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Nokia N97 preview

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The Nokia N97 has been bouncing around for sometime. It was officially announced last December, and is finally ready to hit the shelves.

It’s a touchscreen device, running on Symbian S60, just like the 5800 XpressMusic. However, it’s huge in comparison, at 15.9mm thick.

Nokia has obviously taken criticism of the 5800 XpressMusic onboard, because the resistive screen on the N97 is much more responsive than that on the original Symbian touchscreen device, although it’s still not as joyful to use as a capacitive screen.

It’s also pretty vibrant, with 16million colours and a resolution of 360×640 pixels. Watching videos is a breeze if you open the slide and they’re crisp too, whether you’re streaming or have downloaded them.

The homescreen features a widget interface, with shortcuts to the browser, Nokia Maps and music player on the left side of the screen, and Accuweather, Facebook and hi5 widgets preloaded on the right side.

The kick slide that allows you to access the Qwerty keyboard is a little violent – we trapped our fingers in it more than once. However, its one of the best devices we’ve seen for writing emails or large chunks of text resting on a desk because it doesn’t rock forwards and backwards like many other devices with a sliding Qwerty keyboard. Conversely, the keys on the Qwerty keyboard are a little spongy, making emails and long chunks of text a little trickier than we’d like.

In the menu, you’ll find a shortcut to Nokia’s Ovi store to download music and applications. It’s not as easy to use at the Apple App Store, and the interface isn’t as pleasant to use as BlackBerry App World, but it’s a step in the right direction for a world of mobile applications. What is spectacular is that the Nokia N97 features a whopping 32GB internal memory for loading images, videos and music on, with a microSD card slot that supports memory cards up to 16GB on top. That’s bigger than the iPhone!

Once you’ve got your tunes loaded up on the N97, there’s an FM transmitter to stream your music to a stereo. If you’re bored of the tunes on your mobile, you can also listen to music through the visual FM radio.

For imaging, there’s a 5-megapixel camera, although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to try it out fully yet – that’ll be coming up very soon in the review. Video is another impressive feature on paper – VGA at 30fps, but we’ll see what it’s like when we put it to the test.

The Nokia N97 is packed full of features, but it’s not quite the device we were hoping for. None of the features are executed spectacularly well, although there is a possibility that some issues will be rectified with a firmware update.

Check back on Know Your Mobile for our full Nokia N97 review early next week.

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