Nokia's N97 was hyped as the next big thing this time last year, but it took some time to materialise and, when it did, Nokia's first touchscreen smartphone was a letdown. The Mini is a far more accomplished device.
For starters, it has an attractive design - lighter and more compact than before. A gunmetal-grey metal battery plate at the back helps it feel more solidly knitted together. It retains the odd mechanism that kicks the screen up and out, revealing a full Qwerty keyboard beneath, but again it feels more resilient than on the N97.
And despite the fact that it's a smaller phone, it isn't more difficult to use. The keyboard is easier to type on than the N97; the keys are more responsive and have a firmer click to them.
And you don't even lose out on screen size and resolution. Its 3.2in size and 360 x 640 pixels are exactly the same as its chunkier sibling. It isn't just the hardware that's been improved either. The operating system feels a touch slicker and more intuitive than on the original N97. Battery life is excellent too.
And, as you'd expect, it's equipped with the full gamut of smartphone hardware, with HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, GPS, a proximity sensor and accelerometer, plus an FM radio tuner with RDS and 8GB of storage.
As with the other S60 phones here, however, the Mini lacks the X factor. The operating system, although improved, is looking long in the tooth these days. The selection of apps in the Ovi Store is weak compared to Google and Apple offerings.
To compound it all we found web browsing sluggish via the built-in Nokia web browser (we suggest downloading Opera Mobile 10). That's a shame, as battery life is excellent - right up there with the Nokia X6 - and although we're not keen on resistive touchscreens in general, this one is pretty responsive.
The big plus for the N97 Mini is that it's available on some great-value plans, so if you're after a smartphone but don't want to break the bank, it's worth a look.