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Review Nokia 5100

Nokia 5100, live pictures

Standard kit

  • Phone
  • Charger
  • User's guide
  • Portable handsfree (mono)

Nokia decided to unite the best features of Nokia 6250, Nokia 5210 in the new model. Taking into account the phone design and available colors (Dark Grey and Green), the handset is aimed to youth market. Different color zones cam be noticed on the phone case, we can characterize its style as a sportive one.

When you firstly take Nokia 5100, you feel rubber inserts, which are placed on the case. They are necessary to absorb a shock. A construction of the phone provides extra protection against splashes, dust, and bumps; an internal module is not tightly fixed in the case, only edges and sides are pressed by springs. Nevertheless, we dont recommend you to throw your phone on purpose, because there is a chance to break it. Built-in shockproof mechanisms target for accidental bumps and meet the demand for safe use. Among modern phones Nokia 5100 is the only one made of such material. The style of this phone resembles sportive style of CD players, which have the same technologies in the construction.

The phone is waterproof. It means that you can use it even when it is heavily raining and not to be afraid to wet contact pads. But it is forbidden to throw the phone in the water, as for example, Nokia 6250. A system connector is covered by a tap but it doesn't cover a microphone. Also there is a hole on the upper part of the phone and hole of the loudspeaker. But, nevertheless, this phone has much more chances to be alive if it falls, for example, in a puddle.

Keys also have a special construction, they dont have big gaps with case. On the one hand, it doesnt allow moisture to go inside but on the other, you should make effort to press them. Alphanumerical keys have rather large size; on the contrast, a small power on/off key placed on the upper part of the phone is too small and not very easy to press. Side volume keys are also rather tight to press. It is a peculiarity of the phone construction. Keypad backlighting is provided by special luminodiodes, placed on the sides of keys. Characters on keys are seen not in all lighting conditions.

Apart from standard colours, there are three additional colours of the phone (Red, Blue, Orange and Dark Green).

A display can support up to 4096 colors and has a resolution of 128x129 pixels, up to 5 text lines and 1 service line are shown in the majority of menus. When you create SMS messages, a display can show up to 2 service lines and 8 text lines due scaling. It is a typical screen of 40 platform, which is built in such models as Nokia 6610/7210/6100. Due to thick and convex glass a picture on the screen seems to be deepened into the screen. But it looks not worse or better than the picture on the other similar screens.

Lets turn to the phone construction. To open the phone you should press two deepenings, which are placed on the both sides and then pull it. Internal module is also waterproof. Rubber compressors are seen on the inside part of cover glass. There are also mentioned springs on the sides of the alock which absorb a shock.

A battery is covered by a separated plastic insert and it is necessary to pull a lug to remove it. Nokia 5100 is equipped with lithium-ion battery (BL-4) of 720 mAh capacity. First time this battery was installed in Nokia 6100. It is rather slim, comparable to lithium-polymer battery. According to the manufacturer, the phone has up to 150-300 hours of stand-by time and up to 2.5-5 hours of talking time. Its interesting that minimal values are half maximal values of operating time. It can be explained by many extra features, which has the phone, for example, thermometer, sound meter, and automatic volume control. Depending on how you will use them, phone autonomy will be changing. TI was interesting for us to test the phone is all modes. So, in case of using all phone capabilities, up to 45 minutes of talking and 25 minutes menu navigation and creating MMS-messages, the phone worked about 5 days (Moscow, MTS network). Field test showed that deactivating of automatic volume control, thermometer and flashlight increases a phone autonomy to 8-9 hours.

Finishing the description of phone construction we should tell about the flashlight which is built in the phone. Two luminodiodes are integrated in the upper part of the phone. To activate a flashlight, hold down the scroll-up key. It is quite sufficient to find yourself in the dark. The peculiarity of the flashlight is that it is turned on simultaneously with display and keypad backlighting.

The phone weighs 104 grams and measures 108.5 x 49.5 x 22 mm. It is handy, quite compact size allows to wear in the pockets of the shirt and jeans. There are 4 holes for those who are afraid to lose the phone. They are located in every corner of the handset.


The phone has a traditional menu from Nokia. The main menu looks like a list of icons with titles. There is a shorcut number navigation. The phone has platform 40, and it has similar features to Nokia 7210. We are not going to tell about the features of the phone in details, well describe only about the differences from other models. If you dont know much about features of Nokia 7210, read a respective review.

Games. There are three pre-installed games in the phone: Bounce, Sky Diver, Triple Pop. Besdies, there are 260 Kb free memory space to install other Java applications.

In the menu Applications, a traditional Converter II is located.

New features are hidden under menu Extra. For example, one can find a calorie counter here. You can enter your gender, weight and age, then select an activity from the list (which is rather long, to say truth, it includes even canoeing) and add the duration of activity. After that a summary data with the calories will be displayed.

Thermometer. It measures an approximate values of temperature of your surrounding, an error can be about several degrees. About 20 mintues are necessary to see a real value on the screen after switching on the phone. In the whole thermometer worked correctly, though it cant be used for professional purposes. A temperature can be displayed on the screen in the stand-by mode.

The last unique function is Sound meter. When you select this menu item you are allowed to measure an estimated noise level of your surroundings (dB representation). The manufacturer also indicated that these data cant be used for professional purposes. This function also helps to realize an automatic volume control according to the environment noise level. It worked without problems. For example on the street you immediately feel how the earpiece volume is increased.

That is all about phones different. Other features are the same as Nokia 7210 has.


Reception quality is typical to all phones based on the platform 40 from Nokia. When volume ring is the loudest, there are small distortions of high notes. It can be explained by increased volume of the loudspeaker. The phone is heard in all lighting conditions, 4-tones polyphony is realized perfectly here. Melodies set is the same, but the difference between Nokia 5100 and, for example, Nokia 6610, is felt even by the most inattentive listener. As a result its more convenient to use a handsfree mode in theis phone.

Vibrating alert is average, first of all due to a material of the phone. On the one hand, it absorb shocks, on the other-reduces a vibrating alert power.

New phone will be available in March and it will cost about 300-310 USD. Its a good choice, especially for those who are fond of active kind of sports (skiing, skating and so on). Nokia 5100 will be also a stylish accessory for young people who prefer sportive style in the every day life.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 18 February 2003

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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