Nokia N1 vs iPad mini 3

We look at how Nokia’s 7.9in tablet mea­sures up to Ap­ple’s

iPad&iPhone user - - IPAD&IPHONE -

You may have thought that the Nokia brand was no more be­cause of Mi­crosoft’s decision to use its own name on all new smart­phones. But Nokia lives on as a sep­a­rate company, and has un­veiled the N1 tablet which runs An­droid rather than Win­dows 8. Here we com­pare the Nokia N1 (pic­tured above left) with the iPad mini 3 (shown right) as both have the same 7.9in screen.


There’s no of­fi­cial UK price, but we ex­pect it will be at least £199 in­clud­ing VAT. Stor­age is fixed at 32GB (there’s no mi­croSD slot).

The iPad mini 3 is al­ready avail­able, with prices start­ing at £319 for the 16GB ver­sion up to £579 for the 128GB Wi-Fi plus cel­lu­lar model.


It’s in­ter­est­ing that Nokia’s web­site for the N1 looks very Ap­ple-es­que as well as the fact that the N1 it­self has curved edges which look a lot like the iPhone 6’s. Viewed from the bot­tom, as in the photo above, it looks like an iPad at first glance thanks to the sym­met­ri­cal speaker grilles and re­versible USB con­nec­tor (of­fi­cially called USB Type C).

Those aren’t bad things by any means: the N1 tablet looks great, and it’s thin­ner than the iPad at 6.9mm. It weighs a lit­tle less than the iPad mini 3 at 318g. The Wi-Fi-only iPad mini 3 weighs 331g, and it’s roughly 10g ex­tra for the cel­lu­lar ver­sion. Be­cause it has a 4:3 screen, the N1’s di­men­sions are also sim­i­lar to the iPad mini 3:

Nokia N1: 200.7x138.6x6.9mm, 318g

iPad mini 3: 200x134.7x7.5mm, 331g (341g Wi-Fi + cel­lu­lar)

The two tablets look sim­i­lar when viewed from the front, too, with thin side bezels and a cen­trally mounted we­b­cam at the top. Even their power

but­tons, vol­ume but­tons and head­phone sock­ets are in the same place. The main dif­fer­ence is the lack of a phys­i­cal Home but­ton on the N1, since it re­lies on An­droid’s trio of on-screen but­tons.

Both tablets em­ploy an alu­minium ‘uni­body’ into which the screen is stuck, so there are no seams or other joins. If build qual­ity is the same as the iPad, the N1 will feel solid in the hand. Note that Nokia is op­er­at­ing like Google on the hard­ware front: it’s work­ing with a part­ner to build the N1 – it won’t man­u­fac­ture the de­vices it­self.

The iPad mini is avail­able in sil­ver, space grey and gold, with only the space grey ver­sion hav­ing a black screen bezel.

The Nokia N1 will come in nat­u­ral alu­minium or lava grey, which cor­re­spond almost ex­actly to Ap­ple’s first two of­fer­ings. The screen bezel will be black on both mod­els.


The sim­i­lar­i­ties don’t end there. The N1’s res­o­lu­tion might sound fa­mil­iar: 2048x1536 is the same as the iPad mini 3, and be­cause they’re the same size, their pixel den­si­ties are also the same at 326ppi.

The N1 ben­e­fits from a fully lam­i­nated IPS panel (like the iPad Air 2) while the iPad mini 3 has an air gap be­tween the glass and the ac­tual LCD panel.

In the­ory, the N1 should have a bet­ter screen than the iPad mini 3 be­cause of this, but un­til we can test them side by side, we won’t know for sure.

Pro­ces­sor and hard­ware

The iPad mini 3 is re­ally an iPad mini 2 with Touch ID, so the in­ter­nal hard­ware com­prises the Ap­ple A7 pro­ces­sor (and M7 co-pro­ces­sor) and 1GB of DDR3 RAM. It’s a dual-core pro­ces­sor run­ning at 1.3GHz.

