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My Nokia N97 and how it’s my last…

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I should finish that statement by saying it’s my last Nokia phone, EVER!

I bought my NokiaN97 back in June.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I, like everyone else that ever ordered one of these devices, was excited like I’d never been about a phone.  The prospect of what was promised by Vodafone and Nokia was overwhelming the senses.  However, I very quickly found myself, like pretty much everyone else that has ever ordered this device, sad and disappointed to entirely new levels.

Where do I start .. well the device came shipped with the then current firmware level of 10.x .. right out of the box it was acting odd.. dropped calls, low phone signals levels where there should full signals, etc, etc.  The worst at the time was making and taking calls… you might be lucky and get a call in and you might be lucky to not have the device crash and reboot during or immediately after a call.  This was frustrating to say the least.

While the start of my relationship with my new N97 was rocky it was manageable .  Plus the promise of the much talked about V11 firmware and how it would fix a lot of problems, that and that alone kept me hopeful that we could make things work (me and the N97).  Firmware V11 came and went, sure, some problems were resolved, but entirely new problems were introduced.  Once again, we were on the rocks with our relationship.  I managed, somehow, to tolerate the device.  It wasn’t crashing randomly any more, which I suppose is a positive thing.  However, one of the new problems that came with V11 was a memory leak that slowly filled up my C:.  The first time it happened I received an “out of memory” error and the phone crashed and rebooted.  Upon reboot I was confused at first since the C: had about 18meg free.  I then noticed it would slowly fill as days went on and crash again.

Until now, I’ve not even touched on the other long laundry list of known issues with this device, including the much loathed Nokia N97 Self Harming issue where it scratches and destroys it’s own camera lense.  Mine has been no exception to this issue, the lense is nicely scratched and gashed, thankfully not directly over the camera’s optics so the camera is still very usable.  Others, however, have not been so lucky.

So, back to the story.. we last off with the tails of whoa over V11 firmware.  Well, it was many months before Nokia finally released the even more anticipated V12 firmware. It was even longer for UK contract phone owners since the UK carriers either refused to push it out to us or they blamed Nokia for the delay.  I don’t know where the problem really was or who was really to blame, suffice to say it sucked big time.   Finally, V12 was released and the world cheered, until they installed it and noticed yet more problems were introduced, for some it was more problems then fixes.  Some of my issues were fixed but my memory leak got worse.  I could now only run my phone for 2 days before the C: would fill and the phone would crash or I had to reboot it.

Well, here I am now in Nov.  After waiting for V20 to come out and then deciding not to wait until sometime next year I changed the product code on my phone by following the instructions on THIS PAGE.  That worked a treat I was then able to upgrade to V20.  That did not go well at all I have to say.  The process of loading the firmware was fine, however after the initial reboot there were loads of performance issues and lots of crashes.  After much Googling I’d come to conclusion that I needed to do a hard reset and rebuild my phone from scratch 🙁  That was the first time I had to a full rebuild.  Somewhat painful .. loads of apps to find and install, activation codes to find etc.  More annoyingly was I had to rebuild all my menus again for all the apps.  Very time consuming.  Fine, I accepted that, the phone is crap, the OS is crap and Nokia is crap, just one of the little joys of having bleeding edge hardware and Beta software.

Well, last night the phone acted up and needed a reboot.  This wasn’t the memory leak, that seemed to be mostly cured going to V20, I forgot to mention that above.  I pushed the power button, turned off the phone.  It did as it was suppose to.  Power it back on.. it sits at the white Nokia screen for about 2-3 mins.  This is NOT normal.  60-90 seconds boot time is normal for my phone.  I pull the battery, try again.  Leave it for 10 mins or so this time.  Still, no boot.  Bugger me.  I pull the battery, sim card and microSD card out.  Wait a few mins, replace the sim and battery and power on.  Nothing, just the White Screen of Death.  I tried all the “fixes” that others posted about, nothing at all.  I was again forced to hard reset and rebuild my phone.

This was the last time I ever hard reset my phone for no valid reason.  The next time the phone does this, I will hard reset it clear and format the internal mass storage and sell it on EBay for whatever I’m lucky enough to get for it.  That will be it.  I will also not be organizing my icons again or doing much else in the way of customizing my phone because of the hassles and time it takes, all to have it destroyed because Nokia can’t get it’s act together.

I would love to return the phone to Nokia for a full refund not to mention refunds for the software I’ve purchased for the device that will, on the next total lock up will become of no use to me since I won’t be using the device.

I am one very unhappy customer of Nokia at this point, the only good thing is knowing I’m no the only one.  There are 1000’s and 1000’s of people that have bought this phone and posted about their deep disappointment with the device and Nokia in general.  I hope, like me, they will all vote with their feet and refuse to by any more Nokia and Symbian based phones!  I think my next phone will be an Android of some sort.  It can’t be any worse.  No, don’t even think of trying to talk into an Apple i-CAN’T DO WHAT I LIKE ON MY PHONE-Phone.

If you are thinking of buying a Nokia N97 I would strongly encourage you to spend 2 hours at least Googling about the device and issues people are having.  Don’t take my rantings on here for it, see what everyone else is saying about the device.  If you have any sense you’ll see it’s not a good investment, and a very costly one at that.

