N97 Review Thrilling Review Conclusion - only recommended for S60 geeks

If I had money which I don't due to transitions in employment and the need to pay $8000 for a new roof, I would buy an N97 NAM with my own money. But, unfortunately (it pains me to slag Nokia since I desperately want Apple to have viable competition longterm and slagging Nokia is like slagging my first love since I loved my first cameraphone, the 1 megapixel Nokia 7610 I bought in 2004!)  I can not  recommend the Nokia N97 for other people i.e. people who are not already S60 geeks.

Buy an iPhone 3GS instead. Sure the camera on the 3GS scks compared to the N82, N95, N97, N86, etc but the software is a joy to use and the touch focus is something that Nokia should have done first. and there is a viable useful app ecosystem for the iPhone unlike Nokia (sure it may develop but there is no sign of it).

The N97 works for me because of these apps (in no order):

  • ShoZu - Sorry Pixelpipe your service is unusable until Nokia fixes Share Online, sharing only 30 items at a time is a non starter for me.  The unreliable Share Online which has no cues about whether a photo has been uploaded already is a major annoyance.)
  • Gravity - Gravity rocks, it's one of the best Twitter clients on any platform and is continually being improved! Gravity makes the N97 QWERTY keyboard useful instead of a frill. Without gravity, I'd be content with the superior camera of the N86 8MP and pecking away in gd aweful T9)
  • Nokia Sports Tracker is a must have for tracking your bicycle rides, walks,etc. It is full of annoyances like not remembering any of your preferences (I always want to share my Maps with everybody, please don't ask OVER AND OVER again) but works well and is very useful and works in the background unlike the iPhone trackers all of which are useless because the iPhone doesn't allow 3rd party apps to multi-task
  • QIK, video streaming need I say more. It just works and keeps getting improved!

If you love the above apps or any of the other few (there are about 50 good apps on S60, on iPhone there are several hundred good apps!) good apps on S60, then that probably means you are an S60 geek and then the only choice in 2009 is either the N86 8MP or N97. However once a 5 megaxel iPhone with decent video comes out in 2010, then I fear Nokia at its current rate of stagnation won't even be able to keep S60 geeks like myself happy.

Why normal people should NOT buy  the N97:

  • the UI is impossible to use for non S60 geeks, hand the N97 and iPhone 3GS to a newbie and may G*d have mercy on your soul :-) ! Can't stand S60 constantly nattering at you asking whether you want to connect or not, of course I do ! touch inconsistently works from screen to screen, app to app and a host of other UX issues
  • the whole thing feels like a work in progress e.g. widgets are a great proof of concept but in reality aren't really that useful, e.g. the twitter and facebook widgets don't display enough useful info and autoscroll, they just display the last 10 or so status updates, these widgets feel like "hello world" rather than actually useful
  • instability - e.g. I reset the phone via *#7370#, set the camera to sequence multiple shot mode and take 16 pictures and the camera app freezes; if Nokia can't get their camera app to work in 2009 no wonder ShoZu also has stability issues
  • there's not enough RAM - even if you install all the apps on the built in 32GB mass memory you still run out of RAM