As you might have guessed from its name, the Nokia N97 mini is a smaller version of the N97. Although Nokia's cut a few features to reduce the handset's size, we think it's a more appealing smart phone. The mini is available for free on a £30-per-month, two-year contract. That's £5 per month less than the cheapest deal for the N97. You can also buy the mini for around £400 SIM-free, while the N97 costs around £430 SIM-free.
Diet for fat boy
The mini doesn't differ much from its larger sibling, so we'll focus on the variations and whether we think they make the mini worth your hand-earned cash. For much more about the highs and lows of this phone, read our full review of the Nokia N97.
We thought the N97 was lumpen and chubby, although we liked its satisfying hinge. The mini keeps the hinge but cuts down on the chubbiness, and so feels like a sleeker phone. It's still not the slimmest or most gorgeous phone out there, but it's a definite improvement.
Nokia has cropped the N97's screen from 89mm (3.5 inches) to 81mm (3.2 inches) to fit the mini. It's not a huge loss, but both screens are poorer than their competitors. We found the mini's screen rather dim, and blame the fact that it's of the resistive type rather than the brighter, more usable capacitive variety made famous by the iPhone.
You have to apply some pressure to make the resistive screen work. With capacitive screens, you can just gently swipe a fingertip. As long as you're prepared to use a fingernail, the mini's screen is snappy and responsive. But that doesn't compensate for the boring, dated user interface.
It's not the most user-friendly phone either. Rather than providing instinctive, touchscreen-orientated methods of interacting with it, you're faced with loads of menus. There's no multi-touch zooming, for example, so you have to navigate
to a zoom menu in Web pages, which takes a few taps. We also hate the fact that you have
to double tap some items to open them, while others only require one tap -- it's
On the positive side, there are some great on-board features that will get you connected reliably. Setting up email, for instance, is a breeze. The mini gets the job done -- it just doesn't offer a good-looking, fun way to do it.