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Preview: Nokia N97 Phone (First Touch-Screen Nseries Phone)

December 3, 2008
Nokia N97: half touch-phone, half slider, all badass.

Nokia N97: half touch-phone, half slider, all badass.

Well, this is a rarity. For the first time in a long time, Nokia launched a surprise announcement with the latest Nseries handset, the N97. Already the first Nseries touch-screen phone, the N97 also packs in a slide-out/tilt-able QWERTY keyboard (can someone say arc slider?) and the usual badass Nseries features.

There’s definitely a lot to like with Nokia’s second official touch-screen handset. Unlike the cheaper 5800 XpressMusic, the quad-band N97 is all about the high-end, with the looks and features to match.

For starters, it’s not a small handset. Measuring 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9 mm, the N97 also weighs in at 150 grams – that’s 5.3 ounces. Compare that to the original Nokia N95 (120 grams), and the current Xperia X1 (145 grams). Expect some heft with this phone, although not as much as the Nokia N90 aka “the brick.” (173 grams)

So first up in the feature section is the touch-screen, which is a generously-sized 3.5 inch, 640×360 widescreen (16:9) display. It’s impressive despite the fact that the screen is resistive rather than the more sensitive capacitive.

The camera is the high-end industry standard 5 megapixels, with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash, TV-out, and 30 fps video to boot. With 32 gigabytes of internal memory plus expandable memory that supports up to 16 more gigabytes, my guess is that you won’t be running out of space any time soon. Compare that to last year’s N81 which I believe had a grand total of 5 megabytes of internal memory. Phones have definitely come a long way.

Music features are pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Nokia. Stereo speakers, A2DP, and even the 3.5mm jack.

Battery life, at least on paper, looks good. The N97 uses a 1500 mAh battery, which is good enough for 6.6 hours of talk time (GSM) or 5.3 hours (3G). Sweet.

There’s always a huge drawback when it comes to this much awesomeness, and the drawback in this case is the wait. The N97 ain’t comin’ out until the first half of 2009, which is damn long time. There might even be an Xperia X2 by then. Don’t forget to add +5 months to that date if you live in the USA.

Finally, expect the N97 to be priced at 550 euros, or $698 USD.

Nokia Press Release
Nokia N97 Data Sheet

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