Nokia N1: Nokia returns with the first Android tablet I’d really like to buy

Do you remember the announcement Nokia made some days ago on Twitter?

The multiplicity of speculations had an end today:

While Microsoft stops to use the Nokia brand for new devices, Nokia itself announced a new device: the Nokia N1, a 6.9mm thin 7.9 inch Android 5.0 Lollipop tablet that looks a lot like an iPad Mini.

Nokia N1
Nokia N1

Before I’ll tell you something about the specifications of the – in my eyes – really interesting tablet – you should note the following paragraph of the Nokia press release:

In addition to the Nokia brand, Nokia is licensing the industrial design, Z Launcher software layer and IP on a running royalty basis to the OEM partner. The OEM partner is responsible for full business execution, from engineering and sales to customer care, including liabilities and warranty costs, inbound IP and software licensing and contractual agreements with 3rd parties.

This means that all the engineering work has been done by the OEM partner (according to The Verge, Nokia is partnering with Foxconn).

But let’s come to the specifications of the Nokia N1:

Display

It features a 7.9 inch IPS Multi-touch panel with LED backlight, an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a 2048×1536 resolution. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re propably thinking of the displays of the iPad mini 2 and the iPad Mini 3 that offer the same specifications. To protect the screen from scratches, the Nokia N1 uses Corning® Gorilla® glass 3. To improve image quality and to reduce reflections, it features a fully laminated zero air-gap display, something the iPad mini 3 doesn’t have.

In my opinion, the 4:3 aspect ratio is almost perfect for a tablet, so I’d really like to see more tablets with such a screen, while I prefer 3:2 or 16:10 over 4:3 or 16:9 when it comes to notebooks. But all in all, it’s good to see that more and more Android tablets adapt the 4:3 aspect ratio.

When it comes to brightness, viewing angles, color gamut and other important aspects, we have to wait for the first reviews of the device, but I don’t expect to be disappointed.

SoC

The Nokia N1 uses the Intel Atom Z3580 with 64bit technology. With four cores, four threads and a maximum burst frequency of 2.33 GHz, there should be enough power for almost every purpose. Hopefully, 2GB RAM will be enough for multitasking, but I don’t expect any problems here. With the PowerVR G6430 GPU (max frequency: 533 MHz), you should really enjoy mobile gaming.

Camera

  • 8 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus
  • 5 MP front-facing camera, fixed focus
  • 1080p video recording

While I don’t need a rear-facing camera on a tablet because I don’t take photos with a tablet, the rather high resolution of the front-facing camera is a good sign, because I often use it for Skype calls. But – as you might know – due to the small image sensors uses in phones and tablets (unfortunately, Nokia doesn’t state the sensor size on its website yet, unlike the part sold to Microsoft did with its Lumia devices), the resolution of the camera is not the only important thing. I’d really enjoy if the front-facing camera would perform well even under low-light conditions, but unfortunately, I don’t think so.

Due to the lack of an optical image stabilization system, I also don’t expect the rear-facing camera to perform well under low-light conditions. If you try to take an image of a moving object, even OIS won’t be helpful, so – simplified – you would need a rather big image sensor. As the N1 is only 6.9mm thick – 0.6mm thinner than the iPad mini 3 – I’d expect the image sensor to be rather small even for a tablet.

Storage

Unfortunately, the Nokia N1 features only 32GB of internal storage (eMMC 5.0). In my opinion, it’s a shame that there is no 64 or even 128GB option available. Due to the lack of a microSDXC slot, it isn’t possible to expand the storage, so you’ll have to live forever with only 32GB! For me, it’s one of the few reasons not to buy the tablet if it will be ever available in Germany.

Connections

While you’ll find the 3.5mm audio port on almost every mobile device, there is something “special” when it comes to the USB port:

Nokia N1: Nokia returns with the first Android tablet I'd really like to buy 1
Nokia N1 USB Type C

No, it’s not a Lightning port! Nokia – or Foxconn – uses the new reversible USB Type C connector. Unfortunately, they don’t use USB 3.1, because the chipset doesn’t support it, so they decided to use USB 2.0 instead, which seems to be a little bit disappointing.

When it comes to wireless connections, the Nokia N1 features dual band WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (both in the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz band) and Bluetooth 4.0. Unfortunately, NFC isn’t mentioned, so I don’t expect it is built in.

Audio codec and speacers

Due to the use of a Wolfson WM8958E, I expect the audio quality to be quite good.

I hope the two 0.5 W stereo speakers (“90 dB with less than 10% total harmonic distortion (THD)”) are good as well, but I wouldn’t expect too much from tablet speakers.

Battery

With a 18.5 Wh (5300 mAh) rechargeable lithium polymer battery (3.7 V), don’t expect battery life to be too long.

Software

The Nokia N1 features the newest Android version, Android 5.0 (“Lollipop”), along with the Nokia Z launcher. As I really like the device, it would be fascinating for me to see a Windows version of it, but then it would definitely need more storage or a microSDXC slot.

Weight and dimensions

Height: 200.7mm

Width: 138.6mm

Depth: 6.9mm

Weight: 318g

Price and availability

The N1 is planned to be available for purchase in China in Q1 2015 for an estimated USD 249 before taxes, with the anticipation of expanding sales to other markets. (Source: Nokia Press Release)

I really hope that the Nokia N1 will be available in Germany, too, because I really like the tablet.


What do you think about the Nokia N1? Do you think it’s a stupid iPad mini clone or is it the tablet you’ve been waiting for?
Please feel free to comment below!

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