.
Dan Silver (@dandandan) graciously thought of me and surprised me on a cold December night by bringing me a N97 Mini along with a Mexican Mariachi band. If you don’t believe me check out the video:

I thought it an odd coincidence that WOM World thought of me because I had recently sold my white N97. It wasn’t due to my falling out of love with the phone, but more pedestrian belt-tightening economic reasons. I couldn’t justify two AT&T data plans, and decided to keep my Blackberry which is my lifeline to work. If I can also come clean, I’ve also become somewhat of a Crackberry addict knowing full well the power and flexibility of the Symbian platform. That being said, I still have much to say about the N97 Mini. It is, to me the little brother to the N97, although most people will probably say it is an improvement.

When I talk about the N97 Mini, I feel I am talking about the N97 as well. The N97 Mini is an improved lower cost N97 with less onboard storage memory (8G versus 32G). It has a smaller screen, and has a more awesome keyboard. It took some time, but I did eventually get used to the keyboard on my White N97. The offset space bar drove me up the wall in the beginning, but I did get used to it. The typing experience on the N97 Mini is considerably improved, but it still isn’t as good as the typing experience on a phone like the Touch Pro 2 or even the Blackberry 9000 aka the Bold.

Personal Video Player

This is one area where both the N97 and the N97 mini shines. When I sing the praises of the N97 as a personal video player, I am doing the same for the N97 Mini. I was a huge fan of the video on demand offerings of I was able to purchase video content from Amazon, and sync it to my N97. Case in point, I purchased the Showtime series “Dexter”. The ample memory allowed me to store three seasons of Dexter on my N97, along with Spiderman 2, Underworld, etc. with plenty of memory left over. The resolution on the N97 and N97 Mini is a startingly 640 by 360. I know it’s juvenile, but yes, Apple can suck it in this department. Video playback was smooth and sharp. Watching full length movies or television programs on my N97 and N97 Mini was truly joyous.

I wasn’t blown away by the email functionality on the N97s. Out of the box I found setting up email to be a pain. Also, I found I couldn’t store a lot of emails on my phone because it would eat into available RAM memory. This really frustrated me. I wanted the ability to store days or weeks of emails on my smartphone. Blackberries can handle this. My N97 could not. You can get push email with Nokia Messenger or Seven. There’s also Emoze and Profimail. Profimail is suppose to be a third-party email app with all the bells and whistles but I had to pay for it. Somehow, I didn’t like the idea that I had to shell out more money to pay for a better email experience after paying close to $750 for a brand new unlocked N97. I expected more from the email functionality on the phone out of the box.

Camera/Video Capture
This was my second favorite feature of both the N97 and N97 Mini. Do you know Steve Litchfield from the Phones Show, a UK based podcast about smartphones? He says in one of his episodes that with his Nokia phone (in his example the N82), that he doesn’t own or need a camera. I found myself feeling the way. I was on vacation last fall in Malaysia. I did not bring a camera. My N97 was my camera and my camcorder. I captured beautiful sharp still images, and took reasonable videos. I felt I could go head-to-head with any point and shoot camera. Certainly, I could capture still images just as good as any disposable cardboard cameras you could find in a drug store.

(To be Continued)