8.1 things I like about Windows Phone 8.1 after two months

It's kind of hard to believe that I've been using Windows Phone 8.1 for over two months now. Like many of you, I downloaded and installed (and upgraded) to Windows Phone 8.1 on April 14. That was the day the Preview for Developers version was released to Windows Phone developers and enthusiasts. I've been using Windows Phone 8.1 as my daily driver on my Lumia 925 and Lumia 1520 since then.

How's the OS holding up? What are my favorite features all these days later? Read on to find out the 8.1 things I like about Windows Phone 8.1 for over two months.

1. Cortana


Cortana is by far one of the biggest features of Windows Phone 8.1. Especially when it comes to headline grabbing features. Am I still using her the same way I was when I first loaded up Windows Phone 8.1? Yes and no.

I don't use Cortana as much as I'd like for queries and questions. Occasionally I'll humor myself and ask her if I need an umbrella this week. Which is silly since I live in southern California and rain is this concept that takes place in lands far away. I still haven't broken the habit of just opening the weather app, but I'm slowly getting better at remembering I can just ask Cortana.

However, I do love, love, love using Cortana for reminders. People based reminders are nice, but it's the location-based reminders I use the snot out of. I have location-based reminders set for so many different locations and scenarios. Out of laundry detergent? No problem, just have Cortana remind me to pick some up the next time I'm near Target. Saw a cool restaurant in Laguna Beach over the weekend? Cortana will remind me to eat there the next time I'm in town.

So yes, I still love and use Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1.

2. Notification Center

Notification Center

This list of things I like in Windows Phone 8.1 isn't any particular order, but if I did order it to reflect importance you'd see the Notification Center as numero uno. It has changed how I use Windows Phone. I still admire the concept of Live tiles and glanceable information, but you just can't match the perks of a single place for your all notifications.

It's weird going back to a device with Windows Phone 8.0 and hearing a notification, then not being able to find it if you don't get to your phone in time. That all changed with the Notification Center in Windows Phone 8.1.

No more stress or anxiety because I now know every notification or alert will be caught by the Notification Center. It's awesome and probably my single favorite feature in Windows Phone 8.1.

3. Quiet Hours

Quiet Hours Windows Phone

Windows Phone 8.1 introduced a 'do not disturb' mode called Quiet Hours. It is wonderful for helping you relax in the evening and sleep at night. It's another favorite feature in Windows Phone 8.1 that I couldn't do without.

I've set up my Quiet Hours to automatically trigger and turn on every night at 10:30 pm and turn off the next morning at 6 am. During those hours at night, nobody can reach me and any notifications from Twitter or email won't show up. Unless I've placed you inside my Inner Circle.

Inner Circle is just one of the many aspects of Quiet Hours you have control over. You can configure Quiet Hours so that those important to you, like your spouse or children, can always reach you. Or maybe your boss can reach you if he calls three times within the span of a few minutes, because that's probably an emergency at that point.

4. Word Flow keyboard and Shape writing

Word Flow keyboard

The new and improved keyboard is so good Microsoft gave it a name – Word Flow. The new Word Flow keyboard is notable for a number of improvements that I dozens of times throughout a given day.

Shape writing is the biggest addition to the new keyboard that I can't live without. This is the new 'typing' mode where you glide your finger from letter-to-letter to spell out words.

Other things I'm really digging in the new Word Flow keyboard include the additional support for more Emoji, a bigger word library out of the box, the names of your contacts added to your dictionary and the ability to add swear words to your dictionary (or any word you want really).

5. More tiles on my Start screen

3D Touch

Windows Phones with large screens, like the Lumia 1520, come with an additional column for medium-sized Live tiles on your Start screen. However, handsets with smaller screens, like the Lumia 920, have traditionally had just two columns for medium-sized tiles. Windows Phone 8.1 changed that by giving users the option to show more tiles.

Every single Windows Phone 8.1 device I have has been enabled to show more tiles and I wouldn't have it any other way. It doesn't feel cramped at all to me, and I like the ability to not scroll as far to see more Live tiles and their respective content.

Thanks Microsoft for giving me the option to have a ton of Live tiles on my Start screen!

6. Transparent tiles

WPCentral App

Speaking of the Start screen, I can't get enough of those transparent tiles. And neither can the lot of you.

The struggle is real to find the perfect Start background to complement those see-though tiles. But that's a good thing because it means we have transparent tiles. It's probably a superficial feature in Windows Phone 8.1, you just can't deny how awesome it is with the parallax scroll effect. It's also just one more way you can make your Windows Phone truly yours.

7. Unlimited tabs in Internet Explorer 11

Windows Phone 8.1 IE 11

For someone who writes about apps for a living, I actually spend a lot of time using the browser on Windows Phone. I always have and don't expect that too change too much. For reading long content I still prefer to send things to Pouch and use an app like Poki to consume it all.

The browser is where you end up when you click an interesting looking link inside a tweet. Which is why I'm a big fan of the unlimited tabs you get with Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Phone 8.1.

8. Calendar redesign

Windows Phone 8.1 calendar

To be honest I didn't use the native calendar in Windows Phone 8 and below. Instead third-party calendars, like Simple Calendar or Cal, added a bit more functionality that made me prefer them.

The redesigned Calendar app in Windows Phone 8.1 is getting a lot more love from me and it's used all the time now. I'm partial to the new week view and the integrated weather forecast. The week view alone makes me love the new calendar. Oh and the calendar can now be update through the Windows Phone Store and won't require an OS update like before. Which means we'll hopefully see even more improvements going forward.

  • Related: (/video-tour-new-windows-phone-81-native-calendar)

8.1 Check for updates in the Windows Phone Store

Windows Phone 8.1 Store

C'mon. How many times did you get frustrated pre-Windows Phone 8.1 waiting for updates to appear for your apps in the Windows Phone Store? The new Store on Windows Phone 8.1 allows you to go in to the settings and manually check for updates for all your installed apps. This is super useful and I use it a few times a day.

Your turn

You too have probably been using Windows Phone 8.1 for over two months now! Congrats and do let us know in the comments below your favorite features!

