Nokia 5140 Review – Tough Vintage Phone Gets an Upgrade

Nokia 5140 Review: 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. Therefore the 5140 had a good market to itself.

With an inoffensive exterior, this phone also appealed to many other leisure users. The phone was also marketed to active users with the addition of sports-related apps such as a personal trainer application, thermometer and compass.

Full specifications here.

Nokia 5140 Evolution:

Interestingly enough, full rubber phones did not last that much longer. The 5140 had an ‘i’ model released shortly after – the Nokia 5140i. The differences between the Nokia 5140 and Nokia 5140i were small. There was no change in the look, and a better screen and software tweaks were about the only differences.

Both phones had a direct successor (the Nokia 5500). 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. 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.

Nokia 5140 Review: Pros

  • 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.

Nokia 5140 Review: Cons

  • 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?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

Nokia 5140 Disassembly Instructions

For a guide on how to take apart the Nokia 5140 for repair purposes, please see this link.

Nokia 5140 Video Review:

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