Nokia N97 Mini Review Part 2-Whatever you can expect for

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Call it affection to Nokia N900, says it mess at personal front now days, may be my a bit illness on health front; I really feel that I was unable to give sufficient time to my latest trial device Nokia N97 Mini. Though I written comments about Un-boxing, wrote about Hardware Specifications and a few posts are there on small Ovi Maps adventures with it. But still this amazing device deserves a review about its functioning. Trying to cover a few this time…

Usually when you talk about Nokia N97 Mini, then common opinion is “its made for youngsters”; thanks to its bright, responsive, big 3.2” touch screen, QWERTY Keypad opening in slightly tilt mode to make it a Mini Netbook, always on connection for status updates from various social networks, fast processor and increased RAM/ Application memory, strong multimedia skills due to amazing 5 Megapixel camera & FM receiver and smooth video experiences (local and web) and huge storage options with 8GB internal memory and support for 16 GB MicroSD card to increase it more.

But sometimes I really think that except the comparatively lesser battery (though that’s also enough decent) why not to call it a Business Device? QWERTY keypad operating in long landscape aiding to fast typing like on some 13” Netbooks, big display to support viewing web pages comfortably without much compromise, almost all connectivity options (3G, wi-fi), all time synced contacts, photos, calendar, even files with Ovi, so that if you are using multiple devices then you get the same experience (I can’t help myself not to think about, if some corporate start using synced contacts, calendar and files through one account ), 5MP Camera capable to take snaps of documents like scan images, support for TV-Out for presentations, number of applications out there for suiting your needs and huge space for keeping your mails and files ready on the go. What else are your expectations from a Business device?

For me, its been kind of full entertainment device by which, I could keep on checking my updates, my blog, snapping here and there, sharing anything over web on the go, watching movies when travelling to somewhere and getting bored. If we want to go green, then we should really promote such device at our best.


Ok!! enough talking. Lets talk about how it looks like, when we operate on it means Screen Shots, lots of them….

At first, when I was looking for how to take screenshots, then it reminded me that how easily I was taking them in N900 by pressing Ctrl+Shift+P … but anyway, I found a free app in Ovi Store itself by name of Best Screensnap and then started taking snapshots after setting HotKey (it made me confused that if Camera key would be set for taking screenshots then how to take snaps, anyway, I changed the hotkey on long press camera key). Added the same app to my beloved Nokia N82 as well.

Here are some screen shots and notes about them:


Home Screen (Portrait Mode)

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Home Screen (Landscape Mode

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Addition of Home Screen widgets was the greatest thing that started with N97 classic and obviously continued with Nokia N97 Mini. Users of Nokia 5800 and other Smartphone in lower cost range still crave of the same feature on their screens, but probably this feature is kind of too much for their low RAM or application memory.

If you go through options, then you can see that there are options to hide the contents and go back to plain home screen without any widget on it. There are also option to hide/ show content by swapping your finger left/ right side on screen. Moreover, options are here to keep the content Offline as well (Handy if you want to save the data usages or battery for a while).

Default contained Facebook widget, which I replaced first with Accuweather and later on with favourite contacts. Though I tried to add Gravity later on, but didn’t found quick way to add something already installed in your Phone, it was directing to Ovi Store.


Calling and Dial Pad (Landscape Mode):

Scr000006Dial Pad look similar as of other touch screen phones from Nokia and USSD numbers obviously work out of the box unlike Nokia N900. Provided the sleek looks, one can never be needing the H/W keypad to dial some number, even if one requires then he could directly type numeric keys of the keypad (no necessity of pressing shift key in that case).

Signal Reception of Nokia is legendary as always and surprising I found the sound louder than Nokia N900 and others. Kind of a good thing for Indian Users. 😉


Messaging:

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The Keypad is awesome to type on. I already said that I just loved the similar keypad in Nokia 900, so bound to love it. Although it still lacks of auto-complete feature in Nokia N900 (may be some third party apps out there for the same), but it support long press keys to get symbols etc.

The touch screen keypad lacks of mini qwerty that is quite disappointing as it was there even in Nokia 5800. True that one should use H/W keypad for the same, but there may be scenarios that you can’t operate with two hands. I really recommend Nokia to add the same in next firmware update.

Rest two format are available in the same way as on other phones and good that they have retained handwriting mode, though I didn’t used it that much, but sure a good thing for occasions.


Various Menus inside:

First screen shot is about Menu screen and then I am following the calendar app.

