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Nokia N97

The Nokia N97 is a graceful mix between the sleek touchscreen and the trusty keypad, and is available now on  Optus, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and Three Mobile plans.

Nokia N97Design-wise, the Nokia N97 offers a sophisticated compromise in the battle between those who love the tactile feel of buttons and those who enjoy the sleek image of a touchscreen.  With the miniature QWERTY keyboard slid out from underneath the screen angles in a way similar to a lap-top screen, creating a comfortable and familiar user experience. The touchscreen is bright and responsive, with a 5-way directional button for navigation.

Though while Nokia have designed a physically sophisticated handset, they have chosen to remain using the same operating systems that they have been using for decades. The Nokia N97 runs the Symbian Series 60 v.5 which is the latest edition of the multi-layered navigation structure pioneered by Nokia. Back when mobiles were more about hardware, this was an ideal system but as we grow into the age of the smartphone software is becoming increasingly the main feature, and the N97 is crippled somewhat by the OS.

HSPDA and Wi-Fi functionality gives the N97 full web-browsing capabilites, there is a GPS receiver, electronic compass and access to Nokia Maps. There is a huge 32GB of internal memory, and a microSD card can bring this up to 48GB. The 5-megapixel camera comes with auto-focus and dual LED flash and fast shutter speeds mean good photos with minimal blurring – no mean feat when the camera can also make calls, sms and access your email.

Web browsing could be done better, with sites optimised for the screen of the N97 rather than having to be scrolled around. This problem could be rectified easily by updating the OS. The media gallery supports a wide range of formats and should play most of your media with no troubles. We were very happy to see that the Nokia N97 has a 3.5mm headphone input – which is often missed in other similar handsets.

Nokia is one of those phone makers that can be trusted to do the basic things well. Call quality on the Nokia N97 is excellent, the QWERTY keyboard makes text messaging a breeze, and the battery will last for 2 days with constant use of Wi-Fi, messaging, browsing and calling.

While Nokia continue to do what they do well, it cannot be denied that the world of mobile phones is shifting around them. The N97 is a key example of how Nokia are dealing with this change – piece by piece. Hopefully the next step in the evolution of Nokia will be an update of the operating system to better accommodate the growing demand for multi-functioning mobile solutions.

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