Nokia N91 review: Real celebrity

Michal Sedlák, 09 May 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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What a pity indeed...

... that Nokia has abandoned the high-resolution (352 x 416 pixels) display line it launched with the N90 model. Nokia has incorporated it in Nokia N80 and is planning to do so in other two models of the E line. I don't get, however, what constructors and designers were working on for such a long time before Nokia N91 was officially launched...

And here I am, looking at 176 x 208 pixels, seeing icon legends in the smaller font typical for the latest Symbian 9.1 OS. Lower resolution in Nokia N91 is quite visible when loking at smaller objects on the display. I am comparing N91 with Nokia 6681 (I just had it around) and I have the feeling that, although a true veteran, Nokia 6681 provides a far better visualization than N91.

Nokia N91 Nokia N91
Display in the dark

Nokia N91 display has dimensions of 35 x 41 mm. It has lower contrast levels and SMS writing under direct daylight is quite a difficult task. A few weeks ago we tested the 3250 model, which features the same resolution like Nokia N91. Images on its display, however, looked significantly better, although the display is the same size as the Nokia N91 display.

The entire area around the display is glossy, but does not require as frequent cleaning as in the case of the luxurious 8800 model. Main control buttons are situated below the display. Nokia N91 has a four-way joystick with a confirming central area accompanied by soft keys and the pair of red and green receiver keys. All these elements play a bit, which is quite annoying, believe me.

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No frequent polishing is necessary…surprising indeed • main control elements

On the other hand, tactile response is great. During testing I didn't make a single mistake when selecting or confirming. The whole block of control buttons is slightly inclined towards the user's fingers for more comfortable work.

Nokia N91
Main control elements are bound a bit to make navigation smoother

Small, blue, located under the cover

The keypad cover design is not very successful. In order to move the cover, it is necessary to put your finger on the groove beneath the joystick. Yet, make sure you have not eaten anything greasy (chips or fries, for example) before that as you risk losing any chance to complete it at all since your fingers are quite likely to slip off to the Play/Pause and run the Music Player. What's worse, Nokia N91 features no mechanical support to help open its keypad cover - a solution I personally find important, considering the size and the technological level of the phone.

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After having moved the cover

The only thing I do like about the construction is the solid click sound of the arresting mechanism of the sliding cover when you open it. Apart from that, the cover plays constantly, although in a slight degree. One last assuring look is neccessary to make sure the cover is fully closed as the endstop is not marked acoustically. Besides, when the cover is open, its edges cut my palm. And when I turned the device over, the visible printed circuits really made me sick design-wise.

The numeric keypad consists of extremely small keys considering the body size of the phone. It will probably take you some time before you start using the keys correctly. I am still not able to touch-find the correcting and editing keys. Let's not forget, however, that my thumb is rather big. Nokia designers deserve a compliment for their high-class work on functional keys as tactile reaction is pretty good.

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Keypad and its details

Keys are illuminated in deep blue. The red and green receivers retain their respective color. The joystick is surrounded by light too. To my opinion, the backlighting of the functional keys could have been a little bit more intensive. Otherwise the backlighting itself is so strong that you will even see how badly the bonds between the keypad and the mobile frame are put together.

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Illuminated main elements; backlighted keypad (cover remain dark)

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