We’re going to level with you: despite spending all day everyday obsessing over the mobile industry and working hard to bring you all the news that’s fit to consume… we don’t have a clue what’s going on at Nokia. We thought we did, but we don’t. There’s no use in pretending.
Just when it looked like the company’s device manufacturing arm was dead and buried (or at least rebranded to Microsoft) it goes and gives us a new product completely out of the blue. This morning the Nokia N1 was revealed – a 7.9-inch, high-spec Android tablet. We’re surprised, too.
It’s very much a pleasant surprise though. The N1 looks to combine the best of both world’s: the slick, premium design of Nokia’s (former) Lumia range with the still-superior Android operating system onboard. It’ll come running Android 5.0 Lollipop straight out the box, as well as something called Nokia Z launcher.
The Nokia Z launcher seems to take the place of your standard Android home screen and allows for quick and easy app access. Rather than diving through unseemly menus you simply scribble the first letter of the app you want and you’ll be instantly provided with a matching list. It looks gorgeous, but we’re not sure how hardcore Android fans will take to it – does it replace home screens entirely? What about widgets? We can’t wait to see it in action.
On the outside the build reminds us a little of the superb Nokia Lumia 930 smartphone – and a lot of the new iPad Air 2. The Front is all smooth black bezel, whilst the edges are rounded brushed metal which then turn into one smooth unibody aluminium backplate. The positioning of the camera and buttons is identical to Apple’s signature tablet too, with the rear camera sitting right in the top-left hand corner (as you look at it) whilst the lock button is situated on top of the device with the two volume keys on the upper right side.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the resemblance is immediately obvious. One thing we’re not so keen on is the oversized bottom bezel, particularly when the N1 features on-screen navigation buttons, but presumably Nokia couldn’t fit all the internals into anything smaller. The symmetry of the large front bezels only draws further comparisons to the iPad, too.
Those bezels are a price worth paying though, as the technical specifications for the N1 are impressive. It’s powered by a 2.3GHz Intel 64-bit Atom Processor and 2GB of RAM to access its 32GB of onboard storage. The battery is 5,300 mAh.
The cameras are nothing to get excited about, with an 8-megapixel rear lens and a 5-megapixel front-facer. But if your choice of tablet depends upon its photographic capability then know that you’re a bad person.
Its 7.9-inch display uses an unconventional 4:3 aspect ratio with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels – that gives you a rather excellent 324 PPI. If it makes comparison easier, know that were the display 16:9 in aspect ratio that would be around the QHD mark. It’s sharp, in other words. It’s also covered with Gorilla Glass 3 for extra protection.
It’s pretty compact, too. At 6.9mm in depth it’s less than a millimetre thicker than the iPad Air 2 and a whole millimetre thinner than the new Google Nexus 9. Weighing just 318g it’s also considerably lighter than both.
That remarkable weight figure could be something to do with the N1 lacking a 4G LTE antenna. Nokia may go on to announce a 4G capable model at a later date, but for now the N1 appears to be Wi-Fi only.
Oh, and there’s one more thing. The Nokia N1 will be one of the first devices on the market to use a micro USB 2.0 type C port. In plain English, that’s reversible USB. The future has truly arrived.
Take a look at the tablet in motion just below, and be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments section. This could be the start of something very important for Nokia.