Nokia has announced their N1 tablet and managed to surprise pretty much everybody, after previously teasing a mysterious black box. The Finnish company is prohibited from making Nokia-branded phones for quite a while, so they have taken the right approach – release a tablet instead. While it will be curious to see what will be the reaction of consumers, we’ve decided to talk a little bit about the pros and cons that it has against the iPad Mini 3 and the Nexus 9.

Design and Looks

nokia n1 ipad mini

This is the first thing that needs to be mentioned, because it is the most obvious one. Nokia has copied Apple. The N1 tablet is blatantly similar to the iPad Mini. So similar that even the official web page of the product is similar to how the iPad Mini is showcased on Apple’s website. And pretty much all the pictures used by Nokia to show its product look as if they were taken straight from Apple.com.

The most striking resemblance is the bottom of the device, which has the same speaker grills like the iPad Mini. And what looks to be a Lightning port is actually one of the first implementations of the reversible type-C USB connector. That’s actually rather nice. It’s a real pity for Nokia to have taken this approach, one that is more fitting to companies like Xiaomi than such a behemoth in the hardware industry.

The Nexus 9 has a 8.9-inch display so it’s bigger than the Nokia N1, but not by that much. Google’s tablet comes with a thin bezel, brushed metal sides and is available in 3 different colors – Indigo Black, Lunar White, Sand. So, if you’re in the market for a bigger and more expensive tablet, then Nexus 9 could appeal to you. But if you’re fin with the 7.9-inch size, the N1 is the choice, considering its cheaper price.

Display and dimensions

But if we leave aside the similarities, Nokia’s N1 comes with some nice improvements, such as the fact that the display is fully-laminated, unlike the iPad mini 3. The N1 is also just 6.9mm thin and has 318 grams in weight, which means it’s both thinner and lighter than Apple’s offering, as the iPad Mini 3 weighs 331g and is 7.5mm thin. So, simply speaking, Nokia just took the newest iPad Mini and made it better.

Nokia has even opted for a single piece of anodized aluminum design, just like Apple did with the iPad Mini. Nokia’s N1 display is identical with the iPad Mini 3 – a 9.7-inch panel with a 2048×1536 resolution, but the N1’s display is fully-laminated, so this makes it better. The N1 also comes with Gorilla glass 3, which improves the resistance of the display.

The Nexus 9 is thicker, featuring a 7.95mm profile, but that’s because it’s housing more power and it has a bigger display. Google’s tablet weighs 425g for the Wi-Fi model and 436g for the LTE one. But, again, this is mainly because of the bigger size which seems to add more than 100 grams to the total weight. So, if you want a really light tablet to hold and carry around, you know what to choose.

Performance

It’s hard to say which of these three has the best specs, since the performance of a device is linked to the software that it runs, as well. That’s especially true in Apple’s case. But, for the record, the N1 features an Intel 64-bit Atom Processor Z3580 at 2.3 GHz, 2GB of memory and a 533 MHz PowerVR G6430 graphics chip. The iPad Mini 3 features A7 64 bit chip with just 1GB of memory. So, at least on paper, the N1 seems to be winning.

The Nexus 9 gets a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver at 2.3GHz along with a 192-core Kepler GPU. It comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB & 32GB storage options. Google’s slate seems to be beating out Nokia’s first Android tablet. However, it needs to be pointed out that for the time being, there’s just a WiFi-only version of the N1, which makes it to lose in favor of the iPad Mini and the Nexus 9.

Camera, battery

nokia n1 ipad mini nexus 9

Nokia’s N1 tablet comes with a 8-megapixel back camera and a 5-MP front one, which seems to be better than iPad Mini 3’s 5MP back one and the 1.2-MP one on the front. Nokia is known to be a company with a good history in the imaging department, so I guess there won’t be any problems here. It also gets 1080p video recording.

The Nexus 8 gets a 8MP Rear camera with f/2.4 aperture auto-focus and LED flash along with a 1.6MP Front camera with a f/2.4 aperture. If you don’t care too much about selfie shots and video chats, the Nexus 9 is on par with the N1; otherwise, Nokia’s tablet is the winner.

Price

noka ipad mini vs nexus 9

The iPad Mini 3 comes with the following storage options – 16GB, 64GB and 128 GB while the Nokia N1 only gets a 32 GB storage option. But the Nokia N1 will be available for just $249 before taxes and subsidies, which is cheaper by $150 than the 16 GB version of the iPad Mini 3 which retails for $399. Even the iPad Mini 2 is more expensive than the new Nokia N1, at its current price of $299.

The Nexus 9 16 GB version sells for $399 while the 32GB one is $479. This means that the N1 is cheaper by $230. I think it’s too much a price to pay for just a 1-inch increase in size, even if there’s a better processor on the inside.

And this seems to be the biggest selling proposition of Nokia’s Android tablet – its price. If it manages to keep it the same in more markets across the world, then it’s going to sell like hot cakes. The Nokia N1 will go on sale in China for $249 around the time of Chinese New Year and after that will roll out to Russia and select European countries.

Conclusion

The Nokia N1 is an amazing device, if we look at the price. But it’s impossible to forget that it is basically an iPad Mini clone, which is quite shameful for such a company. If you don’t mind all that and you are looking to buy an Android Lollipop tablet with more than average specs, then the Nokia N1 is for you.

If you want more power, then you need to get the Nexus 9. But don’t forget that you will be paying a nice buck for all these extra features. So, in the end, once again, it all boils down to your choices. If I had to choose, I would’ve definitely opted for Nokia’s tablet only if it was a pristine, 100% design effort from them. But it’s not.

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was the Managing Editor of Technology Personalized. He now writes about Windows 10 apps and reviews them on WindowsReport. Believes that technology is the main engine of civilization. Send him a tweet or make him your Facebook friend