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Photos : 9 Nokia N97 Clones From China

The Nokia N97 is set to be launched later this month for a not so insignificant £499 SIM Free or for £35 on a monthly contract with network operator 3. For the rest of us, we've managed to track down 9 different "Chinese" versions of the phone.

For those who think that this is a huge number, just bear in mind that a particular website lists nearly 150 iPhone clones (yes, 150) with prices starting from £59.50. The first Nokia N97 clones appeared back in August 2008, four months before Nokia even announced the device.

We estimate that there are twice as many other N97 clones currently on the market. They are all marred by the same problems: poor quality, no internet access, crap camera and lack of features.

Chinese cloners had the name but let their imaginations loose on this one. The CECT K898 was born, based on the few sketches and patent records from Nokia that existed back then, showing a slider phone with a swivel camera on top.

Nearly a year afterwards, we now know how it really looks like. Hindsight is a great thing! We don't have any details pertaining to the specifications of the phone.

Then came the Nokla N97 (note the L instead of the I). The phone is available for around £100 and is aesthetically similar to the real N97 down to the tiniest details. It even features a keyboard that glows in the dark.

Other than that, the fake Nokla N97 come with two SIM card readers, a FM radio, a 0.3-megapixel camera, GPRS and WAP connectivity and support for 8GB RAM.

There's the 3.5-inch 240x400 pixel touchscreen which can be accessed with a stylus. One screen capture even shows the XpressMusic logo, although it would surprise us if the Nokla N97 is compatible with Comes With Music anyway.

Next on the list is this unknown fake Nokia N97 that was reviewed by Engadget back in April and, according to them, was tiny and buggy as well.

Not only they couldn't even make a call or get it to work, it was actually useful only to draw red lines on the screen. Might be a faulty model though. You can find a video of the N97 mini me clone on Engadget's website.

There's also another slightly better mini-version of the Nokia N97, called the NCKIA N97-5, which has a much smaller 2.6-inch touchscreen. It has a rather sexy silver frame and the plastic finish doesn't appear to be tacky.

However as for the rest of the N97 clones, you are let down by the features. The 2.6-inch screen displays only 240x320 pixels, you get two SIM cards but only a VGA camera.

Next is the Nokai N97-8 which was apparently launched a few days ago. It has the same characteristics as the Nokla N97 except for the fact that it doesn't have the slide out keyboard.

Still you get 2GB builtin memory, a MP3/MP4 player - with a shake feature (which allows you to change music by shaking) as well as the dual SIM feature.

The Nckia N97 is also another shameless clone that replicates the best bits of the N97 except for the keyboard. Strangely, it looks more like the 5800 Xpressmusic than the N97.

The chinese have managed to mimic down to Nokia's boxes. Like so many other clone phones, you get two batteries but you won't be able to access the web. The NCKIA N97-7 is similar but comes with a 512MB microSD card.

The NOKLA N97TV-1 breaks the mould of other clones by offering integrated television features. Yep, for some reason, television on phones is a great feature in China apparently. Bear in mind though that they offer only analogue reception, not DVB/Freeview.

You will also need to deploy an external antenna (don't poke the eye of your next seat neighbour though). This model comes with the keyboard and a feature called TouchWiz (not Samsung's Touchwiz though).

More an iPhone than a Nokia N97. The NOKIA N97TV has a massive 3.2-inch touchscreen capable of displaying 240x320 pixels which means that it has a 4:3 ratio rather than a 16:9.

It comes with a TV tuner. Like all others, the phone says that it has a 5-megapixel sensor, a Carl Zeiss lens. It comes with a nice plastic pouch and carries the XpressMusic tagline although it won't be able to play any Comes With Music. There's also a rather strange G-Sensor feature amongst its specs list.

The Nokia N97-6 differs from the others with an accelerometer feature built in and a slightly better finish. It is available in a brownish coffee finish and includes the QWERTY keyboard (with all the letters of an English keyboard says the description).

It has two VGA cameras and although you get Java, there is still no internet access. The description continues, saying that "the powerful functions and good hand feeling is enough to match the original Nokia.". Yeah as if.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.