Posted by: Lee | February 5, 2010

N97 v21.0.045 Firmware…a Phone Transformed

On Monday 1st February Nokia released the v21 firmware for the N97 and with this release I believe Nokia have finally got it right. Most early adopters are going to be finding themselves really wishing the N97 had been released with this firmware from the outset.


The official change log for the firmware is:

  1. Improved call reliability
  2. Smooth touch screen scrolling
  3. Browser improvements
  4. Music player improvements
  5. Improved image and video stability

However, after a few days use I can say that the changes are far more expansive.

Scr000010 Scr000011

Here’s a list of the 10 main changes I have observed from my use over the past couple of days:

  1. It’s Quick! – My god it’s faster. Performance of the phone is much much improved. Menu’s appear almost instantly, apps load quicker
  2. Better Memory Management – More free RAM at boot up, better recover of RAM after use i.e. less low memory errors and random application closures
  3. New Theme – There is a new cleaner N Series 2 theme (which you can see in the screenshots). It’s a combination of Black and Gray
  4. GPS Signal is Much Better – I now get a full GPS signal in my car and it’s not 20 metres behind me
  5. Kinetic Scrolling is Smoother – Mainly on menu lists, the main menu grid can stutter a bit at first whilst icons are cached
  6. The camera loads quicker – Seems to Auto Focus better too (could just be my imagination that one)
  7. Phone Boot Time Quicker – My phone starts up in around 30 seconds now, that’s about 10 seconds quicker than before
  8. Music Player Back Button fixed – The Music Player no longer hides itself when you press Back on the Now Playing screen, instead it now does the logical thing and goes back to the previous screen
  9. Music Player is Faster – I have 3000 tracks on my N97, the Music Player used to test my patience when switching between screens. Now it loads Albums, Playlists and Artist lists much much quicker. It’s not up to Spotify Mobile Speeds but it’s much improved (Still doesn’t show Podcast art in the Music Player though, weird!)
  10. Not One Single White Screen of Death – Touch Wood, my phone hasn’t failed to boot up once yet. I frequently experienced this issue on V20 and it was driving me to distraction at times. I’m now actually starting to feel confident that my phone will boot back up when I switch it off 🙂

Scr000013 Scr000019  

Of course being Nokia there is something missing from it (as always). The latest version of Maps with Free Navigation (3.3) is not included in the firmware so that’s 10mb of precious space gone on the C drive as you have to download it from the Software Updater.


Missing Maps aside, this latest firmware has transformed my N97 beyond recognition. Nokia have really got on top of a lot of the issues that have been plaguing N97 users turning it into at stable and fast performing little monster.

If you have a generic (i.e. non operator customised) N97 phone and don’t have this firmware yet, drop everything and go get it NOW! Trust me, your stress levels will be better for it.




  1. Great Site, Very interesting information, keep up the great work and Info.

    • Many thanks!

  2. Dont know who supplied your phone but 3 weeks after V21 release it still isnt available for unbranded UK, RM-505, Product Code 0585162 N97s – as usual

    • For some reason Nokia are very slow at releasing the generic UK specific firmware updates, not sure why. My phone has a Euro1 product code so gets the updates straight away. May be worth investigating changing yours using Nemesis Service Suite (this does void your warranty though).

  3. Howdy thats a very interesting view, It does give one food for thought, I am very delighted I stumbled on your blog, i was using Stumbleupon at the time, in any case i dont want to drift on too much, but i would like to mention that I will be back when I have a little time to read your blog more thoroughly, Once again thanks a lot for the post and please do keep up the right work,

    • Thanks!

  4. we are now in Apri. Still no OTA version of thbe update. Therefore updates through PC only. Great if this worked. The update software complains, suggests it might be a port allocation problem, suggests downloading 3rd party scanning software. Blowed if I can understand it. Result – still running buggy phone software and no way to update this side of a Nokia don’t care centre. At least thats my experience!

    • Have you tried uninstalling software updater and re-installing? Are you using it on a home broadband connection?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: