Arriving this July, the N97 and…?

Browsing through my Google Reader this morning, I came across this article from the guys over at reporting that Vodafone has just confirmed a July release date for the Nokia N97 here in the UK.

You can read more about the handset over on Vodafone’s dedicated N97 page, but needless to say, this announcement is very good news indeed.

As some of you may or may not know, I am a card-carrying Vodafone member, I have been for some time and, upon hearing that the N97 was en route to my network of choice, I am very happy indeed.
Since it was first announced at Nokia World in December, the initial buzz has been largely positive.
In fact, I remember putting virtual pen to paper at the time and exclaiming how much the the prospect of this handset excited me; even going as so far to say:

“I firmly believe that the Nokia N97 is the replacement for my N95 8GB.”

However, as I mentioned, I wrote that at the tail end of last year and since then?
Well, some things have changed.

Since Nokia World, not only have has there been several opportunities for me to have hands on time with the N97, but also Mobile World Congress (MWC), has come and gone. This conference, previously known as ‘3GSM’ and held in Barcelona each February, is the largest telecommunications event in the world and this year saw the unveiling of the Nokia N86.

This 8 megapixel beauty took me completely by surprise at MWC, and although originally pitched as the successor to the much-overlooked Nokia N85 (the N86 test model above was in fact labelled ‘N85 8MP’ on its debut in Barcelona), to my mind the N86 is the true replacement for the N95 8GB.


I carry two phones. I have done for some time now and I have no doubt that this habit will carry on into the future. My current ‘handset strategy’ is made up of the aforementioned N95 8GB which acts as my personal device, and a Nokia E71 as my work/business phone. Whenever I’m testing new devices I always, always swap out my E71 and swap in whichever piece of gadgetry I happen to be reviewing (the latest of which being the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music).

However this was not the case with the Nokia N86. Two weeks after Mobile World Congress, just in time for MGoL VI in fact, I happened to find myself in possession of said 8MP wonder and I was that impressed I instantly made it my personal device of choice (if only for the few days that I was able to test it anyway).

This. Speaks. Volumes.

If you’ve read any of my mobile stuff in the past you’ll know how much I love my N95, it’s certainly been through the wars over the years and for any device to come anywhere near taking its mantle, it has to be something pretty special.

The N86 is that phone.

The N97, as wonderful as it is, to my mind could have well been labelled the ‘E97′. What with the full qwerty keyboard and ‘communicator series’-like design, the N97 bears more relation to the E90 than to any Nseries phone I’ve ever seen. When I read that Vodafone were going to be shipping the N97 this coming July, I immediately got on the phone and registered my interest. Fortunately it turns out that I am due an upgrade around the same time as the N97 is scheduled to release.


But that’s not all…

While I was the phone with Voda, I also enquired after the N86…

“It’s not one I’ve heard of Mr Whatley” …came the reply.

“Oh, would you mind checking for me anyway? I work in mobile you see and I really like the look of the N86, it has an 8MP camera and well, it’s very similar to my N95 8GB…”

“Oh here it is Mr Whatley, I’ve found it on our systems.”

“You have?!”

“Yes. Nokia N86. Got it. Now… Ah.. Ok.”

“Yes, yes, what is it?”

“Well it is here, but it has a question mark next to it.”

“Oh. Is that bad?”

“Oh no Mr Whatley, it just means we’re still testing it. I can’t confirm that we are going to get the N86 in stock but I can tell you that we have it here internally and we’re testing the software to make sure it works correctly “


“Yes Mr Whatley. While I can’t go on record and say that it’s definitely coming, we are still testing. I can tell you that nine times out of ten, when it’s testing, it normally means we’ll be getting it sooner or later.”

“That’s great news, thanks!”

“You’re very welcome Mr Whatley, thanks for calling Vodafone.”

So there you have it. The N97 is coming to Vodafone in July and, from the sounds of things, the N86 won’t be too far behind it.

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Author: James Whatley

Experienced advertising and communications strategist working in brand, games, and entertainment. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

28 thoughts on “Arriving this July, the N97 and…?”

  1. I love the fact the person on the phone said ‘I can’t go on record’ and now there is an infinite record of that statement that has also been alerted to your 2804 followers on Twitter – needless to say many others via multiple channels.

    Its as if big organisations think they are having conversations ONLY with the person at the end of the phone – like you put the phone down and NEVER SPEAK AGAIN ABOUT IT.