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A nice view and then full fledge options for meetings, notes etc. These are all the same options as we find in other leading Smartphone’s from Nokia.

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In next, as you can see above, is Contacts. As you already heard that Nokia N97 Mini come with kinetic scrolling out of the box, true with Contacts and other menu items. Addition in Nokia N97 Mini is appearance of first letter as you scroll down (D and C in pictures). Definitely Symbian getting polished day by day, device by device. Expectations are higher for Symbian^3.

Another and kind of most important app is Web. Interesting here is Auto Full Screen feature, even if not like full fledged on Nokia N900, still it was better than other phones. Experience was amazingly richer due to embedded Youtube support (same as available in Nokia N82 or others, don’t remember it was same in Nokia 5800 or not)

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As I always recommend, I installed Opera 10 Mobile in it as well and interesting was to note that appearance of my blog was more or less same on both the browsers, though there are more options in Opera for sure. Look at the screenshots as given below.

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A lovely app is Nokia Messaging with HTML mails support, though on trial for few days, but I will love it when Nokia will made it free like its Ovi Maps. This is something that made me checking mails somewhere else than Gmail’s app. Definitely different than any other thing, though I wish it was having more formatting options inside, may be native HTML Coding itself.

This thing not only supports Push Mails, but the white face make it look much elegant than other email apps. For the detailed descriptions, one could head toward a detailed article from Zomgitscj.

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As about Camera, then I already said that it compares to Nokia N82’s Camera, which has been my best so farScr000037 Scr000039in such a way (credit goes to Xeon Flash) that even I didn’t found Nokia N900’s Camera preferable over the same (even if was technically better), but Nokia N97 Mini even with Dual Led flashes changes your opinion. It is really good one about snapping and really removes my disappointment as was with Nokia 5800 about Led Flashes.

You would be surprised to know that I already have snapped more than 5000 snaps from my Nokia N82, so could understand that having such a good camera could increase your photo collection in your camera. Options for tags come much handy for such situations.

I also tried Nokia Photo Browser that is a Beta Lab app and sure impresses in view. Not have tried but came across one awesome article about arranging your snaps on Nokia N97 Mini. Definitely a powerful device as far as Photos are concerned.  

Digging more deeper takes various menus and submenus, which most of you must be already familiar with, so not going into details. Though will mention to look at the last screen shot, it provides the control over Notification lights in a new way, which is a cool thing.

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So, here we come to discuss about the most interesting and important feature of this amazing device, Ovi Maps. Though content is older in this article, but could worth taking a look for exploration of Ovi Maps.

I also have wrote a couple of articles over Ovi Maps and even got a tweet from @ovibynokia that I have became entitled for some cool ovi goodies. Don’t know what would be that …. Surprise.

Waiting for that. Till then check other screenshots.

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Rest remains is the world of applications. Many comes out of the box with shortcuts to install them means a huge applications folder with full of icons, took at least 4 screens to cover them all. There is an amazing message reader as well to read loud your messages for you.

What I installed in addition were Fring, Gmail, Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, Skype, Periodic, Compass, Flashlight, Orkut, Best ScreenSnap and the almighty Gavity (I have fallen in love with it). Just added Nokia Here and Now via Software Updates. Amazing thing again.

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So, this was the app world about Nokia N97. I addition I checked Videos over the same. I still miss the 3.5” screen of Nokia N900 that was extra large without any buttons on the screen. May be some people like me will wish that if Nokia could have retained the same 3.5” Screen as was in original Nokia N97 and would have added the same battery as was in Nokia 5800.

I should say that in symbian league, it was the best from Nokia till now. Unfortunately when someone like Nokia N900 appears on the screen, then its bound to steal the show and we started skipping others. But if you talk about features, then you will be surprised that how much effect Nokia N97 Mini will have on your crave for some Laptop/ Netbook always with you. Most of the things, like social media, mails and web access are following you now with its home screen widgets and you find yourself not missing even if you travel a lot.

I really wonder that where Black Berry Phones are getting their places even after their buggy scroll ball (I got all of them go bad after one year or two in my office, not one but half a dozen consistently)?

Yes!! there are some complaints/ suggestions for Nokia Team about Nokia N97 Mini ….

