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Nokia N97 Hands On II: Camera, Home Screen, Verdict


Hi! Welcome to Part II of the Nokia N97 hands on for the Philippine market. For the first part of the review covering the phone’s real estate, check this post. In this post we will look at the camera, home screen, attachment UI and wrap up with our verdict for “Nokia’s most advanced phone.”

Click below for the second part of our feature.

Let’s show the 5MP Carl Zeiss camera. Below are samples of the results from auto flash in a dark setting.



Taking photos is pretty intuitive — here are sample shots taken from Ponticello with the auto flash turned on (if you’ve eaten here before you know how dark this place can get). The camera is decent — at par with most available today but nothing compares to the N82’s Xenon flash. The camera options screen is a treat for me, as pictured here. The menu shows off all the possible features and settings of the camera from grid view, scenes, and color tone.


There’s a small addition to the new UI when composing messages. You can now select the attachments option from the SMS menu which leads you to a plethora of items to attach: photos, music, video, presentations, templates, recordings, and it even redirects you to compose media in case you haven’t taken a photo or made a sound clip. This makes sending attachments easier, as Nokia now allows you to insert anything from the SMS screen, as seen in the photo.


Nokia made a huge revamp to the home screen. If Samsung has customizable widgets on their newer phones, Nokia has done this as well with the main difference being you cannot drag and drop widgets anywhere onto the screen. Nokia in turn allows you to organize 4 widgets that are aligned to fit the screen. I’m not sure if the time / date and shortcut widgets can be moved though. To add a widget, simply touch and hold the icon to replace it with a huge selection of apps and bookmarks. The photos here show me replacing a widget with the Amazon Store shortcut.




Above, I just added the Amazon store widget. When adding new widgets, the phone prompts whether it needs to connect to the Internet to access relevant data. In this case, book titles.


The N97 is merely a continuation of Nokia’s successful formula with the 5800 XpressMusic. Adding a full keypad and building a new home screen over the existing S60 platform are all good moves on the part of the Finnish giant.

The N97 isn’t an iPhone killer. It’s something completely different. I never understood why people would compare the iPhone with everything else.

As with any other Nseries phone, the N97 comes with the standard set of features (WiFi, Bluetooth, assisted GPS, 32GB of memory and expansion, HSDPA) that make this series a good buy.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

16 replies on “Nokia N97 Hands On II: Camera, Home Screen, Verdict”


Thanks for sharing the info!! Can you please upload a video sample of it or maybe some downloadable pictures taken by the N97.

If you have an N95, what’s your first impression.. Would you give up your N95 for it?

How about the battery (keeping in mind it’s a proto), GPS, speed etc.. (too many questions to ask 🙂 ) but you will keep us informed right? for being one of the first to test it out 😉

I think N95 is still ok. It also has the same 5mp camera with auto flash, even in the dark it really can capture an object like it was taken in a daylight. qwerty keypad also difficult for people on a daily use. but n97 still the most advance as of now and ofcourse much expensive than all the other Nseries.

does it have a multi-tap/alphanumeric/traditional keyboard on screen just like the 5800? thank you!

does it have a multi-tap/alphanumeric/traditional keyboard on screen just like the 5800? any idea on its SRP? thank you!

Last day to pre-order the Nokia N97 is June 19! Plus get a chance to get your Nokia N97 bundled with a free Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (worth Php 2,995) and free delivery. Payment can be via Paypal or over-the-counter bank transaction. Go to =)

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