    Anyway – back to the post – yey! loved it at MWC but its all yours as I have found my 2 device personal combo which is iPhone and Canon 100IS camera.

    See ya soon matey 🙂

  2. Ohh, thanks for the info mate… I’m due an upgrade in September, so hopefully both of them should be out by then, and a choice will have to be made…… 🙂

  3. Vodafone – not a chance I am paying the red tax. However fantastic news hopefully T-Bag will pick up the n86. It sounds like CC at Voda are top notch and actually know their stuff.
    Good Fact Hunting James! 😛

  4. I’m due an upgrade now (on a colourful network now owned by the French). I assume it is worth a) changing network, and b) waiting for these to be released?

    I too have two phones, personal and business, and will probably look to make the business one an iPhone once the new phone is launched, but still wondering about the personal one.

  5. So why choose the 86 over the 97, other than the 8mp camera (which you’re unlikely to see any difference between in all honesty. I’m due an upgrade in the next couple of months and I’m trying to decide if there’s something worth upgrading to that’s significantly better than my N95 8Gb (my handsets only a few months old) or whether to keep what I have and just get cheaper calls.

    Then again, mybe iphone gen3 will have the crippled features put right, but I want to stay with vodafone.

    So, mgol01, why choose one over the other.


  6. I have to agree with your observation that the N86 is the true successor to the N95 8GB. Personally I don’t like the N97 form factor and therefore it is not in my eyes is not a successor to the N95 8GB. For me the N86 is a gorgeous handset, but it all depends on the price.

  7. @Michael For me? Definitely.

    @jMac To be fair to the (surprisingly knowledgeable) customer service agent, she made it very clear that the N86 was only ‘very likely’ to appear on Voda and not ‘definitely’.
    Oh and I *love* that your ‘two device combo’ is an iPhone and an ACTUAL camera.
    Says it all mate 😉

    @Steve Plenty of time mate, plenty of time 🙂

    @Ricky Vodafone’s outstanding customer service is one of the reasons I stick with them. I’ll cross my fingers for you though mind, I doubt very much VF will have these two exclusively.

    @Robert My current response to anyone looking to upgrade their phones immediately is ‘How long can you wait?’. The abundance of great devices arriving in time for Summer means that it is definitely going to be well worth the wait. You’ll know about the whole changing network thing nearer the time. Until then? It’s all about the waiting game…

    @J I’d pick the N86 over the N97 for a number of reasons;

    – Speed. The N86 protos I’ve played with have been consistently quicker than the N97s.
    – Form factor. I’m used to the N95 8GB. The size, shape and feel of the 86 is reminiscent of the 95 and this pleases me. The N97 is somewhat bulky. Yes it means business, but it’s not the kind of thing you could just slip into your pocket for a night out.
    – Imagery. The few photos I’ve taken with the 86 have been very impressive indeed. OK so the N97 has a 5MP camera, but so does my N95 and I’d like an improvement.

    Example photo here –

    What I originally liked about the N97 was the touch screen/keyboard combo as well as the awesome active standby screen and, as I said in the first instance, I thought that this would be my N95 replacement. But the N86 has now taken that place. The N97 might be my next business phone, but that’s all.

    If you’re happy with your N95 8GB then don’t change it.

    I’ve had an N95 (original silver flavour and then the black 8GB variant) for a couple of years now and well, I feel like upgrading…

    To me, the N86 seems like the most natural choice.

  8. i posted the news 2 days before anyone else…… grrrr somehow i need to get the site more out there and popular so i get mentioned more lol.

  9. For those interested, a guy in a 3UK store told me they expect the N97 by September. Nothing firm in that, of course, but he seemed to be one of the switched-on ones, not the usual muppet.

  10. I don’t know why everybody is getting so excited about the N97, it will be the same “crappy” OS as the 5800 with the addition of few clumsy Widgets on the main screen, no iPhone like transitions, no iPhone-Blackberry like speed, still the same crappy bugs that will be hopefully fixed after 25 firmware releases. Nokia needs to move on from Symbian, or they come up with something like the Palm Pre WebOS or they adopt Android, symbian has had it and has failed to innovate. A market leader should innovate and not copy-cat smaller competitors.

  11. @Bernie If I get one mate. Ideally I’d prefer the N86. Either way, I’ll do ‘the carpet test’ for you 😉 Watch this space.

    @Dan C I’ve just seen your post. You’ll get there eventually!

