Nokia N91 review: Real celebrity

Michal Sedlαk, 09 May 2006. Read the original review at
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Message application has not undergone any major changes, either. The process of SMS, MMS, email and instant messages typing can be assisted by the famous T9 dictionary. T9 uses diacritics, which do not get deleted before message is sent. Pictures inserted into MMS can be automatically minimized to a size suitable for MMS.

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Message editor • received messages • sent messages • selecting the receiver • writing SMS

The Email client works with the most popular protocols: SMTP, POP3, and IMAP4. Message headers are downloaded first. A download of the entire message is only possible after the deliberate selection of an individual email.

Time organization and Internet as good as they should be

In this chapter I am going to repeat some of my statements published in the Nokia 3250 review as both phones are pretty similar in terms of time organizing and internet functions. As it became clear in previous chapters, devices of the Series 60 look alike in a number of aspects. The new Symbian 9.1 brings few and very insignificant modifications. Time organizing tools have remained more or less unchanged, too. The calendar, the task manager, the notes are all identical to those in Nokia 3250. Here are some more applications that are to be found in Nokia N91: a calculator, a unit converter and a clock. The alarms are not repeatable and there isn't a "safe" wallet for codes and passwords.

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Month view at the calendar • week view • day view • new entry

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Editing event details • organizer setup • calculator • alarm clock • converter

The built-in web browser offers all known basic functions: actual page visualization, simple java scripts support, transferred data counter etc. If you select the smallest font size available, the display will offer you the unbelievable 16 lines. However, text placed in these lines is practically illegible due to low resolution. As to the Internet connection, the best option available is the preinstalled Wi-Fi software: it searches fast, informs you whether available networks are protected or not, and shows signal coverage.

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Browser interface • searching for access points • selecting connection • webpage

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Browser menu • setup • selecting wireless networks • information about available WLAN

Nokia N91 transfers data through Bluetooth or via the USB cable enclosed in the phone's package. Infrared port is missing. Nokia seems to have generally acquired the habit of removing Infrared support in its smartphones.

Go discover the world using Nokia mobile data transfers in cooperation with GPRS Class 10, the faster EDGE Class 10, or perhaps the best of all: UMTS. Nokia N91 comes with an installation CD with a full-function PC Suite. You can download its latest version from

Just like a real celebrity

That is how Nokia N91 behaves. It is shiny, full of high-tech functions like UMTS, Wi-Fi; amazing 4 GB memory space; USB support; a standard 3.5 mm earphones jack. A phone with such a price tag should have all this. In addition, listening to music with Nokia N91 is a true pleasure and time organizing functions are superb.

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Yet, the celebrity surely does have some flaws. It is much too complicated from inside as not to make the mobile world speak and write about it. For example, we will have to wait at least a few months before a pack of applications compatible with Symbian 9.1 appears on the market. Further on, I cannot help, but once again draw your attention to the phone construction imperfections, to the 1-minute limited voice recorder, the "hard-headed" T9 dictionary, etc. Why isn't there a second camera for video calls? Why use a hard disk instead of a flash drive? Where were the Nokia designers during all these long preparation months, when the launch of Nokia N91 was constantly postponed? Where is the so longed maturity?

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Standard pack content:

  • Handset N91
  • Ear-phones HS-28, remote control
  • USB cable
  • Charger with a small-size connector
  • Charger adapter of the small-size / big-size connector type
  • Active stand
  • Installation CD incl. PC Suite
  • User Manual

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Accessories to be found in the delivery package

David Polesny's point of view:

It has been a whole year since I first saw Nokia N91. At that moment, I was struck speechless. The futuristic N91 was so rich in features and looked so unusual that it literally took my breath away. I remember that the initial version of the phone was full of imperfections, but Nokia representatives made an official promise that the final Nokia N91 would be precisely elaborated.

Well, it appears that the year taken for improvements has hardly improved anything. The sliding part of the keypad does not close well, the tiny numeric keys have not changed a bit; what's worse, they do play a lot. The work of the functional keys and the joystick is not convincing, either. Why should I expect that such an expensive mobile is to be solid, firm, and precise? Because it's exactly what it should be like…

I just find Nokia N91 much too big and heavy, no matter how great its software potential is. I do not like the design solution of the top part of the phone. I find it ugly. Whatsoever, there is no doubt that Nokia N91 looks like a luxury mobile device. Glossy elements suit it well, but they require frequent polishing.

I did not have much time to "play" with the Nokia N91. In any case, I do not mind the unusual location of the Menu button. It just requires some practice. I appreciate the hardware keylock located on the top edge of the phone as well as the universal earphone jack. The greatest disappointment in Nokia N91 for me is its display, and more precisely, it's low resolution.

The music player is user-friendly, yet somewhat slow. Sound is good, with the potential of becoming superb, if a high-class set of earphones is used. The cracking tones that accompany each volume modification are the only acoustic drawback of the phone.

To sum up, I am disappointed with Nokia N91. Such expensive phone, one of such a high class should in no case feature so many failures.

Mark Lutonsky's point of view:

I have the worst words prepared for Nokia N91. It is a true monster, huge and heavy. Apparently, Nokia designers have not devoted much time to the phone's outlook. N91 looks as a paddle. When opened, the sliding keypad cover is dangerously sharp. Access to the numeric keypad is not satisfying. The cover itself is difficult to be manipulated.

N91 display is more than disappointing. It looks rough, especially if compared to displays with QVGA resolution (to be found in most current high-class mobile phones). Display interface has been slightly modified, font size has been reduced. The greatest inconvenience, however, lies in the incompatibility of the new Symbian 9.1 with software applications and programs used in the current line of mobile phones.

I decided not to take my first impressions seriously. When Nokia first released its N91 model a year ago, I tried not to pay attention to my inner voice and to make myself believe the promises that everything would be different, better. Design, construction, control... Well, as you could see, nothing has changed. Nokia N91 is the same freak of nature as it was on the day of its promotion.

Without a question, Wi-Fi support, the music player and a large jack for the earphones are all the conveniences we all like to see in other phones. To my opinion, however, the mechanical hard disk with a 4 GB capacity encumbers the device more than it helps. The situation would have been completely different if you could fit a few dozens of GB into the phone. In such case the hard disk technology would have doubtlessly come in handy.

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