Sam Sabri
  • i hate Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Game hub  
  • "your favorite features!"
    not your favorite apps
  • Lol =D Calendar, Cortana and IE are technically apps too
  • But Sam pointed out new features within those apps. And Cortana is really an exception since it integerates into WP.
  • There's one in every crowd. lol
  • They are called trolls.
  • Any idea when it will be rolled out officially? 
    Waiting and waiting here in Germany...
  • Good question, I thought it would be today...
  • I think we have to wait forever :D.
  • Less than a week left
  • +8s
  • Its time to upgrade.
  • Yip until they fix that I'm not giving a shit about the rest of it
  • U should have said. I like how I hate Xbox Music, Xbox Video and game hub. This counts for me to BTW :P but I really like Cortana! I Use it every day. And i would like to see Vertical tiles :)
  • Some people can't follow simple requests. No one cares what you hate. Try something new that doesn't involve complaining and say what you like...it won't kill you.
  • Some people can only be negative.
  • Some people want to hear both the positive and negative.
  • Best. first. comment. In. Lyke. ever. OMG. It's. Lyke. Lindsay. Lohan. Lyke. Okay. Lyke.
  • Hey guys what's the matter if he is complaining? Let him express his feelings. If we won't complain, how would they listen to us. (remember brothers at MSFT too read these articles?)
  • Wrong, they dont read every single stupid article on wpcentral, neowin, wmpoweruser etc. How do you think that would be possible? The only single way MS is aware, if people keep bashing the uservoice forum, that seems to be the only place where MS guys SOMETIMES have a look at. Nowhere else, I bet on that.
  • This has a lot to do with why I haven't installed the dev preview yet. Oh and I don't want to enjoy Data Sense just to have it taken away by (shitty) AT&T even though my phone is unlocked and on another network.
  • I personally believe that some of these apps need to be consolidated. Xbox Music app is now just 2 levels deep & lacks any type of sophistication. On the other hand, Xbox needs to have all their services under a tiered membership rather than Subscritions for Music, Games and then I still have to pay for MS Office separately. I really love WP8.1. All the new features & apps are reeally necessary. Sometimes I wonder how I survived without them.
  • Try the App "Hey DJ!". The free version, with advertisement, it's pretty cool! The paid version should have more features, without advertisement.
  • I always wondered, what'll happen when WP8.1 officially rolls out with a broken xbox music app (I assume will be the case, since the app hasn't been fixed really during the beta)? Does MS realise this is what'll end up happening?
  • I think you answered your own question.  Re-read your question back S-L-O-W-L-Y....   "with...a...broken...xbox...music..."app".   It's an APP, not part of the OS.  It can be updated from the app store and I'm sure once they get done with all the OS fixes that need to be made, they will start working on the Xbox stuff.
  • There will NEVER be such state as the OS is "complete" or "bug-free". Its a never-ending spinning cycle of software-industry nightmare: new features --> new bugs --> some bugs fixed --> in parallel another set of new features implemented -->another set of new bugs --> some bugs not fixed for some devices --> vendor drops further software support for device --> you have to buy new device that is still maintained by the vendor --> new device is built from a new revision of sillicon --> new bugs on the new hardware -->and keep repeting this until the universe ends.. By the way that keeps the industry from collapsing. As long as people freely and happily spend money on buying things every 2 year, the system can still be kept at the edge of collapsing. So back to your wish about working on the xbox stuff after the OS is ready: I am more than sure the Xbox-stuff-team is completely separate from the WP8.1 OS developer team, so they work in parallel. So its not a valid excuse to the Xbox stuff team that they fail miserably to deliver a damn working MP3 and AVI playback software.
  • But not everyone realises that! They expect an official working music app. And once the 8.1 update comes along, their built in music app will be replaced with this broken app. That's the issue that I have -- it will go from working to broken.
  • Ref: DecadeMoon,
    I agree.
    I hate that we have lost so many Music features from ZUNE to WP7, to WP8 and now the lowest point, WP8.1. Please go to uservoice and vote and comment.
  • . Try the App "Hey DJ!". The free version, with advertisement, it's pretty cool! The paid version should have more features, without advertisement.
  • same here
  • Thanks Daniel Windows Phones are not popular in Sri Lanka. But I have decided to use it because of the OS and of course Windows Phone Central forum. Thank you for letting us know the fix.
  • Games and apps on micro SD 
    and by the way how many tabs was IE limited to ?
  • 6 tabs
  • Was the single most annoying thing about Windows Phone 8. Glad they fixed it in 8.1
  • 7 I think
  • Six
  • Unlimited :p
  • This was a big deal that doesn't get much press.
  • apps and games in microSD is the best change we get with WinPho8.1, cause now I, literally, install whatever sh*t I see in the store :D
  • Lol. Me too...will get a larger microSD card
  • I hate I have to soft reset my 920 every morning, because as soon as I open any app it freezes, not sure if it has to do with quiet hours or not.
  • Bet you have "Clock Hub" installed right?  I was having the same issue. The moment I uninstalled Clock Hub the soft resets every morning went bye bye.
  • Is clock hub really the problem? I really like that so, but if it is the cause, I might have to uninstall it.
  • I believe it has something to do with the frequency with which it updates. All I can say of any certaintly is the moment I uninstalled Clock Hub, the problem went away.
  • Highly recommend "Tile-Clock" for an live tile clock.  This program works great and doesn't drain your battery.  It takes a few minutes to set it up but you only have to set it up once.  Once it is done, the time is updated every 30 secs so the time is always correct.  The only problem is the live tile MUST be set to "wide" or the clock won't show up.  Other than that, this is a really great app.   If anyone knows of a better app, let me know.
  • I have had similar issues with it. There is however another clock app called startscreenclock or something like that, I am using that one now and it is infinitely better. Back on topic: I still don't like the notification center. I loved having the live tiles and if I didn't care about notifs I just didn't pin a tile. Now when I respond to a notification on a tile, it often lingers in the notification center still. I was quite happy to get rid of a bad UI tech like a notification center, only to get it back in 8.1 cause people are too slow to learn a more efficient way and apps sucked at making good use of it.
  • I'm with you. I came from Symbian to WP so I wasn't familiar with a notification center, but over the past year + I've used an iPhone and a couple of Galaxies and now I know why people wanted it. But for the WP only users there isn't a need for it. I found that iPhone and Android train you to use the notification center mainly because there is another efficient way to broadcast it on those os so you spend a lot of time in the notification center. But with live tiles there really isn't a reason...unless you are used to having a notification center. I gave my 8.1 to a friend whose iPhone broke because I don't like the destruction of the hubs. In fact I'm thinking of just keeping my 920 on 8 just to keep the hubs...we'll see.
  • I didn't think I'd use it, but I've found it immensely useful. I have 4 different email accounts and being able to see a snippet of new emails in the notification centre means I can at a glance see if any emails are urgent and require my attention. If not I can just swipe them all away. Before I'd have to (potentially) open 4 different tiles to check my emails. Tiles only displayed the most recent email so as soon as I had more than one it was no longer so 'glanceable'. The notifcation centre really makes a massive difference and makes it much quicker and easier to use my phone, I'd never go back to 8.0.
  • New notification center has API that allows notifications to be pulled away when you launch an app and vice versa. Nice example is the default Phone app - if you have a missed call notification on the tile and in the center, whichever you tap the other goes away. It's just that the 8.1 APIs are not widely adopted by devs so some apps don't correctly pull their notifications.
  • You do know that in the action center settings you can individually disable any app from showing in the notification center?
  • Can't you just ignore the notification center?
  • Yeah I do actually have clock hub installed, I'll unpin it tonight and see what happens, thanks for the tip!
  • I'm not sure un-pinning will be sufficient. You might also have to disable it from running as a background task.
  • I noticed that the GLANCE screen was making my phone freeze. :( Glance Screen settings: - Peek (Every few hours) - Interval (didn't try it) - Always On (every couple of days) - Off (it hasn't frozen since last Thursday.)
  • I had the same problem with glance IF "touch" sensitivity settings are set to HIGH.  Dialed touch sensitivity back to "Normal" and all good on the glance front using "peek"
