Switching from iPhone to Lumia

By Silas Sachs posted on 10.03.2012


I recently switched from an iPhone to a Nokia Lumia 800. When mixing Microsoft and Apple products you usually miss cool features or performance. I liked the simple Mango interface and gave it a try. Despite some problems I was astonished that in this case Mac OS and Windows Phone work well together. The problem about the app store is not the count - this fixed wp7 is a big player.

Switching from iPhone to Lumia 800
Mail, calendar, contacts; is it possible to make those practically work with a Mac like on the iPhone? If you know how it works it’s pretty easy and works reliable. Googles services are well integrated into the apps on the Mac and the apps on the Lumia 800 so you can instead of iCloud use Google to synchronise your data.

Problems I experienced

Exporting all my contacts from the Address Book to Google works but on the phone there where just random numbers missing. Why did this happen; Mac and iPhone Address Book allows you to give multiple phone numbers in one contact the same description (home, mobile…), for example Bob’s home number and his mobile number are both called “mobile”. Google is fine with this, but Mango doesn’t allow this so you will find Bob’s mobile number bit not his home number, which sucks. In this case you need to to go to the Google interface and rename one of the numbers then everything works fine.

By default it’s not possible to sync multiple google calendars into the phone which actually isn’t Microsofts fault rather than Googles, but there is a workaround. 

Exporting your iCal calendars to Google works pretty fine but when loading it in Mango it only shows your main calendar instead of all calendars. Therefore Google offers a web interface to set up the access of your mobiles to Google, it let’s you switch those calendars on and off that you want to be accessed by your mobile. But you can only use these settings with an iOS device, switched off java and your language set to english. Here is a tutorial describing how it works for Windows but it works the same on a Mac.

Apps in the Mango Interface

The user interface in wp7 generally is a plus, it is just reduced to the minimum and is meant to work which I find a great approach. But somehow a lot of apps look pretty bad. Now when someone makes an app it needs to fit into the Mango design because that’s how the OS works. I haven’t seen a unique interface in wp7 apps so far, sure most apps on the iPhone have a standard interface, too but I never had the feeling that everything looked the same. A globally unified user interface could a cool thing but wp7 is rather like devs use 80 percent standard UI and try to be genuine by dropping a cheap background picture which makes the whole app look stupid. Besides that lot’s of apps in wp7 have ridiculous performance, all the default apps coming with wp7 work great but after that there are not more than a couple well designed and coded apps.

Mango gives too little space for app designers to realise their own style and has a too high design standard for coders without taste, the result is only medium cool apps. Besides that I think coding on a Microsoft platform like .net is commonly done with no or a bad design so all the people coding for mango give a shit about design. In this case Microsoft would have made a great OS and a huge step forward but coders bury it all under tons of useless apps and mango will drag Nokia down.

The poor battery life…
Yes that’s just true, battery life is short on the Lumia but as I write this I hear news about an update. Wpcentral reported on 6th of March that an update started rolling out which “nearly tripled the battery life” of the Lumia 800. Sounds promising, I’ll test this and give an update.

My conclusion

I definitely miss that cool upcoming apps and web services are first on the iPhone and not likely to come to Mango soon. Though I’ve never been an app fan who daily browses for new apps it is cool to be able to use the latest stuff. On the iPhone it really annoyed me to see the same iOS interface over and over again, it is so boring already, for me the Lumia is a great alternative and I have fun using it.

The quality of Nokia’s product is no doubt a really well made piece and I’d say there now is a competitor to Apple in hardware. In software Microsoft has learned a lot from other mobile OS and also built one of their best products here but now needs the devs to join.

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