I recently got hold of a Nokia n97 mini as a replacement for the Samsung Omnia i900 which I have been happily using for the past year and a half (well almost). Why did I get the n97? Well its a combination of factors but the main reason would have to be the presence of a physical keyboard for text entry. I also opted for an N series (Entertainment) Nokia phone instead of an E series (business) because it had a full touch screen which I am already so used to from using the Omnia.
The Omnia has been one of my better purchases as of late but due to the lack of a physical keyboard, something was just lacking. Text entry was a chore and the thought of replying simple SMS messages was a nightmare. If Samsung or the Windows Mobile device had a better text entry like the iphone, it would have been much more pleasant to use. Nonetheless, I still had fun with the Omnia and it was totally useful since I was able to use the Garmin XT GPS navigation software to get around and the Internet Connection Sharing to hook up my notebooks to the mobile 3G network while on the go.
The n97 did not fall short in my requirements, as I have also managed to install the Garmin XT software it. I have also purchased a copy of Joikuspot Premium (at a promo rate of 7 Euros) to hotspot enable my phone so that I can easily connect my notebooks to my 3G via wifi to my phone. This is a great APP and I recommend it to anyone who needs to get connected easily.
Keyboard wise, the touch screen on the n97 was more receptive and text seem to enter more precisely under the TXT9 (abc) mode than as compared with the Omnia. As mentioned, there’s just something lacking here which makes data entry on the Omnia a chore rather than a joy. The n97 also has a slider keyboard (as can be seen on the image) and typing on it is easy. I can tell you I get 99% of the characters right on the n97 as compared to perhaps 60% on the Omnia. I might be exagerating a little here but I seriously “swear” that I was hitting the backspace more than any other keys on the Omnia virtual keyboard. Pudgy fingers don’t help as well on touch screen keyboards.
Camera wise, the n97 packs the same punch as my i900 as it comes with a 5 megapixel camera on the back (and of course a 3G capable video camera on the front). I haven’t really tested the camera extensively but the pictures which I casually snapped turned out pretty alright. I have yet to test the camera for indoor shots. As you can see from the picture below, the design of the camera which comes with double LED flashes are nicely designed into the back of the phone.
Overall I’m so far pretty happy with the phone. There doesn’t seem to be many apps which I am able to install onto the phone but it is after all my intention to have this as a “business” cum “entertainment” phone which allows to me type easily as well as check my emails as well as do some basic facebooking and surfing. Various widgets come with the phone that allows you to check on news, videos, podcasts, weather, facebook, youtube & etc. Basically to make the most of this phone, it is advisable that you sign yourself up for an unlimited package with your mobile provider like I have. With most widgets turned on (i.e. Facebook and Email checking constantly) plus ability to stay connected via Fring, the battery is a little lacking here. I can’t seem to get through 1 day without having to charge the battery before the end of the day. Then again, perhaps I’m just connected too much and of course if I compare it to my i900, this battery seems to outlast the i900 many times over. I guess this is due to advances in technology…
Why didn’t I get an iphone? Well… as mentioned, my main intention was to get a phone with a physical keyboard and while the iphone has great apps, the keyboard is still slightly lacking for me. Perhaps in the near future I might pick one up… just so that I can fly the new Parrot Ar.Drone (http://ardrone2.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/en/index.html). Pretty kewl I think! Perhaps if someone can get me a cracked version from the US then I don’t have to pay heaps for the one provided here by the local mobile telco.