To Mini Or Not To Mini? The Smaller N97 Is Calling My Name

by Mike Macias on November 28, 2009

I’ve been checking out the Nokia N97 Mini since it was first announced. At first I wasn’t turned on by it at all for many legit reasons. But after reading some hands-on reviews on the N97 Mini my opinion began to change. People are saying the Mini feels much better in hand, having a more solid & refined feel to it. The main gripe I have with my N97 (besides the RAM) is the size of the device. I feel like it’s slightly too big and chunky, especially when pulling it out of my pocket or holding it with the keyboard closed.

Besides the size of both devices, here are a few other issues I’m pondering in my head…

Keep in mind I’m leaning more towards the N97 Mini and I have NO hands on experiences with the Mini – yet.

  • N97 Mini has a weaker battery. 1200mah battery compared to the N97’s 1500mah. The standby time is 310 hours on the Mini and 400 for it’s big brother. This is a big deal to me, although I think I’ll be fine if I keep an extra battery in the car for emergencies.
  • N97 Mini has a smaller screen. 3.2 inches compared to 3.5”. Not a huge deal for me, and the Mini has a sharper display since they both have the same amount of pixels.
  • N97 Mini has a better keyboard in terms of tactile feedback and material. Some may like the standard N97’s keyboard layout better but honestly the change is not a big deal to me. I’d rather have the keyboard that’s easier to type on and so far reports are saying the Mini wins.
  • The N97 Mini has a bigger C: Drive. This is another big one for me since I feel like the phone runs better with my most used apps being installed to the phone memory instead of mass (ie: Nimbuzz, Gravity, Profimail).
  • N97 Mini is lacking the FM transmitter. This doesn’t matter to me since I’ve only used it once on my N97.
  • N97 Mini has 8gb mass storage and a microSD slot. Coupled with my 16gb microsd card I got from Amazon that makes 24gb. That is plenty for my needs.
  • The back of the N97 Mini has real metal and no camera slide protector. I like it this way better.

Those are the main differences between the N97 vs. the N97 Mini that really matter to me. Like I said earlier – my main thing is the size. Check out some of these N97 vs. N97 Mini side by side pictures that were given to me by @961Ant1 of All About Nokia. Thanks buddy!

n97 mini - stacked n97mini-n97

As you can see the N97 is thinner and shorter than it’s counterpart.

Here is a great photo of the back of the Mini taken by Norman John and found in the N97 Mini photo gallery at Symbian World.

n97 mini back

And lastly a shot of the two keyboards in the gallery found at S60 Blog.

n97 mini keyboard

To finish this off I’ll show you a few quotes by Ant1 from All About Nokia

- It feels very solid; it’s like an Eseries. (perhaps should have been dubbed “E97”?)
- It fits very well in the hand – identical to the 5800XM
- Sliding mechanism feels more robust than the N97’s
- The keys on the keyboard are more spaced out, less slippery
- Tactile feedback on the keys is improved. The keys have been softly raised to provide that.
- There’s no camera lens protection
- The device feels so slim
- Nokia N97 mini Designed in Finland

As you can probably tell I’m trying to convince myself that it’s worth it to sell my N97 and get the Mini. I love the fact that the Mini has that “e-series” feel to it. I loved the build quality of the Nokia E71 immensely and it seems the Mini is closer to that. Right now Nokia is having a weekend sale and the price is $479 usd. But I’d have to purchase by tomorrow. Amazon has the Nokia N97 Mini but it’s not shipping yet and still sitting around $532 depending on the day.

What are your thoughts on the two devices? Do any of you own the N97 Mini? I’d love to get some help with this decision. I’ve had people on both sides of the aisle trying to tug me either way.




  • Dave

    In all honesty, I think if you are happy with your Nokia N97, then the gains you get from buying a new mini isnt worth the price tag. Unless you have spare cash and really want the smaller size.

  • Kaspal

    i had the “pleasure” of trying out a N97 Mini today, and it DOES feel better in your hands, feels faster due to teh improved ammount of C drive and RAM… but in my opinion, if you already have the N97, its NOT worth to go n get the N97 mini. if you dont have a N97, dont mind the storage space, wouldnt like to play some in it (thus, using the D-Pad wouldnt come in handy) and so on, then N97 Mini might be for you.

    what i REALLY loved from the N97 Mini, is the stock hands free set that comes with it… they DO feel better than the stock ones that came with the N97 “Phat”… at least visually… i couldnt try them on… but im itchin to get one of those.

  • Timi

    GET IT!!!!!! That is all.

  • Timi

    Honestly Im in the same boat. Im contemplating selling the N97 for the mini. I think its worth it. I was able to purchase mine via the NokiaUSA glitch deal so I wouldnt be losing much.

  • Mark

    I have had both mobiles because my original N97 got destroyed in the rain and Nokia would not cover the damage. I replaced my original with a mini after reading reviews and the cost of the replacement mini was less. I have had the N97 mini now for a couple of weeks. I love the mini, the feel in the hand is fantastic and the overall finish just seems better. I had a white N97 and I did find the key legends hard to pickup (must be age) the keyboard characters on the mini are better defined and I like the feel and layout of the keyboard. The C drive space is great, I just keep installing applications and do not have to worry about space.The GPS reception seems better too.

    If you can afford it go for the mini.

