This is a cross-post from my personal blog, davevoyles.azurewebsites.net. Go there to learn more!

Lumia 1520
Today I made the switch from the iPhone 5 on Verizon, to a Lumia 1520 on AT&T. I've been in the Apple ecosystem for the last 3 years, so making the change was nerve-wracking, to say the least.

Calculating the cost

I have a number of AT&T devices through work, but I could never use them outside of locations where I had Wifi, because I was locked to Verizon. To weigh out the cost of switching over, I looked at what my early termination fee through Verizon would be, as well as what I could fetch if I sold my 64GB Verizon iPhone 5 in the wild.

This calculator will determine your ETF, based on when your contract started, and how much time you have left. My fee was $300.

I've found that usell.com offered the best deal on my iPhone. Two days ago it was going for $320, but today it is $240, so who knows. Sure I could go to EBay, but it's not worth the hassle for a few extra dollars. Gazelle.com didn't offer much for my phone, either. I tell them that I want to make the offer, they send me a box in the mail to place the phone in, and tomorrow I receive a $240 over PayPal. I’m going to go the Craigslist route instead and try my luck there.

In the end, the net cost of my switch is $60 if I go the usell route, or I even make money if I use Craigslist.

Going from Verizon to AT&T

I started in the Verizon store, by telling the woman at the front counter that I wanted to switch carriers. She gave me my account number and told me that I need to transfer my number, not disconnect, and that I needed to give the AT&T store my account number and they would handle the rest. The ETF from Verizon would show up in my next and final statement.

At AT&T, I told them that I wanted to keep the identical plan that I had at Verizon (unlimited texts and calls + 4GB data). 10 minutes later, the switch was done, and I was on my way out. Even better, my phone bill is $16 less than it was at Verizon! Just make sure that you switch off iMessage on your iPhone beforehand, otherwise you may not receive texts on your new phone.

 Transferring Contacts

A big hang-up for many people when switching devices is the transferring of contacts and data. Fortunately, Nokia has this handled. I downloaded the Transfer My Data app, and I was all set in about 8 minutes.

Description from the app:

“Transfer my Data is a quick and easy way of copying contacts from almost any phone (Symbian, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and others) to your new Windows Phone using Bluetooth. Some phones may also be capable of transferring text messages and pictures, including many Nokia phones. Transfer my Data copies all your contacts into the Windows Phone People Hub, from where it’s easy to call, mail, chat or follow friends on your favorite social network. On supported phones, contacts and messages can also be transferred to and from an SD card."

Differences between hardware devices

Like any curious person, I had to weigh out the differences between the two devices before I could whole heartedly make the switch. Therefore, I carried around both phones in my pocket for the last week, in addition to my Verizon Mifi, so that I would always have service on my Lumia. It took some getting used to, but in the end it took a lot of the pressure from making the switch.

The first obvious thing you'll notice is the size of the devices. The Lumia 1520 is massive, by all accounts. I'm not so small myself, weighing in at 6'4 220, so it fits perfect in my hands. I seldon use my phone for making calls, and instead I use it as an e-mail device and keeping up with social networks. Therefore, a larger form factor was perfect for my needs.

Lumia 15

Out of the box, the storage size on my Lumia is 24GB; certain a bit less than what I had on the iPhone, but the Lumia also accepts Micro SD cards. I found an excellent 64GB card for $$32 on Amazon.

Until lately, I haven't been much of a picture person. I've just snapped tons of photos as I've gone along, but never really cared about quality. As I get older though, these things become more important to me. It goes without saying, the cameras on the latest batch of Nokia devices are fantastic. The dedicated button on the side of the phone makes it easy to quickly snap something as well.

 

Interfacing with the computer

This is where things really get different. The interface for all of the multimedia on iOS devices is handled by iTunes, which I'm sure most of you are already familiar with, and probably dislike equally as much. It's constantly changing (and not for the better), and seldom works like it should. I just want to plug in my phone and sync the items I choose. It seldom works that way, however.

For the Lumia, you download a program called Windows Phone app, which allows your phone to talk to the computer and easily manage your items. Today was my first day using it, so I haven't had much time to dive into things. So far, so good, though. I still need to understand how playlists work, but adding media to my phone was as simple as selecting folders or items, right-clicking, then selecting "sync". Photos can also automatically be sync'd to your computer each time you plug in the phone, too.

Differences between the software on the devices

Again, things are drastically different here. The two stores are extremely different, both in terms of interface, as well as content. Most, if not all of the top apps are at parity at this point. My most frequently used apps include:

- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Outlook, OneNote, Spotify, Google Maps, Youtube, Netflix, Podcasts, Music

I don’t really game on my device, so I wasn’t missing out on much here. I generally play slow moving adventure games, which I wish there were more of on the platform.

Wrapping things up

In the end, the switch wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I was previously in the Android ecosystem, but that was three years ago, and I can see that things have changed quite a bit since then.

What was your experience like when switching from one ecosystem to another?