Switching from Symbian to Windows Phone Is Tough! [Updated]


I have tried. I have honestly tried, but it isn’t working. I love the Windows phone user interface and dream of it every night. Every single night. Every time I handle an Android smartphone, I long for those tiles instead. Every time I handle a Symbian smartphone, it is the same thing. As for iOS, very little about it attracts me, so it does not fight for my attention with Windows Phone. BlackBerry? Ah! If only BB10 had a WhatsApp client, I’d give it a shot.

I love Windows Phone, but I have come to resign myself to the reality that Windows Phone is like that sweet, elegant chic that a guy runs into and his emotions are set on fire, but the closer he gets to her, the more frustrated he gets because of the little things here and there. I love Windows Phone, but it frustrates me. I am writing about me here. I have no doubts that lots of others have no problems at all with the platform, so note that this is Mister Mo speaking about his experience. Here are a few such things that keep frustrating me on Windows Phone.

Save WhatsApp Number to Existing Contact

For example, an unknown number buzzes you on WhatsApp, and on enquiry, it turns out to be a new number belonging to one of your existing contacts. So, you initiate action to add this new number to that contact. But no; Windows Phone insists that you can only create a new contact with it. Sigh.

Send SMS to Alternative Numbers

You want to send an SMS to a contact with multiple numbers. The problem is that Windows Phone will not let you send an SMS to any number that is not saved as “Mobile phone” (and only one such slot is available). So, all other numbers belonging to a contact have to be saved as “Work phone” or “Home phone”. Try sending an SMS to those alternative numbers, and it cannot be done. You can only send SMS to the number saved under “Mobile phone”. Sigh.

PS: I just found a way to send SMS to numbers not designated as “mobile”. In SMSm compose mode, instead of typing out the name of your recipient (in which case, you will not be presented with numbers other than mobile), tap the small rounded plus sign at the top right corner and go select the contact and which number you want to send to from there. Long journey, but at least….

Also, if sending from the PeopleHub, once you are in SMS compaose mode (which is slightly different from the compose mode if you came through the Messaging menu), there is an icon at the bottom of the screen. It is “two arrows pointing in opposite directions encased in a circle”. Tap it to display all numbers listed under the contact and make your choice from there. I believe that this is what Jmaine referred to in the comments section earlier.

Initiating the “More Phone Numbers” option throws out the alternate numbers you desire to sms

Download Media Files

When using the web browser, I am unable to download media files. Clicking a media download link just initiates a streaming session of the media in question. Sigh.

Network Mode

The last frustration that I will mention here is that of the lack of a 3G-only network mode (at least in ALL of the Windows Phone devices that I have reviewed). You can set EDGE or 3G as the fastest connection. This means that if you pick 3G, your device will automatically switch between GPRS/EDGE and 3G as it wills. This may mean that your device is often on EDGE, with its creepy-crawly speeds. Frustrating. Sigh.

All the above frustrations are things that are foreign to the Symbian experience. Of course, there are more limitations on Windows Phone, but I am able to live with those others. The above four, however, grate on my nerves to no end. I suspect that if I were switching from iOs to Windows Phone, I wouldn’t be this frustrated.

Moon-walking Symbian

Some minutes ago, I finally swallowed the bitter pill and removed my SIM from the 610. It is back in my Nokia 808 PureView for now. For now. I really do not want to use a Symbian device as my primary smartphone any longer, not because it doesn’t meet my needs, but because there is no future along that path. But for now, that is what I have to do – until further notice.

Now, on the 808, I am back to a (mostly) drama-free experience: I can save new WhatsApp numbers to existing contacts, send SMS to any alternative number, download media files, and enjoy rock steady 3G/3.5G connections all day. Symbian may be pronounced dead, and it may not be as sexy as Windows Phone, but at least my blood pressure is back to normal levels. Small price to pay to stay healthy.

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21 thoughts on “Switching from Symbian to Windows Phone Is Tough! [Updated]

  1. CAN you imagine spending a pretty penny on a toy like this, and being unable to do basic things like those enumerated!


    this is why i love Mobility Blog ~ helping people who USE phones avoid "buyer's remorse"

    but at least
    my blood pressure is back to
    normal levels

    now- I enjoin SpacyZuna to "quit playing games with my heart" pressure!

    Imagine this dude asking me when i would move over to WindowsPhone!

    I live my diastolic pressure just the way it is, thank you!

  2. This is serious. All you will hear is how smooth and sleek the window UI is, nobody will tell you this bitter truth. Tell me, like EyeBeeKay said, of what use is the cool UI if all the above mentioned things can't be easily done? In future all these may be corrected, but the question is when and who wants to wait till then?
    Mr Eyebeekay, the way you play with OS, ios and windows OS is not for you. Maybe in 4yrs to come. As for me, symbian bcos of its camera and droid is the way to go.

  3. Windows Phone is not yet there. And still, that is not all the frustrations, there are more that Mr. Mo chose not to mention because he can live with them or just so he won't be seen as nagging. There is no point saying more. I would rather go with dead and buried Symbian than get myself in this kind of mess. I mean, do I need to buy high blood pressure with my money?

    Choice is a good thing!

  4. How do I migrate to a phone that offers less than am used to?

    This is why most Symbian users migrate to Android, the line between iOS and Windows Phone is currently not wide at all.

  5. This is the reason i love android above all others Call me a linux fanboy i reall don't care but we own the mobile os world with android as king and the following coming up soon sailfish tizen and ubuntu os for phones

  6. LOL @ EyeBeeKay. I'm sorry you read my tweet that way. I was praising and acknowledging your wonderful skill in finding productive apps and in-depth knowledge of apps on both Symbian and Android. I KNOW that WindowsPhone is not up to par yet, and I never expected you to take me seriously. I hope you didn't

    Yes, yes, YES! WP8 is not up to par with symbian and android. I've always known that. I'm not here to defend WP8. So why did I buy the Lumia920?

    I.WANTED.A.CHANGE. I've used Symbian, Bada, Android, MeeGo, Blackberry before. I've had experience with iOS too. Same ways I've used Windows (98, 2000, Me, Xp, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2005) and various Ubuntu variants. Windows Phone was the last major (?) OS that I was yet to try out. And a major reason for getting it was the Pureview camera it has. Since I gave away my N8, I've missed having a great cameraphone. I didn't even consider ANY other WP8 phone, except the Lumia920.

    I've had it for 2 weeks now, and I've gotten frustrated many times. It's not yet my primary smartphone (partly because I haven't unlocked it yet to use my preferred sim). And when it does become my primary phone, there must be another smartphone with me to complement it (Bold9780).

    I could have bought a better droid like SGS3, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, but truth is...I'm bored with android on a phone. I was with a friend's new SGS3 for a few days (setting it up and pimping it), and I wasn't moved much. The only major difference from my Pliris Blaze+ is faster and better hardware. I wanted to try something new. That's why I'm waiting for a leaked version of Sailfish OS to be available for N9, so I can try it out too.

    Choice, people. It's all about choice. Good morning.

    • Spacyzuma,

      I could have bought a better droid like SGS3, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, but truth is…I’m bored with android on a phone.

      Exactly! So am I. B.O.R.E.D.

      Choice, people. It’s all about choice.


  7. When I read stuff like this, I always ask myself is that the designers of these phones don't think or they don't pay attention to significant little details?

  8. Perhaps its because they want to rush to the market or maybe OS limitation for some other stuffs.

    I hate half baked cookies

  9. @ Mr Mo, Windows phone can actually send a text to alternative numbers whenever desired.

    While one is active on the sms menu, there is an indicator of "two arrows going either ways" at the bottom of the screen; when it's accessed, the next menu shows the "text mobile" or "more phone numbers options".

