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Analysis: Nokia X6 vs Nokia N97

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Nokia-N97 press imageNokia X6ONSLUNDA, Sweden – With an anticipated firmware update of the Nokia N97 coming up in October and with both Nokia N97 Mini and Nokia X6 around the corner, let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between the latter two models:

TheĀ Nokia N97 has been around for 3 months now. While beloved by many users, it has also been widely criticized for unstable software and the lack of constistent kinetic scrolling. Most of these issues are believed to be sorted out in the version 2.0 firmware, a firmware Nokia X6 will have installed from the start.

The Xseries will be the new generation of music models from Nokia, replacing the previous XpressMusic series. TheĀ Nokia X6 is the big brother to the also upcoming X3 model, and will be available with and without the Comes With Music solution. Both hardware and software specs are generally the same beetween the N97 and X6 models. Key features are 32GB of internal storage, a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, a 3.5mm audio jack, TV-out and a touchscreen user interface (Symbian S60 5th edition).

The main differences between the devices are the screen, the keyboard input and the measurements.

The X6 hosts a 3.2″ capacitive touchscreen while N97 has a 3.5″ resistive touchscreen. Many observers have questioned Nokia’s decision to release its previous touch models with resistive screens, while a capacitive screen should give the X6 an edge over the N97 for touch operations. The N97 – besides having the larger screen – features a sliding mechanism that allows for the screen to be tilted in a set position. This is mainly an advantage when working with the keyboard, but also gives a touch of quality when working in landscape mode that’s beloved by many N97 users. So while the touch experience should be better on the X6, the overall experience when it comes to the screen may be a touch call in the end.

The N97 hosts a physical QWERTY keyboard, while the X6 will rely on keyboard input on the touchscreen. Which method is preferred is in part a matter of personal opinion, but it’s generally considered that a physical keyboard is an advantage when writing longer texts. It should be noted, however, that compared to pure business models (like Blackberry and the Nokia Eseries), the N97 keyboard is not considered one of the best. Still, the keyboard probably makes N97 a better choice than the X6 for text input, although it also adds some size to the device.

Nokia-N97 press image

Measurements are 111x51x13.8mm for X6 and 117.2×55.3×15.9mm for N97. While this may seem like a small difference in writing, in reality the X6 will feel like a much shorter and thinner device. Compared to the N97 that is; compared with music-oriented models from other manufacturers it may be another matter. Still, if a slim format is important, the X6 clearly triumphs over the N97.

Since no general recommended retail price has been announced for the X6 model yet, I haven’t included price in the comparison. The X6 is expected to be sold for considerably less than the N97 model though, which should make it a very attractive model for many users once released.

Considering how different these devices looks to the eye, it’s fascinating to see how little they really differ when considering the specs. Overall though, I’d say that while Nokia’s strategy with the N97 and N900 models have left many consumers confused, the choice between N97 and X6 is probably easier to make. If a physical keyboard and the feeling of working with a mobile computer is important, then N97 is probably still the way to go even after X6 is released. If not, X6 offers all the other features at a considerably lower price and on paper really looks like a winner.

Nokia X6

So while the X6 looks like a hit at this stage, the N97’s feature is probably largely dependent on how well the N900 model does. The N97 and X6 models are very similar in features, but my believe is that X6 will appeal to a different type of users than N97, meaning that the N97’s main rival among Nokia models in the near future will be the N900, not the X6.

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By , Nokia-affairs Correspondent on Sep 18th, 2009 GMT +2

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