Colin Charles Agenda

Nokia N97 – Quick Impressions II

This is part of an ongoing series on the Nokia N97 phone. Get started with Nokia N97 Quick Impressions and Quick Impressions II.


There were just some items that I neglected to cover in the first article on the Nokia N97 – Quick Impressions.

Last Friday, I was invited to the Nokia N97 launch party at Mandarin Oriental, thanks to Text100/Nokia. Amidst all the fanfare and meeting friends, I decided to take a closer look at the N97 again, this time armed with my Kodak Zi6. As a consequence, I have two somewhat blurry videos (sorry, the phones were bolted on to devices that prevented theft, making my job a lot harder), one demoing gravity and the touch screen features, and another taking a look around the phone showing off things like the keyguard, and so on. There are a bevy of questions and comments there on YouTube, which I wish were just integrated into my blog, but I’m surprised at the amount of people searching for N97 videos :-)

If you’re interested in the party, which was excellent, BTW, don’t hesitate to read Yoon Kit’s entry, or even Bernard’s entry.

First up, the phone costs RM2,480. That is the suggested retail price, and its not much different from Singapore, a marked improvement from what the N96 or the E90 costs.

The phone comes with a stylus. There were none around that day, so using your fingers makes the most sense. Who wants to use a stylus you ask? Nokia is making it easy for input of Chinese characters. I however do think that its silly to have to place the stylus in the case (you’re bound to lose it). But I’ve never seen the case, so I don’t know if its something I would use (I normally never use any cases for any of my phones).

Comments in the videos above, as well as from using it, will show that the touchscreen isn’t as responsive as what you’d find on the iPhone. I wrote this when I reviewed the Nokia 5800:

Its a touch screen, and you’re expected to be able to use it with one hand, and you can use your fingers. However, its not so fancy — once you’ve used the iPod Touch or the iPhone, you’ll slowly realise that the touch screen isn’t all that.

Why? The touch screen is resistive, not capacitive, which means that a “click” is only registered when two thin layers of the screen get pushed together under the pressure from my finger (or stylus). AFAIK, the iPhone uses something called “projected capacitive” screens, and you don’t need actual contact (and it works well for multi-touch).

It still applies, with the Nokia N97. Sigh.

From the event itself, some other interesting bits:

Yoon Kit and I chatted about Blackberry Connect, and I told him a lot of this is provided via Nokia Messaging (which is currently in beta, and free at the moment), which in a device itself, premiered in the Nokia E75 (its not apparent its in the N97 yet – probably a firmware update will help soon). He lamented that calendar and contact support is required, and I mentioned that webcal support isn’t available, per se, but if you have an Ovi.com account, you have calendar and contact syncing available… But the calendar, IMHO is primitive to Google Calendar’s sync/publish features, and I’ve never used a BlackBerry device, so I can’t realistically comment.

The camera on the device is pretty good, for a phone camera. A couple weeks back, I used the camera and the Facebook integration, to create an album (Testing the n97). Facebook is notorious for not keeping the hi-res images, so grab them from posterous or even flickr.

If I get my hands on the device, you can be ensured more tips, tricks, and usage information. More importantly, I’m going to focus on WRT widget development, the Ovi Store, and lots more. Mobile app development seems hot :-)

BTW, on Saturday 13 June 2009, selected Nokia stores will sell the device in Malaysia, at what is probably the SRP of RM2,480.