Hands-on with Nokia N97 – Tips & Tricks After 6 Weeks Of Usage


Six weeks has passed and I am still having fun with my N97. Maybe a bit too much fun as I have spent a bit too much time on this mobile device, everyday. Until Cynthia has to say: choose me or the phone but not both!

So what is it like with this new Nokia flagship product, many people asked. Here is a candid journal of the fun and at times frustration I have experienced. And this journal is packed with some good tips and tricks too. I hope you have fun reading this as I am writing it. If you wish to zoom into the topic of your interest, feel free to use the navigation box below.

Note: My current firmware version is

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What You Should Do On Day 1

I am a functional guy, so I probably won’t get too excited by the eye-candy stickers that people get for their phones on day 1 of their purchase. However, if you have a N97, the following checklist is one that is worth checking out.

  • Buy a Martin Fields Screen Protector – These films aren’t cheap. S$24 each, with installation. But it is a must. Especially your N97’s touch screen senses not only your fingertips, but also your fingernails unlike some other brands. If you reside in Singapore, drop me an email. I will let you know where you can professionally get it done. I have been using Martin Fields since my N80 days.
  • Get a Decent 3G Data Plan – To harness the maximum potential of your N97, you have got to have a data plan. I pay S$13 a month for a 30GB data usage with 1Mbps download speed. That is more than enough, for now. If you often download email attachments, you may wish to watch out for your data usage. Just to give you some idea, 30GB of data usage without a data plan would cost S$150,000 from where I come from.
  • Sign up for a Nokia OVI Account – There are many good reasons to do so. At minimal, all your contacts, notes, and calendar items can be synchronized to the Nokia secure server. SingTel, my mobile plan provider, charges a fee for synchronizing your contacts over the air. With Nokia, it is free. To sign up, head to http://www.ovi.com. Follow the on-screen instruction, add your device (under OVI Contacts), and you shall receive a text message. Key in the PIN provided by the OVI website, and your profile is setup. To synchronize, go to your phone settings, select the connectivity option, and look for the data transfer option. The default profile is PC Suite. Switch to OVI.com and you are set.
  • Install PC Suite and Update Firmware – Personally I don’t really like the Nokia desktop applications as they tend to get loaded to memory during your machine startup and eats up valuable resources. But, it allows you to update your phone’s firmware, which can drastically improve your experience with N97. Take my word for this. All your problems (OK, maybe most) would just go away with one update. Backup your phone data is advisable, but not necessary. The update of firmware usually won’t wipe out your data. But you are not going to take risks like me, are you? Another good thing about PC Suite is that you can also read and reply text message with your PC once your phone is connected. Amongst other things like management of contacts and etc. But then again, with OVI.com, I would rather manage my contacts online.
  • Perform a Software Update With Your Phone – This is how Nokia rolls out their standard applications, via the Software Update application within your phone. What it does is to search for new versions or new Nokia applications and you can pick any one to update. How nice if Nokia sends an email every time a new update is available eh?
  • Register Your “Comes With Music” (CWM) Device – One time, I was inside a shop and had a chat with one of the shop assistants. His new Nokia phone is a CWM device but he has no clue on what CWM is all about. Oh man, I was so shocked, on what he has missed out. And as always, I spent some time with him, like I do with others, on how to register his CWM device. Some Nokia phones are CWM, some are not. Some give you an option of CWM (with S$100 extra, depending on carriers). What you are entitled to is 1 year of free music download from the Nokia Music Store. 192 kbps music quality that you can play with your phone, and with your PC. You can even share your music with those who have a CWM device, like your family members (who may share the same computer with you). Nokia Music Store has more than 1 million songs. Within months, I have already downloaded more than 4,000 songs. After 1 year is up, you can still listen to all your songs you have downloaded. And if you wish to continue the download of new songs, either sign up for a monthly subscription, or upgrade your handset to a new CWM device. You could say this cost a bit. But I have certainly saved a lot on the purchase of CDs.
  • Download Additional Applications from OVI Store – Personally, I find the out-of-the-box N97 has already packed with tons of functionalities. Having said that, there are some outstanding applications out there that are worth looking into. If you need help, do come back to this link from time to time. I write reviews on some of the applications too. Just a gentle reminder, given a choice, you shall always install the applications to the Mass Memory and not the Phone Memory. Your phone memory is limited. Use it wisely.
  • Use the Map Loader – N97, like many other Nokia phones, comes with the Nokia Map application. The maps are free and they come with a good number of landmarks and locations under different categories of restaurants, hotels, and etc. You can even locate the nearest ATM machine too, which I find it useful. Download and install the Map Loader desktop application from the Nokia website and start to load the maps of your choice into your N97. I have installed the maps of the cities and countries I often visit. Like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, as well as all my holiday destinations.
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8 thoughts on “Hands-on with Nokia N97 – Tips & Tricks After 6 Weeks Of Usage

  1. Pingback: So, Honestly, What Is It Like With The Nokia N97?

  2. Pingback: WOM World / Nokia » Blog Archive - N97 tips and tricks

  3. G

    have to say this phone is really pretty cool! my brother has it and looks like he is enjoying it. I had fun playing with it too!
    the FB apps is really cool!

    on a side note, i wonder how good nokia maps is compared to google maps. i ought to try it out with my bro’s phone one of these days.
    i loveeee the map function! it has saved me many times!

    my data plan is $16 for i don’t know how many GB….. but i think i bust it quite often… erm hmm….. i should start checking my bill soon!

    1. wilfrid Post author

      G – You like the FB App eh? I seldom use it. But I use it whenever I want to upload pictures to FaceBook. Either through the camera or upload from gallery. I thought that is pretty neat.

      With Nokia Map, you can pre-load your phone with all the maps of the world that you need, prior to making your trip. So using the map incurs no data charge. That is useful when you travel overseas. The new version of Nokia Map comes in 3D too! But that has data cost associated.

      You better check, G. Lol. I ain’t no kidding when I said 30Gb without a data plan cost S$150,000. On my previously month’s station, I saw an entry of close to S$12,000 before reversing out to zero due to my plan.

  4. Eric

    Hi Wilfrid,

    May I know where I can get the Martin Screen Protector? Will the guy put it on for you as well?

    I got a cheap one and it leaves finger prints badly and always look greasy. Does it happen on yours?


    1. wilfrid Post author

      Eric – Hi, I got it from a small shop in Far East Plaza (Orchard). It is at the ground floor. Just head inside the shopping mall (near the rest rooms) and the shop is at the corner. If my memory is correct, the shop is called “Mobile World” or something like that. It opens late though. Just take note.

      Yes, they will put the film on for you. Great service.

      As for finger prints, because I use my nails to tap onto the screen of N97 so it is rather minimal. Martin Field is not grease proof (unlike some mat surface protectors). But can easily be cleaned (I use my shirt … lol). Personally I prefer shinny protectors because it enhances visibility. I don’t really like mat surface ones. I hope this helps.

  5. mono

    may i know more abt tis CWM thingy?
    i purchased my n97 abt 1 mth ago but have no idea abt tis CWM thing which everyone is talking abt.. how do i know whether i have it.. thks!

    1. wilfrid Post author

      Mono – Hi, check your box and see if there is a CD and a registration key for CWM. It should be inside. Also, CWM N97 phones come with small guitar pins that has the words “Comes With Music”. It is on the bar code sticker too. CWM version is usually S$150 more expensive than the one without.

      More on CWM on http://www.comeswithmusic.com/

      Hope this helps!

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