  1. Why to leave the same messaging innovation as we seen in Series 40 devices like Nokia 5130, where we had option to send messages to people we last messaged, people we called recently and setting favourites for messaging? It was too cool in even those low end devices and I thought good things to be continued in higher end devices. I don’t find any additional requirement or issue in porting the same feature, when you already made it once.
  2. Why still we are left with some trial Quick Office and Adobe Acrobat? I had it in full with Nokia N82 at least for reading and expected it to be available in read version at least with Nokia N97 Mini like device.
  3. I have really no idea what suggested Nokia people to remove the Mini QWERTY keypad from touch screen, but its a real must have. Please give it back in next firmware update or whatever…
  4. I can understand Nokia’s requirement about making a device low on price and high on features that made them compromising the battery and FM Transmitter. But don’t you think that battery is as essential as Network coverage itself? Think about it.


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One day with Google-Ovi Maps and Nokia N97 Mini

Testing something is another thing and relying on them in unmanaged scenario as we are used to find in India is just another thing. Earlier I had used simple Nokia Maps to find the destination in one friend’s marriage and usually to know the distance left while travelling via public transport medium and also for using the badge on my blog via the link. This time thought to put it on a blind trial.

One of my friend was coming to New Delhi for an Interview with HDFC Bank. As she was unaware of Delhi locations, so it was up to me escort her. Address was something like HDFC Bank, Vertika Atrium, Sector 53, Gurgaon. I should admit, I am dumb about locations around in Delhi. Schedule goes monotonic in a way that I know about places like home and office only and even though now getting aware with new locations, still I find me dumber than others. So, the responsibility becomes tougher in my case.


It sound nerd, but I used Google Map to search for the location as Ovi Maps wasn’t able to come up with any result related to HDFC, Vertika Atrium. Even Google wasn’t able to find or I might not be using proper search terms, but I found Vertika Attrium for sure and that seems enough to reach there. I used the Get Directions link and taken print out of the route instructions by copy/ paste. I wish Google may place a print button or link for printing out the route instructions. Anyway…

Yes!! I missed a few turns and taken rounds of few places at moments, but that’s all due to misinterpretation of instructions not of fault of any of the two maps. Sure, it didn’t went blind as once or twice, I was to stop and ask people for confirmation that I am going right, but at the end, I was at exact place, I was to reach without many hassles.


Trip is completed but I am left with a few observations…

  1. Sharing: Ovi-Google: I am not sure that till now, I don’t know or there is no way till now for sharing a found location in Google Maps to Ovi Maps though Google Maps detect favourites made by Ovi Maps.

  2. Updates about Locations: When you think of technical aspects, then its sure a mammoth task, but I find that Ovi Maps due to their offline nature, aren’t that updated enough. Specially about places like we have in India, where when routes will be permanently blocked or re-routed via some other long route, no one knows. I come to hit places, where Ovi navigation kept on telling me that I need to turn right, but there was NO right turn? Yes. I was to go a few hundred meters and then by taking a U-turn, was to reach other side of the road to find that the instructions were right but not locally correct under traffic rules.

    While Google Maps was better in this sense due to highly detailed imaginary, whereas Nokia Satellite imaginary seems to be limited to City Level only not street level (understood due to vector nature of Maps for saving Data usages) and sure at some occasions, you get a better idea by the visuals you see. Not suggesting Nokia for doing so, but Google Maps is a must have for occasions.

  3. Heating of device: I am not sure that what caused that was it noon temperature or extensive usages of 3G data or heavily used Nokia N97 mini, but I found it heated up, when was coming back from the trip and found it better to switch the same off for a while. Must be some local issue otherwise, I have traveled longer with Maps and in comparison this wasn’t even a total of 100 km trip.

    Moral of the story: The navigation device should have excellent cooling system for longer trips as sometime choking/ fluctuating connections could cause a whole bunch of troubles for your beloved device.

Ovi tells you that you have to move straight till 3 km, when you reached nearer, it tells that after 300 m, you have to take left turn or have keep left if the turn is slight or you have two options, one flyover and one the road side by. Moreover, even after wrong turns, it instantly recalculate now renewed route instructions.

Means in all, the perfect solution it is. I have been in touch of a GPS technology related project through  one of my friend Manoj Tripathi under Prof. Anupam and aware of challenges in programming aspects of such a system. Dealing with something like whole world data, is something like amazing, which makes Ovi Maps and Google Maps technology the best of the apps on your smartphones.

Conclusion: Though my personal opinion, but I think such navigation is better for people driving cars as they could see the maps actually and not that better for people driving bikes and keeping the bluetooth headset on (like my case), but still work decently and you can actually rely over it.

