Nokia N97

Nokia N97 is a high-end smartphone part of the Nseries line from Nokia, announced on 2 December 2008[2][3] and released in June 2009 as the successor of the Nokia N96. The N97 is Nokia's second S60-based touchscreen phone, after the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.[4] It features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The N97 runs on Symbian v9.4 (Symbian^1/S60 5th Edition). Its design was mostly based on that of the Nokia N79. A smaller 'mini' variant was later released.[5]

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 8800
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)
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)
Data inputsQWERTY keyboard, resistive touchscreen, proximity and ambient light sensors, accelerometer, digital compass
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
Hearing aid compatibilityM3[1]

Being Nokia's flagship[6] and at a time when touchscreen devices were becoming increasingly prevalent, the N97 was highly anticipated. Despite good sales it is considered to have been a "disaster" on the hardware and software sides and is thought to have contributed to Nokia's decline.[7] A Nokia executive admitted in 2010 that the N97 was a "regrettable failure".[8][9]


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

The N97 shipped with trial versions of Quick Office, Adobe Reader, Boingo, Joikuspot, Ovi Maps, and Ovi store.

The initial software had mixed reception, prompting the release of new firmware in October 2009. Nokia released the new firmware with kinetic scrolling for the N97 to address the major issues present in the firmware the device launched with.

In October 2009, the N97 Mini, a downsized version of the original N97, was made available. The N97 Mini was generally seen as an improvement over the original N97.[12][13]

Operating timesEdit

Informal tests have shown that the battery can last nearly two days with regular use of the phone's various features for the original N97.[14] Nokia quoted the following claimed 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 applicationsEdit

With the optional DVB-H Nokia Mobile TV Receiver, SU-33W it is possible to watch television on the phone.

It is compatible with Nokia's N-Gage platform, being the only touchscreen to do so.[15][16]


The N97

Common criticisms of the original N97 were the relative lack of RAM and available storage. With only around 50 MB of free RAM available after boot, the phone can become sluggish and close programs in order to conserve memory. Many first party applications also will only install on the root partition and with around 50 MB of free space, this is used quickly as it is also where temporary OS files are placed. This issue was resolved in the N97 mini as the user often has over 250 MB of free space on the fixed storage. A memory mapping alteration from firmware version 20 allowed applications to use less RAM and free it up better, helping to ease the strain of a lower amount of free RAM to the end-user.[17]

Anssi Vanjoki, EVP of Markets at Nokia, admitted that quality control in software has been an issue for this device, saying "it has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers", though, according to Vanjoki, later repaired by firmware updates.[18]

Steve Litchfield of All About Symbian in a 2011 blog post wrote: "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) apologise for, publicly. The one device that became a millstone around its neck."[19]

Nokia has acknowledged that on many devices, the cover and the lens were mounted too close causing scratches from dust and debris.[20] On later units, Nokia reportedly fixed this issue.

Others with the original N97 had speed problems with the built in GPS lock. These phones too easily lose track of the current location, making the free turn by turn navigation software provided by Nokia unusable. Users can have both the lens cover and GPS issues fixed under warranty at an official Nokia service centre.

Despite most Nokia phones having great signal reception, the Nokia N97 did not follow that same tradition. It had very poor overall signal strength, even in comparison to other phones placed side by side to the N97 that were connected to the same network.

The user interface of the S60 5th edition software platform, built on top of Symbian OS 9.4, has been criticized by the site TechRadar as inconsistent because menu items require two taps to be activated.[21] In 2010 Nokia officially apologized for the number of customers who had experienced issues with the N97 and the buggy software. This led to a large number of potential customers choosing brands other than Nokia during this time period.[citation needed]

Despite of the 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 MiniEdit

The N97 Mini is a downsized version of the N97 and has been available since October 2009. The N97 Mini downsized 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 uses the 2.0 Nokia N97 software by default.[26] There has also been some redesign in the keypad. First, the big D-pad on the left side has been replaced by four arrow keys on the right side. Also there is more space between each keys and the keys are a little bit higher giving a much better feel when typing.[27][28]

Some major differences are listed in the following table.

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 called the "N97 mini Raoul Limited Edition" has been released in relation with fashion house FJ Benjamin and the Raoul brand. It also features the new Fashion Asia widget and went on sale 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, has been criticized by the site TechRadar as inconsistent because menu items require two taps to be activated.[21]

When compared to the original N97, the cheaper N97 mini was reviewed 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 has been considered the successor.

See alsoEdit


  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. ^
  6. ^
  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. ^
  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. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  19. ^
  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. ^
  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 linksEdit

  Media related to Nokia N97 at Wikimedia Commons