  • It seems I jinxed myself. The phone froze today. The pattern that i started noticing is that it's always freezes on Wednesday morning between 9 and 10AM EST time. I didn't have this issue or any at all until I installed the Developer preview.
  • Same thing happens to me on my 1520. Every morning I check notifications than it freezes up. Very frustrating.
  • Try uninstalling Clock Hub. Remvoing the app resolved the issue for me.
  • Same here . Clock hub is full of bugs since the beginning
  • That's odd, I've never had that problem
  • Now that u mention it my soft resets went away when I switched to time me
  • I removed the transparent tile and now its fine in the morning. And I still have ClockHub pinned to start. Weird.
  • Uninstalling Clock Hub was the fix for me as well.
  • Thanks for the info was wondering what was causing the freezing.
  • I thought it was just me. I am using an older phone with most of the memory used up (HTC 8X) and figured that was the issue. I had clock hub installed. I've now uninstalled it. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be better.
  • My 1520 still does it too... Maybe ita a firmware thing.. IDK, but it sucks, and I hope it gets fixed.
  • My 1020 does the same thing, it freezes in the middle of the night though which means my alarm for work doesn't go off!!
  • That's weird. My 920 has had no (or very little) problems with the 8.1 preview.
  • Great list Sam!
  • I'd like to see an "8.1 Things To Improve" also
  • Yes. This is a good idea.
  • +1
  • Good idea amigo theroyboy44. List a few things you'd like to see improved:
  • Can I?
    1. Email Client
    Change colors of font
    Change font and BOLD, ITALIC, etc File Picker for send files like .PDF in a talk    2. Better PHOTOS Create albuns copy and paste photos 3. BETTER MUSIC, VIDEO AND GAMES APP I think that I haven't say anything about this, right? 4. Copy texts and paste text after I lock the phone. Yeah, if you copy a text and lock the phone, you will lost what you have copyed. 5. More natives apps, like stop watch, voice recorder, etc 6. Lock the phone and made a picture a passward like Windows. 7. List of apps like Windows 8.1, Category, etc 8. Oh, Man... The Settings is horrible! Would be good if is like Windows 8.1.... 8.1. Data Toggle 8.2 Cover of Album at in the bar on top when press to change the music, volume, you know.                                                                                                                                           
  • Yeah, that and plus the ability to copy one word from the message, it copies the whole message instead
  • But you can copy just one word... o.O
  • How? I can't :/
  • Even a letter. 
    Simply select and... copy.
  • 8.3: No Splas screens when starting up native apps!! (OMG: that makes me feel like (Windows 95!) 8.4: Calander is supposed to be better now with week and year view, but it takes far more actions to make a new appointment since it's not possible to set an appointment directly for a certain time (unless in day view but it takes two more actions to get there). + screen space is wasted with useless space for wheather info (and if you switch that off the space is still not used). 8.5: the whole GUI is getting more ugly: I was a big fan of it but it's getting less subtle in time.     
  • 3rd party message app integration kids corner password removes better windows synchronisation like wifi sync better integration for apps like truecaller to be seen in an incoming call more official apps like snapchat and more app updates more background actions like downloading in IE in background better native apps for images music and games action notifications running lines in toast messages to read full content  
  • Data toggle in action centre. Bring back background pics in Photo Hub like it was in WP8 Bring back album/artist cover in lock screen when playing music
  • I've noticed Artist information is back with Xbox Music on the lock screen (yay)
  • Yeah.. Looks like you have to toggle it off, then back on again, for it to work..
  • This⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇
    It's pretty pathetic that WP leves a blank space on the start screen when no tile is present, or when a tile is deleted.. iOS, and Android, don't leave ugly gaping voids on their start screens, and neither should WP...
    ... The solution❔ .. Just give us the option of having the OS automatically fill in any gaps with a static blank tile, or maybe even have Cortana choose some information to display instead of leaving spaces blank... This is a no brainer feature, and like I said it could be optional.. Call it "auto fill" in settings, or something..
    Seriously, I think this is needed more than ever now that we have transparent tiles..
  • Dude, just use header tiles or note plus and put what you want there. I like the blank spaces to create a natural division. There is already a way for you and I to get what we both want without loading the OS.
  • Wow.. You're amazing.. Really?
    Having to use separate apps for everything is unintuitive, and goes against WP's way of doing things... WP is nowhere near "loaded" and it couldn't hurt to have more options... If you wouldn't like it I would suggest that you don't enable it... That's the real win/win situation for everyone..
  • Yeah!..how can I create a letter F or R out of my Pinned apps if OS auto align them or autofills the gap?
  • You guys will never understand the word ❕❕ OPTION❕❕
  • ..really? I prefer the way it works now. It's simple, clean and the tile reorganisation is predictable most of the time. I don't want some random "blank tile" filling the gaps. If you have a gap then fill it with a tile of your own choice, don't rely on the OS guessing what info might be relevant to put there. The only issue I have with gaps is that sometimes WP won't push the tiles up to fill a gap automatically, and so I have to move each tile up one at a time which can be annoying, but then again I don't make changes to my start screen every day so it's not really a big issue.
  • You wouldn't like it, but I would.. That's why I always suggest that changes be made OPTIONAL so that everyone is happy...
    Key word here being OPTION......
    Here on WPC there's always a few dudes that have to say that that wouldn't like to use somthing.... And, the answer they always get is "then don't use it".... I would never suggests a change like this without asking for it to be an option... And, WP could benefit from more options... I think I said it enough....
  • Remove password requirement for kids corner... Or a different password for it.
  • Sorry it's taken so long to reply to this (wanted to make sure I covered all my bases) I think I'll just email it to you because it is very long. And I'm on my phones WP apl
  • 1. Headphones - One of the most annoying things is how sound will eventually stop working in one earphone. I'm not sure exactly what causes this but all of the options through the forums don't help, only state the same problems. Then the only way to get it to start working again is to soft reset your phone! Seriously, one of the top three annoyances!! Not sure if this is a windows phone problem or Links 925 problem. 2. Battery Life - Battery on my Lumia 925 dies at an alarming rate! Especially since the 8.1 update! If I'm using the phone lightly it goes from 100% to 30% in 5-6 hours. But can easily go from 100 in 2.5 hours. That is downright ridiculous! 3. Messaging Multitasking Windows - This ranks pretty high in annoying Windows Phone hiccups. When you get a toast message or click on a link from the notification center it always opens up a new window for text messages. This is inherently not bad , actually it's quite a nifty feature because multiple conversation are kept open so closing finished combos doesn't force you to have to got though the entire messaging interface to find a current conversation. The problem is that it opens up multiple windows of the exact same conversation to the same person. You can easily have 5 Windows for messages to the same person without even realizing it (I don't know much but it seems like this can't be good for battery consumption). Since other apps like WhatsApp and Viber don't do this it should be something that Microsoft should fix but it shouldn't be an issue period. 4. Reorganize Settings - the disorganized settings hub has been an issue since I got my first WP 7.5 phone. Now that we have 8.1 there are even more options. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for the ordering (I know they set out up based on most used). Even though Microsoft says that it's based on most used, it just makes it difficult to find the setting you need if its not one you use frequently. Grouping the settings based on type or function seems like a no brainer. You don't need to embed them in sub-folders or more side swipe pages, just list them in groups, similar perhaps to how Apple does with the iPhone. (It's seemingly insignificant oversights like these that keep people criticizing Windows Phone for not having the basics and to a point you cannot argue with them because certain basic features that seem obvious are constantly over looked (but I digress)! 5.  Smaller Keyboard - The keyboard in Windows Phones takes up over half the screen real estate when typing. This is annoying more so than problematic because it makes reviewing what you have typed a hassle! I'm sure there are easy ways to fix this like making the keyboard buttons slightly shorter. 6. Calendar live tile - The main reason I use other apps for calendar, like simple calendar, is not for all the different styles of tiles even though those are a selling point, it is mainly due to the fact that the stock calendar app's live tile only shows one appointment. If Microsoft could make it where you chose the number of appointments shown I would be thoroughly satisfied and honestly wouldn't have the need for simple calendar! 