By James A.
Nokia N1 is the first Android tablet from the Finnish Nokia and the first Nokia hardware product after they sold Nokia Devices to Microsoft. Unveiled in November 2014, this was the first USB Type C device and it reached China in January this year. There it was sold record numbers in 4 consecutive flash sales. Nokia N1 reached Europe this Spring and it’s priced at around 314 euro there.
The design feels a bit like an iPad Mini, but less than one would think. The edges are a bit more rounded and the case is matte, plus there’s no shiny edge, unlike the iPad. The bezel is bigger for sure and the waistline is 6.9 mm, thinner than the iPad Mini 3 7.5 mm, but thicker than the iPad Mini 4 6.1 mm profile. The device is still pretty light, at 318 grams, lighter than the iPad Mini 3, at 331 grams.
The N1 has an unibody aluminum design and it’s very comfy and light, plus it provides a good grip. One hand use is quite easy here and this product is made by Foxconn, in case you’re wondering. The design is quite solid and elegant. Upfront we find the front camera and sensors, while at the back there’s the main camera and logo. The top features the Power button and microphone, as well as audio jack.
At the bottom there are the two speakers, flanking the USB Type C port, while on the left side there’s nothing at all. On the right side we’ve got the volume buttons, with good feedback. Overall, this is a well balanced design, comfier than the one of the iPad and offering rounded edges that are both elegant and make it easier to hold the device for long hours.
As far as the hardware goes, this model provides a 7.9 inch IPS LCD display, with a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution, plus a quad core Intel Atom Z3580 2.3 GHz processor (64 bit). Other specs include 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, at 800 MHz, a PowerVR G6430 533 MHz GPU, 32 GB of storage and an 8 megapixel main camera, as well as a front 5 MP shooter. On the connectivity side, there’s WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual channel with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0, USB Type C (reversible) and other features include two 0.5 W speakers, a microphone and a 6 axis gyro, plus an accelerometer.
The battery is a 18.5 Whr unit/5300 mAh, a Li-Po power source with 3.7 V to offer. In our test, which means HD video playback in a loop with WiFi on and brightness at 50%, we reached 8 hours and 32 minutes, which is good, but the rivals are much better. The iPad Mini Retina for example offers 10 hours and 8 minutes of playback, while the Xiaomi Mi Pad provides 10 hours and the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 reaches as much as 13 hours and 33 minutes.
Still, we beat the LG G Pad 8.3, with its 7 hours and 40 minutes. In PCMark, the continuous usage test simulation, we got to 7 hours, which beats the Xiaomi Mi Pad and its 6 hours and 28 minutes. We also beat the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, that only offered 4 hours and 43 minutes in this test. This is a very good work time, by the way. Charging takes kind of long, 3 hours and 52 minutes, even longer than the iPad Mini Retina’s 3 hours and 40 minutes, or the Mi Pad’s 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The Tab S 8.4 charge in 3 hours. In the Settings area you’ll find the Battery Saver option, that limits vibration, background traffic and CPU performance, as well as connectivity. You can also choose what percentage to turn it on at. Overall, the battery is good, but the long charge is a bit of a bummer. On the audio side we’re greeted by two 0.5 W speakers, high quality audio codecs and Wolfson technology.
On paper this device should offer 90 dB and no distortion, according to Nokia. Play Music is the player of choice here, with a stock EQ, that offers 5 custom channels, genre options and bass boost, as well as surround. The listening experience is loud, clear, without distortion and there’s a good bass, deep and warm sound, plus no muffling in landscape. The decibelmeter test revealed a value of 89.8 dBA, which is very loud for a tablet.
We beat the Xiaomi Mi Pad and it’s 84.2 dBA, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and its 84.5 dBA, plus the iPad Air 2 and its 86.3 dBA. This is one of the loudest tablets ever and it has excellent acoustics. Now let’s see what the display offers. This is a 7.9 inch screen with a 4:3 aspect, 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution and an IPS LCD panel with LED backlight. It also has Gorilla Glass 3 protection and it’s fully laminated.
This is a zero gap display and the player we used for videos was the basic Photos app. The viewing experience was bright, view angles were wide and the colors were good, although a bit cold. The display is crisp and offers a so-so contrast, with a mediocre behaviour in sunlight. It’s also a bit on the reflective side. Pixels are of the RGB Stripe kind here and the brightness we measured was 355 LUX, which is reasonably bright.
We scored below the iPad Mini Retina and its 412 LUX, but we beat the Xiaomi Mi Pad and its 310 LUX. We got beaten by the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and it 432 LUX, too, but we surpassed the iPad Air 2 by 1 lux, at least. So overall, the screen is OK in our book. The Settings area includes Light Adaptive and Content Adaptive brightness, font size options and an Intel Smart video feature, that allows smoother video playback and enhanced color and
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