Nokia N97

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Nokia N97
A Nokia N97 revealing its slide-out landscape keyboard
Compatible networksHSDPA (3.5G), Quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Availability by region9 June 2009
PredecessorNokia N96
Nokia N79 (for N97 Mini)
Nokia 8600 Luna
Nokia E90 Communicator
SuccessorNokia N8
Nokia C6-00 (for N97 Mini)
Nokia N900
Nokia E7-00
Nokia 808 PureView
Nokia Lumia 920/1020
RelatedNokia N86 8MP
Nokia N79
Form factorTilt slider
Dimensions117.2 × 55.3 × 15.9* mm
*18.25 mm at camera area for original (113 x 52.5 x 14.2 mm for mini)
Mass150 g for original (138 g for mini)
Operating systemSymbian 9.4 with Nokia S60 Fifth Edition UI. Current firmware 22.0.110 (RM-505) / 22.1.112 (RM-506) / 22.2.110 (RM-507) / 12.0.110 (N97 mini)
CPUSingle CPU, 434 MHz ARM11
Memory128 MB SDRAM
Storage32 GB on-board (about 29.8 GB user available) for original, (8 GB for mini)
Removable storagemicroSD 16 GB max (16 GB Max MicroSDHC available in 2009)
BatteryBP-4L (1500 mAh, Li-polymer) for original, (BL-4D 3.7 V 1200 mAh for mini)
Display640×360 px (16:9 aspect ratio), 3.5 in for original (3.2 in for mini), sliding tilt TFT LCD display, up to 16.7 million colours
Rear camera5.0 megapixels
f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens
ConnectivityWLAN 802.11b/g, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.0, TV-out (PAL/NTSC), FM transmitter only for original
Data inputsQWERTY keyboard, resistive touchscreen, proximity and ambient light sensors, accelerometer, digital compass
Hearing aid compatibilityM3[1]

The Nokia N97 is a high-end smartphone introduced on 2 December 2008 by telecommunications manufacturer Nokia as part of its Nseries[2][3] and released in June 2009 as the successor to the Nokia N96 phone. The N97 was Nokia's second S60-based touchscreen phone, after the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.[4] The device featured slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and ran on the Symbian v9.4 (Symbian^1/S60 5th Edition) operating system. Its design took cues from the Nokia N79. A smaller and lower-cost variant, the Nokia N97 mini, was later released.[5]

At the time, the phone was Nokia's flagship device[6] at a point where touchscreen devices were becoming increasingly prevalent, the N97 was highly anticipated. Despite respectable sales, in industry circles the phone was considered a hardware and software "disaster" that contributed to Nokia's decline.[7] In 2010, a Nokia executive called the N97 a "regrettable failure".[8][9]


The Nokia N97 was released in US flagship stores on 9 June 2009,[10] and worldwide on 26 June 2009. In September 2009, it was reported that some two million N97 handsets had been sold in the three months after its release.[11]

The N97 shipped with trial versions of Quick Office, Adobe Reader, Boingo, Joikuspot, Ovi Maps, and Ovi store software applications.[citation needed]

The device's initial software met a mixed reception, prompting the release of new firmware in October 2009. Nokia released the new firmware with kinetic scrolling for the N97 to address drawbacks in the initial firmware release.[citation needed]

In October 2009, the N97 Mini, a smaller version of the original N97, was introduced. The N97 Mini was regarded as an improvement over the original N97.[12][13]

Operating times[edit]

Informal tests found that the N97's battery could hold a charge through nearly two days of the original N97's regular use.[14] Nokia claimed the following operating times:

  • Talk time: Up to 6.0 hours (3G), 9.5 hours (GSM)
  • Standby time: Up to 17 days (3G), 18 days (GSM)
  • Video playback: Up to 4.5 hours (offline mode)
  • Video recording: Up to 3.6 hours (offline mode)
  • Music playback: Up to 40 hours (offline mode)

Special applications[edit]

With the optional DVB-H Nokia Mobile TV receiver, SU-33W it became possible to watch television on the phone. This was compatible with Nokia's N-Gage platform, the only touchscreen with this capability at the time.[15][16]


The N97

Criticism of the original N97 included its relative lack of RAM and available storage. With only 50MB of free RAM after boot, the phone could become sluggish and close applications to conserve memory. Many first-party applications would install only on the root partition and with around 50MB of free space, this was used quickly in competition with the needs of temporary OS files. The N97 Mini resolved this issue, often offering users over 250MB of free space in fixed storage. A memory mapping change from firmware version 20 enabled applications to use less RAM and to better disengage, which eased the strain of less free RAM to the end-user.[17]

Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's EVP of Markets admitted that quality control of the device's software was troublesome, saying "it has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers", though Vanjoki later claimed that the issue could be repaired by firmware updates.[18]

Steve Litchfield of "All About Symbian" wrote in a 2011 blog post: "The N97 really was the device that should have ruled the world - it had, almost literally, everything. And yet it became the one device that Nokia had to (literally) apologize for, publicly. The one device that became a millstone around its neck."[19]

Nokia acknowledged that on many units the covers and lenses were mounted too closely, resulting in scratches from dust and debris.[20] On later units, Nokia reportedly fixed this issue.

Other early adopters of the N97 encountered speed problems with the phone's built-in GPS lock. The phones lost track of their current locations, making Nokia's free turn-by-turn navigation software unusable. Users were offered under-warranty repairs for lens cover and GPS issues at official Nokia service centers.