7. Photos Hub - The photos hub used to be a beautifully personalized experience (personalization is a selling point for Windows Phone). Now it has become a bland and lifeless remnant of its former self! There is no difference between your photos huh and another's, both are gray backgrounds and exceedingly dull. I used to actually enjoying going into the photos hub but now I go into it with the same enthusiasm I would when doing chore's. Microsoft, why would you do that (Will Ferrell voice). 8.1. Kids Corner Password - This feature, for the life of me, I cannot understand. If the point of kids corner is to protect your phone, first, why would you put a password on kids corner and second, make it the same password as your main account. It's completely backwards and defeats the purpose. If their password, which is thoroughly pointless, is the same as yours they can access your account at any given moment which means that this great idea and selling point of the Windows phone is not only a gimmick but a sham as well. All you really need to do to fix this feature is to allow kids corner to be accessed without a password and when the regular account is locked. Otherwise delete the feature because it absolutely pointless as is!   Honorable Mentions: Music Drop Down Menu - While there are third party stood yup deal with the drop down menu for listening to music to make it go away, it would be nice to be able to get rid of it from the 1st party Microsoft. Cortana Visuals - the big search/go button should be the color of the accent/theme not the black cuz when you have a white background it looked kind of odd. Text Searching/Scrolling - The new way of find a certain spot in text messages but its certainly flawed. At times it is very difficult to actually move around because your finger is in the way to surely see the word. Also other times it is difficult to click on the icon because it snap and was  Hotmail sync - This is also silly. If you have text message backup on, your Microsoft Account, Twitter, and LinkedIn will not sync correctly. I don't understand why this and should be fixed because it's just another one of those things you wonder why it doesn't work! Speed and UX - There are those who say Windows phone is fast enough. I've never heard anything or anyone that became great say I'm good enough. The only way to be better if to strive to be better. While yeah, Windows Phone runs well it could be faster and could also have better UX transitions and the like. For example opening the multitasking just pops up the windows. It functions yeah, but look at iPhone, and Android they have taken that into account as well and have done like graphics or transition things and it makes it look as though they have thought of every detail. Because of this when something on the phone messes up you want to blame it on electronic failures and not a flawed OS. When small problems on Windows Phone happen, people are quick to blame it on Microsoft and the Windows Phone OS because lots of small details are forgotten or just not taken into account. The devil is in the details and I truly believe that! When I use my sisters iPhone everything just feels seamless, and part of that is due to the small UX animations when switching apps or whatever you are doing. But beyond that out just is faster and more fluid. When I used their stock maps app, scaling and rotating seemed like it happened even before I wanted it to. It's finished like this that will propel Windows beyond. While new features are great, making what we have better and more fluid seems like the best bet! Something about speed and fluidity of the OS is extremely appealing to me, and I can't be alone!
  • Yes, this. There's not enough constructive criticism on this site. Its always roses puppy dogs
  • Turn off transparent tiles..
  • If you don't want transparent tiles, just don't set a background image.  If all tiles are solid color there is no point to a background picture.
  • Dev's have to work on it. Daniel wrote an anticle about it.
  • I could understand if there was an OPTION to bypass all transparent tiles from every app,,, but wouldn't you just be not choosing to use a background, which is already an option in the OS???
  • I haven't seen any release date for 8.1 to the public. Does anybody have an idea?
  • It should be out before 2018, 1st quarter.
  • Lmao
  • Are you sure? I think they have said 2nd quarter of 2018 xD
  • It was released today if you check Microsoft's support site
  • Dan,I remember you doing a "8 things we need in wp" and i think all of em are there now so maybe the next 8 things or a poll?
  • It's Sam, not Dan.
  • yeah but it was dan back then
  • Sam used to be Dan? This some kind of male-to-male transformation? Only in America. I did wonder why I had not seen them in the same place at the same time. Like Clerk Kent/Superman thing.
  • I think it's a Batman & Robin situation, right?
  • Everything you mentioned are wonderful, but all the Xbox Services stink now! I want the Music Store to be like it was in WP8.
  • Just a stupid and off topic question. Does Lumia's 1520 buttons (back, start, search/Cortana) can change color?
  • No, it does not.
  • In the first picture it looks like it's yellow
  • 'Cause some devices come with "defects". 
    My Lumia 720 is blue and my brother is yellow.
  • For me, Cortana doesn't get used very often. I need to make more of an attempt to incorporate her in my routine. The idea behind location based reminders is awesome. The problem is, I will set one up, for example, remind me to pick up detergent when I am near a Target, I drive right past a Target and Cortana has no clue. Or I am notified 2 miles after I pass Target. It works if I am going to Target, as once I am inside, she chirps. Wish there wasn't a delay.
    On Notifications, the MLB At Bat app need to understand how to implement them. I get a notification but, as they all are, its cut off so I cant read what it is. When I click on it, the app opens, but it doesn't take me to the article the notification was referring to. At Bat is not the only app with this issue.
    Love the tiles, love quiet hours and love checking for app updates.
    I tend to forget about word flow. Still, I am loving 8.1.
  • yeah i totally agree with your notification toast issue....i think there should be a running line of notification in the toasts
  • Dotto, I would so love the old music hub back with the recently played history section. Music in 8.1 feels like a down grade :(
  • It's a down grade
  • It doesn't feel like a downgrade----it is one.     My five year old Symbian phone handles on-board music more intelligently.
  • I do like the tabs in IE11...one of me favs...
  • Too bad the animations when going to tabs and creating new tabs are terribly slow. I hate it. Was much faster in wp8.0
  • I don't know if I'm the only one, but i liked to me limited to 6 tabs in IE. Now, I can have 20 tabs open because a new tab is open much too often
  • No cortana or quiet hours in Australia :(
  • Sam- I second all the features you mention. I also love how you can swipe the screen to the right and to the left in IE 11 to go forward and back a page. Ingenious!
  • I love that too. Makes it easier since I already do that on my W8.1 tablet.
  • Sam you mentioned everyone of the features that I love on WP8.1, ill add... The number of Background tasks increased
  • This is huge.  So many live tiles in 8.0 didn't get updated because of this... and the annoying pop up when you enter an app that wasn't part of that Background task list was annoying too. What I want is more control over background tasks... like have certain apps check for tile updates once a day or once a week.  Flixter updates their live tile once every two weeks or so... yet it takes up a spot.
  • Word Flow has been the name of the keyboard since at least WP8 (maybe it was 7.5 but I think it was WP8). After a quick search, apparently it was in WP8: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2012/12/06/the-secrets-of-the-windows-phone-8-keyboard.aspx It refers to the words at the top that are shown as suggestions based on the context of what you are writing. The common example is if you start typing "Happy" Word Flow will suggest "Birthday" since that is a common phrase.
  • 1) Notification Center. 2) Cortana's people-based reminders. I ABSOLUTELY F*CKING LOVE being able to say "next time X calls, remind me to tell them". 3) Seperating the music app from the OS. The fact that the xbox music app has audio scrubbing makes it 10x better, even if it lags a little when switching songs 4) IE tab syncing. There have been plenty of times that I saw something cool on my phone, but I don't want to type it in manually or copy/paste it or something just to view it on my computer 5) Unlimited IE tabs
  • Quiet Hours requires Cortana ( I honestly don't know why) Which requires location services (again, not even a simple, play song x without GPS?) so, I haven't really used either.. :/
  • It's been lot of fun. With my WP8.1. Since I upgraded it. It really enhanced my gaming experience and likewise the flexibility of typing with word flow, better WIFI connectivity. Easy access too App update etc but the only issues am having is with the sunlight readability. It malfunctions at times, it makes the colour displayed funny looking at times. Hoping an update is around the corner too fix that.
  • Gaming? This is a windows phone
  • If you have a 1520 then you have the assertive screen, this does change some colors for more contrast. Don't know which other phones have assertive display.