    @James Pearce At what point was the CS agent ‘off the record’ ? She said it’s a maybe, I said it’s a maybe. You’re just a bit moaner 😉

    @Mark Thanks for info. I’ll just tweet it now 🙂

  12. I’ve not seen your site before James but it was a pleasant stumble upon. Your description of how you’d hoped the N97 would be your N95 8Gb successor was my sentiments exactly and with my contract up in August I’d started getting the calls from VF trying to keep my custom. It was then I saw the N86 and did a double take. I think the OLED display, glass front, memory card slot and better keypad did it for me.

    Anyway I have a VF customer service update. Spoke to them yesterday when I saw the Nokia site was selling the N86 and N97. They said they didn’t have the N86 available but could offer the N97 for £50 on my £35/month tarrif. I said I’d moved on from the N97 the N86 was the only phone I was interested in now. I asked if they knew when the N86 might become availiable on VF? He checked there three month forward plan and said there is nothing on our system. We might not get it for another three months if at all. He suggested there might be an exclusivity offer on it with another network. 🙁

    You’ve probably seen the press releases saying the N86 went on sale with the N97 on 19 June. Carphone Warehouse have an exclusive on the N86 til mid July and then everyone O2, T, 3 and Orange get it but no mention of VF… god dam! What is VF thinking, have they fallen out with Nokia or something?

    I was well annoyed so I went down to Carphone Warehouse at lunch today and told the sales guy that they had the N86 now, what network could I get it on. He look bermused. I don’t think we do he replied. I said check your system, he looked embarrassed and said. Ur yes, they just came in about an hour ago.

    I asked if they did VF contracts.. No. I asked what was the best network for coverage they did, he said O2 are as good as VF. I asked what the cheapest contract to get the N86 free.. £45/month ouch! £80 with my current contract value of £35/month but with O2 I’d get less mins and less texts than I get with VF. I said no thanks, I’ll wait.

    Have to stick with my battered N95 8Gb with TomTom installed til then.

  13. James I’ve not seen your website before but it was a pleasant stumble upon. I agreed with your N97 sentiments that you’d hoped it was the N95 8Gb replacement … and then you saw the N86. What did it for me was five things, the N95 spec, the OLED display, the memory card slot, the decent keypad and the glass front probably in that order.

    My VF contract comes up in August and I’ve started getting the calls to persuade me to stay with them. This started me looking closer at the N97 at which point I found the N86 and was sold.

    When I saw the N86 and N97 had gone on sale on the Nokia site I called VF and asked to extend my contract with the N86. The conversation went something like… I’m looking on our system and we don’t offer that phone. Are you sure, it went live on Nokia this week with the N97. We have the N97 for £50 on your current £35/month contract. No it’s the N86 or nothing, can you see if it’s due soon. I’ll check our three month forward view. No I’m afraid there’s nothing about the N86. Often there’s an exclusivity deal on new phones. I don’t know when or if we will get it.

    You’ve probably seen the press release up now that Carphone Warehouse have exclusivity on the N86 from 19 June – Mid July. Then it goes on sale with only four networks… O2, Orange, T and 3. Not VF. God dam.

    I was well annoyed and went down to Carphone Warehouse today and asked the saleman there what networks I could get the N86 on. Sorry sir we don’t have the N86. I think you do, check your system. Oh, it came in this morning. We offer all networks except VF sir. Grhhhh. What is the cheapest tariff to get the phone free? £45/month and you get 500mb of web surfing in there. £80 on my current £35/month tariff rate. They advised O2 as having the closest to VF coverage but for £35 I get less mins and texts so I said no thanks I’ll wait.

    I guess I’ll have to stick with my battered N95 8Gb with TomTom installed.

  14. Hey Wilson,

    Thanks for the kind words re: My blog. I don’t update it often but when I do it tends to be something important to me… 🙂
    I too am disappointed with Vodafone’s (now) reluctance to range the N86 amongst their handsets for the summer, I was really hoping to upgrade to that myself.

    However, a friend of mine has done some digging and found that a company called Mobile Phones Direct has started shipping the ’86 on VF. The link is below.

    Please know that I’ve never bought anything from Mobile Phones Direct and am not sure if they’re reputable. I’d say, do your research and shop around some more. You might find what you’re looking for.

    Thanks for stopping by,


  15. I read this post more than a year ago, waited for the N97, used it for a week, and went back to the N86 8MP.

    Just a few minutes ago, I checked Google’s advanced search for “whatleydude+N86” and discovered 2690 results. A lot of people are echoing Whatleydude’s two thumbs-up for the venerable N86. I’m one of them.

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