Does mini mean better in Finnish? First impressions of the Nokia N97 mini

As you know I purchased the white Nokia N97 NAM back when it was first released this summer and have lately been using the Nokia N900. When the Nokia N97 mini was announced in September I didn’t post any dedicated coverage here and I didn’t even give it a second thought since it just seemed at first like a smaller N97 and wasn’t much of a change to even think about. Nokia just sent me a new Nokia N97 mini to evaluate and I have to say after just a day with the device that I would choose the N97 mini over the N97 for the better keyboard, smaller and more solid form factor, and the available memory in the C drive. Obviously, there are some caveats with this choice as I will mention in my first impressions below.

The N97 mini that I have right now is a UK version so there is no 3G in the US, but then again I have been using my N97 with T-Mobile so I have no 3G anyway and thus my evaluation compares the two devices without considering the network speeds. I understand a 850 MHz 3G version for AT&T’s network may become available in the future and the specs on the Nokia site actually show 850 is one of the included bands, but the bands listed on the box I have do not show 850 MHz.

First impressions

Nokia had the battery charged up and in the device when it arrived so I popped in my T-Mobile SIM and fired it up. BTW, the back cover was a bit difficult to replace since it has a completely new form and the SIM card tray that is fully removable is odd. I was immediately impressed with the feel of the N97 mini. It is narrower and thinner than the N97 and feels more dense and solid in my hand. After sliding the display up and tapping away on the keyboard I made the decision that the N97 mini keyboard is better than the N97. It has more travel of the keys and they are more rubberized. You can barely tell when you press a key on the N97 and that is not the case with the N97 mini. The display resolution is the same on both, but the smaller display on the N97 mini gives it an even sharper display.

In the box

The N97 mini has that same cool black box with embossed N97 mini device on the front like the N97 had. It is very thin and reduces the packaging to just what is needed. Inside the box you will find the N97 mini, BL-4D 1200 mAh battery, AC charger, microUSB to USB cable, wired stereo headset, User Guide, and other pamphlets on the N97 mini. As you will note there is no stylus in the box like we saw with the N97, but I never pulled out the stylus from my N97 box so this is not something that is needed. The device supports TV out, but a cable is not included in the box.


  • Intel ARM 11 434 MHz processor
  • 3.2 inch 640×360 pixel resolution touchscreen display
  • 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics
  • 8GB integrated memory with microSD card slot
  • 802.11 b/g WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • A-GPS
  • FM radio
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • microUSB port for syncing and charging
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Proximity sensor
  • Available in Cherry Black, Garnet, and White color schemes.
  • Dimensions of 4.45 x 2.07 x 0.56 inches and 4.87 ounces.

Compared to the Nokia N97, the N97 mini is smaller (4.45 x 2.07 x 0.56 inches compared to 4.61 x 2.18 x 0.63 inches) and lighter (4.87 vs 5.29 ounces). The processors are the same, the cameras are the same, the wireless capabilities are the same, and the main differences are in the included flash memory (8GB vs 32GB), C drive (238 MB vs ), screen size (3.2 inches vs 3.5 inches), and QWERTY keyboard design.

Physical characteristics of the N97 mini

The N97 mini has the same buttons and ports as the N97 and they are all in the same location. Physically the only difference in buttons/controls is the updated QWERTY keyboard. The left directional pad has been replaced with four right directional arrows, the right space bar has been slightly increased, the keys have a more rubberized design and are smaller so there is distinct spacing between buttons, and the keys have MUCH more travel so you know when a button has been pressed. I personally find the keyboard to be an excellent improvement over the N97.

You will also now find the N97 mini camera has no shutter cover and is not protected. The N97 had an issue with the slider scratching the lens so this may not be much of an issue.

N97 mini software

The N97 mini runs S60 5th Edition and the version on the device supports kinetic scrolling in the browser, long press of alternate keyboard characters, more standby screen widgets and the improvements found in the N97 firmware 2.0 update.

More first impressions

Physically, I prefer the N97 mini over the N97, but I really cannot believe that Nokia has the same limited RAM in the device. This should only affect power users who try to run multiple apps like Gravity, the camera, web browser, Nokia Email, and more, but the readers of this site are generally the power users so you may still see low memory warnings from time to time. Then again, the majority of the time you should be fine and the N97 mini is still a rocking good S60 device. Phone call quality is top notch and the N97 mini does a good job of call management.

I will be spending more time with the N97 mini to see how well the smaller capacity battery does and how well it performs on a daily basis so stay tuned for more thoughts.


25 Comments to Does mini mean better in Finnish? First impressions of the Nokia N97 mini

A.Siraj Hassan Mohideen
November 15, 2009

Love it Great Review 😀 bro

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[…] First impressions of the Nokia N97 min […]

November 16, 2009

Another difference is that the mini’s display is not transflective (it’s actually the same used in the 5800XM), which gives it poorer visibility in sunlight, compared to the N97’s transflective display.

[…] is it better than the Nokia N97 or just a slightly smaller version? Well the guys over at Nokia experts have taken a long look at the Nokia N97 Mini and have come up with their first impressions on the […]

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[…] at Nokia Experts has written a big review of the N97 Mini, which concludes that size matters – the smaller the […]

[…] Link […]

November 17, 2009

I’ve been using the Nokia N97mini for a few days and the feel and look seem nicer, and as a side note the breathing light comes through the menu button because of the mesh material they used instead of the solid one from the n97, and because of the slighter smaller size the light sensor when you hold it to your face seems to work better than on my n97… I too having own and currently playing with both devices agree the n97 mini seems have a more solid feel and look , and I also was one that thought “yeah right mini its just the same as n97 ” but after receiving it and playing with it for a few days I wish it was the device that came out 1st.

[…] First impressions of the Nokia N97 min […]

November 19, 2009

Good thing about this phone is high resolution display.

[…] whether you should pick up the Nokia (NYSE: NOK) N97 Mini or the regular N97? Matthew Miller from Nokia Experts made a ~ 9 minute video demoing and comparing both devices; a must watch if you’re […]

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[…] 32GB while the Nokia N97 Mini however has 8GB. So hit up that video further courteousness of Nokia Experts and urge an well-versed […]

[…] N97 sporting 32GB while the Nokia N97 Mini only has 8GB. So hit up that video below courtesy of Nokia Experts and make an informed choice. Rate this topic: (No Ratings Yet) Popularity: 0 You can […]

November 24, 2009

the original classic nokia n97 is better that its small brother than ‘mini’ in the following ways.
better memory i.e 32GB
better screen i.e transflective
the D-pad which is needed to play games.
FM transmitter which is absent on the mini

and almost all other problems with the classic n97 has been resolved with the new update v2.0

so nokia n97 will be the better choice, but the only thing that is better in nokia n97 mini is the steel battery cover.

payasyougo mobile phones
November 24, 2009

Although the iPhone3G S is a very smart phone, it not intelligent enough to compete against the Nokia N97 Mini.

The Nokia N97 mini is like having a mini super computer on your pocket. The features of the Nokia N97 Mini are very impressive compared to the iPhone.

[…] N97 mini first impressions […]

December 30, 2009

How’s the Batt life? the n97 had one of the best batt ever!!

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water for gas
February 2, 2012

check out the video below, and we’ll advance on with what’s new in terms of development and features for version 1 (which is just around the corner).

[…] First impressions of the Nokia N97 min […]

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