Why Nokia N97 Sucks

The Nokia N97 is the company’s latest addition to the N-series mobile phones. With a touch-sensitive screen, a huge QWERTY keyboard, and a slew of wonderful features, what else can we nitpick on? Let’s take a look.


Uses Old Resistive Touchscreen Technology

Compared to the Apple iPhone, the N97's touchscreen technology is old. Resistive technology uses two layers of glass or plastic which can compress and locate the finger or stylus position on a thin metallic, resistive surface. Whereas iPhone's projected capacitive technology has capacitive sensors behind its glass which sense when the electrical field is disturbed. The advantage is a much brighter display. This is the reason why colors look so wonderful on iPhone's screen.

UI Animations Not So Pretty After All

Look at that, smooth and snappy transition animations. But when we look at the actual phone in action...

Feels rather sluggish doesn't it?

Non-centered Spacebar

The spacebar on the N97 is not just decenter; it's placed so far right that it's almost weird to get used to.


With so much features packed into it, there's no doubt the phone will be fairly costly. It is set to launch at €550 (~US$699).
Will some of these points get striked off after the phone's release? Or will we be adding more reasons why it sucks? We'll find out by the early half of 2009.

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22 Comments For This Post


    Everything has its own weaknesses. If you can living with sucky 2mp camera, 3G that has no video call, no video recording then n97 is probably not your type. Get an iphone instead.


    UI Animations Not So Pretty After All ?? Very Expensive ?? Non-centered Spacebar ?

    This is why it sucks?

    Does iPhone has a spacebar or any keyboard?

    better look this: http://www.who-sucks.com/tech/15-reasons-why-apples-iphone-sucks


    Wow the stupidity here is quite amazing. The video shown above of the N97 in action is of a very, very early build. The advantage of using resistive over capacitive is not being restricted to the use of a naked finger. A stylus for hand writing recognition is available, and since Nokia caters to the rest of the world, e.g. the Chinese markets require resistive due to their characters.

    The space bar is where it is located after various tests of 100’s of people, who provided feedback which was incorporated into the design for typing efficiency.

    The iphone is 5 times as expensive as this phone when bought with a contract. DO NOT confuse unsubsidized prices, with subsidized ones. Why dont you look up the price of the iphone unsubsidized? Its the same or more, but the N97 gets u a qwerty, 5mp back, vga front camera, flash, copy and paste etc etc.


    Quite correct, I don’t like resistive screen, reasons being-:

    1) Not highly responsive, sometimes one has to tap more than one time to actually make the button work.

    2) Resistive screen have dark contrast, they look dark whereas capacitive screen color looks much more brighter.

    I am writing after owning both iPhone and LG VU.

    Says harry_mohan on

    First point is way off. Resistive is not old technology. It is used for handwriting recognition and in colder countries where you can control the phone with gloves on. That was the reason behind it. It’s a true world phone.

    As for comparing videos, the effects can be turned off, and they were in that video.

    Space bar was put to the right hand side after Nokia did surveys across the world with different markets about what keyboard layout people liked the most.

    As for it being expensive. It falls right in the middle of all smartphones, so it isn’t expensive.

    Glad I could clear this up for anyone reading this post.


    Can you research the issue with the Nokia N97 unresponsive screen. My phone is 3/4 weeks old and the touch screen is unresponsive whether you turn it on/off or remove the battery. It works occasionally and it is frustrating. It is an expensive phone and this is outraging.


    I have always been a fan of Nokia phones. But the N97 is definitely a nightmare. I DO NOT RECALL NOKIA RELEASING SUCH A PIECE OF JUNK LIKE THIS IN THE MARKET BEFORE !!!
    If you guys are still in doubt why it really sucks, here are some reasons:

