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N97 Mini Review: Tested By A Noob, Commented By an Expert, Unexpected Twist At The End

I have a friend, his name is Tom. Tom has used an LG dumbphone for now 3 years; luckily, he has a friend (me) who is kind enough to get him a Nokia N97 Mini for two full weeks, only string attached is that he has to write for me a carefully planned review of the Mini. So now that you know the situation, I can go further and explain what I’ll do here:

My friend Tom reviewed the N97 Mini after two weeks of usage. Tom has used a really crappy LG phone for the last 3 years since he doesn’t care as long as the phone texts and calls. Since Tom is a complete noob to the whole smartphone world, I thought that would be pretty interesting to let him try one of the best Nokia devices right now in the market. I gave him an N97, and here are his impressions. Note that I’ll have to comment along in blue his review since he didn’t write a precisely understandable article:

The Nokia N97 Mini was a small, easy to use, and reliable phone. The OS was simple and I personally had no problems learning it. The camera on the phone was clear, but the flash on the phone was not very bright and almost useless. The phone was organized and I was able to get to all of the apps without any problem (after me having installed a few useful apps and cleaning the garbage that comes in the ”Apps” folder, what’s with the empty ”MfE folder”?). The only problem I had was with the internet. I had no problem connecting; it was changing web pages that I had a problem with (yes, tabs on the S60 browser suck). I would go on YouTube and watch a video. When I was done I would go to watch another video and the first video I watched would come up. This even happened when I went to browse the internet. I would type in a website in the URL and the video would pop up again. This would cause the phone to freeze and get stuck a tad bit. (The S60 browser needs an update, try to load engadget on any Nokia phone but the N900 and you will see).

The organization of the phone was great, from the app store to the music. I was able to find, buy, and download an app quickly. The app would work great and the phone loaded the app quickly. The app store was organized well. The Home page was also organized well. I was able to manipulate what icons I wanted on the home page easily and it was easy to move around from app to app. I loved that if you hold the action key you can switch between apps no matter how many you may have open. (even a noob intuitively knows what multitasking is!)

The touch screen was good but it was a pressure touch (resistive). I had to push with a little force to before the phone would respond. I personally rather had the heat censored touch (capacitive) that works from the heat coming off your finger. Sometimes it would lag, because of the way the touch screen worked, and then it would work as if I clicked the icon twice. (Yes, everyone hates resistive screens, they are annoying)

Other than a few minor issues the phone, overall, worked well. It was small, easy to use, and reliable phone. It was entertaining as well as fun to use. I enjoyed my time with the phone and it actually made my life easier being that it was able to get on the internet and having such a clear camera. I was able to quickly search topics, which I would usually have to go to my computer to search, right off of the phone. I also never missed a beat when it came to taking a picture. This phone was great and I was privileged to be able to test this phone out.

So there you have it! The review isn’t really specific on the ”issues” that the phone had but it does offer a good insight on what a potential new user thinks of a Nokia phone. But there is more to the story… After I asked Tom for the phone back, he couldn’t go without a smartphone anymore! He was desperate with his LG and he decided it was time to change phones. He really liked the Mini until I answered to his question about the price. There he asked about other ”cool Nokia phones” phones for less; naturally, I couldn’t suggest anything for his $150USD budget. So what happened? As Nokia is stupid enough not to offer ANYTHING subsided in the US, Tom is now in the hands of the Android…

BTW: As this review was totally different from what I usually do, I completely forgot to take pics of the device, sorry!

  • Diogo

    Hi, I’m from portugal and I bought on n97 mini in December 2009, In the first week the phone was awesome, so many apps I have discovered like Nokia photo browser :).

    But my n97 mini nowadays is slow (~430Mhz CPU), I have done the reset (*#7370#) but I can see that is the same (unfortunately), my problem is to have spent € 430 on this phone and now it will be released a Nokia N8 for an approximate price and a way better :(

    For the ones who are thinking buy a n97 mini my advice is: Do not buy a N97 mini :S

    • http://www.mo-call.com Ving

      It's just the software on the Nokia N97 isn't really optimized with the hardware, which it why most people I know have a love/hate relationship with the phone and jump ship to Android or Apple.