User stories - from Symbian to Lumia and Windows Phone - Laurie Garratt

Published by at

This is the second in a series of articles giving real world, honest feedback from Symbian users of varying levels of expertise who have tried moving to Windows Phone in general and the Nokia Lumia 710 in particular. Here Laurie Garratt takes perhaps the archetypal Symbian geek position, despite being a teenager, and approaches the Lumia fairly critically.

Editor's note:

In this "taste test" series we've supplied a number of Symbian device users with a Nokia Lumia 710 and asked them to tell us about their experience with the device and what it was like to switch from one platform to another.

Ultimately, the question we’re looking to answer is 'can I replace my Symbian device with a Windows Phone device and what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?' We've already talked about this in our Lumia 800 review and in various companion pieces, but the answer, of course, depends on your perspective, which is why we wanted to get a broad range of opinions. 

It's an important question for Nokia because it needs to transfer as many of its existing smartphone customer as possible to the Windows Phone platform in order to build sales momentum and rebuild its market share in smartphones.


Laurie is a teenager living in the West Country in the UK. His interests centre around technology, photography and transport. He's been using a smartphone for around four years and has extensive knowledge of various desktop OS and other modern tech.

Laurie's experience

Here's what Laurie had to say about his time with the Nokia Lumia 710:

  • Getting contacts into the Lumia 710 was very easy, with me signing into Gmail and them instantly appearing with contact images as well. In my case, the Contacts got routed from the Symbian phone to the Mac address book and then via Google.
  • The microSIM used in the 710 was an annoyance, with the supplied Giffgaff one not working. I had to pick one from my collection and have a go at cutting down a Lebara SIM. The first attempted failed but then the second attempt at a cut was successful. 
  • Maps – I am young, so generally I don’t have that much money to spend on mobile Internet, so when I use Nokia Satnav it’s got a predownloaded map and is usually running in offline mode. So when I tried using the Nokia Maps Windows Phone version I got an error message saying maps was ONLINE only! For that reason, I much prefer Symbian’s version. 
  • Web - I did not notice much difference when browsing the Web, but I did much prefer Windows Phone’s text keyboard and voice search facility.
  • Multitasking – I really like Symbian’s multitasking, as it is easy to see what’s open and what the phone is doing at all times, but on the Lumia 710 the multitasking was completely confusing and hard to understand and, two weeks later, I still haven’t got used to it now!
  • Home Screen – I first removed the Xbox live game tile things and the marketplace’s Music & Videos and then I added tiles such as Skype. I am not that keen on the Windows Phone home screens. I still prefer the Symbian/Android style home screen.  On that topic, I’m not too keen on the file system because it is very locked and closed, unlike Symbian where it is very open and easy to manage. The Windows phone reminded me of iOS with a locked out feel. 
  • microSD - I am a big fan, when getting a new phone, of whacking in my microSD that has all my music, pictures and videos on. On the 710 I had to store all files on the built-in phone memory and transfer media via the Mac Connector app in the Mac App store. (Window Phone 7 Connector). Also, I found Windows Phone was a real pain in terms of video compatibility.
  • Of the apps I needed, the only application I failed to find was a good battery monitor for a detailed percentage and estimated times left.
  • My Symbian history was the 5800, the N97, and then my favourite and current phone, the N8 with the killer camera. The 710 had an OK video camera (video sample at 720p here, converted to .mov, 51MB) and OK stills camera (samples below, click to enlarge or download) but nowhere near the N8, so that would be a showstopper for me.

Sample image, click to downloadSample image, click to download

  • Another top feature I use on the N8 is an FM transmitter, which the 710 doesn’t have. 
  • I missed the easy Bluetooth file sending on Symbian -  for example, I am always sending photos and was unable to do this on the 710 back to my N8.
  • I really like the fact that the 710 has a changeable battery making it easy just to whack in a fully charged new battery. I found the N8 had better battery life then the 710 overall.
  • I quite like the physical buttons on the Lumia because they are easy to find, whatever the light situation in the room.
  • In conclusion, I would not move to Windows Phone. I just find the OS ugly (in terms of fonts and layout) and too simple. I like to fiddle with the OS more, so eventually, when I have to move from Symbian, I will probably move to an Android device instead.

710 and N8