Even if not that detailed (don’t have maps of my hometown Azamgarh in details), Ovi Maps is still the best about Voice Guided navigation. Technology is not about labs and research papers only, its about making in reached directly into hands of mass and Nokia and Google doing this at their best. I owe you!!!!

 

My Next Smartphone?

Sometimes, you find yourself hugely mistimed about things, either it be life, or be profession or about many other things. Same with me at occasions. Here I wished myself talking about my dilemma about my next Smartphone.

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Technology make so us so much dependent of it that sometimes we feel  like being starved, if kept away from it. In last visit to home, thought to replace the existing much older model of cell-fone at home for mom and decided to give her my Nokia 5310. Did the same and just after that sudden turn of events left me on edge of same “starving”.


One day ago, I was having a bit too many smart phones with me; Nokia 5310, Nokia N82, Nokia 5800 and trial device Nokia N900 and at the next day, I found myself left with Nokia N900 and an old model Nokia 3650 only as lost Nokia 5800 and Nokia N82 went for long-required repairs. Few more days and Nokia N900 was finally to depart. See!!! what now, just Nokia 3650 with me as Nokia N82 is not getting back to me soon from Nokia Care.

Experience with Nokia Care not going well, like many of Nokia users out there though I know there are many, who find their work good enough and apart of my case, I also been in appraising tone for their initiatives about customer services, but ……


Deprived from Internet at home (I was using MTNL now days as Idea SIM lost with Nokia 5800), I am almost out of patience about buying some smart-phone in hurry. Still weighing  my options as wanted to settle for some time about these hurry and expensive purchases.

The addiction with physical qwerty keypad started with Nokia N900, not letting me settle for Nokia 5800 again, even when I literally loved it considering its amazing price tag (Rs. 13, 200/-) and the only other dependable alternative seems to be Nokia N97 only (if I am follow my instincts for Nokia only).

I actually visited a Nokia  Store in Laxmi Nagar to know about, if any other device is there to suit my needs. The store was showcasing other products as well, so they showed me quite a range of products like Sony Xperia V2, HTC HD Mini, Nokia N97 Mini, Samsung Corby and some other windows based phone.


Honestly speaking, I am confused. As much, I read through reviews and features I am targeting for (obvious overshadowed with dreams of Nokia N900), I found myself relying only on Nokia N97 Mini. But when I place it against Nokia 5800, then I really get dizzy about it. Obviously, I am looking for something like Nokia N900, which doesn’t exist in Indian market till now. Even if I afford a compromise due to my most important requirement Google/ Ovi Maps, then I am not finding myself settled below than N97 Mini.

Now, although there are many positive differences starting from Internal Memory to Digital Compass or Home Screen Widgets and I found it attractively slimmer and tougher enough due to stainless steal body, but still I find myself wondering.

There is a huge difference between Nokia N97 and Nokia 5800 of Rs. 10, 000/-.

How much the qwerty keypad worth, if I am constantly reading about issues around inconsistencies?

Why 1200 mAh battery provided to Nokia N97 Mini stands below than Nokia 5800?

Why the sliding mechanism seems prone to broke down, if mishandled, why not smooth like that of Nokia N900?

Was FM transmitter that costly enough to be removed?


I almost would have bought Nokia N97 even then, but the words that Nokia N900 might be coming here in next two months made me paused. But still if it comes, its not gonna be any lesser than 30, 000/- here and I could afford one, but at such a price, I need all I required.

I really wish to have a Nokia N97 Mini in my hands for some time to know, if I could say Go for it. At least till when some excellent MeeGo device appears, which provide better alternative over Nokia N900. Wasn’t wishing so, but asked WomWorld, if they could help me about any of these two; Nokia N97 Mini for Trial or some old Nokia N900. Still don’t know, till when I will be able to hold the temptation to buy one, although I keep on reminding myself that I just lost a Nokia 5800 and money needs to be wisely spent. Nokia N97 Mini seems to be promising, but ….


Update: Here the wait begins

  • Got a word from Nokia Care Center that I will be needed to wait for two three days more.
  • Got a word from Paul, WomWorld, that it could be arranged to send me a Nokia N97 Mini for trial. Really great people they are. I think I could give a shape to my article about these promotion strategies.
  • Got a word from DHL, that the shipment back to WomWorld is with Customs there and they would revert me back about the details as I asked for.

Although I got a few good read as well, but recently came across a video explaining about the things, which was in Nokia N97 and not  in Nokia 5800 (Though its not about Nokia N97 mini, but even then works for the purpose of comparison with mini)

 

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar