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Nokia N91 preview


As if to atone for delaying the release of the hotly anticipated N91, the Nokia press office has been surprisingly willing to let us scrubby journalists play around with prototype models. That said, the key word here is prototype, since some of the more exotic functionality – e.g. WiFi – was missing from the product the Ferret got his hands on last week. Still, as I’ve said before, it remains a fascinating product notwithstanding, if only because of the wild promise a 4 GB hard disk holds for the future of mobile data and communication. Read on for more impressions…

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

The first thing that hits you about the Nokia N91 is its weight. The mostly metal case is built like a tank, and this reflects in the heft of the thing. It’s surprisingly small for such a power packed beast, but you’ll certainly notice the weight sitting in your shirt pocket. That said, it’s still a heck of a lot more pocket friendly than some other PDA type phones like the Nokia Communicator!

Following on from Sony-Ericsson’s assault on the music player market with the new Walkmans, Nokia has clearly decided to pitch this handset primarily as a music machine. Hence the front controls, masking the number pad, which are simple and effective – Play, Pause, Previous, Next and Stop. Play away, Damien.

N91handsetopenOpen the slider and you get to the keypad, which is small, but funnily enough actually works quite well. Texting, dialling and generally accessing stuff can be done fairly easily. Sure if you’ve got thunder thumbs you’re not going to enjoy the tiny button feel, but I was surprised by how easy it was to create and send a text. I think it’s really down to the fact that the keys are separated well and the solid key press means that you actually don’t make that many mistakes. It’s quite tactile is what I’m saying, dig?

The prototype is clearly a way from being final quality – I sincerely hope – as the body part fit was atrocious. Big gaps, loose covers, sloppy catches, but obviously this won’t be the case with the final shipping product.


Pop open the back and you’ll see a standard Nokia battery – small for a product of these pretentions – and SIM compartment snuggling alongside the hard disc. Now that’s tiny. Above is the 2.0 megapixel camera lens. We’ll come on to the camera later – with sample images – but for now let’s talk about battery life. Or not, since it’s hard to gauge capacity/life when you’re not doing much of the heavy lifting like WiFi. Suffice it to say that I went through a pretty heavy session with taking photos and Bluetoothing them over to my SX1 SD card for display here (no SD card slot or infrared on the Nokia!), and the battery level sank at an alarmingly fast speed. I suspect that you’re not going to get much of a life unless you stick to the basic music playing, chatting, SMS stuff. Otherwise, carry a spare BL-5C bat pack in your pocket!


However, big love Nokia, for including that standard USB port on the side of the handset. It’s a winner all round. No more fiddling with special cables and stuff. Shame the prototype refused to be identified as a hard disk on either of the two PCs I tried it on, probably just another proto thang, since it was also showing up as a Nokia 6630. Props too for the default ‘Airplane Mode’, so yay, you’ll be able to use this puppy on aircraft, music player, video player et al. As long as the juice holds out!

The vent slot at the top on the side is the speaker, and it’s loud. For some reason the firmware seemed locked at max volume via the speaker, but slot in some headphones – and yay another awesome, there’s a standard headphone jack, so no more special headsets – and the volume was adjustable. And it sounds great. I’m no audiophile, so don’t ask me about high end/low end slemoozle, but to these untrained ears this thing sounds every bit as good as the conventional MP3 players I’ve tested previously.

And you can play cool games on it, run your car navigation software or use any of the thousands of neat Java and Symbian applications that are floating around the Net. That’s where the power of the operating system and the hard disc will really come into play, I feel. But we’ll see.

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  • Dear Sir/Mam,

    I’m interest to buy your products.
    I have looking and read it in your website.
    These are my query:
    *NOKIA N91( qty 5)
    Please give me the total cost and I will sent my credit card details for you via email after I have the deal from you. I think it more safely, and you can charge it on your place. And the item will be ship to Indonesia UPS Express International. I really want these stuffs and it’s so hard to find them out in mycountry.I’m waiting for your response as soon as possible.Thank you for your kindness.

    Best regards,

  • Hi Atasukefukuda, the total cost will be around $423,000 each plus $2.50 post and packing to Indonesia. Ah sorry, that should read $2.50 each and $423,000 postage. No wait…

  • When will this be available in South Africa N91??

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