Nokia N91 review: Real celebrity

Michal Sedlák, 09 May 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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You have 999 pictures left to take

The name of the "Photo-Video" menu is clear enough. It takes you into the interface of the built-in 2 megapixel camera. Nokia N91 is held vertically, even if it is said to be a photo mobile phone. The speed of the capturing of the first picture is quite high for a smartphone with OS. The speed of picture reading and viewing is a little bit slower, though.

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Camera lens is not protected

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Browsing the Gallery

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Displaying image result • work with images • in a full-screen mode • turned

Lower speed is caused by the slower work of the built-in hard disk. Nokia N91 boasts an incredible amount of 4 GB memory, which literally means that you will hardly ever see any other announce than "You have left: > 999 pictures". Apart from the maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels the N91?s camera also offers the lower, classic VGA resolution. The quality of the photos is similar to that of the 2 megapixel photo mobile kings Sony Ericsson K750/W800/D750.

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Camera interface • Setup options

Sample Photos in Full Resolution:

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Nokia N91 does not offer exposure compensation. Yet, the white balance setting works in automatic, sunny, cloudy, fluorescent and incandescent modes. In addition, the phone allows for applying sepia color effect, as well as black & white, and negative.

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Setting up self-release function • white balance

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Setting up color nuance • scanning options • extensive help section

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Color nuances: normal • sepia

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Color nuances: black & white • negative

Night mode is pretty good. It reduces noise far more significantly than the competing mobiles. The night mode view finder has a certain delay, of course. What a pity that the phone lacks a flash. Among other extras you will also find sequence capturing and self-release in 10, 20, and 30 seconds.

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Normal mode • night mode

Since Nokia N91 does not focus well in macro mode, closely situated objects look bad. Photos of text located in close and medium-far distance are of particularly poor quality. 20x digital zoom is quite smooth. It is controlled through the joystick. Resulting images are not mere crops. Half-zoom is somewhat helpful, while maximum zoom is absolutely useless.

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Poor results in macro mode

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No zoom • half-degree zoom • maximum 20x zoom

When I zoom and then press the release button, a dark image frequently appears on the display. A second shot is usually successful. A firmware problem once again, I guess.

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Preparation for zoom... • ...dark image comes after the release button is pressed

I was very pleased with the high quality of the videos shot with Nokia N91. The phone stores up to 60-minute records in MP4 format with a resolution of 352 x 288 pixels. Video runs smoothly. The microphone captures sound very well. While shooting you can zoom or use all color effects described in the photo camera section of this review. Sound recording can deactivated, if necessary.

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Video record • setup options

Visual Radio

Nokia N91 features a "Visual" radio, that is, a radio that simultaneously receives standard broadcasts and sends out data. The radio works in all available FM bands without any problems.

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The interface of Visual Radio • menu options • incl. station name

Broadcast quality is surprisingly good. Nokia N91 stores up to 20 radio stations. Signal search is lightning fast: a single press on the list keys is enough to run the broadcast with strongest signal.

Radio sound is generally good, even if less loud and clear than the sound produced by the music player (see next chapter). Nokia switches between stereo and mono signal automatically, in accordance with the intensity of the selected radio broadcast.

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Saving a new radio station • change of station order • manual tuning • application settings

I am a little bit surprised that neither the name, nor the frequency of the broadcasting radio station appears on the active stand-by display, when the radio is minimized. Radio is controlled either by the buttons on the keypad cover, or through the use of the remote control on the headset cable.

The headset or more precisely its cable serves as an antenna. I tested radio properties by connecting the remote control only, but sound remained perfect. Nokia N91 kept receiving brilliantly the majority of the available stations. The only drawback is the lack of a good equalizer. Is anyone of you, designers, planning to ever implement one in your future mobile models?

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