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(Pocket-lint) - Nokia announced the N1 tablet in November 2014, but it has been shown off at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and we couldn't help but play with it.

When Nokia moved its hardware division over to Microsoft devices, it stopped being a hardware company. But it still hangs on to many other elements, including industrial design skill and that iconic brand name.

The N1 is assembled in China through Foxconn, acting under license from Nokia, who designed and approved the N1, to ensure that is had enough "Nokianess" as a spokesperson on the stand at MWC told us.

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In the hand, the N1 feels instantly good. The high quality metal body is reminiscent of an iPad mini, as is the design, but if you can look beyond that, this is a great tablet to hold.


The 7.9-inch display has a nice sharp 2048 x 1536 resolution in 4:3 aspect. It's an IPS panel and it looked nice and vibrant, with plenty of punch to the visuals.

The bottom of the tablet houses a little surprise, something we might see more of in the coming months and years, and that's a USB type-C connection. This means you can put the cable in any way up.

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The tablet itself measures 200.7 x 138.6 x 6.9mm and it weighs 318g. It's milled from a block of aluminium for a seamless unibody design and the soft curves of the sides and anodised finish make it feel lovely in the hand.

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Inside there's an Intel 64-bit Atom 2.3GHz processor, with PowerVR G6430 graphics and 2GB of RAM. Intel isn't most commonly paired with Android, but from the time we spent with it, everything was slick and lag free.

Nokia has topped the N1 with Z Launcher - an app that's available in Google Play - that's designed to make it easier to find the apps you want. You can use handwriting to quickly scrawl in and start searching.

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Z Launcher is nice enough, but we can't help feeling that this is a tablet crying out for Google Now Launcher. The tablet was running Android 5.0 Lollipop in its full form, with the full suite of Google Play apps and services.

That's not the case with the retail version that doesn't offer the full Google experience because of restrictions in China - a lot of Android doesn't work. But seeing it complete and running smoothly, we couldn't help marveling at this little tablet. 

It might have a copycat design, but as a statement of what Nokia could be about in the post-Microsoft era, it's exciting.

Priced at about $249 (if it was available), we can't help thinking that this would make a wonderful Nexus tablet. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it's great to see that Nokia name again.

Writing by Chris Hall.
Sections Nokia Tablets Phones