  • Am i first??!!! Yeaayyy!!!
  • That there's funny
  • I'm a big fan of 8.1 minus it's lagginess. But I'd say the notification center is the clear winner in new features.
  • Data shared between my Surface Pro and WP 8.1. Wifi connections, IE tabs, Onedrive.
  • +1
  • I'm with you on the location-based reminders.  They've kind of changed my life.
  • Right? Super useful for shopping lists that aren't super time sensitive. Need to pick up some running shoes next time you're at the mall? Cortana will remind you.
  • Ha!  Funny you should mention that.  I've literally used Cortana to remind me to buy shoes. 
  • More tiles and transparency, Quiet hours, Store look, Calendar, Apps to SD card, Word flow, Data sense, well there still needs some work on the resuming speed and notifications :)
  • 2 months already? Imagine how shitty these past few months would've been if there was no developer preview? I think us WP fans should be rewarded for putting up with this snail of an update process, and for having the patience to endure the pain caused by the lack of competence displayed. Sigh.. Ok, I'm done. Lol
  • Your personal choice to use beta software. You don't like it, don't install it.
  • You're missing the point bud. I'm not saying I don't like the beta.
  • Yeah, right?
  • Exactly, you don't have a point.  You're just venting and confirmed it yourself at the end of your first post. My point:   no install = no aggravation
  • I think he's saying that if not for the developer preview, how would the majority of people on it right now would have been able to exercise patience considering the fact that the official rollout hasn't commenced even after 2 months
  • +1520
  • Snail of an update process lol have you ever heard of Android ???
  • Nate.. I get what you're saying, but the difference is that android is not the one trailing behind here. Their fragmentation issue is a whole other thing.
  • Three of those things I cannot enjoy. Well, I can enable Cortana but I hate those region changes everytime I want to make a purchase. So no Cortana which means no quiet hours. :( I was quite looking forward to those. And no swipe keyboard for Croatian language. That's the feature I was hoping will become available but still hasn't. I love swipe. I'm using it right now to type this and it's so cool and fast. I wish I had that for my native language. :( Other than that, I love separate volume controls. REALLY love them. :)
  • Same here: no Cortana, no Wordflow, no Quiet Hours. The only addition worth mentioning for me is Notification c.; the rest (backgounds etc.) is meh. And it's getting increasingly frustrating. MS could at least enable word suggestion - there's a working spelling checker in MS Office, so they have most of the required data already. Also, quiet hours should be possible without Cortana, right?
  • I have 8.1 HATE IT the bug sound on L920. Cant listening music. Im back with default rom, and i getting angry 'coz here on WP Central are talking everyday about the wonderful WP8.1 is. I know 8.1 is amazing, i have it. But, we need teh date of release, because guys, seriously, the Deview program sucks without the firmware of Nokia. So, at last, WP Central and your tons of WP8.1 post, do you know something about the real real release data? Or we gonna see a lot of posts of Wp8.1 until december 2014 without explanation of the important thing here. the release data of WP8.1
  • Factory reset should help. PfD is for Devs, not for people who want upgrade software without bugs.
  • Come on, now nobody wants and update without being a dev. 80% of the people that update to WP8.1 are not devs.
  • vansiv, your frustration is acceptable, however as MS has mentioned - Dev.preview is not intended for basic users and are for testing purposes only. As soon as official update is out, you can open comments about stability. But before that work with Dev community and MS to make WP8.1 better. As for Lumia 920 - I'm running Dev preview on it and has performed lots of additional testng for WP8.1. I didn't notice any issue with the phone - it's running like it should.
  • Hey, I agree, where is the release for cyan? Love the opportunity to use PVD, but MS said cyan would be out in the summer. People blabbed about the 24th and.....no, nothin yet. Suddenly, right before the 24th, everyone quit babbling about cyan. I need me some cyan. I guess, I could hold my breath and wait and turn cyan.
  • Microsoft never said that they will release WP 8.1 on the 24th, but only that its support will start on that day.
  • I just miss the old people hub... I hate the new facebook integration
  • I think the notification center is the most useful new feature added. Cortana is very nice while driving and just all around hands free (mostly) functionality. Transparent tiles REALLY adds alot to the overall look, and I hope that more customization comes as far as transparent LIVE tiles (instead of just static ones) and whatnot goes. The new music app is what it is... Hopefully in the coming weeks it'll approach the smoothness and quality of the one that had been around for years before.
  • I needed Cortana to launch when i press my telephone button in my car. Does this happen for anyone?
  • I hate Xbox Music - Games Hub - Photo app.
  • Although knowing the reasons for splitting xbox music/video etc etc, I still don't understand why music is STILL so poor, poor in opening the app, poor in speed once in the app, yeh, small improvements via fortnightly updates but c'mon, this should be one of the flagship apps of Microsoft, its currently not a good advert for W8.1......
  • Hey Sam what's that background photo you're using in the screenshot?
  • Syncing of themes between my phone and my laptop. I am always surprised about the speed of the syncing.
  • You and me both. I can almost set my phone down and pick laptop up and voila, I can grab what I want that's synced. Sad that sync is that fast but loading\ resuming apps is slow as hell, lol.
  • I love all those features except word flow that I can't use. Hope Microsoft releases more supported languages soon :D
  • 2 months? Wow it seems just yesterday that we were freakin out when Joe tweeted that's it out.
    Mmmm things I like, I don't know... I've been using 8.1 exclusively since it came out & kinda forgot which was part of what lol, but I'll give it a shot.
    -Word Flow.
    -The Custom Backgrounds ... I didn't like it when it leaked ... It's true what they say... Don't knock it until you try it.
    -The fixed Data Sense.
    -The Sense apps.
    -The Upcoming Lockscreen App (12 days now since Joe tweeted "Two Weeks" lol)
    -And Its Genuinely faster.
    -Cortana & Quiet Hours, but never had the pleasure.
    -The Updated Store.
    -Universal Apps.
    -The Burst Shots feature... Which it was hi-res though.
    -I can swipe down to close an app instead of pressing the "X" ... I wish if it was both ways ... Up or down.
    What I don't like:
    -Music App lol.
    -The Gallery... I understand why they did it, but I still don't like it.
    -The Status Bar doesn't autohide anymore.
    -The Fact is Quiet Hours must be enabled from Cortana only ... Being an HTC user outside the states makes it really annoying.
    -It broke my HTC clock lol.
  • As a French, I still haven't met with Cortana (don't wanna sound silly and talk in English to my phone), thus no quiet hours either. Then I guess it's more like windows phone 6.1 over here...
    As for the transparent tiles, the picture on the article shows how careful you have to be to not get an unreadable mess.
  • Don't you sound silly talking in English now?
  • He isn't talking, he's writing.
  • Wrong again, he's typing
  • Quiet hours shouldn't rely on Cortana, there is no reason people outside the US should still be without quiet hours without the region hack
  • This! Not to mention, the region hack doesn't work with HTC devices.
  • 'Check update' button should be on top in Windows Store.  
  • Separate volume controls and 3rd party integration to gallery, posting, etc.
  • I would add to your positive IE point of being able to access open tabs from your windows 8.1 devices on your phone
  • Great article and couldn't agree more with all of them in fact I wasn't using reminders for places which is what I've just done (buy something in my local Tesco as I always think of something then forget when there) . They have all vastly improved the usability of Windows phone day to day. I use the in built calendar for all my work appointments which is a lot so the improved calendar is excellent. Easy access to settings Wi-Fi Bluetooth flight mode is also really handy. Not forgetting swipe to close in task manager.... What's not to like and I've Ni issues at all except I'd like Cortana UK please
  • Love everything... Except, I still can't see pictures taken with my Lumia1020 and synced to OneDrive from any of my WP8.1 devices with the "update 2" from June 2nd-ish applied.
  • Month calendar view and live tile still stuck, no way to overlook those shortcomings
  • Why do tabs in IE11 have to reload everytime you go away to do something else, back in WP8 they used to stay in the same saved state and you could come back to them at anytime without the need to reload the webpage. :(
  • That is one that annoys me. That and if you have a site pinned, if the tab is already open and you launch from Startscreen, it doesn't update. Kind of backwards thinking.
  • Yep, annoying as hell.
  • A tad off topic but I'm considering getting a second phone, but I don't want two phone numbers. So I'm curious Sam, since you have two phones, how do you manage them? Different numbers? Forward calls to the one in your hand? Our do you swap SIMs whenever you change phones?
