N97 Mini: Big things come in smaller packages

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My love affair with Nokia cellphones started 10 years ago. It was my very first cellphone and I can still remember the love and excitement I felt then. As time passed by, though I may have had a fling or two with other brands, somehow I just keep on coming back. I’ve fancied the N97 when it was released early this year. Its style and sophistication, not to mention its innovation just makes it so irresistible. N97 must have done really something good for it to have its “mini” version. Hence, the N97 mini comes to life.

The key features that we truly love and adore in the N97 are also present in “mini”. Features are relatively the same. It is a Quad band GSM and tri-band 3G supported with 3.6 Mbps HSDPA. It has a slide and tilt 3.2” 16M color resistive touchscreen of 640 x 3360 pixel resolution equipped with features such as ARM 11 434 MHz CPU, WiFi connectivity, integrated GPS receiver and Nokia Maps. It has bluetooth, built-in accelerometer, proximity sensor, stereo FM radio with RDS support and a digital compass. However, the big difference lies in its built in memory. Compared to its big brother’s built-in memory of 32GB, N97 mini comes only in 8GB.

The N97 mini obviously as its name suggests is the smaller and lighter version of the original N97. With its dimension of 113 x 52.5 x14.2 mm against its big brother of 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9, N97 mini appears compact making it more “pocket friendly” as it is likewise lighter with its weight of only 138 g! Indeed, a big difference from its original weight of 159 g. I find the N97 mini pleasingly attractive. Its overall body construction is sturdy. With its metal battery cover and good quality plastic, the N97 mini is capable of withstanding the harsh elements brought about by scratches and overall wear and tear of everyday use. What I particularly find impressive is that I don’t see much fingerprints around this baby. The front and side layout of the N97 mini is the same as its big brother. The front houses the earpiece, video call camera, ambient light and the proximity sensor (switches the display automatically off when held next to your ear) all situated on top of its resistive touchscreen.

The touch sensitive call and end button as well as the regular menu key sits below the screen. Take note, this somewhat regular looking menu button not only allows access to the menu and task manager, it likewise blinks intermittently signaling missed calls, messages or other events. The slider mechanism of the N97 mini was a bit tight at first, but once it opens, a smooth and crisp glide follows. Sliding this baby reveals the QWERTY keyboard. An avid N97 user will surely notice the absence of a D pad formerly found on the left side of the keyboard. This was replaced by arrow keys found on the right side. Hence, easier and more comfortable access to the space key having been moved a bit to the middle. It is interesting to note that even if this baby is smaller, the size of the keys and its spacing is reasonable and quite comfortable even for those who have fat and stubby fingers.