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printed July 31, 2014
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Review: Nokia N97

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Screen

The N97 has a generous display. It is bright, colorful, and sharp enough so that web sites look fantastic, pictures spring to life, and menus and icons are highly readable even at an arms length away. Viewing it in direct sunlight wasn't too much of a problem.

Sound

Call quality on the N97 was easily the best I've experienced in a long time. Phone calls were absolutely crystal clear. No noise, no static, no garbling, just clear voices coming through. It was loud enough at moderate volumes to be heard in environments such as a coffee shop or noisy mall food court. Pump up the volume all the way, and there should be no problems hearing callers. The speakerphone could have been a little bit louder, in my opinion, as could the ringers.

Signal

The N97 almost always showed full signal strength. Whether or not that is an accurate indication of how much signal the N97 was collecting, the thing was always connected to AT&T's network. There were several times when the N97 held onto AT&T's network and other test phones lost the network entirely. I didn't miss a single call or text message due to signal issues. Signal strength is solid.

Battery

If you're a heavy user, plan to charge the battery every night. I got wildly inconsistent results with the battery, and find that it really depends on what applications you leave running in the background while doing other tasks. One day it barely lasted 14 hours from a full charge, while the next charge got me through two full work days. Obviously, anything that keeps the display on and the radios connected to the network is going to drain the battery. Excessive use of the flash will, too.

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