Although Nokia phones traditionally had provided strong signal reception, the Nokia N97 fell short in this area, demonstrating poor signal strength, even when compared side by side to other phones connected to the same network.

The user interface of the S60 5th edition software platform, built on top of Symbian OS 9.4, was criticized by the TechRadar site as inconsistent, insofar as menu items required two taps to activate.[21] In 2010 Nokia apologized to customers who had experienced shortcomings with the N97 and its software.

Despite generally lukewarm reviews, the phone sold well.[22] However its marketing as an "iPhone killer" tarnished Nokia's smartphone reputation at the time.[23]

Nokia N97 Mini[edit]

The N97 Mini was a downsized version of the N97 introduced in October 2009. The N97 Mini reduced some features of the original N97, such as 8 GB of storage memory, 3.2-inch (81 mm) touchscreen, and a shorter battery life.[24][25] It used the 2.0 Nokia N97 software by default.[26] The keypad was somewhat redesigned. The big D-pad on the left side was replaced by four arrow keys on the right side. There also was more space between each key, and keys were a bit higher, which offered better tactile sense when typing.[27][28]

This table lists significant differences.

Original N97 N97 mini
Device Size 117.2 mm × 55.3 mm × 15.9 mm
4.61 in × 2.18 in × 0.63 in
113 mm × 52.5 mm × 14.2 mm
4.45 in × 2.07 in × 0.56 in
Volume 88 cc (5.4 cu in) 75 cc (4.6 cu in)
Weight 150 g (5.3 oz) 138 g (4.9 oz)
LCD size (640×360 px) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
inbuilt mass Storage Memory 32 GB 8 GB
NAND Memory 256 MB (approx. 73 MB user available) 512 MB (approx. 277 MB user available)
FM transmitter Available Not available
Battery model BP-4L 3.7 V 1500 mAh BL-4D 3.7 V 1200 mAh
GSM Talk Time up to 9.5 hours 7.1 hours
WCDMA Talk Time up to 6.0 hours 4.0 hours
GSM Standby Time up to 18 days 13 days
WCDMA Standby Time up to 17 days 13 days
Web Browser for S60 version after firmware update lower than 7.3 7.3[29]

A limited edition, the "N97 mini Raoul Limited Edition" was released in collaboration with fashion house FJ Benjamin and the Raoul brand. It also featured a Fashion Asia widget and became available in late October 2009 in Malaysia and Singapore.[30]


The user interface of the S60 5th edition software platform, built on top of Symbian OS 9.4, was criticized by the TechRadar site as being inconsistent, insofar as menu items required two taps to be activated.[21]

When compared to the original N97, the cheaper N97 mini was regarded in reviews as an improvement, especially its keyboard.[12][13]


There are three phones considered as successors to the N97. Firstly is the N8, as it became the new multimedia flagship for 2010. Also is the C6, which had a similar sliding-out QWERTY keyboard - however since the C6 uses the same specifications, the Maemo-powered N900, also featuring the keyboard, yet considerably better specifications have been considered the successor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nokia USA - Nokia N97 Specifications". Nokia. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Nokia N97 marks evolutionary milestone for Nseries and mobilekind". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Desktop. Laptop. Pocket: The era of the personal Internet dawns with the Nokia N97". Nokia. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Nokia's N97 Smartphone, a Laptop in Your Pocket". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Nokia officially announce N97 mini and unveil X3 and X6".
  6. ^ "The Abject Failure of Nokia's Flagship Phone". July 2009.
  7. ^ Sulopuisto, Olli. "Nokia: Where it all went wrong, by the man who made it the world's biggest mobile company - ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Nokia Admits that the N97 is a Failure; Promises not to Do it Again". 24 February 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Nokia: N97 was a "tremendous disappointment"".
  10. ^ "Nokia N97 available tomorrow at US flagship stores". Engadget. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  11. ^ "N97 defies critics with 2m sales". Mobile News. Archived from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Nokia N97 mini". CNet NBews. Archived from the original on 7 March 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  13. ^ a b Nokia N97 mini review 24 November 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Nokia N97 Battery Log". Technograph. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  15. ^ Palenchar, Joseph (15 December 2008). "Nokia Launches Touchscreen Smartphone". Twice. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Nokia N-Gage compatible handsets • Download N-gage games". Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  17. ^ How To Recover Phone Memory On Your Nokia N97 | The Handheld Blog. (2 July 2009). Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  18. ^ "Anssi Vanjoki on the N97 and Symbian^3". All About Symbian. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  19. ^ "Nokia N97 RIP: The derailed flagship that ended up as a train wreck". 8 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Nokia acknowledges scratch problems". Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  21. ^ a b Phil Lattimore, Nokia N97 Mini review 7 December 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  22. ^ "N97 vs iPhone - Does N97 Sales Volumes Provide Clues on Its Future ?". N97geeks. Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  23. ^ "Nokia's fall from grace: The Background Story". 22 July 2010.
  24. ^ "The Nokia N97 Mini Review". Archived from the original on 8 May 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  25. ^ Nokia N97 mini review. SlashGear (24 November 2009). Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  26. ^ "N97 mini". CNET Asia Review. 13 November 2009. Archived from the original on 20 November 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  27. ^ "Nokia N97". 2 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  28. ^ "Nokia N97 mini". 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  29. ^ Browser and Maps updates for many S60 3rd Edition and S60 5th Edition phones. (29 June 2011). Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  30. ^ "Nokia launches N97 mini Raoul Limited Edition - Mobile Phones - Crave - CNET Asia". CNET. 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Nokia N97 at Wikimedia Commons