Messaging, Music, and Maps

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I have covered the text messaging functionality (SMS) so I won’t repeat in here. For N97 (and other Nokia phones), you can configure web email or corporate email onto your phone. Push mail, I need to pay. Pull mail as frequent as every 5 minutes is free. I don’t think I need instant email delivery and hence, the free option works for me.

I would say, the Nokia email functionality is very basic (I have not tried the corporate version). It works. That’s all. I don’t know the complexity behind but at times it lags quite a bit. It synchronizes the Inbox but not the Sent mailbox. To get around that, you could have the sent mail as a new email addressed back to you. A strange implementation, though it works. The read marks are not synchronized neither. It bugs me of course, but then again, I can live with that.

To enhance your Nokia email functionality, below are some pointers to consider.

  • Enter the email addresses of your friends into your contacts. That way, you won’t need to type out the email addresses on the phone. And no, the phone doesn’t access the address list on the website. You could however add the email addresses onto your contacts using existing emails you have.
  • Under the Messaging Settings, consider to use Mass Memory (under the option “Other”) instead of the Phone Memory. Also, after you have soft-reset the phone (more on that later) or for reasons beyond me when something get reseted (like a full backup strange to say), you may appear to have lost your mailbox on Mass Memory. Check this setting again and switch it back to Mass Memory.
  • N97_mo1_setting

  • Click onto the mailbox and under email settings, you can set your signature, have the message sent back to your Inbox (no Sent mailbox, remember?), select the email deletion mode (be it as delete from the phone only or both the phone and the server) so that the phone won’t ask you every time you delete a message. In fact, deleting SMS text messages should follow this method too. Just one touch of the button and it is gone. No need extra confirmation.
  • I set the e-mail retrieval for a maximum size of 128 kB. By default, it only downloads the message header and every time you open a message, you have to wait for a while for the message to get downloaded. I’d rather not wait. But it’s up to you.
  • Also, if you enable the automatic retrieval option, all the email headers will be downloaded into your phone. Hence, my two words of advise. One, clean up your web mailbox first if you can. And two, set to Mass Memory prior to this action.


The music quality of the player is great, no doubt. Certainly better than the iPod that I bought for Cynthia. I have seen how people can literally flip through the music albums on an Apple phone and the eye-candy factor is very high, I admit. But then, if I am to load my entire music library into the phone (4,018 tracks downloaded from Nokia Music Store, 21.7GB), which I can by the way as the phone comes with a memory size of 32GB expandable to 48GB, the last thing I want is to flip through hundreds of album art to find what I want.

At the music library, if I say, view by artist, the moment I hit the “L” button, all the artists with surnames and first names beginning with L will appear. I enjoy using this feature a lot (see below).


Oh, one more thing if you are new to Nokia. One time, one colleague of mine came to me and told me that she could not find the music she has transferred to the phone (by the way, for Nokia phone, you can copy the music via the normal Window Explorer). You need to “Refresh Library” via one of the menu items. Same goes to the added photos and video clips. As in why Nokia phones are designed that way? I guess there is a little price to pay if you can easily copy the contents in and out of the phone?

I still don’t quite like the 10% incremental of music volume. I miss the N96’s 5% volume step. Commanding the basic control of the player – be it as volume adjustment or start and stop of music through the home screen – at times seems sluggish to me. And I still don’t quite understand the difference between “Now Playing” and “Last Played”. If you play a track and then switch off the phone, what would you expect to see when you switch it back on? Apparently, you won’t be able to find the track in “Last Played”. It’s gone. But you can find it via “Now Playing”. Strange eh? And the menu item for “Now Playing” is also not quite consistent. Something I hope to see fixed in the upcoming patches. I really hope.

And no, the Internet Radio is still not available. For those who are using the Comes With Music device, you can of course download the songs from the air. I do that often these days when I suddenly want to have that music.

Since I am at the topic of the player, I have also tried out the video player. That is a giant leap from the previous version. You can now fast forward or rewind from anywhere in the clip. The color is so beautiful. If you are encoding DVD recording for your N97, use the MP4 standard and make sure that the resolution does not exceed the screen resolution of your phone, which is 640×360 on a 16:9 aspect ratio. If your clip exceeds that resolution, it won’t play.