    - The Phone does NOT come with a stylus, even though it has the option for on-screen handwriting. But write with what ???
    - THE SPEAKERS ARE A TOTAL JOKE. No “low” frequences, no deepth in sound, equalizer is useless. Compare with the 5800, that are absolutely perfect. My E71, with its MONO speaker has a much, much, much better sound quality and perfect sound deepth.
    - There is no Internet Radio, and FM transmitter does not work.
    - The screen has an ridiculous back lighting. Colors fade. Contrast and sharpness are miles away from an iPhone or many others models in the market.
    - The keyboard is a complete test of patience. For special combinations of characters such as “Car+o”, for example. you wll have to lay down the phone on a flat surface and use BOTH hands to do the task. Otherwise it will just be impossible to do that. The keys are hard to press and the keyboard is not equally “backlighted”, i.e., there are keys with much less “light” than others. In my set, for example, you can hardly see the light under the “E” and the “P” keys. The uppercase key is too close to the multi directional key, making “pasting” and “copying” text almost an impossible task. You will again have to lay down the phone on a flat surface and use BOTH hands. The keyboard of the E75 is absolutely perfect for fast typing, just to mention. Well, I don´t find the space bar moved to right side of the keyboard a big issue, just a little ackward, better if it was centered, but not really a problem.
    - MICROUSB charging is too slow specially if the battery has been completely exausted for a long period of time. The phone will take almost 20 minutes to “wake up” again after you start charging. This happens especially when the phone is idle and the battery runs out and stays exausted for a long period, for example if the battery runs out while you are sleeping at night. If the battery runs out quickly, i.e., as when you are using wi-fi, and you imedeiatly plug the charger, this does not happen.
    - When you syncronize with other models, such as E71 or E75, for example, you will not be able to update your “favorites” contact on the home screen. The contacts will simply not update. You will have to RESET the phone to solve the problem. I have tried this several times, with my E71 and my E75. Always the same problem. So, DO NOT SYNCRONIZE, unless if you do not mind to loose you contacts on the home screen.
    - N-GAGE does not work at all. It will not allow you to buy games, returning an irritating “out-of-memory” error, even if after the updates, of having plenty of memory left. Playing n-gage games is frustrating. Try to play Crash Bandit and you will see. You will feel a sudden will to throw the thing at the wall. Now try to play it in the E75. YOU WILL SEE WHAT I REALLY MEAN.
    - There is no audio themes. Don´t bother downloading them, the phone won´t accept them.
    - The auto lock time option disappeared after the upgrade for version 2.0. You cannot set the minutes anymore.
    - When you turns the GPS, it acess the network even though you set it to “always asks”, or “not”, and always adds many cents to your bill, depending on your plan.
    - Nokia Maps is useless, always gives wrong directions; but this is not a problem with the N97, but with Nokia Maps itself.
    I´ll write more later.

    Says what i think on

    Well, I am an ardent fan of nokia too. Been using nokia all the while since 1998! I waited eagerly for n97 release and bought it immediately once available. Uhhh, now I’m just close to throw it against the wall!

    It sucks! That’s all I would say! Can’t believe Nokia created this crappy thingy! And of all, Ovi Store sucks too…U gotto pay for most of the downloads, not like Mosh!

    Errr…now I’m in a big dilemma coz I dunno which phone to go for coz I’ve sold my n95 prior to buying n97! Arrrgh! So sad :(



    Besides all that, the things that really disappoint in the N97 are exactly the things that the phone should be “THE BEST AT THEM”. Thounsands of people belived in those promisses, didn´t we …???

    It´s kind of hard to believe that its speakers are JOKE. Afterall, the N97 was released as a “BREAKTROUGH” in mobile media entertaining. I called NOKIA, and as you all know, those “preset” answers are more irritating than all my disappointing itself. “- You should take you phone to the nearest…”, baaahhh !
    How come a phone, with this price, with all those promisses:
    - does not come with a stylus
    - does not come with AV cables (I´m using the ones that came with my 5800)
    - does not come with a carrying case (my E71 and my E75 did)
    - does not come with Internet Radio
    - does not come with audio themes
    - does not come with a decent syncronizing solution with other NOKIA models.
    - does not come with a REAL n-gage plataform “FOR THE N97″. You cannot buy n-gage games because the phone won´t acccept it. Playing the trials (that´s only what you cand do), is frustranting, because the games “FOR THE N97″ are NOT optimized “FOR THE N97″. The tutorials tell you to press certain keys that do not do anything when you press them. You have to start pressing the whole keyborad to find the exact key for the command. DETAIL: The games are “SPECIFICALLY FOR THE N97″ !!!. It´s a joke, isn´t it ????
    - does not come with a decent keyboard “OPTMIZED” for the country it was sold. It´s a “WORLD PHONE”,right ? So it is supposed to fit all the languages needs. But it really DOES NOT DO THE JOB.
    I bought my first NOKIA phone back in ´94, of course I already had dozen of phones, of dozen manufactures. But always preferred NOKIA phones. Motorola, Samsung, LG, and so many others, but I always preffered the easy way to move through the menus in the NOKIA phones.
    Could I be the only one ? Thanks to NOKIA itself, I never buy anything from NOKIA again. N900 ? No, thanks. The N97 was disappointing enough…