  • Quick question, since "Small phones" now have the option to Show More Tiles & have 3 Medium Tiles columns ... Can you do the opposite on "Bigger Phones" & have 2 Medium Tiles Columns ?
  • No.  I have a 1520 and the option is not there in the settings menu.
  • I see. Thanks Tony!
  • I absolutely love the installing apps on SD card feature. And Word Flow is also a big thing, it's really awesome. That you can choose a background picture on the start screen is really nice done by Microsoft. Ah, what's good too is that you can have more live tiles in the start screen by enabling the three columns. Wish I could say something about Cortana since she's the big blowing your mind feature but I don't live in the USA and I can't change my settings (thanks for that HTC). In general I can say that mostly everything got better with this update (except the Xbox Music App lol).
  • I love how my friends look at me when I try to use the music-thingy. Oh and it has such a cool name too! /s
    For real, I love the potential of WP but in practice it is not that great
    (same argument goes to Android and iOS also). Hope MS gets their shit together
  • The wallpaper is really awesome in transparent tile section(6)!(sorry for being off the topic)
  • I went from my Lumia 920 to a 1520. When I used the 1520 running 8.0 it was quite annoying to navigate before I updated it to 8.1. REALLY IS A HUGE UPDATE!
  • Can i copy this and paste. And share because i don't discover them all until i read this.
  • How can I get quiet hours? I didn't find it.
  • Do you have Cortana enabled?
  • Ummm no, because my region in my 920 is Indonesia.
  • Pretty much agree with the list except the Calendar app. It's still a fail with only one appointment showing on the live tile. I use 3rd party apps only because of that.
  • I like that the new features are so unique that they've gotten me laid multiple times now. yay.
  • On my 521 Cortana is the one I got tired of quickly. The lag through Cortana, especially if I am in a hurry, is almost unusable for me. The keyboard is one I can't live without now. With large fingers and small display typing out words has always been a pain. Now just sliding around spelling words has made my experience on my phone awesome. Unlimited tabs in IE is one I like but, again on my 521, too many tabs can last the hell out of the phone and I tend to have to remember to close them. I hope they do something with the camera in 8.1 too speed it up. You're screwed if you are in a hurry and want to take a pic. I even jumped over to Nokia Camera Beta but the experience is the same, the never ending resuming screen is a nuisance. Love the Start Backgrounds and Transparent Tiles but, hopefully Microsoft will open it up to allow you to switch Lockscreen and Startscreen Backgrounds simultaneously and allow devs access to the API. The Manual Update check is one of my favorites. Generally Auto Updates didn't happen till around 4PM so I'd have to wait all day and now I can check randomly throughout the day.
  • Don't like the people hub ! I don't know you guys, but my L720 when having a notification I slide down action center there is some delay ! Other than this the rest is acceptable .
  • I probably use the store update feature more than anything else
  • Well, isn´t today the OFFICIAL release of WP 8.1 ? http://bgr.com/2014/05/12/windows-phone-8-1-update-release-date/ Microsoft..... always delayed  
  • No. MS has only said that the support will start on the 24th. That news site has misunderstood what MS is stating on their website. WPCentral would have made an article if WP 8.1 was about to be released on the 24th.
  • Is it just me or Twitter really can't be uninstalled now?
  • IE is nicer, but landscape mode, when using Bing to search uses an enormous text, wasn't like this before. The reading mode feature is very good though. Reminds my of my HTC Desire wordflow or reflow or whatever it was called. One other annoyance is the way that I cannot search for an image and then got to the source address. Used to work fine, now it does not give me the option, which I find very odd. The backgrounds for the tiles are great and add a nice feature. And I am now used to the smaller tiles with the new tile sizes. The Notification Centre is good, and I think I compliments the live tiles, like them both. The new volume controls are good, I just wish Deezer would work better, still not right. As for the keyboard, I didn't know you couldn't add swear words to it before. One thing it needs is the ability to edit the dictionary, not just to clear it. Most words are keepers, but I may have added some rogue ones, that I would like to remove. Looking forward to getting quiet time. Now hoping they sort out the jerky scrolling when using apps, and also the background flashes.
  • I like the transparent tiles the most, and it feels like it's been longer than 2 months haha.
  • Those are pretty much the same things I like however they aren't without faults.
    Probably the biggest problem i have is with Cortana, she isn't totally hands free which defeats the purpose of a voice client. Reminders are awesome but the fact that you can't use Cortana that well without looking is a bad thing and a fundamental flaw. What do I mean? Try using Cortana totally by voice over a headset and keep her in your pocket. Now try doing it while you walk. I assume most people keep the screen faced inwards to prevent accidental damage if you ran into a corner. Problem is Cortana turns on the screen while your phone is in your pocket causing miscellaneous touches that can effectively cancel your commands or prevent your phone from locking again. Ask her for scores? Its just a Bing search brining up scores. Siri reads back to you unlike Cortana. Sure Cortana adapts to what your interests are but if you can't use something like this hands free what's the point if I have to pull out the phone in the first place I might as well type my commands.
  • "Every single Windows Phone 8.1 device I have has been enabled to show more tiles and I wouldn't have it any other way."^ Yeah but for some stupid reason, the OTHER option isn't available and we're stuck with 3 columns on the L930 (and 929) even if we DON'T like them as I don't. I hate the three columns, it feels cluttered as hell and I'm not thrilled at all to be forced to use it on the 930, specially since I rely heavily on small tiles and on the 3 column configuration they are useless. I hope Microsoft realizes how stupid it is to allow people with a 620 to jam 3 columns on a screen but not allow people with a 930 to have just the traditional 2 columns.
  • Yeah I wish the was a way to disable the 3-column option. The large tiles going side to side made for a beautiful layout when using image-tiles like news, weather, sports, photos etc. I miss having that. Or even better, create an XL tile that stretches across all columns no matter how many there are.
  • +3310 Exactly my opinion. It the 3 columns came with more tile size options I would be OK with it, but keeping the 3 sizes yet hammering another column just disrupts everything.
  • Those are things that Iove the most as well.  I never thought I would use notification center so much... emails and texts are all displayed and I love it.  That in conjuction with glane which came before are real time savers.  I us glance to check time and and notifications... Next I jump to notification center.  I dont care to know that an app was updated... but I love that they all auto update!!!  No need to even go to the app store, I pretty much have all I need on the phone.  It just works :)  Shoot, I am always deleting apps that just sit there... I dont want 1000000 apps if I do need them... The tile support really freshened up my 920.  More tiles along with folder allow me to display what I need with minimum scrolling.  ransparent tiles allow for a unique look where colors were the main customization, now the pictures make for a unique design.  Cortana is nice, but I miss core feature of barcoding scanning and music searches.  Both features worked better before hand... I dont talk to Cortana, but the driving and other smart news is really nice as she continues to learn me.  IE11 is really nice, I mean we have a real browswer.  The unlimited tabs, way better website support, password syncing, etc.  has mad for such a better experience.  The calendar updates are nice as I have mulitple calendars and email addresses fore personal and work(s). My 920 continues to survive victoriously... Well, the battery life sucks... But that is why wireless charging is so needed now... I keep a wireless charger at the office and home.. I just lay the phone down and work.  In my mind, it is just laying it down rather than hunting for a cable to plug in.  I do keep a portable batter charger in for my travels, but I dont always need it. I want a new phone, but nothing has replaced the 920... I want a the real windows phone of the near future.  The real flagship... I have said this many times before and just when I want to leave her, my 920 proves she has what it takes to make me stay :)  This along with the updates from Microsoft.  I hope they keep this updating for windows and windows phone up! 
  • i totally agree with you. i used the L920 and now use the L1020. I really love my 1020 but i still think the 920 beats it any day.. i'm patiently waiting for the next (5 inch or below) flagship phone.
  • They've gotta fix the music app asap! Yesterday morning I've gone to play a playlist only to find that all my music had migrated to the cloud ☁ it rectified itself sometime later but that's just weird
  • Like:Notification Center, Podcast