The Nokia N1 has a quad-core 64-bit pro­ces­sor – an In­tel Atom Z3580 – run­ning at 2.3GHz, and 2GB of DDR3 RAM.

Graph­ics-wise, the N1 has a Pow­erVR G6430 GPU, and the iPad mini 3 has ex­actly the same chip. Else­where, the iPad has 802.11n dual-band

Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth 4. The N1 – sur­prise, sur­prise – has the same con­fig­u­ra­tion.

The Wi-Fi-only iPad mini 3 has no GPS, and nei­ther does the Nokia N1. There’s cur­rently no cel­lu­lar op­tion with the N1, but if you buy an iPad mini 3 with LTE, you’ll also get a GPS re­ceiver.

The iPad has a three-axis gy­ro­scope plus ac­celerom­e­ter, while the N1 has a six-axis gyro and an ac­celerom­e­ter.

For those in­ter­ested in cam­eras, both tablets are ca­pa­ble of shoot­ing 1080p video, but the iPad mini has fewer megapix­els: 5Mp vs 8Mp on the N1. Can you tell which is which above? (Clue: only the iPad has a mute/ro­ta­tion switch). Of course, we’ll have to wait un­til we’ve tested the Nokia N1 to find out how its photo and video qual­ity com­pares to the iPad.

Around the front, the N1 wins on pa­per by sport­ing a 5Mp selfie cam­era, while the iPad has a 1.2Mp FaceTime cam­era which can shoot only 720p footage com­pared to the Nokia’s 1080p.

Bat­tery life

The N1 is fit­ted with an 18.5Wh bat­tery (5300mAh) which is con­sid­er­ably less ca­pac­ity than the iPad’s which is rated at 24.3Wh or 6470mAh. Which will last longer be­tween charges? We’ll have to wait and see what our tests re­veal,

be­cause although the N1 has a faster (on pa­per) pro­ces­sor, the Atom pro­ces­sor should be pretty ef­fi­cient, and we al­ready know that An­droid Lol­lipop is more ef­fi­cient than KitKat.

The iPad mini lasts for roughly 10 hours of web brows­ing, or nine hours of watch­ing video.


Which is bet­ter, iOS 8 or An­droid Lol­lipop? That’s a huge de­bate, but it’s mostly down to per­sonal pref­er­ence. Ob­jec­tively, both are great mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tems and each has its ad­van­tages.

The good news for An­droid fans is that it looks like Nokia is leav­ing the in­ter­face un­touched apart from its new Z Launcher. This is a clever sys­tem which lets you trace a cou­ple of let­ters with your fin­ger on the screen to search for apps.

You can do some­thing sim­i­lar on the iPad by drag­ging down in the mid­dle of the screen to bring up the Spot­light bar, but Z Launcher goes fur­ther.

It learns which apps you like to use at par­tic­u­lar times of the day, so will au­to­mat­i­cally dis­play the

ones it thinks you want, so you might not even need to search. If you al­ways check the weather, your email and the train times first thing in the morn­ing, you’ll see those apps when you turn on the N1. You can al­ready down­load the Z Launcher for an An­droid smart­phone for free from the Play Store. We’ll be try­ing it out over the next week or two to see just how ef­fec­tive this is.

Nokia says that the N1 will come with an ex­clu­sive ver­sion of the Z Launcher.

iPad & iPhone User’s buy­ing ad­vice

If the N1 does come to the UK for less than £200, it should be a very tempt­ing deal. It’s eerily sim­i­lar to the iPad in terms of de­sign and spec­i­fi­ca­tions, but has a smaller-ca­pac­ity bat­tery and po­ten­tially faster CPU. The iPad is a bit thicker and heav­ier, but not no­tice­ably so. It has a finger­print scan­ner which the N1 lacks, but its cam­eras are both lower res­o­lu­tion.

Pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant dif­fer­ence is price: the iPad costs a chunk more than the N1, yet has half the stor­age.

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