    Says what i think on

    Forgot to say,
    - does not come with a memomry card either…

    Says what i think on

    Sorry to hear you guys had a bad experience with the phone. I on the other hand, cannot say anything bad about it. It works flawlwssly and I´m really happy with it. It does everything it should and it does it right. All in a very classy and elegant form. Hope you guys can fix the flaws with SW updates, after all, the thing does not come cheap!


    I dont know where to start from. The phone is not all that bad but it’s not that great either. After mixed feelings I let my N95 8GB go to make way for the N97 but what a grave mistake. I would love to revert back to my N95 anyday.

    Things that don’t work for me:
    - GPS: Tried everything. No I am not sitting in a dark room. I am not sitting in a room at all. I am standing in a clear ground with bright sunny conditions for over 20 minutes with A-GPS and a valid ISP access point. I must have spent 30$ just paying for data to test the crap GPS. Sent for repairs twice but still no GPS connection. Maps show my position 6KM from where I am. Horrible.

    - FM Transmitter: Seriously what a joke. Never worked after trying everything from changing car antennas and a 2 dozen unused frequencies.

    - Camera: Although not all that bad but compared to the N95 8GB, the camera is a joke. The dual LED position exposes a lot of brightness on the picture’s left hand side. I can live with it though. I use a Nikon D3000 for moments not a silly Nokia camera.

    - Phone Memory: ~50MB and that should explain everything.

    Bottom line.. the faith I had in a brand called Nokia has been lost. No more Nokia. For those who already bought an N97.. I sympathize with you and for those who are planning to, please consider something else. You’ve been warned.



    The phone is pretty damn cool the only thing it doesnt beat the iphone with is app store but their app store has been around for much longer. and i have this phone and i havent had a problem with it once it is a great phone and it comes with everything i need. mine came with a stylus im not sure why some of your’s didnt. my fm transmitter works fine. the memory that it has 32gb (well really 29 once all the programs and that have been preloaded in it)is great fits movies and lots of music on it. GPS works fine no problems at all. only problem is it has shitty reception but i think thats just where i live.
    So, in the end i find this phone very good and im happy i got it!


    Most the arguments here are from people who don’t own an N97.

    but lets all get something striate. The N97 does suck as a modern day smart phone.

    However resistive vs. capacitive is a weak argument. The phones touchcreen is fine. its very responsive.

    The reasons this phone suck is its CPU speed, pathetic amount of RAM, lack of 3D acceleration, poorly engineered camera, poorly engineered GPS antenna, weak FM transmitter, the fact that Nokia stuck a bunch of 3rd party apps in the RAM that are not free & you cannot erase, certificates that need to be signed all the time, video playback is poor and ROM Images cannot be customized.

    All this adds up to a device that gets bogged down easily,

    is not user friendly, any shots taken with its flash are useless,

    gaming is very unimpressive, video is pretty much restricted to one format & because its unhackable tweaking it for speed or customizing the OS are out of the question.

    its way overpriced crap..

    I HATE THIS PHONE! NOT A DAY GOES BY THAT I DON’T THINK ABOUT THROWING IT INTO A WALL. if you ever owned a Palm treo you will not like this.

    Truth is I can go on for days about real things that are wrong with this phone & matter. But I want anybody considering this device to pay close attention to the fact that Nokia installs 3rd party applications directly on the C drive which is also the ram that are not free & cannot be erased. That’s the one that breaks this camels back. performance is bad enough as it is with its 433Mhz CPU (lowest clock speed in its class) but it suffers even more because of Nokia’s greed. I really hate Nokia & this device because of this and all who like it are stupid or just naive to how a modern day device should be.

    I loath this thing. I never hated a device before But when you con me out of $1000.00, to be an Alfa tester. I tend to hate.

