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Nokia N97 Mini – Review

Nokia N97 Mini

Bigger is better but when it comes to Nokia N97 Mini smaller looks even better. Yes agreed that the mobile screens are getting bigger and bigger but mini manages to catch your eyeballs amidst a crowd of fat screens thanks to neat packaging.

Let’s fiddle further and check the good, bad and ugly of the mobile phone.

Many good things in life come in small size. This is what Nokia planned in mind to counter its rivals like Sony who are making the eyeballs wide with large screens like we see in Xperia model. When Nokia launched the communicator series years back it was love at first sight for me. I simply adored the look and feel of the phone and the keyboard that gave me a feel of a laptop in my packet. Nokia mini brought back the memories when I first glanced it.

When compared to the original N97, the mini is marginally smaller shedding a little bit of flab but not drastically. At 3.2 inch the screen is just .3 inch less than the elder brother. So don’t mistake it to be a real dwarf.

The slide-out full QWERTY keyboard with a tilting screen sits pretty and the key pad spacing gives you confidence at first look and proves its mettle when you key in. One disadvantage of the earlier communicator series was the slide-out keyboard which hanged on a thin strip with the screen. It caused serious problems more than often but the N97 mini like its sibling is attached more strongly with a thick molded attaching piece.

The vital stats:

  • 8 GB internal flash memory
  • Symbian S60 5th Edition platform
  • It supports High speed HSDPA mobile data. So it handles 3G and also GPRS/EDGE.
  • Bluetooth & Wi-Fi connectivity as well as a TV out.
  • Armed with a 5 mega pixel camera with a Carl-Zeiss optics
  • 3.2 inch wide resistive touch screen with 640 * 360 pixels , 16.7 million colors
  • Weighs 138 gm
  • Slide-out full QWERTY with 38 keys
  • Free GPS navigation.

Nokia brands N97 mini as an all-in-one phone for your social networking needs as well as business purpose combined with rich multimedia features. Well but it does has a tough competition but still manages well in many fronts.

Don’t expect the feather touch response that you have felt in Iphone. The mini like most other normal touchscreens uses receptive technology which is decent enough and way better than the ones Nokia packed in Xpress music series. But the average touchscreen is compensated by a superb key pad. The key pad is very user friendly and feels nice on the fingers. If you are a heavy metal texting guy you will love the handy keypad, even otherwise a touchscreen freak will enjoy the big touch text screen it comes with.

Mini comes with an 8GB built-in memory which is expandable upto 16 GB which is half of some of the competitor’s 32 GB but still more than enough for most users. Nokia has stripped down the lens cover from the 5 mega pixel camera. Clicking a picture is quiet easy thanks to the side camera button and a simple neat interface. The images are good enough for the camera phone of its kind and uploading the pictures to internet is quiet an easy task.

Due to the tilted screen when the keyboard is out, watching a movie or video is great when the mobile is kept on a desktop or on your lap.  Rest of the video and audio capabilities follows the familiar Nokia standards. The audio quality is good and the mini handles FM radios too.

Like most other recent phones, you can personalize the home page with widgets that are easy to navigate and comes bundled with preset widgets like Facebook and Youtube.

When it comes to business usage, if you don’t want pay monthly blackberry bill, Nokia will make your happy with its messaging service and e-mail client that comes free of cost.  Not just that, Nokia also offers free GPS navigation along with the handset. You can view all kind of attachments – doc, .xls, .ppt, .pdf and handles PC applications like Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Lotus Organizer, Lotus Notes. With OVI services, you have access to a wide range of applications, games, wallpapers and themes and other features of OVI stores.

With the advent of Android and Iphone OS, the Symbian S60 even at its 5th edition seems aged to handle the demands of a touch screen smart phone. So web browsing is a little disappointment if you have hit upon Android or Iphone OS already. Still the browser delivers full web pages pretty quick and efficiently.

Nokia claims a battery back up of 7 hours talk time and a standby of 320 hours. 28 hours of music playback time and 3.5 hours video playback this is not very impressive but decently good enough for its kind.

GingerChai Verdict: So will I buy this phone? I loved the design, the look and feel of the phone. More importantly, I liked the key pad and the slide-out functionality. The multimedia features of the phone are quiet impressive. Since am not a corporate honcho, I will sacrifice the easiness of Blackberry and would prefer the free email client and messaging service that Nokia offers. At a price of around 19.5 K as on date, I might be tempted to forgive the S60 5th edition OS and pocket the mini.

– Reviewd by Lakshmi Rajan. He is the Chief Blogger-Editor of GingerChai. To read other articles of Lakshmi Rajan, Click HERE.

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0 15 May, 2010 Lifestyle May 15, 2010

About the author

He is the lead man of GingerChai and plays the multi role of chief author, editor, business development and also of a chaiwala! (Tea maker!) He is the master brewer at Ginger Chai.

View all articles by Lakshmi Rajan


    1. DAKSHA

      Hi. Very recently i had bought Nokia N97 mini. It looked really good and everything was fine in the beginning. BUT THEN CAME THE SOFTWARE PROBLEMS. 🙁 THE PHONE RESTARTS IF U EDIT SOMETHING IN THE SETTINGS OR IN THE CONTACTS. I have not downloaded anything from the net or from anywhere else, so it not any VIRUS which is causing the problem.

      THESE NOKIA high end phones are not all worth it. i have given my phone 3 times already to the service centers , but those FOOLS never did anything to rectify the problems.


