Nokia N1 iPad mini-like tablet lands at MWC 2015

nokia n1 topIf you recall, the Nokia brand is behind a rather nice looking, albeit iPad mini clone, tablet. Well, the Nokia N1, as it is called, is on show at Mobile World Congress (MWC).

The Nokia N1 tablet is currently only available in China, but that hasn’t stopped it from enjoying the bright lights of Barcelona at MWC 2015.

What is quite exciting is that Nokia is looking to release the N1 into other markets this year.

The N1 runs a tweaked version of Android 5.0 Lollipop that features Nokia’s “Z launcher.” This brings with it a pair of distinct features – You get a four-by-three grid of apps on the home screen which is adaptive based on what apps you use and when you use them. So, if you spend most mornings checking emails and reading news, your home screen will push those corresponding apps to the grid in favor of others. If you’re a big Netflix user at night, the streaming app will be first on the grid when you turn on the device after dinner. There’s no app launcher like on most versions of Android; instead, the rest of the apps are found just a swipe away on a second page of the OS.

The other component of the Z launcher is the “scribble search” feature, which lets you draw letters on the home screen to search for apps. You can write out the whole name or search with as little as one letter. Drawing “n”, for example, will return the likes of Netflix and Fruit Ninja, even contacts with first or last names containing the letter.

nokia n1 viewsIf you find that you don’t dig the Z launcher then you can disable it and return to the stock Android experience, giving you the best of both worlds.

I have to admit, the lack of customisation blended with circular icons in ‘grown-up’ colours does give it a rather distinctly iOS vibe about it.

That Apple-ness continues on to the hardware.

You get a very slick looking aluminium body wrapped around a 7.9-inch display. The camera on the back is exactly where Apple users will want it to be, up in the top left corner.

Just above the display is a 5MP front facing snapper, to compliment the 8MP option on the rear.

Inside you get 32GB of internal storage, but there’s no expandable storage option. That’s not a huge issue, but some may feel cheated by the lack of 64GB and 128GB versions.

The Nokia N1 is also only available as a Wi-Fi only tablet, so anyone looking for a tablet with data on the go may also feel hard done by.

nokia n1 hands onAt the base of the N1 you’ll find a centralised microUSB port which uses the latest connection type – USB Type-C – flanked by reasonably sized speaker grills.

USB C is a reversible port, allowing you to plug in your charging cable any way round – much like the Lightning port from… errr… Apple

It might sound as though I am knocking the N1 as being an Android knock-off of the smaller iPad. Even if I am, it doesn’t make it a bad thing – just look at Apple’s sales!

Talking about sales, if the Nokia N1 manages to keep at the $249/£249 price point (or less) then I expect to see a few of these being shifted if/when it lands in the UK.