The humble mobile phone has, since the basic early years, developed into a more multi-functional tool than anyone could have imagined; from texting on to cameras, and then on to combining phones with MP3 players and radios. The most recent, and by no means the final step of this evolution has been to give mobile phones usable and efficient internet access whilst on the move.
These “mobile computers” have come more and more to the forefront of the mobile market, and the newest iteration of this from Nokia has been causing many waves. Nokia, ever since they began producing phones, have had a reputation for superlative build quality, modern styling and for being as easy as possible to use. Due in part to the success of their N96 model, the anticipation that is presaging the arrival of the N97 has been building to fever pitch and, even after a cursory look, it is easy to see why.
At first look it is easy to see that the Nokia N97 is special – I mean, it just looks it. Unless you are a self-confessed gadget freak (such as myself), it can be hard to see the sort of magic I do when I see it. It has effortlessly clean lines, with simple, understated buttons, and has a certain je ne sais quoi that just makes it ooze class. Although slightly bigger than the iPhone, with dimensions of 15.9mm deep by 55.3mm wide by 117.2mm tall when in its normal position, its size is justified due to the plethora of functions it offers.
The body of the phone is dominated by the 3.5 inch touchscreen, with its touch sensitive call buttons. The phone also features a hidden QWERTY keyboard, which slides out of the side of the phone when needed. Now, there is often much criticism of the type of full keyboards that are used as the input method for these “mini-PCs”, but in this case Nokia appear to have got it right, with well spaced and relatively easy-to-use keys and a D-pad for easier menu navigation. In fact, I dare say that only the most ham-fisted should find it impossible to use. We finish off our tour of the model at the top, where there is the headphone jack and the power button.
So, what does the N97 offer in terms of functions and features? Well first to be mentioned is the built-in camera that is in the phone. It is a 5 megapixel model with Carl Zeiss integrated optics and a dual LED flash. This is a top class camera with which you should be able to take brilliant photos, and the resolution and sheer number of editing options is also very impressive. Whilst speaking of capturing images, it would be worthwhile to mention the video capturing function too. The video capture is of DVD quality and, because of the side-on nature of the touch screen, can be viewed in 16:9 video ratio. Of course, video capture also has many different editing options too.
The N97 also has a mammoth internal memory for the storage of photos, video or music. There is 32GB of storage within the phone, and there is also a Micro SD slot so that external digital storage cards can be added so that you can have more storage and transfer data more easily. The phone also has a built-in music player, which supports most of the popular music file formats, including MP3, and has the music display plug-in Playlist. Also bundled with the musical side of the features is an FM radio.
The phone runs through the Symbion operating system, which links in with the keyboard and touchscreen to operate the main functions. There is, of course, a web browser, and there is both WiFi and HSDPA capability. In with the current craze for “apps”, more commonly known in non-abbreviated English as “applications”, are useful tools such as Conference Calling, Document Viewer and GPS navigation, among others. Not to forget, you also get the standard elements a phone provides, calls, texts and multimedia messaging all being present and correct on the N97.
One last very cool and interesting function is the ‘Social Location’ tool, which uses the built-in GPS to automatically update any of your social networking sites with your location. It is a neat little touch which just emphasises how cool and functional the N97 is.
So, in short, the Nokia N97 might just be the ultimate smartphone or mobile computer, with a comprehensive set of excellent features encased in a stylish and easy to use body. After looking at the N97, I can now say I understand the hype surrounding this phone and will certainly be looking out for a concrete release date.