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Nokia N97 2.0 Software Update Review | N97 v2.0 Review

Nokia really took a long time preparing the Nokia N97 V2.0 Software Update, although keeping its promise (promised to release by October), it was released later than everyone expected.

The V2.0 update for the N97 finally came yesterday, some users were reticent to update their devices, but as always (and you know I am reckless;) I just plugged my N97 without thinking twice and updated my device.

Everything went perfect, absolutely no problems during the update. Nokia has really succeed at making the updating process a safe and reliable operation.

So? What happened after I updated my N97 to the V2.0? I knew more or less what this super-software update would bring to my N97, but always, the possible thought of Nokia doing something wrong was on my mind. Here is how the V2.0 behaves in the N97:

First, kinetic scrolling, the biggest improvement: It was known that Nokia would add kinetic scrolling to the N97, I thought it would be basically in the menus, but no further than that. Amazingly, the kinetic scrolling is so embedded into the N97, that is present in places where you will never ever need it. For example, on the original task manager as shown below, you can actually scroll the ”Exit” and ”Open”. This is just an example of the many other places were kinetic scrolling is added, but you don’t really need it. It is a good thing, finally real kinetic scrolling all over the interface. Looking back, is funny to see how we had to aim for the tiny scrolling bar to scroll, so…tedious!

Another improvement is the ability to move the clock widget around, for some reason, the first versions did not allow to configure this.

A lot of improvements were made all over the device. For example, many apps were subtly redesigned. Take the drawing app as an example, the music player too was redesigned. Also, some shortcuts were added. For example, taping on the AlbumArt now brings the volume control. A long press of any blue second function key brings the symbol rather than repeated characters. And, now copying/pasting is more even throughout the device, assisted by the ”Shift” key.

To make the N97 more ”iPhone” like, Nokia added in the V2.0 a really interesting application called Vlingo. Vlingo is a really cool and free application that  enables you to use your N97 by speaking to it. You can search google, update facebook, send messages, call people, e-mails and more by just taping and speaking. The voice recognition is amazingly accurate, its magic.

So what about the technical part? The N97 has some problems with its memory, but Nokia did a great job fixing this problem. Although not completely solved, of course that adding memory hardware wise would have been better since the beginning, the Nokia N97 on 2.0 has plenty of free memory. I have lots of apps, contacts, SMS, emails etc… and at this moment my N97 has 44.0MB of free memory, *really* that is enough. The N97 also feels more snappy, opening menus and apps is faster. Overall, the speed improved substantially.

However, not everything is perfect. There are two main things that have been reported with the N97 v2.0. First, I have experienced personally that Gravity just doesn’t work. By some reason, it won’t open on my N97 v2.0. Another problem, ( I have not experienced) is the Photos app getting corrupted.  It was reported by some users; however, I have 800 pics on my gallery and no problems so far.

The battery life is also a mixed bag of opinions, many people reported that the v1.2 held the battery better. But, according to Nokia, and my own findings, the N97 did improve with battery life. I can tell by how my N97 has one-two more bars at the end of my day.

Did the N97 improve? Yes, substantially. The N97 has a subtle feel of being another device. However, I still think that Symbian^1 (s60 5th ed) is staying too rudimentary. For example, what is the purpose of the right/left sliding on the N97’s home screen apart from hiding the content? What if we could open an app, of course with nice transitions, by sliding the finger left/right. Or, if we could open a specific website, or just do it iPhone like and open a search screen. Also, throughout the UI, the  whole thing needs more eye-candy. Anyway, that is something that either Symbian Foundation or Maemo will fix.

  • thewinchester

    Can’t say I’ve experienced your problems with Gravity on the N97 with v20 firmware at all, having had to reinstall twice – once after the firmware update, and once again yesterday when I decided to hard reset my handset. Version I’ve been installing is 6005.

    Best thing to do is to drop Mobileways Support a line, they’re very responsive and make sure to give them as much information as possible so they can replicate and diagnose the issue. You may want to ask they about trying out the 6098 beta version to see if this version plays ball with your handset.

  • daClaus

    Gravity works for me (6096 and 6098) on v2.0, no issues here.

    • edward

      Hmm, weird, It still doesn’t work for me. Maybe I have a specific app that is corrupting Gravity.

  • Scott

    The v2.0 update shut down my N97, i went through the process and had it all confirmed, hell it even worked for a day, until i switched the phone off!!!!

    On trying to switch the phone back on, all i ended up with was the white background with blue Nokia screen and it wouldnt budge from there!

    Its since been sent back to Nokia to be prepared with nobody having a clue why i encountered this problem.

  • glenn

    i tried to update my phone and it died. Had to send it back and collect it today with the new gps and camera cover fixed. Using an n95 now and forgot just how good this phone actuall is lol

  • steve

    i downlooad the 20 software and i can see it on my phone. But i cant open it up. Any ideas

    • edward

      Downloaded 2.0? From where? You have to update it using your PC, go to: nokia.com/softwareupdate

  • roland

    I tried to update my N97, but the Software Updater tells me that my firmware is up to date (version 12.0.026). Does anyone know why the firmware update to version 20.0.019 does not work for all N97 devices?

  • louisz

    hi i’m new user n97 i 1 2 know where i can update my n97?

    • edward

      at nokia/softwareupdate you to download nokia software updater and update your device

  • BOY

    Good But I not yet How to up date my phone

  • Mikaeel

    Every time I use the Software Update on my phone, it says “Refreshing Failed, try again later”. I’ve done this about 20 times and still nothing. I’m not able to download the PC version of Software Manager as my PC is giving me probems.

    Anyone to HELP?

  • jink

    @mikaeel: do you have a wlan or wifi anywhere? if so try doing it from there. it worked for me.

  • sidi

    i found the same issue as roland when ever i connect the updated sw updater to the net to donload new sw it says your v12 sw is the latest version and there is no update to that i connect throughe an iranian ip and bought the cell from dubai, does anybody have any idea how upgrade to new v20?