MWC: Some Nokia Impressions – N97

Here we go, day one at the Mobile World Congress and one of the first places for me to check out is of course the Nokia booth. While lots of people have reported about the new E75 and other devices having been launched this morning, I’ve been looking at some details of other already announced phones and applications which are of particular interest to me.

So everyone speaks about “Touch these days” and my next phone also needs to be one, too, no doubt about it. So I played around with a Nokia N97 for a bit to get a feel for the device and the touch screen. I really like the form factor of the device and also the sliding mechanism which tilts the screen while in the open position. Not only is it good for working with the phone while holding it but the screen can also very well be read when the phone sits on the desk. No complaints about the small keyboard either, I could type quite quickly with two fingers. With the new idle screen widgets it makes for an ideal central place to keep me updated on news, e-mails, social networking events and other bits and pieces that come in throughout the day.

I also very much like the finish of the device and the display resistance, it makes scrolling through web pages very easy and natural. The experience is much better than on the 5800 Express Music on which I find the screen surface a bit to resistive when quickly moving the finger over it to scroll down a page.

On the software side I think Nokia still has some work to do. Some things still feel a bit slow and other things such as the Gallery integration into other programs such as e-mail was still missing in the demo device they showed.

The other thing that I would like Nokia to improve a bit before launch is the built in browser. It doesn’t (yet?) reflow text and so on some pages the text is either tiny or one has to scroll left and right when zooming in. Also, scrolling does not work while the page is processed, something that I found quite irritating. Definitely not an easy thing to get working properly but I think it’s essential.

So all in all still a bit of mixed feelings on the N97 for the moment but with some luck the firmware that the first devices will be shipped with deal with these things. Can’t wait to get one then.