A colleague recently acquired the recently launched Nokia N97 mini, so I had an opportunity to see it, hold it and use it first hand, albeit just briefly. Prior to this, I had only seen photos on the web, and the closest I got to the real thing was to see the actual phone in a Nokia Store display. At the store, all I saw was the front view of the phone while it was in the display. I did not ask to pick it up to play around with it.
It turns out that the N97 mini is more different from than the original N97 than I thought it would be. When compared side by side, the mini is remarkably more compact than the original. Suddenly the N97 feels clunky, while the N97 mini feels more slim and sleek typical of modern smartphones from other brands.
Some of the things I had not noticed previously about the N97 mini include:
- The camera on the back does not have a cover. Now, this has become an odd issue. Originally when cameras had no cover, we worry about them getting scratched. That was how it was with my N95 8GB. Now that the N97 has a cover, its broken design caused the window to be scratched from its own sliding cover. It’s a problem too. Now the N97 mini has no lens cover. Which do you think is the greater of the two evils?
- The keyboard of the N97 mini is different. The keys themselves are the same size, but since there is now less space it means something has to go. The D-pad in the original N97 has been replaced by arrow keys in the N97 mini. I’d think the D-pad is a more user friendly design.
- Less internal memory in the N97 mini, down to 8GB from 32GB of the N97. 8GB has luxurious, but nowadays it seems to be getting to be a tight squeeze for some. Since the N97 mini still has a microSD slot, this might not be a big sacrifice.
- No FM transmitter in the N97 mini. Not all that important, in my opinion.
- The battery cover of the N97 mini is metallic. This is mainly a cosmetic matter.
- The obvious which I had already mentioned previously: Smaller in all dimensions (and hence smaller volume), lighter, less capacity battery.
Another significant thing about the N97 mini is that it will sell for less than the original N97. It is a little surprising, since “newer” and “more compact” are often good reasons to charge more. I guess the downsized features (particularly downgrading 32GB internal storage to just 8GB) really resulted in some manufacturing cost savings, and Nokia is kind enough to pass on the savings to consumers.