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Nokia N97

After being announced in December 2008, the Nokia N97 NAM is finally hitting the streets. Nokia's flagship smartphone is available for $700 unlocked and is packed to the brim with features, such as 32GB of internal flash memory, a 5-megapixel camera, and all the wireless options you would want.

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Nokia N97 versus the others

While packed with functionality, the biggest downfall of the N97 (shown here with the iPhone 3G and T-Mobile G1) might be the Symbian operating system. It feels outdated and the touch interface isn't very well-integrated, falling short of the competition.

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Rather bulky

The N97 measures 4.6 inches tall by 2.1 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick and weighs 5.29 ounces, so it's a bit of a handful and not the most pocket-friendly device.

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Solid construction, except...

Overall, the N97 has a nice, solid construction but we worry about the battery cover, which feels flimsy and cheap.

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Touch screen and widgets

The Nokia N97 has a 3.5-inch resistive touch screen that shows off 16.7 million colors at a 640x360-pixel resolution. While clear and bright, it's not quite as sharp as the competitors. Also, we would have preferred a capacitive touch screen instead of resistive, which requires more pressure and precision to register commands.

We do like the new widget-based home screen, though, since it allows you to see more information at a glance as well as have one-touch access to your apps.

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Tilted screen

One nice thing about the display is that it can be opened and viewed at a slight angle by simply pushing the screen to the right, much like the AT&T Tilt and HTC Touch Pro2. Nokia also really did a nice job with the slider design, as the gliding motion is very smooth.

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N97's QWERTY keyboard

Our reaction to the N97's full QWERTY keyboard was a bit mixed. On the one hand, we thought the keys were a good size and had ample spacing between them so mispresses were few.

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Such a shame

On the other hand, for whatever reason, Nokia placed the space bar and Shift key on the far right, which made them awkward to reach and interrupted the flow of typing. It's really too bad because otherwise, the N97's keyboard is one of the best ones we've used on a smartphone.

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Same 5-megapixel camera

The N97 features the same 5-megapixel camera as the Nokia N96, but we're not complaining. It has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with dual-LED flash, autofocus, up to 4x digital zoom, and a number of other advanced camera options. It can also record MPEG-4 videos at a maximum VGA resolution (640x480) at 30fps.

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Impressive picture quality

We were quite happy with the picture quality. Images looked sharp, and more than anything, we were happy that colors didn't look washed out or have a weird tint to them.

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A whole lot of storage

The N97 comes with an impressive 32GB of internal flash memory but you can potentially get up to 48GB using the microSD expansion slot located behind the battery cover.

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Plug in

As a multimedia-centric smartphone, we're glad the Nokia N97 is equipped with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

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