I Like this phone.
I have used the N97 a fair bit and I am VERY impressed. I came from the N95 and although the OS may seem familiar I don’t think it is outdated.
The phone looks the business in my opinion. I know this is a matter of taste but I think it looks stylish. Also the way the screen slides open is very satisfying and Moorish (sounds weird but it really is!!). And the angle it sits at is perfect for typing txt and watching videos... partly due to the cradle underneath that steady's the device while on a table.
The UI and touch screen is responsive despite being a resistive screen, and I made relatively few errors while moving around the system.
The CPU and RAM are several years old but I suffered no slowdown or errors despite having all my active widgets, the web browser, music playing and typing a txt message on the keyboard. If you multitask heavy it will slowdown or close apps to free up memory but for most users it will be fine. i also had around 49mb free RAM so I dont know how the review mentions about 30 something.
The keyboard spacing is fine and although I don’t have huge hands they are certainly of an average size so most people will be fine with the keys. The spacebar on the right takes a few days getting used to but ends up feeling very intuitive and actually quickens the time it takes to type messages. It can be annoying having to shift for numbers but not a big deal, 95% of text messages I send contain only words not numbers anyway.
The active widgets are fantastic... and make getting to your favourite Apps quicker than with an iPhone, not to mention being able to see status updates on the home screen without pressing a button. Only thing I would have liked here would be a swipe motion to bring up ANOTHER screen of custom widgets rather than the screensaver.
Camera is N96 quality... needs little mention. Shame no Xenon but very few smart phones are using it so you won’t be missing out there. Better photo and video than the iPhone hands down both at day and night.
Battery life is great, I consider myself a fairly heavy user and a charge every few days is all that is needed. This is a benefit of having the lower RAM and CPU and I believe it is the reason Nokia didn’t increase the specs. I would certainly rather have phones that last an hour longer than have a heavy CPU for power usage. I have used the Omnia HD for a few hours and that extra processor and RAM made negligible difference to the speed of the UI. It still struggled under heavy multi-tasking as the N97 did... so I will take the extra battery life thanks.
The OVI store is improving day by day and is now adding new active widgets and applications to download. Given the number of Nokia phone owners, and the profit that can be made through OVI I expect it to be VERY USEFUL in 6 months time once it has found its feet. It is also arranging for Operator billing so any apps we buy will show up on our monthly bills rather than having to fiddle around with credit cards. Also popular iPhone apps like Shazam are now making their way to OVI so expect more to do the same increasing the abilities of the N97 to match the iPhone in uses and software.
The storage is fantastic and better than ANY phone out there. I have about 20 movies, the full TV series of Family Guy, tons of pictures, day’s worth of music and plenty of room left for apps and maps. I couldn’t attempt that on almost ALL other phones. It is great for multimedia storage. Also people complain that it doesn’t handle DivX or Xvid like the Omnia HD. But I have a free program from the net which I leave batch running overnight and it converts all my movies flawlessly with good quality to N97 MP4 files that are fantastic to watch on the 3.5" 16m colour screen. They play in FULL widescreen as well... no black bars. And I dont have to load them and import them through iTunes, I just drag and drop as needed.
The areas the N97 falls down...
Would have loved Xenon flash for club/bar photo's... gutted that isn’t a priority for smart phones. Could they include an LED flash for the video as well as the xenon or is it too hard to do? But you arnt getting that with the Omnia HD or the iPhone either (or any flash for that matter with the iPhone)
The interface lacks the beauty of the iPhone. The video and music player look basic. Luckily I fully expect this to be remedied with OVI Store in the coming months. You can already download Photoflow which is a great touch screen photo viewer that vastly improves the photo element of the N97. Just need to wait it out until a music and video app does similar.
The web browser is great for viewing pages, but shame you can only open one at a time. This would also benefit from an OVI Store improvement... hopefully that will happen too. Until then the about:blank fix isn't too much of a problem.
In summary while the N97 doesn’t break any new ground in much of its hardware (CPU, RAM, No HD video rec, Not capacitive AMOLED) I feel it is a worthwhile upgrade for anyone who doesn’t like the restrictive nature of Apples iPhone or it’s glaring omissions (good camera, flash video, not able to use a spare battery, restrictive rules for publishing apps on Apple Store). I believe much of the shortfalls in the N97 will be addressed through the OVI Store. Samsungs Store may improve and catch up but at the moment it is only web based and has no plans for operator billing unlike the OVI Store.
I am very happy with the N97, it isn’t as powerful as I had hoped, but the ease at which I can use all the aspects that are important to me makes it the best phone for me at the moment.
I think it has been given such a rough time because as a flagship phone people EXPECTED it to have the best hardware and UI.
But as a result, I feel a lot of people that would LOVE this phone will end up locking themselves onto 18 month contracts with other phones because they hear the keyboard, OS and resistive touch screen getting bashed left, right and centre and don’t realise that they work a lot better than people are making out!
I almost decided on the OMNIA HD until the first time I spent a few hours with this phone and all my fears about its speed and ease of operation went away. It's a cracking device that sits right in the middle of the iPhone’s fast and friendly UI and the Omnia HD's more powerful hardware, and if OVI Store proves to be the ace up the sleeve that I think it will then I have no problems recommending this phone to anyone.