    The rest are bummers (especially xbox music, games, photos hub, fb integration, no improvement on facebook app after using it for a year already) I regret ever installing 8.1. (and buying this crappy phone). I feel like we WP users are just beta testers. We'll never ever get superior experience.
  • Poor you.
  • I guess this is more of a question that it is a comment. I just bought the Nokia Lumia 1520 from AT&T on contract. It still has the WP8. How do I force the upgrade to WP8.1? I'm new to WP OS. I'm not looking for the "official" upgrade from AT&T. 
  • Sign up for an app studio account and then download 'preview for developers' from the store
  • Did anyone notice the new sound when you plug the charger in? So much better and more subtle than the old one
  • Haha I actually miss the old sound.
  • My main gripe is the extra heat mg phone generates. Seems a bit more power hungry, almost randomly.
  • So many things, in addition to those in the article. Speed dialer. Two-finger tap to magnify. In-private mode. IE sync between devices. Action center. Incredible speech recognition. And so on.
  • Here's what I enjoy about Windows Phone 8.1: Files: The File Picker and the ability to move my multimedia (i.e. documents, photos, music, videos, etc) at will to a folder of my choosing. The benefit of having everything visible in one place cannot be overstated, to me anyways.
      Notifications Centre: Indeed, can't undervalue the ability to see all of one's notifications in one central area. In fact, it is because of the Centre that I decided to enable more of my apps to run in the background and give me info, e.g. MLB At Bat. Before I limited my selection of notifications to the apps I had pinned to the Start Screen, not anymore.
      Three Columns: I use a Lumia 920 and I honestly didn't care about having the third tile option, that is, until I tried it out. I have to admit, my Start Screen looks amazing with the three columns, the L920 seems like a brand new beast at times.
      Cortana: Admittedly I don't access Cortana by voice as much as I would like to, but I find myself typing inquiries, accessing the 'app' (for my news headlines, stock updates and weather) all the time, it's now firmly part of my regular phone routine. Unlike you Sam, we do have shifting weather up here in Canada, so the ability to ask if I need an umbrella is quite valuable for me.
      Transparent tiles and parallax background: As with the three columns, this feature really did change how I looked at my L920, it's like a new phone. In fact, it was because of the ability to choose a background image that I decided to try out more accent colours on the phone, before WP 8.1 I just stuck to grey.
      Calendar: No doubt, big improvement over the last version.
      Universal Apps: Despite not even being out yet, it seems there's some traction on the Universal App front with Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1. The sudden steep climb in such apps and games hasn't gone unnoticed, and although it may not be the case in truth, it seems as though WP 8.1 brought about this shift.
      Improvements to IE, i.e. unlimited tabs, InPrivate viewing, tab syncing between phone and PC, all greatly appreciated.
  • Yeah yeah when can I get this update on my unlocked Nokia Lumia 920?
  • Are you familiar with Windows Phone Dev Preview? You can download and install WP 8.1 (developer preview, but fully operable) on your Lumia 920, that's what I did. https://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us/develop/devpreview
  • And why does your app opens in internet explorer when I try to comment, damn it I worked hard for that ¢0.99 I spent on that app!
  • Inprivate for IE is one. ;)
  • Windows phone 8.1 is really great. I recommended my friends to upgrade their Windows phones to this masterpiece, they did, and they loved it. Btw, Sam Sabri; you did a great job explaining those nice new features, thanks again and always, you and all the WPCentral team!!
  • An article by Sam Sabri with the image of Lumia 1520 of Dan? Sam, what app do you use to customize the background of your home screen?
  • Apps in MicroSD is great. However, they are more sluggish that was. Ans notification center of course. Very useful. I also like the small enhancements when it comes to the UI animations.
  • Love Cortana reminders but I wish I could select a louder alarm sound. They're really too quiet. U never hear them.
  • If the calendar allowed me to change the week to start on Sunday instead of Monday I'd use it exclusively.
  • Portugal:
    Cortana, not available.
    Quiet hours, not available.
    Word flow, not available.
    Transparent tiles, not my thing. (maybe transparent LIVE tiles when more apps have them)
    Calendar, only use chronos calendar.
    Unlimited tabs on I.E. I use UC browser.
    More tiles, I like it a lot.
    Notification center, I like it but it could be a lot better.
    Edit. File explorers, finally!! I like it a lot.
  • Wordflow works great for Portuguese Brazilian keyboard layout, although I have to set region to US. But I really always used it before 8.1 to be able to download free game trials that are only available on US Store.
  • Sam is completely right these are the bestest features. The worst for me us inline video playing. On my Lumia 920 it really sucks. Wish they would take it away.
  • Why does Cortana always require GPS (and internet connection) turned on before she can function properly?
  • Also location based reminder is not that accurate. Most times it's minutes (or miles) after I've left the location that she reminds me.
  • I'd guess that's because of the location based reminders.
  • I'd like to see some use of the left of start. You know how we swipe right for apps, down for notifications, but waste of left.
  • I second this!
  • Heck another home screen kind of thing, easier to flip than scroll until my thumb feels like rigor mortise set in.
  • Cortana, I'd smack you if I could. I need reminded while I'm in the store, not pulling out of the parking lot!
  • Exactly!
  • I'm talking a flying smack like that kid did in the lunchroom over the table on you tube.
  • Unlimited tabs are cool I guess, but can anyone explain to me WHY they're cool? Genuine question there, i haven't quite finds the utility there. Also, what's the rules there? I can never tell when I'm opening a new tab, and then i look and suddenly there are a million tabs i never knew i had open! Lol
  • Best turn off background running for ie
  • Windows Phone 7.x - 8.0 had six tabs. I would always run out of tabs and need more. Now I never need to worry about clicking and opening a link and missing something I had open as a tab.
  • Reminder should also come in notification centre otherwise it just missing.
  • Agreed, another smack for Cortana.
  • it never rains in southern California...
  • but yea, my favorite new feature has to be the under the hood features... apps optimized for windows phone 8.1 work a ton better in every way, I like that things just work now versus working sometimes or not as well and the iOS and Android counterparts
  • Universal apps started showing in 8.1 right? :)
  • How you can now save anything to SD Card it is so much more better
  • how open the SD card now is a big one too.... I love that one
  • I'm still on 8.0 with my 920. To those who has 8.1, does it eliminate the excessive heat at the back and frequent WiFi/3g connection drop which can only cured by turning airplane mode on and off. This is very annoying.
  • There was something mentioned a while ago with lumia 920's getting hot & a couple ignited to get in touch with nearest Nokia care Specialist
  • Oh my g*D, cyan just dropped!
  • I wish, :tears and rolls into ball in the corner rocking myself to sleep:
  • I think the transparent tile feature is my favorite
  • My favorite 8.1 features are the Word Flow keyboard, automatic app updates, transparent and extra tiles and Storage Sense! Oh, and of course being able to save apps to the SD card if you've got a phone that take one! LOVE that!
  • What i love.  Cortana- i love pushing her to see exactly what she can handle Geotag reminders daily outlook in cortana,  She tells me what the drive is like to work and what its like going home without having to ask her.  Just open the app before leaving and its there Auto updates to app- How awesome is this.  Xbox music pulled in music i had from MUSIC+ app and plays most of them wont play all without music pass. /what still needs to change. Actionable notifications- give us the ability to reply directly from toast notifications.  BIGGEST PET PEEVE everytime i click on a toast from the same contact it opens a totally new conversation windows so i can have 5 conversation windows of the same conversation open instead of when i tap on the toast it takes me back to the original already opened conversation backgrounds images in texts ability to use music already on my phone as alarm music or ringtone ability to swipe away individual notifications in notification center instead of swiping away the group calendar still needs work.  visually it looks like a 1980 computer screen
  • My frav is download apps on the SD card
  • 8.1 phone....kills my battery and it is freezing alot
  • Has got better for me but some of the updates have been real bad. The current update is the most stable but it has frozen but I am putting that down to firmware.
