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Nokia N1 review: the Android iPad [hands-on]

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Nokia has just introduced the Nokia N1 - an impressive new Android tablet with a neat design, high-end features and a reasonable price. AndroidPIT managed to get a first look at the Nokia N1 at MWC 2015 - here's our initial, hands-on Nokia N1 review.

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Nokia N1 release date and price

The price of the Nokia N1 tablet will be 249 € when it arrives in Europe sometime during 2015, according to a Nokia spokesman I spoke with during my review.

Nokia N1 design and build quality

The design of the Nokia N1 is based on a unibody aluminum shell, which clearly emulates the iPad Mini. Nokia was totally open about this point during my review. The fact is that the construction of the N1 is impeccable. The device's edges encase the screen, with which it is level. The N1 is simple yet very elegant.

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The Nokia N1 has an aspect ratio of 4: 3; just like the iPad Mini. © ANDROIDPIT

On the bottom, there are stereo speakers and USB 3.0 port, type C. This is a standard which allows users to plug a USB connector in both directions.

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The micro USB socket of the Nokia N1, Type 3.0 C, sits between the two speakers. © ANDROIDPIT

The top has the 3.5mm headphone jack and power button. The back of the tablet is completely devoid of sharp edges or corners. The camera's sensor does not protrude and only a discreet Nokia logo is visible.

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The Nokia N1 has a very sober and elegant design. © ANDROIDPIT

From the beginning of my test of the Nokia N1, I found the design attractive. The Nokia tablet is ergonomic and comes in two finishes; gray aluminum and graphite.

Nokia N1 display

The Nokia spokesman told me that, on paper, the Nokia N1 screen is identical to that of the iPad Mini 3. Its 7.9-inch IPS panel has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, giving it a pixel density of about 324 ppi.

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The Nokia N1 screen is identical to that of the iPad for size and definition. © ANDROIDPIT

The first test of the Nokia N1 shows that it has a quality screen. The display is good, with  natural color rendering, plus nice saturation and contrast. The brightness is not the highest I've seen, but it seems sufficient for everyday use.

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The Nokia N1 screen is very good. © ANDROIDPIT

The viewing angles looked good to me, though this is probably related to the fact that the slab is rolled and uses zero-gap technology (zero space).

Nokia N1 software

The Nokia N1 tablet runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. The Nokia launcher, Z Launcher, is pre-installed on the N1, but you can replace it with any other.

Z Launcher is a free download from the Google Play Store on all Android smartphones, but is compatible with N1. Beyond the specific features of Lollipop, Z Launcher is transforming the way we use and search for applications on Android. From the main screen, you can draw a letter, all applications that begin with that letter, or include it in their name are displayed.

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The Nokia N1 features the Z Launcher. © ANDROIDPIT

In practise, it was surprisingly effective and I found myself using it instinctively in this first review of the Nokia N1. The application drawer is displayed as a list and icons are categorized.

Nokia N1 performance

During this short review of the Nokia N1, the tablet was very fluid and showed no signs of lag or bugginess. Of course, I'll wait for a full review to tell you more, but my first impression is very positive.

The version presented at MWC 2015 uses an Intel Atom 64-bit Z3580 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz. The version that will arrive in Europe will be equipped with a more powerful processor. A Nokia manager told me that Qualcomm was interested in a partnership, but this did not progress because the Finns do not want to damage their excellent relations with Intel. We'll have to wait and see, then. The N1 also packs 2GB of DDR3 RAM.

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All the apps I've tested run smoothly on the N1. © ANDROIDPIT

A quick AnTuTu benchmark confirmed our inklings. It achieved a score of 47,050, just below the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Nokia N1 battery

Nokia claims battery life of 12 hours for the N1. This seems realistic, as the battery capacity is 5300 mAh. In comparison, the Nexus 7 (2013) - not exactly a model for the device category - has a battery capacity of 3750 mAh.

Early Verdict

We already knew about the N1. It is available in China, and should arrive in Europe this year. For 249 €, this level of performance and quality design makes the N1 one of the tablets to follow in 2015. The verdict of the first review of the Nokia N1 is very positive.

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Quentin Ducreux L.

Quentin Ducreux L.

Quentin is Editor-in-Chief for Since his first video game console, a NES, he's been a tech enthusiast. Now that he owns or think he owns all the test devices in the office, he's always trying to find the best apps, the best mods and the last secret about the next Android update.

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  • 8
    Deactivated Account Mar 5, 2015 Link to comment

    Interesting article, but aren't Nokia also working on a new Android smartphone? I think it's called the Nokia 1100. If they are and if like their first efforts it is Google free & all Android, I think I could be interested. Would also hope it came with SD card expansion and removable battery!

  • 11
    Mark R. Mar 5, 2015 Link to comment

    thanks for the early insight, this is on my shortlist for a new tablet this year.