    Initiating the "More Phone Numbers" option throws out the alternate numbers you desire to sms

    I often use that feature regularly on my Lumia device

    • Jmaine,

      Thanks for pointing that out, but I can't find it on the Lumia 610 here. Can you post a screenshot or picture? Or simply email to, so I can update this post with the info? Thanks.

      But even if that feature exists in the SMS menu across board, it defeats the whole essence of Windows Phone's hubs that if I am in the People Hub, I am unable to send SMS to any number other than that labelled as "mobile". Microsoft say they want us to spend time in the hubs, so I do that and find that it cripples my activities. They need to sit down and decide how they want us to use this OS.

  10. Good post. You cannot just depend solely on those foreign reviews. This is where you get the koko of the device review. How are will affect a local user in this our environment. Thanks Mr Mo. I won't dare go near the WP8 for now. May be when developers can customise the OS and provide solutions to all these.

  11. Note. you are talking about the 610. Which uses the wp7.5, not wp8 which addresses some of these issues. Also whatsapp on my android does the same thing. I have to create a new contact, ir go to the contacts to add to existing. I use 2.3.6 tho...not sure wheter theyve fixed this in ics and jelly bean.

    My point is, give the complete facts. Write that you are reviewing wp7.5 mango or 7.8, and you dont know wheter it has been fixed in wp8. Dont discourage people with ambigous facts.

    P.S Im on my way to getting a 820, so im reading all the reviews I can get my hand on. 🙂

    • Sumbz,

      You show up out of the blues and assume that I am giving incomplete facts and ambiguous facts. Way to go, sister 😉

      You say that WP8 "addresses some of these issues". Which? That is an ambiguous claim, and certainly not true. Truth is: WP8 fixes NONE of the issues I mentioned in this article. I have reviewed a Lumia 920.

      Welcome to MOBILITY, ma'am.

  12. @Mister Mo

    Have got a Nokia Lumia 820 for 1 Month now and i just wanted to share my thoughts on the challenges you are facing with your windows phone.

    Save WhatsApp Number to Existing Contact

    True, but you can save the number as a new contact and link same with the person's old contact including their facebook, twitter and linked ID all in one view. Its not all the time you save new numbers on whatsapp..

    Send SMS to Alternative Numbers

    You can actually send SMS to alternate numbers. Just tap the double arrow icon and you can switch between alternative numbers. Also you can switch between facebook chat and SMS. Sometimes i don't even notice the difference because it all appears in my messages so i don't lose track of the discussions.

    Download Media Files

    True you can't download videos but you must realise that consumers have influenced this because most times you just want to watch the video and move on... As Data speed become faster, realiable and cheaper nobody will bother saving any media file. You will watch or listen on demand...

    Network Mode

    You can actually change your network mode to 3G only, Immediately i got my Lumia 820 i changed to 3G because we all know even 3G data in Nigeria is not so reliable ... If you go to settings > Mobile Network > Highest Connection Speed

    Except you are saying the device switches back to 2G, then that must be a bug! Am currently roaming mine line in the US now and its still on 3G even when my data roaming option is set to "don't roam".

    It took me a while to move on from my Nokia E6...but after 1 month? not missing it all!

    Just my thoughts!

    • dotcom,

      Thanks for your comment. Here are my responses:

      True, but you can save the number as a new contact and link same with the person’s old contact

      Argh! A kludgy workaround.

      You can actually send SMS to alternate numbers. Just tap the double arrow icon and you can switch between alternative numbers.

      Can you mail me a picture/screenshot of this please (, as I didn't see it when I reviewed the Lumia 920? Can you try doing this from inside the People Hub too, instead of from the Messaging app?

      You can actually change your network mode to 3G only, Immediately i got my Lumia 820 i changed to 3G because we all know even 3G data in Nigeria is not so reliable … If you go to settings > Mobile Network > Highest Connection Speed

      I have explained this over and over again. Selecting 3G as your "Highest connection speed" does not peg the phone to 3G-only. It lets the phone auto select between 2G and 3G networks (basically this is auto mode).



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