Last month I got my N97 and I decided that I would spend sometime using it before reviewing it. Especially considering how Symbian v5 isn’t the really most friendly operating system I have seen. Symbian v5 does a decent job of being a finger friendly app and I haven't ever used the Stylus that came along with it.
Its not very easy to use your N97 if you’re a Symbian Newbie. Few items(i.e. Inside some applications) you tend to use double click, whereas in other apps you use a single click. That isn’t user friendly at all. You cannot blame the multitude of menus and options considering how powerful Nokia phones are. But if you know how to customize a menu, then an N97 is as good, if not better than any phone.Ease of use would have been 4, if you’re used to Symbian operating system phones or else its 2/5.
Style and Design are top notch. Everything is built solidly. The slider is more than enough to tell the world that you have an N97 and its reassuring click would tell you that its going to last a century. It looks more like a Mini Netbook than a mobile phone.
There’s a range of features, starting from the big and bright screen to the lovely 5MP camera. My favourite features would have to be the FM transmitter which lets you beam ur music to your car radio or any other FM player and the full qwerty keyboard. Now I’ve seen a lot of reviews which complain about the placement of the keys. But if you ask me, the qwerty keyboard is one of the best layouts I’ve come across. You use the thumb for your spacebar, don’t you? The N97 just brought that feature to your mobile, by moving it closer to your thumb. Messaging, Chat and email are a pleasure with the Qwerty keyboard. I’ve seen 100s of reviews which gripe about the video support of an N97. I agree partially. There is no out of the box support for avi files. But get an application (try Smart movie player) and you can play your divx files in full detail on that awesome screen.32 GB of memory should be enough for loads of your movies, and lot more of your music. It comes with a 3.5 headphone jack that lets you use any headphone (unlike the E series).
The widgets do what they are supposed to do and are quite useful, especially if you like social networking online, just like me. The Facebook application is quite useful and if you get gravity for twitter(It’s work every cent), then its the best connected device. The inbuilt nokia mail is not good enough. Download Nokia messaging push email from http://email.nokia.com with full html support. For internet, download the free Opera 5 mini, which makes browsing a pleasure on the big N97 screen.
Audio clarity gets 3/5. The reception is excellent, just like any other Nokia phone. But the speakers aren’t as good as the E71. Even the E66’s sound clarity wasn’t as good as the E71. Something Nokia could pay more attention to. But the reception is gr8, no matter where you are. The sound is good enough compared to other phones, but not as good as the E71. The speakers are loud and clear when its a movie you're watching though..
Reliability isn’t too much fo a problem, considering Nokia support is pretty strong, and that their hardware is one their true strengths. In fact the hardware is better than the symbian platform, which means that you can always get better applications and continue to break new ground with the N97. Which is something I love about the phone. Which other phone grows up everyday?Its not a perfect phone, and not exactly the best phone Nokia has come out with. But its one of the best feature enabled devices I’ve come across in a long while. The E71 does everything well, but lacks a touch screen, has a smaller screen and keyboard. The new OS update to the N97 promises Kinetic scrolling which is bound to make the touchscreen more receptive. The N97 is not an Apple Mac or a windows PC. Its more like a powerful Linux machine which needs customization to reach its true potential. Being a touch phone has its disadvantages. You get compared to the Iphone, and that's really bad. No way the N97 would win. If I weren't such a big fan of the Symbian OS, I'd go for the Iphone.