I haven’t played around with the new Nokia Map version 3.0 much. I read that the map has gone 3D. I did however try out the navigation. We were genuinely not sure how to get from A to B. So we punched in our destinations and as simple as that, the phone talked us through the direction. My first time using a GPS navigator inside a car. And because the N97 is on A-GPS (assisted by the 3G network using the cell information to estimate your location when the GPS signal is gone), even as I go through tunnels, it can still navigate.

Navigation is a paid service though. The per day charge or even per week charge looks attractive, for a holiday trip. Something I may consider if I travel abroad. Renting a GPS machine for a car is not cheap. That one something Euro per day seems like a much better option. I just need to do a check if there will be data charge incurred.

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6 replies on “Messaging, Music, and Maps”

Regarding emails… The built in email app does synchronize sent email and read/unread status… at least with my gmail account, IMAP enabled. Just my 2 ct.

Oboach – Thanks for your feedback. I use my Hotmail account and the phone doesn’t synchronize the sent email and read status. Interestingly there shouldn’t be an option to send your sent mail back to you had N97 been able to synchronize the sent mailbox. But if your gmail woks fine, then it must be hotmail’s issue.

As for gmail, I prefer to use Google’s app. Seems much easier to use than Nokia’s built-in messaging system. At least I can access my gmail address book online.

By the way, do you manage to install tha Nokia Messaging 10.0? Doesn’t seem to work for me. Every time I start up the phone, it prompts me to setup email, which I have done so many times!

About Google’s app… I tried once with no success. I don’t know if I’m loosing something, but the built in app works for me (and my ridiculously low -32Mb is the highest option for my cellphone company- data plan). Anyway, I have my gmail contacts (and Calendar!) synchronized with my N97, via Google Sync, using Mail for Exchange. It’s a great feature (although is still in a beta stage).

I tried Nokia Email too, and didn´t like it. It fetches a limited number of emails, and its trial version will end eventually, with no clue yet about the future costs of the service. So I prefer not to get attached to it… 🙂 I centralize all my email accounts through Gmail, so with its IMAP functionalilty is enough for now.

Another subject, completely different: since day one (I have the phone for a week and a day now) I tried to use a virtual keyboard to write short sms without opening the sliding real one. I googled that possibility with no luck. Yesterday I figured that if I tap on the message area the virtual keyboard appears. Maybe everyone knew that, but this is my first Nokia experience…

Cheers and thanks for your review.

Oboach – On your side notes. Thanks for sharing here. Yes, you brought up a good point, on the interface. And you can also hide the entire virtual keyboard and switch to handwriting mode. At times, I too like you wish not to use the keyboard (like I am on the run). Of course, because I wish to write Chinese at times, the handwriting tool is absolutely a God sent.

I am not sure if you have already known, you don’t need to click onto the “To” button to select contacts for your short messages. Just type out their names (need not to be in full) separated by a semi-colon. If the phone manages to find a match, you won’t even be prompted! It saves some time to click it through. After a Nokia user for many years, it took me a while to discover that feature … lol.

Thanks for dropping by again and have a nice day.

Just a little update of my email adventure. Yesterday I’ve got the new version of Gmail app. And now I don’t know if I should drop the (very limited but fully integrated with all phone apps) built in email client, or switch to the Gmail one (more elegant, with more features, but not integrated at all). Pros y cons are many, so I’m using both by now… but eventually I’ll have to decide. To make the things worse (lol) Gmail is releasing its email option at Sync. Not available for Symbian yet (just for Iphone and WMobile) but it’s certainly coming… Any opinions about all this?

Oboach – Thanks for the update! I have got a Hotmail account so I have not many alternatives. In fact I am considering a paid email software. The previous Gmail app doesn’t seem to work with my N97. I remember I enjoyed using the Gmail app on my N96 as it did give me some form of notification.

I have read about the Google Sync. If you use the Gmail app, you will be ale to access to the global address book anyway. So I am not entire sure if synchronizing the contacts with Gmail is really something I need. However, you could also sync up the Calendar items. That could be an interesting function especially if you collaborate with your team and have a shared calendar I suppose? For me, the Nokia Calendar (that syncs to Nokia seems sufficient for personal use.

Anyway, I am keen to hear your feedback on your email integration journey with N97 🙂

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