The Nokia N97 mini is a very versatile full-featured device, nicely balanced with with hardly any serious holes in its specs sheet. What's best about it, is that "mini" moniker is certainly not a negative one. The N97 mini is in the size range of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and it's in fact thinner despite the slide out keyboard.
The N97 mini build quality and materials are on a exacting high level and we're glad the S60 touch UI is moving forward too. The UI has gone a long way since we first tried it on the 5800. Granted, there are still some inconsistencies and home screen widgets and flick scrolling or not, some people will scoff at the oddities of the UI.
What's good about the relatively new OS edition is that the Ovi Store is really picking up speed, which is great news for the N97 mini. The key aspect of an app store is that it lets users make full use of their phone. Without one a smartphone is pretty much left high and dry unless you go the extra length of searching and researching third party apps. The current selection of apps available for S60 5th is growing and the in-store experience is similar to what Android offers - and that's a compliment.
Well, all that being said, it's time we introduce the competition. The Motorola MILESTONE (or DROID in the US), certainly has drool-worthy features. Android 2.0 Eclair is stirring up a lot of excitement, although not getting the free Google Maps Navigation is a hard blow (it's US only for now). The rest of the specs though will certainly make the N97 mini sweat it.
If it's the social networking features that you're after, the Motorola DEXT is another Android alternative. Instead of Eclair, it runs the previous incaranation of the OS, but it's seriously spiced up with Motorola's MOTOBLUR interface.
The HTC Touch Pro2 doesn't have the 5MP camera but the bigger, high resolution screen and great Office integration will win over the business crowd. It's a bit on the heavy side, and we didn't quite like that about it.
The Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO (another seriously large handset) fetches a premium price tag, but the appeal of a 3.5" WVGA AMOLED screen is undeniable. DivX support and Office document editing out of the box make it a phone that can do both work and play. And if these WinMo phones cross the price line you've set for yourself, check out the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 - it's noticeably lighter on your wallet.
And here's one for the maximalists - the current Nokia headliner, the N900. It blurs the lines between UMPC and smartphone to the point where buying two devices makes little sense.
The Nokia N97 mini certainly lives up to the reputation its bigger brother already established. We certainly appreciated its solid and enjoyable user experience along with its minute and pocketable size and will certainly win the hearts of many Symbian users who will feel right at home with it.