The Nokia 5140 was released at the start of 2005 and represented some good momentum from Nokia in a growing niche: the need for phones to be more durable. This family of phones featured the same Nokia operating system as seen in other phones but surrounded in a rubber shell. Previous models which were successful included the Nokia 5210 and Nokia 5100.
This phone became arguably more successful than either of its predecessors, despite not offering a top-end specification sheet. Perhaps many of the advantages derived from its tough construction and punter-friendly price-point. At the time, there was also little competition in this type of niche. ‘Work’ style phones tended to be on the cheaper side, so the 5140 had a good market to itself.
With an inoffensive exterior, this phone also appealed to many other leisure users. Full specifications here.
Interestingly enough full rubber phones did not last that much longer. The 5140 had a direct successor (the Nokia 5500), and other 5-series phones such as the Nokia 5300 also were of similar construction. But many other phones reverted to plastic housings, with a rubberised design elsewhere, such as many of the Nokia 1-series phones.
Perhaps the reason this died out was due to increasing standards elsewhere. After a few years, the standard was big-screen smartphones, and many of these were IP67/8 certified giving a certain standard of ruggedness. Additionally, it was fairly easy and cheap to simply put on a rubber cover over a phone.
Pros of Nokia 5140:
The design is durable and much better than other cellphones at the time. The cover is a much better repellent for water and dust, and it also is very easy to replace, coming apart in two halves (unfortunately replacements have become expensive).
The phone also features some ‘outdoor’ features that are not available in other phones such as a compass and thermometer. This would be expanded upon in later models of phone.
For the first time in the series there is a camera on board, although the VGA resolution lags behind other phones released at this time.
The phone also features push-to-talk, a technology that turns phones into pseudo walkie-talkies. Whilst this function is also available on other handsets, it seems like a more realistic use here.
Cons of Nokia 5140:
The phone is not truly resistant to water, and is not claimed as such. The covers simply clip together, and underneath this the phone core does not have any additional protection (although the battery has a protective door, not seen in many other Nokia models).
The keypad is a soft style version, but comes separate from the housing (in Nokia 5210 it is built in). The housing itself is prone to more damage because of the way it is opened.
The screen did not get an upgrade from the earlier Nokia 5100 – the same size and the same resolution. Whilst not a priority, this could have been improved.
Despite having a camera, the phone does not have a memory card slot, restricting users to the 4MB on board memory.
Future Prospects and Current Pricing
The Nokia 5140 is already a rare phone and achieves good prices. Even a housing is rare and undoubtedly pricey. This trend seems set to continue for all of the phones in this range as they are distinctive and not common. Because of their intended use, it may be difficult to get one in top condition, and these type of phones will command a premium.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.
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