Nokia N97 review: Lock, stock and touch

GSMArena team, 16 June 2009.

Messaging is simple

The messaging menu is yet another part of the Symbian S60 UI that hasn't been modified at all compared to what we saw on Nokia 5800.

Nokia N97 supports all common message types - SMS, MMS and email. They all share a common intuitive editor which by this point should be quite familiar to everyone. When composing an SMS, a counter is displayed of characters left to the limit of 160. An indicator in brackets is showing the number of separate parts the message will be divided into for sending.

Once you insert some multimedia content, or an email address is inserted as recipient, the counter is replaced by a data counter showing the size of your email.

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The N97 uses a common intuitive editor for all your messages

Nokia N97 also features the dedicated editor for instant recording of audio messages. Much like with Symbian S60 v3.2 you can either record the message on the spot or use a sound clip from the phone memory. The interface of all the messengers is quite similar too.

Delivery reports can be turned on - they pop up once the message reaches the addressee, and are then saved in a separate folder in the messaging sub-menu. When you are exiting the message editor without having sent the message, you get prompted to save it in Drafts or discard it.

Here might just be the right time to mention the input options on Nokia N97. The handset offers a standard alphanumeric on-screen keypad in both portrait and landscape mode.

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The alphanumeric keypad is available in both portrait and landscape modes

Of course the hardware QWERTY is here to solve all your problems. Itís just three rows and you need to use the function key for accessing the numbers and symbols, but thatís no biggie.

Finally, the Nokia N97 offers handwriting recognition, which did a rather decent job, recognizing almost all the letters we scribbled in the box. You can improve its performance by taking the handwriting training - where you actually show the handset how you write each different letter.

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The handwriting recognition worked pretty well for us

The email client is really nice, able to meet almost any emailing needs. The easy setup we found in the latest Nokia handsets is also available with the N97. It has even been touched here and there, so it needs even less input.

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Setting up email is easy

If you are using any public email service (it has to be among the over 1000 supported providers), all you have to do is enter your username and password to start enjoying email on the go. The phone downloads all the needed settings to get you going in no time.

Besides, it now prompts choosing whether you prefer POP or IMAP access to mail providers that support both. With the previous version selection was automatic. Nicely done!

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Advanced email options

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The email client gives no reasons for grudges

Multiple email accounts and various security protocols are supported, so you can bet almost any mail service will run trouble-free on your Nokia N97.

The client can download headers only or entire messages, and can be set to automatically check mail at a given interval. A nice feature allows you to schedule sending email next time an internet connection is available. This can save you some data traffic charges since you can use the next available WLAN connection instead.

There is also support for attachments, signatures and generally, you can hardly think of something important that the Nokia N97 lacks. Furthermore with a screen resolution like this reading your emails is a real pleasure.

File manager does a fine job

The file manager is yet another aspect where the pedigree counts big time. With the soft keys at the bottom you can almost forget that you are looking at a new device.

The Symbian file management system has been top notch for quite a while now, and you can hardly think of anything to change. The application can basically do anything you can think of with your files - moving, copying renaming, sorting or sending - you name it. You can also password-protect your memory card if you see fit.

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The file manager has extensive functionality

The searching for a specific file or directory is also available with the phone. All you need to remember is a part of the desired name and where it was located (phone memory or memory card) the Nokia N97 will find it in no time.

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