The Nokia N91; the mobile man of steel

This high end Nokia NSeries device sports a 4GB hard drive, 2 megapixel camera, stainless steel construction and more all in a mobile phone form factor. These NSeries devices focus on multimedia while giving you a phone, but are definitely not designed with phone calls as the primary function.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that the Nokia N91 was available in the U.S. and as part of the Nokia NSeries Blogger Relations program I was sent a review sample to evaluate. You can check out my unboxing photos and get a brief glimpse of the device. I have been using a Nokia N70 for a couple of months and find the N91 to be something like a N70 on steroids. The stainless and plastic construction feels rock solid, but it is also a bit of a hefty mobile phone that doesn't easily slip into your pocket. Then again if you carry a phone and a MP3 player now, then you can have both in one device in an easier to carry package.

The N91 has a couple of unique features I haven't seen on other NSeries devices. A standard 3.5mm headset jack is now included rather than a 2.5mm headset jack commonly used with mobile phones. There is also a small port next to the 3.5mm adapter for the Nokia headset that allows you to control the media player and phone for calls from the headset. Sound is very good through the included Nokia phones with great bass sounds and very high available volume. You also will not find any external storage card on the device since a 4GB hard drive is installed instead. I have seen some minor lagging due to the drive access, but the ability to have this much storage for music, podcasts, movies, and files in this integrated device is worth it. I get tired of swapping out and keeping track of small external storage cards all the time and you don't have to worry about it with this device. The most surprising aspect of the device is the lack of the common Nokia Pop Port connector. The N91 actually uses a standard miniUSB connector to sync to your computer and even comes with a sturdy cradle.



The primary focus of this high end Nokia smartphone is media and the controls on the front bottom panel control the music player. This panel slides down to reveal a traditional phone keypad. I have a relatively small music collection, but I am an avid podcast and radio listener. Nokia recently released a beta podcatcher that allows you to manage, download, and listen to podcasts directly from the Nokia N91. I immediately installed the application and downloaded a few of my favorite podcasts using my home WiFi and T-Mobile EDGE connections. I understand Nokia is also working on an application that will allow you to create podcasts right on your device and this might be what I need to get into podcasting on the go. The music player application definitely isn't as smooth as an iPod, but it does work quite well and lets you see what is playing from the active standby display. A visual FM radio is also included on the Nokia N91 and I found reception to be quite good. Unfortunately, the Bluetooth 1.2 radio does not include the Bluetooth stereo A2DP profile, which doesn't make much sense for a device targeted for music enjoyment.

A 2 megapixel camera is included, but unlike the Nokia N70 there is no cover over the lens. There is also no flash on the N91. With the 4GB drive you can take thousands of photos and hours of video so I may have to fire up LifeBlog 2.0 again and start posting photos to my Flickr site.

As I mentioned before, my primary concern with this device is the battery life and I was a bit disappointed to see the traditional BL-5C battery installed. While it is convenient because I have a couple of these around, I was expecting something like the larger 1500 mAh BP-5L model found in my E61. I'll be running battery tests in conditions with WiFi, music playing, etc. and hope I can get through at least a day with a single charge.

The Nokia N91 doesn't come with Office viewers preloaded and is targeted towards those who carry a mobile phone and a MP3 player. Push email also isn't supported from Nokia like the E61, but DataViz just released RoadSync that gives you this functionality on NSeries S60 3rd Edition devices like the N91. If you don't have tons of iTunes purchased music and want a single device for your phone and music then this may be one to consider. My daughter and wife already asked about getting one to use as a combined device, but I don't think I would pack this beauty to the gym.

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