10 thoughts on “My Nokia N97 and how it’s my last…”

  1. Hi again.

    I found another, even more effective (although still temporary) solution from another forum (ipmart). It seems to work every time in all WSOD cases – my phone is N97 firmware 20.0.019. It requires the charger, here goes:

    All you need is:


    Follow these steps:

    – Turn off your phone.
    – Insert charger.
    – Remove charger right after screen lights up.
    – Wait a couple of seconds till screen turns off and just after that press power button.
    – After standart vibration notification just put your charger in.
    – VOILA! You can insert your PIN again and the phone boots normally!

    This works for me every single time the WSOD problem occurs 🙂

    So NO MORE hard-resets! 🙂

    Of course it is still really bad that Nokia doesn’t have an official fix for this yet, since every normal user would propably never try things like this, and hence will be forced to deliver the device to a service shop with subsequent hard-reset as a result, which just plain sucks.



  2. Hi again.

    I have talked to some Nokia guys and I have got a semi-vague indication that a firmware 2.1 (21.x.x) should be underway for the N97, propably fixing some of the remaining bugs.
    In the meantime, there is a pretty good solution for those who suffer from the “hang on Nokia boot screen”-problem, also known as the WSOD (White Screen of Death). To solve it, do this:

    1. Pull battery and re-insert it.

    2. Power up the phone by holding the “Power button + RED key + GREEN key + Camera key” and wait 30 seconds or so.

    3. After the wait the phone should come up normally asking for the SIM passcode and everything is fine.

    “Power button + RED key + GREEN key + Camera key” is a sort of “soft reset”, it keeps all the installations and everything as opposed to the “hard reset”.

    I love my N97, and now I can love it without hard resetting it time and again, which was really destroying that love. But now it is fine – however using 4 buttons when turning on the phone looks a bit silly 😉

    Hope this helps for others as well, and let’s all hope that Nokia QA start testing their smartphone software with a little more care.

  3. I love the look and feel of the Nokia N97. This is probably the best phone that i ever bought, the other best phone would be the iPhone.

  4. I agree with the sentiment on this page. I hated my nokia N97 so much that.. well, I destroyed it. Smashed it into 1000 pieces. In trying so hard to be my laptop, it forgot to be a phone. I can’t begin to describe how non-user friendly it was, from freezing at least once a day (requiring battery removal to reset), the list is virtually endless. I planned to sell it on Ebay but after the unacceptably poor battery died during a very important work call at 3pm one day (after a day of normal use!), the phone received a new “app” from a brick wall. I’m now back on my laptop for all my internet stuff, and back on an old frankly wonderful nokia 3120 from 2006 for all my calls. I’m not a luddite and I’m happy to embrace new technology, but the N97 was ruining my life with its excessive complexity and glitches. And for that reason, it had to go.

  5. Hi Robert.

    I have had some of the same problems with my device, also bought around the same time (june 2009). Maybe I have been a little luckier (my device is un-branded) and was able to upgrade firmware fast, but otherwise a somewhat similar story.

    Suffice to say, I am quite annoyed as well, however I haven’t lost my love for the device yet, so I am determined to find the solution – I really don’t want to switch if I can avoid it. So, I have talked to numerous Nokia people here in Denmark, and I have an appointment with some Nokia Tech guys on phone later today, where I will try to find the real reason behind the White Screen of Death.

    Until now with the information I do have, it seems that us early adopters have got a batch that are faulty on the hardware level (not firmware/software from 2.0 onwards).

    So, the thing is, all Nokia phones are covered by the general european warranty, which means Nokia MUST either repair or give a new device to solve the problem. The normal procedure would be to hand it in to an authorized Nokia Service Center (here in Denmark it is usually called Telecare, dunno about UK though), when it hangs on the boot screen. If it cannot be repaired, you will get a new phone. This also applies for things like the camera scratching – this they MUST (and will) fix on warranty.

    Anyway, I will keep you posted on what I can find out.



  6. Yeah, uhm, no. There will never be a chance I get an iPhone .. I detest Apple and how it operates. The very fact the control what you can and can’t put on your phone (unless you jailbreak it), and the fact they can, should they choose, remotely remove software from you’re phone that you have actually paid for.

    As for the Pre Gord, I’ve spoken to a few people about them, and while everyone thinks it looks the business, the general opinion is to avoid it for now. I think the next phone will be an android, but that may not happen either since Google as, to some degree, the same sort of control over the phones with Android.. however, saying that there is no restrictions on what you install and you can get the SDK to develop your own apps easily, not so is the case for Apple.

  7. stuart clarke

    which is why i went over to the IPHONE……so far no problems what so ever and everything has far exceeded my expectations. Which in reality were not set too high after sony ericsson X1 sad story…………c’mon Luke cross over

  8. That’s too bad, Rob. Nokia has made some of the best cell phones I’ve ever owned. Sounds like they either got major quality control issues coming off the production line or their OS is incredibly bug-ridden. Either way, not good for Nokia shareholders.

    I don’t know anyone who has an Androd, but I think Paul has a Pre or at least considered one.

  9. A couple of guys at work have been saying good things about the Palm Pre… might be worth looking at…

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