Thanks to the 8GB of built in Memory (with support for a MicroSD), and a standard 3.5mm Audio Jack, the Nokia N97 Mini sure seems to be equipped to handle the job of a basic Music Player these days.
But apart from that, How does the N97 Mini handle Music, anyway ?
Read on to find out.
The Music Player UI and Features :
If you’ve used an S60 device before, chances are you’ll feel right at home on the N97 Mini. New-comers might be a bit frazzled at the beginning, but I havent met anyone who hasnt been able to figure out how the Music Player works, in a minute or two.
When you start up the Music Application on the N97 Mini you get the following Menu :
You get shown your Last Played Song (or Currently Playing Song), Access to your Music Library, Access to the Nokia Music Store where you can purchase more Music, and finally the FM Radio Application.
The FM Radio works like you’d expect it to. Only annoying thing is that you need to plug in a pair of headphones to use it, since the headphones act as the antenna for FM reception.
There’s also access to the Nokia Music Store, to make it easier for you to download new Tracks that you’re in the mood for.
The Store is pretty well integrated into the whole experience so its not too annoying to use.
If you select your Music Library you get your entire Music collection on your N97 Mini, arranged –
By Artist :
By Album :
By “All” Songs :
By Podcasts (If you’ve subscribed to any) :
By Genre :
And by Composer :
Thats quite a load of sections, but helps you find your Music more easily. Not to mention, once you’re in a “Music Menu” such as “All Songs”, you can start typing out the name of the song or artist, and the Application automatically finds it for you, or its closest matches.
If at anytime you wish to view your total Music Library Stats, you can by going to “Options” then selecting “Music Library Details” :
One annoying thing about the N97 Mini’s (and most of Nokia’s Symbian Devices really) is that, every time you add new Music or Mp3, you have to manually go to “Options” and then select “Refresh Music Library” for your new Songs to be listed. Ofcourse something it automatically gets added in and works as it should. I still havent understood exactly why it auto-detects it sometimes, but has to be manually added in other times. Its worth noting that if you use the Nokia Ovi Music Player PC App to add tracks (instead of Drag-and-Drop) they’ll be auto-detected fine though.
Of course, the N97 Mini also supports .m3u playlists so you can create your own and list your Music as you want it.
There’s also three pre-defined Playlists. Most Played, Recently Played and Recently Added.
Coming to the actual Music Player UI, you have your basic Rewind, Play/Pause and Fast Forward keys.
You have basic support for Album Art too, along with a scrollable time bar (where you can click anywhere to reach that point in time of the song).
If you go to your Options Tab, you get a lot more settings to tinker with :
There’s Shuffle Play, Repeat. Unfortunately the N97 Mini does not have a FM Transmitter, which is unfortunate. We really thought that was a very useful feature on the Original N97, so its sad to not see it on the N97 Mini.
There’s also an Equalizer and settings. You can also choose to add the currently playing song to a Playlist, or use it as a ringtone for your profile, or for a certain contact.
Or add the track to a new or current Playlist, etc.
Settings include basic Left/Right Balance, Loudness and Stereo Widening.
Equalizer gives you 5 pre-defined Equalizer settings (excluding the one “default” setting) to choose from. Unfortunately you cant mess with the Equalizer settings more than that, but it gets the job done.
Edit: Seems I’ve forgotten to mention, while you cant edit the pre-defined Equalizer settings, you can however, add your own custom setting by going to “Options“–>”New Present“.
On the N97’s Homescreen you are able to choose a “Music Player” widget that allows you quicker access to basic features of the Music Player.
You have access to the Play/Pause keys and Rewind & Fast Forward. Tapping the Music Icon (changes to Album art if present) brings you back to the Music Player App.
Storage/Space for Music Files, Music Formats :
As we already mentioned earlier, there’s about 8 Gb of memory onboard the Nokia N97 Mini for you to store your Music files, along with others.
For most people that’s going to be enough space to store your favorite tracks from your Music Collection on there. Going from 32GB on the Original N97 to just 8GB on the N97 Mini seems a bit crazy though. 16 GB would have been nice but hey, no complaints. You can always add a MicroSD card and use that in addition to the 250Mb of Phone Memory and 8GB of Mass memory on the N97 Mini.
The N97 Mini music player supports music file formats such as MP3, AAC, eAAC+, WAV and AMR. You can use Nokia PC Suite or Nokia Music to convert between any formats incase you’d need to.
Loudspeaker, Headphones and Accessories :
The N97 Mini has its stereo loudspeakers at either end of it’s left side.
They’re pretty loud although just a notch below the 5800 XpressMusic’s Loudspeakers, and quite a bit less louder than the N96’s stereo speakers. They’re about exactly the same loudness, and speaker Quality as the Original N97.
Still they get the job done. They’re a heck of a lot louder than the E75 or my ol’ N82. Loud enough for you to use the N97 Mini as a sort-of-mini-boombox (haha, see what I did there?) to listen to your tunes.
The N97 Mini ships with a decent pair of in-ear headphones that are pretty good enough to listen to music.
I’ve always liked In-Ear type headphones as they insulate sound better but I do know that there are quite a lot of people out there that dont prefer this type of headphone. In any case, there are 3 extra ear-type rubber inlets to help you get the “perfect fit” for your ear.
Unlike the Original N97 however, the Music remote control on the N97 Mini are part of the headphones. While it’s great and all, this means you cant use any other pair of headphones with the remote, like you would on the one that shipped with the Original N97
The Remote itself has the basic rewind, fast forward, stop and play/pause keys. It also has a clip to attach it to anything (like your shirt or backpack).
The Nokia N97 Mini has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can attach any pair of headphones to the device and use them.
For example, I use my Seinheisser in-ear type headphones with my N97 Mini and they work great. Music Quality seems pretty good. The Bass levels didnt have enough “punch” for me, but otherwise the N97 Mini seemed to be on par with the N82 & E75. Again, pretty much the same level as the Original N97.
And of course, the Nokia N97 Mini also supports Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), so you can listen to music on any Stereo Bluetooth headset.
It works great with my Nokia BH-501’s.
Here’s a short video about Music on the Nokia N97 Mini, to give you a better idea of it :
So how’s the Nokia N97 Mini as a Music Device then ?
Pretty good actually. We liked the Original N97 as a Music Device, and that hasnt changed with the N97 Mini. Sure the 8GB of memory isnt THAT much when you consider very large music collections (for that you’d need the Original N97 and its 32GB) but it’s more than enough for a couple of your favourite tracks.
So its safe to say that the N97 Mini does the Music Playing bit pretty well. There’s support for a bunch of music formats, and standard headphones, as well as Bluetooth devices. Would have been nice to have the FM Transmitter though. Also there’s no Gapless Playback or support for Smart Playlists. But those are minor details, right ? right ?
What do you think of the N97 Mini as a Music device ? Got any questions ? Do let us know in the comments y’all !