  • Paul

    I have to totally agree with the 2 first posters. I don't see ANY point on getting mini if you already have classic one. You will lose too much money on that process. Ofcourse it is different story if you have money like lottery winner.
    Those guys who don't already have classic, they should definitely get the mini, like I am considering, now have 5800XM, but will wait to next summer.
    Mike you should wait for the next flagship device. N98?!

  • Kaspal

    i wouldnt even wait for the N98 that might probably come next year. why? i think its proven now that the 1st device while might rock and all that, will be succeeded by a revised version that will improve on the good things of the “classic” model, and wipe some of the flaws of that one, making it even more desirable than the 1st model.

    so, since i spent 550 dollars on my N97 “Classic” 4 months ago, i dont think i'll be hopping into the N98 or N9XX next summer, but wait for the revised version that will come after those, and see if it really is worth spending such ammount of cash just to have (and brag about) the new Nokia Flagship.

    PS: i love my N97 but i also recognize that its flawed in certain areas.

  • daClaus

    In your post you write “see the N97 is thinner and shorter “. Think you mean the N97 MINI is shorter and thinner, don't you?

  • Hodge

    I've got both handsets and the size difference between the two is not particually noticeable to the eye, but the mini definitely feels smaller. It's lighter and more solid in your hand, it feels like a legitimate phone whereas I always felt the N97 felt cheap for a £500 handset.

    The BIG thing between the two is the larger memory oin the mini, side by side with v20 firmware this means the paging and caching work so much faster its mad. This in itself fixes so many issues with the handset slowing down, freezing, crashing so on and so forth.

    It's a shame about the FM transmitter as thats an awesome option for people with old crappy car stereos but overall I think the benefits of the mini far outweigh the drawbacks.

  • froschy

    Definitely agreed on point 1 & 2, for me the FM transmitter is a nothing issue.

    I just played with the Mini at the Nokia Flagship store in NY, much faster thanks to that extra space on the c: drive and I would definitely swap it with my N97 if Nokia gave me the choice (snowball's chance…). The 8GB v 32GB just requires a little more judicious selection of map data and multimedia, IMHO the 32GB is wasted on the N97 due to the CPU/RAM/C; drive deficiencies.

  • Pingback: 16gb MicroSD Card Great For N97 Mini Users, Brings Total to 24gb | Nokia N97 Fanatics

  • Gene

    So, the real question is “Will Nokia release any more firmware upgrades for the old N97, or will they just focus on maintaining N97 Mini going forward?” I have to think about whether I have to write my old N97 off as a loss. I've seen Nokia stop at “just good enough” with my N95-3 last time with no firmware 30 like the n95-1 got near the end.

  • fatant :)

    i think the N97 “classic” is a much better phone than its little brother. i tried the mini on a test basis for a few days and it didnt even compare to its bigger brother. it wasnt as fast as mine (i have a 16gb card aswell as its 32gb and i have less than 1gb left and only about 20mb of ram memory left) and its gps reception was awful. as simple route into central london was horrendous, i had to break out the old tom tom! its touchscreen wasnt as responsive as the original N97, although i must admit i am on n97 number 3, the 1st one just died melted itself inside, the second one did a similar thing but worse ( its case started going soft) but number 3 is going strong and i havent had any problems at all with it. something else i picked up on some people say they have problems with running too many apps?? again i run sometime 10–12 apps on mine and its fine, and i also dont have anytrouble running any of my apps (i have about 200 different apps) all ive done is made anything that can be setup to use its mass memory use that so the phone can use its full amount of ram and no trouble at all. another thing (and i know this is really dragging) battery life on the mini wouldnt last any more than 18 hours, where as i can get sometimes 2 days between charges!

  • Kaspal

    I think im one of the lucky ones (knock on wood!!!) with my N97 classic… i mean, i hear ppl saying a lot of horror stories with their devices… and so far, mine has just forced me to do a hard reset twice in almost 4 months with it. i know it would work way better with more ram, C drive and more juice in the CPU department, but still, the way MINE works right now, its very pleasant.

    like i said earlier, i tried the N97 mini for a couple mins, and it DID feel faster, but still, since i already have the classic model, that one is out of the question… maybe in a year or two i might consider changing this one (even tho, im kinda wanting a N900 …. i just dont like the way the keyboard slides… i like the N97 style better).

  • Kaspal

    I think im one of the lucky ones (knock on wood!!!) with my N97 classic… i mean, i hear ppl saying a lot of horror stories with their devices… and so far, mine has just forced me to do a hard reset twice in almost 4 months with it. i know it would work way better with more ram, C drive and more juice in the CPU department, but still, the way MINE works right now, its very pleasant.

    like i said earlier, i tried the N97 mini for a couple mins, and it DID feel faster, but still, since i already have the classic model, that one is out of the question… maybe in a year or two i might consider changing this one (even tho, im kinda wanting a N900 …. i just dont like the way the keyboard slides… i like the N97 style better).

  • http://www.myspace.com/lalisalicious lisa cliv

    Apparently I was lucky when Igot my n97 mini, dell was having a 1 day sale and I purchased for $358. only problem is the haedset does not work in the terms the buttons I can hear music etc, but the play and rew and fwd and call button do not work, but other than that I just reuploaded the firmware and did updates and she is a beautiful machine.

  • Nilufer Doctor

    In my N 97 mini I am not able to open INSTALLED APPLICATIONS in the APPLICATION MANAGER, SO I am not able to delete/remove/uninstall any application after downloading it. Can any one help me in it?

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