    I will never buy so much as a pencil from Nokia again & I would suggest you follow my lead.


    i’ve got a n97 and its a wonderful phone best damn thing i’ve bought. it sounds like some of you got a crap version of a n97. fm works perfect i use it daily!, got the apps i need too read the news and listen to radio and it works perfect. cam is not the best but you can see wtf is on the picture. and what else…. someone wrote
    – The Phone does NOT come with a stylus, even though it has the option for on-screen handwriting. But write with what ???
    Try using the pencil you nut it comes with the phone!
    And someone wrote its just ~50mb phonememory it comes with no memorycard. and i say to you, did you own a nokia n97? if you had you would noticed it has 32gb of memory i dont understand what you need a memory card for???? and the GPS Works excellent never had a problem. n97 is a very good phone i recomend it very much. ps im from sweden so the english is not very good:)


    um NO

    with the new upgrade to the firmware most of the bugs are worked out and honestly i’d rather have this phone over the iphone with all the lovely limitations and security glitches.

    resistive touch works just fine and is more sturdy than capacitive if you compared the specs and components for each

    keyboard is actually real and not a soft pad that allows for more errors – i wonder how many people don’t buy an iphone since it has no keyboard at all

    ui animations? gripe over that? fine i’d rather have a phone capable of mms and video with less security problems and a nicer cam. ui’s historically eat memory so any true power-user would turn that off anyway. and with a firmware upgrade they are just like the fondle vids!

    and you say its expensive? and any other phones of this caliber are cheap?

    Says your GOD on

    …nokia n97…
    gps works fine. atleast better than a samsung phone
    fm transmitter also works fine.
    i have used it in my car and it worked well there.
    n tell me guys, has any other brand even launched an fm transmitter in any of there phones??
    and if u dont have a stylus stick cant u buy 1.
    it hardly costs 5$.
    nokia is the best brand…better than apple


    Its is the worst phone I have ever bought.

    Hangs everytime
    touch screen is not sensistive
    price too high
    not even 1 percent compare to quality of iphone

    I have both Iphone and n97.. I think with regards to 5th generation smart phone IPhone is too good

    I feel to be have wasted my money on nokia n97


    Hi Im Shai. Im 15 and im using this crappy n97 that i thought it would be really great. actually my mom bought this and she decided to gave this as her present for my b-day. (Now she has the iphone4.. =( soo want it.) At first i thought it was cool. But it just totally sucks. I would tell my mom that she should regret for buying this expensive shitty so called smart phone. Like really, why would it sucks?

    Okay.. Im gonna tell you..

    I dont like its photo gallery. I mean, it doesnt let make any sub folders and browsing for 1 photo in 500 photos in a folder? Yes, including some of your videos.. It is just making me depress. Just want it to throw on the wall.

    The music player also sucks and the speaker. I never thought that nokia would make such phone.

    The touch screen sucks. If you are a user then you would already know why..

    The contacts. I just hate it..

    The camera was okay. The only thing that i dont like is the flash.. Because when u put the flash on the picture was like really blurred.. I totally hate it.

    Oh btw, before my mom gave this phone she asked me what phone i liked better. N95 or n97.. Of course. I was still innocent for knowing how this phone sucks so i chose n97 since i dreamed of having a touch screen phone but now i just want the n95 more. In my opinion n95 is way better than this.

    But.. For me iphone4 is still the best.. Haha i want one.

    Says ihatemyphone on

    I got this “phone” last year it is sh!t!!! I live on a farm and the sales person said its perfect for farm life etc. ….. WTF was he on it? It looks cool but its a pain. Sure it has lasted me a year but i have to put up with it for another one …. it wont last. :D Nokia you dropped the ball on this one.

    buy at your own risk.


    guys this phone really sucks…. let me tell you my story…. i had a nokia e7 at first and its was just good although its camera sucked thn nokia n97…. then a week later some kind of shit problem arose making my e7 unable to rotate its screen and could only be used in landscape mode…. i took my phone to 3 most specialised technicians but they all couldnt find any problem… after all i exchanged my e7 wid nokia n97 for free….. it worked well and i liked its camera alot but still its stopped charging and didnt either supported usb . its backlights of keys below screen didnt light up and interesting thing is that it couldnt be repaired tooo… i there fore ran it for a month using external battery charger and finallly last week its completely died out… this is why its sucked…… m nt gonna buy a nokia touchscreen phone again

    Says assasin196 on


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