One of the most important applications on my mobile device is e-mail. The built in Nokia e-mail client is a bit to light weight for my purposes so I've been using Profimail the past couple of years. In this part of the review, I'll have a quick look at both.
The Natvie e-Mail Client
For the newcomer, the functionality and usability of the built in e-mail client might just be ok so I concentrated on how easy it is to create a new e-mail account with the creation wizard. It turns out that just a couple of steps are necessary to get an Ovi mail account (firstname.lastname@example.org), assuming general access to the Internet has been set-up already. The account creation wizard asks for your name and a new password, makes a couple of suggestions for how the e-mail address can look like and then sets-up the account and configures the phone. Nicely done even if the web based wizard was not yet optimized for the screen size of the N97.
My first attempts to send an e-mail to the newly created account failed but after half an hour or so the server configuration seemed to be working and e-mails were delivered promptly afterwards. Another plus is that e-mail attachments are not automatically downloaded as that is mostly unnecessary anyway. New e-mails are notified by an audio alert, by vibration and by changing the blinking of the light behind the menu button. The blinking, however, is hardly noticeable, I would have wished they would have done something more visible. There's a small white LED next to the USB / power port which which could be put to good use. Next software version, maybe? Downloading and opening a PDF attachment worked fine while doing the same with a word document repeatedly resulted in a "server error" and a subsequent automatic closing of the e-mail client.
Now over to Profimail. I've been using it for a number of years now and I am a huge fan. With it's own UI layout it's more efficient in displaying information and it's also more customizable. So no doubt I want it on the N97, too. The installation worked flawlessly and the program has even been adapted for touch input. The style and size of the menu and the soft keys are just the right size for me, not too big to take too much of the visible space and not too small for touch input. Scrolling through the e-mails with a finger on the touch display also works great and the big screen of the N97 makes e-mail reading even better than before. All the rest works as on the non-touch N95 so definitely two thumbs up for the N97 implementation. What I found a bit more difficult is writing an e-mail. The QUERTY keypad of the N97 is good for short replies but for longer texts I reverted to the on-screen T9 input. While typing works ok, the very limited space available for showing the text in this mode is not as comfortable as on the N95 where all of the screen is used for showing the text. Also, for some strange reason, typing a space character sometimes resulted in a new line. So the learning curve for typing text is not as smooth as I hoped for.
In summary, the e-mail experience on the N97 with Profimail works for me and I guess that with a bit of practice, I could manage to work with the different text input modes that are available. Well done Nokia and Profimail!