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Nokia N91

 Nokia N91 Discontinued
27th April 2005

The Nokia N91 is a music phone designed for playing back audio tracks and other multimedia. At first glance, this handset looks a little like a cross between a Nokia 3230 and an 8800, but this is a very different beast, and much more similar in concept to the Samsung SGH-I300 or Sony Ericsson W800. Actually, at first glance it looks pretty unattractive and strange too, but don't let the strange looks put you off.. this is a very interesting device.

The key feature with the Nokia N91 is the 4Gb internal hard disk, which gives the N91 the largest capacity we've seen to date. There's also a two megapixel digital camera on the back. This is a 3G phone which means that downloading music tracks can be done at up to 384kbps, but surprisingly it also supports WiFi (802.11b and g). The N91 supports video calling in the conventional way with a secondary camera.

The screen is a fairly conventional 176x208 pixels in 262,000 colours, and the Nokia N91 also has Bluetooth and USB connectivity. There's an FM radio built in, which is always nice on this type of device, but unlike the Samsung there's no expandable memory which means that everything will have to be loaded on through a cable, Bluetooth or the WiFi connection. A sliding cover on the front of the phone protects the keypad, but it also acts as a control for the media player, a neat bit of design in our opinion.

 Nokia N91 closed At the heart of the N91 is the handset's media capabilities. It can play back MP3, AAC, Real, WMA and a whole host of other formats, combined with what appears to be a capable set of music applications running on top of the Symbian Series 60 operating system. The Nokia N91 also includes access to Nokia's "Visual Radio" music service over the phone's data network, and it can even record music directly through the handset's line-in, which should make the N91 nice and easy to use in that respect.

Included in the Symbian operating system is an XHTML web browser, email client, Java support and PC synchronisation capabilities. There's a range of PIM functions too, and as the N91 is a Series 60 device you should be able to add third party applications and games easily enough.

Getting back to basics - this is a 3G WCDMA/UMTS phone with tri-band GSM support (900/1800/1900 MHz), GPRS and EDGE data. 3G will give up to 384kbps download speeds, but if you live in an EDGE data area instead then you'll be able to get 236.8kbps which is pretty good too. For this type of handset, high speed data is essential and that lack of it is a key weakness in the N91's competition.

The Nokia N91 also support voice commands, voice dialling, has integrated handsfree, hi-fi ringtones, a bundled stereo headset and downloadable themes. There's even more too, but we can summarise it by saying that the Nokia N91 is an incredibly well-rounded handset in addition to being a great music phone.

It's a large and quite heavy device at 160 grams and 113x51x22mm. Talktime is 3-4 hours with up to 7 days standby. We're not sure how long the battery life is on the N91 when used purely to play music though.

In most respects the Nokia N91 is easily better than the competition. We think that the screen resolution is a little limited and 240x320 pixels is becoming normal on this type of device, plus it's heavy and actually fairly ugly, but at the moment it's the only dedicated music phone that we've seen that combines good multimedia support with 3G data and quite so much storage space. With this phone and also the N90, Nokia have shown that they really can make class-leading handsets.

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Nokia N91 at a glance


Q4 2005


UMTS (3G) + Tri-band GSM




176x208 pixels, 262,000 colours


2 megapixels (main)


Large slider
113x51x22mm / 160 grams









Battery life:

3-4 hours talk / 7 days standby


Symbian Series 60


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