Nokia’s new QWERTY keyboard based mobile was announced today, completing their arsenal of N series handsets. This could easily be compared to other manufactures mobile keyboard arms, with the likes of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 and HTC’s Touch Pro first popping into mind.
The N97 now fits nicely into the latest series line-up with a distinct feel of the N96, plus having a very close similarity to the 5800 in feel and shape.
This time around, the new handset comes with what Nokia are calling the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtilting touch display’. Where the screen retreats to an angle and a three-row keyboard is then exposed.
Its hinge is a mechanical one, which in our mind screams main point of failure. Although they’re confident the forged steel they’ve used was the toughest one around and will suffice. Also they’ve aired to us it has been over engineered to very much deliberately compensate, for this new venture of theirs.
One of the issues we had when we began to use the keyboard is that it looks and feels like it’s geared only for left handed people. We’re sure many others will feel the same way too. The d-pad is located for the left thumb to use only, which does feel odd. We asked why this was the case; the answer came back rather obviously and just shows who it’s aimed at.
After a great deal of research they discovered the left hand thumb was used more often in navigation when it came to consoles. Ahhh, the penny drops as to who they’re aiming this at now.
When you remember you do actually use that thumb in that way, the muscle memory sort of kicks in and you’re well away.
The other issue we had is that it does take some effort to open the keyboard up. It doesn’t move as easy as the arc slider on the X1 or as smoothly as the Touch Pro. After a while of use it becomes rather irksome, but this could be a good point Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as it doesn’t accidentally open. This is a bother to most users, with the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Ëœass dialling’ becoming more and more common of late.
There’s also a new personalised touch screen, with its own widget set that’s fully customisable. These are live and can be updated in real time, with the likes of email being shown and social networking status too.
These are very much akin to the latest Samsung handset widgets, but are presented in a much more clearer way. Others could learn from this, take heed those of you out there and you know who you are.
Nokia are calling this handset a mobile computer, not a smart phone per se. Others have equated this phrase to laptops, netbooks or even a tablet pc.
They’ve gone down another route here. This is despite other handsets mentioned above being much closer to smartphones, although Nokia have been bold enough to call there’s something else.
The Nokia N97 comes along with 3.5-inch 16:9 touch display, that also works well in both landscape or portfolio even with the keyboard exposed. The internet is a clear factor in its initial design planning, which is obviously clear when you see websites on screen, as the display is really shown off here.
Although, as pointed out by a colleague last night it has a much inferior screen to the X1 or Touch Pro. As it only measures up to being 640 x 360 pixels, with the X1 having a smaller screen but better resolution at 800 x 480 pixels.
In terms of storage , the handset comes along with the 32GB onboard with the expandability potential of another 16GB. That’s right, you’ve read this correctly Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 48GB in total, with the remainder being from a microSD card. Although in the morning keynote the speaker alluded to the phone could be 64GB at launch, meaning the 32GB card could be around sooner than expected.
With a 5MP camera and support for Nokia Music Store, with continuous playback time of 1.5 days it’s certainly a veritable phone. Couple that with quad-band GSM , 3G and WIFI it does show a lot of potential.
As a series 60 device we were suitably impressed with what we saw, with some minor reservation over its usability. If Nokia listened and took on board feedback from its critics, there could be a good chance they could steal market share from others.
There’s always worry that spec’s will change as the launch date hasn’t been set in stone and the preliminary time is so far far way.
We’ve been told that what we have seen and used might not have the same foibles as the finished retail model.