    1. Post author
      Lakshmi Rajan

      Thanks Tavish 🙂 When compared to its competitor’s models I think the pricing is fair enough, though personally I hesitate spending anything more than 10K for a mobile phone 😉

  1. Sir Pumpkin Longshanks

    I thought the world had moved on to droid with the iPhones of the world biting the dust.

  2. Usha

    Nokia is user friendly. But I still prefer Blackberries. 😀
    Does the 19.5K include a contract or just the mobile alone costs that much?
    Good Review 😀


    1. Post author
      Lakshmi Rajan

      Thanks Vishal 🙂 but I feel for the entire package considering its competing models its a fair price but then I would wish the price crashes further 😛

  3. Divya

    :sidefrown: Hmmmm looks good……someone pls gift it to me…i still can’t sell off my Nokia N70, zero resale value… :sweat:

  4. Sir Pumpkin Longshanks

    I am the proud owner of a disposable LG whatzit (the serial number eludes me at this moment) phone. It costs a grand cost of zilch dollars. It’s even made of cheap carcinogenic bluish black plastic which is full of mercury! :drool:

  5. Vishal Jain

    Hi LR,

    I am having right now HTC Touch phone which I had purchased in 2007 @ 18k.The phone has got superb touch screen, As I got samsung corby for my wife and it sucks big time…
    Now My phone has some mic problem and I want to buy a phone under 20k. Please give me your honest opinion: I love Nokia 97mini but shall I go for Blackberry storm?
    I would appreciate your reply

    1. Post author
      Lakshmi Rajan

      Hi Vishal,

      N97 Mini and Blackberry storm both are great phones on their own might. From your reply, I assume you are keen on a good touchscreen response, on that count you could think of Storm purely for the touchscreen (though even then it has some glitches that has been ironed out in Storm 2, which is a much pricier sibling). But do also keep in note, N97 mini though it has a receptive touch screen has a nice QWERTY board that comes in very handy at times. Also, Storm does not have a front camera thereby you cannot use the 3G video call option. So ultimately it depends on your usability.

      P.S We will be coming up with a detailed analysis on storm series soon.

  6. Rafi

    hey.. thanks for the post.

    I took n97 mini in last december (2009. Indeed, its a good phone. However, I paid 27K 🙁 which is now 19.5 K.

    Can you tell me how the email client works. I have configured my business email accounts but I access it only when I am at home / office using WIFI. Otherwise, I guess I will be charged by Airtel (my service provider) if I use it ? please clarify


    1. Post author
      Lakshmi Rajan

      With tech-gadgets prize crashes are inevitable 😉 and we should be prepared for it when we buy gadgets like phone 😀

      about your email client query – Nokia does not charge extra for usage of the email client. All you need is a GPRS connection then configure your phone. So basically you will be paying for the GPRS connection and that depends on your service provider and the plan you choose.

  7. Hitesh

    Hey LR….

    i have read yr comments on N97 mini….. I wish to buy the phone as i found it impressive at the cost of 19.5k….bt i am little confused abt its slow browsing and bad touchscreen performance and also battery life….kindly comment on the same and give me a prudent response on whether i should go ahead n buy N97 mini….also add if i have missed on anythin which i am supposed to know….waiting 4 yr reply


    1. Post author
      Lakshmi Rajan

      Hi Hitesh,
      For your budget you do get a variety of choices. It all depends on the usage of the phone – if you are going to use it as a business phone or more of a multimedia phone. I won’t say N97 mini’s touchscreen is bad but could have been better. I personally wish in coming days, capacitive touchscreen becomes the norm of the day with touchscreen phones becoming a mainstay products.

      You have told us your budget, do let me know what kind of mobile user you are and let me see if I could suggest a few models that fit your needs.

      1. Hitesh

        hi LR :heh:

        thanks 4 replyin…..i use my mobile mostly for making calls but i do love 2 listen to music at times….n i prefer 2 stick to nokia only….i just wanted some1s opinion whoz already using n97 mini and also coz its not a small amt 2 spend….so i wish 2 get value for my money


        1. Post author
          Lakshmi Rajan

          since you have narrowed your choice to Nokia , I would suggest the following.

          When you are putting in your money for a new model better go for 3G enabled. With the 3G auction over, you can expect some impressive service from operators in the coming months.

          Since Your demands are just to make calls as well as occasionally listen music and probably watch movies too. I would say give Nokia mini N97 a try. Personally I love that styling, the multimedia features are good, its 3G enabled with front end camera enabled, you can make video calls when 3G comes into effect, The touch screen is average but it is offset by excellent QWERTY keyboard. So you could safely go for it considering your usage of mobiles. It also comes with free GPS , though I have not tested its effectiveness in Indian terrains.

  8. Jill


    I am willing to buy this phone but somehow confused.

    1) I have been a Nokia user since i started & love it but somehow the advent of Ios & Android worry me when i compare it with Symbian & its problems because ultimately i am spending some 18K to buy this phone.

    2) Have read many reviews & found that the User Interface is nothing when compared to Ios & Android.

    3) Some of my colleagues have this phone & they say that it crashes like anything. I am not sure if that has been cleared in the lastest firmware update because i have heard it happening in the recently shipped phones too.

    4) I find the 434 Mhz processor very poor when u compare it with the 600 Mhz & 1 Ghz processor flaunted by other phones & by E72 even.

    5) I currently use N73 & one major problem that i face is the ‘Memory Low’ problem which i find to be occuring on N97 mini also as per the reviews. 128mb RAM is too less for any phone nowadays.

    What do u feel about the above points?

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