For connectivity, the N97 sports a quad-band GSM radio that can deliver EDGE data transfer speeds, as well as a tri-band HSDPA radio capable of much faster data transfer rates.
During my tests of the N97 from various locations in San Francisco, I recorded transfer rates of about 76K bps with latencies of about 760 milliseconds in EDGE mode; in high-speed mode, I saw transfer rates of about 523K bps with 1,163 ms of latency. I conducted my tests with DSL Reports' mobile speed test tool using the N97's built-in Web browser.
The N97 also ships with an 802.11b/g WLAN radio. Compared with the E71 unit I tested last year, which perplexed me with its frequent queries about which method of connecting to the Internet-cellular or Wi-Fi-I wished to employ for each application I used, I found that the N97 more often followed the best-to-worst connectivity scheme. The N97 does have the same sort of connection control granularity as the E71 for users who want to avail themselves of it.
As a phone, the N97 performed well, with good voice quality over the standard earpiece or headset, as well as easy-to-use controls. I did note, however, that the N97's speakerphone delivered subpar sound quality.
In addition to its cellular and Wi-Fi radios, the N97 sports a Bluetooth 2.0 radio with a generous selection of profiles, as well as a microUSB port and a GPS-A radio that Nokia has teamed with a nicely implemented turn-by-turn driving directions application.
As if that weren't enough radios, the N97 also packs both an FM receiver, for tuning in local radio stations, and an FM transmitter, for broadcasting sound output from the device to nearby FM receivers.
Executive Editor Jason Brooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.