Nokia's N91 was announced in April 2005, and we've waited and waited, but the final product is at last in our hands.
For those of you who've been living under a rock for the last 12 months, the N91 is Nokia's music phone, and its 4GB hard drive means it can store plenty of tracks. Add a 2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, 3G and an FM radio and this is one well-featured handset.
At the time of writing, the N91 was not available from the new Nokia online store. We did however find it available SIM free from Expansys, who supplied our review model, for £490. Check your preferred operator for contract pricing.
The N91 is many things, but a cutie-pie it most certainly is not. It is big, and it is heavy. Measuring 55 by 113 by 22mm (WHD), and weighing in at 164g, it looks like it has been beefing it up for months. Actually it does look like it has been working out, because its torso is broader than its lower half.
What you see initially isn't all of what you get. Being Nokia's music phone, there is a control panel on the front which has dedicated music control buttons. To get to the number pad you slide this downwards, at which point the N91 puts on a growth spurt and becomes 140mm tall.
The all-silver frontage with stainless steel highlights looks nice when you first take the N91 out of its box, but the shiny parts soon gather fingermarks.
If you think that the overall size should cater for a bigger, brighter screen than usual, think again. The screen's dimensions match those of the smaller and neater Nokia N70, and at just 176x208 pixels it disappoints. But then we suspect that the girth and heft of this handset is a result of the 4GB of internal memory rather than any other enhancements.
On the other hand, the overall size of the N91 does mean that the front buttons are nicely spaced. In between the screen and dedicated music keys sits a bank of four buttons and a large enough mini joystick. The four cover Call, End and the two soft menus, and between these and the music buttons you can do most things.
A volume rocker sits on the left edge of the casing. Interestingly there's no button dedicated to launching the built-in 2-megapixel camera. You need to press a side key on the upper-right edge to access the N91's main menu then choose the camera from there. You can shoot stills and capture video using the joystick. The N91 though, is one of those irritating 3G handsets without a front camera, so you can't make video calls.
On the top of the handset is the power switch and a connector for the headset, which comes in two pieces. A section containing music control keys, microphone and phone answer keys connects to the handset itself, with the section containing the earbuds plugging into that. We are delighted that both connectors use a standard 3.5mm jack, allowing you to substitute your favourite headset.
The top of the N91 also has a slider that can be used to lock all the keys. Cleverly, if you lock the handset then slide the music playback controls down to reveal the number pad, the N91 assumes you want to dial a call and the number pad is automatically unlocked. Moreover, if you have the number pad on display and slide the top button into its locked position, the number pad is locked.
The number keys are very small, but they are well spaced and we found hitting them accurately easy. The slider mechanism itself is smooth. An indent along its upper edge helps you to grip and pull it down, but it is all too easy to hit the music playback buttons on the outward and return journeys.
As the N91 is mostly about music, this is what we should concentrate on. But the handset does have plenty more going for it, and the more technically minded might care to know that its runs the latest third edition of Symbian Series 60.
The N91 doesn't support proprietary music formats (it is not iTunes compatible) but it does play MP3, AAC and WMA so it can cope with your own rips as well as downloads delivered via your PC and collected over the air.