  • I would agree most of these with the exception of Cortana as its not yet available in Australia without having to change the regional settings. One thing I would like to see is for MSFT to provide a world clock, (better) alarm, timer and stopwatch all in a single system app which can then be pinned to the start screen and display the time/weather, similar to Clock Hub. In addition to this quite hours also needs to be seperated from Cortana. I still dont understand why I need cortana to set this up. We already have favorites in the contact list which we could use as the breakthrough list. In regards to unlimited tabs in IE this is great however I wish they would reinstate the couter to show how many tabs are currently open and stop pages from refreshing every two minutes.
  • I really love Cortana and how easy it is to setup reminders. I love Word Flow, it's better than any swipe keyboard on Android. Love the Action Center though it can be improved. But I currently can't use the music app or spotify cause they suck so bad. That's why I'm using my Galaxy S4 and parked my 920. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • I like how I can open an attachment in an email and reattach it to another email without having to forward the original email. I like how you can easily drag the caret to the exact part of a sentence you want to edit. Ita the little things that make 8.1 amazing
  • Still waiting anxiously for Cyan updates to come.....
  • 1. Cortana - not so much as I have only recently made the region changes but it is cool
    2. Swipe keyboard - Hell yes and even the emoticon even if your apps doo not support them
    3. App updates yep
    4. Notification centre - yep
    5. Smaller tiles - yep
    6. WiFi sense - if it worked may just be a US thing but in the states at the moment not noticed anything different. However tons of potential. Especially password sharing.
    7. Better access to the API that has huge potential.
    8.ccalendar -yep
    However really not happy about losing the integration into Facebook for checkin as I used this a lot and never used Facebook itself app or webpage on my phone and not enjoying having to now. Major gripe.
  • I'd love it if they add toggle for cellular.
  • And all of these things and more add up to no more excuses for WP not to succeed.
    Some other things I like that 8/8.1 brought:
    Multiple text and pic delete.
    Screenshots (something I thought I'd never use but use a lot)
    Download entire email.
    Choice of what to put where to phone storage or SD card.
    Lock screen options.
    File management.
  • I like everything you listed, Sam. On the Calendar front, I'd love it more with a better tile that displayed more than one appointment.
  • I guess having extra tiles will make the ativ s useable again as a secondary device because I find it hard readjusting to its start screen coming from the icon its a bigger change then coming from the dvp to the ativ s
  • Also new animations!!
  • Hope Cortana lands in India pretty soon. The word flow keyboard is really neat.
  • I love editing documents online & preparing notes on one note .
  • When is OTA updates coming in India....
  • 8.1 is overhauled with tons of features. Probably I hate Xbox music, though gud thirty party apps are available.
  • The feature I like most in wp8.1 is IE11 as I can download songs and videos direct to my main memory...
    The feature I hate most in WP8.1 is screen lock. Still using keys...
    why there is not a gesture lock like that in windows8...
  • I agree with all of this basically.
  • When will come wp 8.1 update..
  • July/August, depends on your carrier.
  • My must-have feature: Khmer keyboard (FU, iOS!)
  • All those features are most of my favorites too but they run HORRIBLY on my T-Mobile Lumia 521 which is my hold-over phone until T-Mobile releases a top-end 8.1 phone.
  • Transfer apps between my SD card and phone memory. Now my 32GB card comes in handy and the phone memory gets some breathing space.
  • I still love the shitty multitasking. .....resuming anyone?
  • In a hurry?
  • Off subject but I started a new job last week and they made the mistake of asking me what kind of phone I wanted. I've been impatiently waiting for Nokia to release the 930 and hoping even more for a US release on AT&T. It was between the 1520 and the icon (My company has both carriers) , I went with the icon. Dropped 8.1 on it this weekend and am in love. I've been using a g pro as my daily driver and although I like Android, I adore WP. I am a happy man and even better I'm due for an upgrade. Here's hoping to Microsoft dropping a killer phone soon. I'll have my icon on Verizon and the latest and greatest on AT&T. I do accept hate mail, lol. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Cheers! I use Android too, but my daily driver is Windows Phone. ;)
  • Why MS is delaying the official wp8.1 roll out .... i thought i would get hands on it on 24 june but no signs of it anywhere  #L520 user
  • It's not delayed. MS has only said that the support will start on the 24th. Some news sites (not WP Central) have misunderstood what MS said.
  • Variable speed playback is my essential feature... Something I use daily. I probably would have had to jump ship if they didn't add it.
  • It's telling that by number four you'd only mentioned one feature that's actually available to most users, me included... Way to go alienating your customers, MS! :-/
  • I like quiet hours but there is a major problem for me, I can't add unknown or private numbers to my inner circle or manually allow these calls to breakthrough no matter how hard they try (and no matter what setting I use). So can't have quiet hours turned on... :(
  • Please add toggle cellular data (T__T)
  • I love my Lumia 1520, and the overall Windows Phone 8.1 OS, BUT, there are some HUGE issues that need to be fixed. Outlook/Exchange alerts/notifications/live tiles are broken.  If you have rules to dump inbound messages into subfolders, like everyone in corporate america, you get ZERO alerts to new mail.  The tile/notification center ONLY shows items that arrive in the INBOX.  friggin stupid... Cortana is retarded when it comes to speech recognition, compared to Google Now.  And even if it does understand you, it is all but useless results. Notification Center is stupid.  Swiping away, swipes ALL messages of that type away, instead of just the one you want. The keyboard is dumb.  It's pretty accurate on swipe, but there NEEDS to be a way to add a PERSONAL DICTIONARY.  Since I can't add custom words, it literally fails every time I try to type a word it doesn't know.  I've tried some of the tricks mentioned on this site to get around it, and it works for some, like the word "shit," but most of the time it just fails miserably.  And even if that method worked, it's just so incredibly stupid when a dedicated custom dictionary would be so much easier. App updates are stupid.  Where they buried the manual update check is stupid.  When clicking a notification that an app was updated, sometimes it will show you the app, but most times it just takes you to the main Store page, leaving you guessing. And above all, the app store itself is a ghost land.  While I don't use many apps on my phone, and about half of the common apps are out there, most have not been updated in years, are broken, or simply don't exist.  Hopefully the new unified developement that the official release of 8.1 on the desktop and phone will increase developer interest and fix this situation.
  • Don't agree with you regarding Google Now better at voice recognition than Cortana. I have both Lumia and Moto G, and I know the difference. Cortana picks up my Indian accent most of the time, Google Now doesn't.
  • I absolutely agree with this list in every way.   What I have found though, is that on my 920 I do not use the additional row of tiles.  It just makes some of the fonts too small and I don't like how the wide tiles fail to go all the way across the screen.  I know, picky.
  • I love that the search button is game-aware. No more accidentally jumping out of a game. Double-tap if you really want to search from a game or the Games Hub.
  • I like many features but I want to discuss something I want to add or change
    1.notification centre should have data toggle shortcut plus more shortcut.i have Lumia 720 and there is only for shortcuts and no data toggle the main shortcut is missing.
    2. There should be only additional files to download as an update in store not full app or game.
    3.ms should start carrier billing soon because many of us like me in India don't have credit card to purchase any game or app from the store. It is the big loss in revenue profit for MS.
  • No one talks about call function , speed dial, is there any change from wp8 , like in wp8 we just go to phone option , then we can see the history, if want to dial, there comes a boring screen, with just name and number .................. is it same in wp8.1 ?
  • In agreement with the list! The notification center alone breathes life into the platform, but Cortana has been the major feature. Although it has been a downfall so far, but I love that Microsoft has taken Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and the Games Hub apart as a separate app in the platform. It does give them the edge of providing updates to these three major parts of the system without relying on OS updates. Really hoping that all three apps get working faster with upcoming updates!
  • CORTANA,notification center, word flow keyboard, men the list is endless Ms did a nice job with windows 8.1
  • I still can't send a damn file with Skype
  • Unlimited tab in IE is done in by the fact that those tabs unload before you can hit home button and back. I have even had one tab unload when I visited the Music app to play a different song. Maybe the final firmware will improve things with better memory management, but things are so bad I am not too hopeful. I am using WP since 7.5, never once this plagued the experience before.
  • Daniel give me that wallpaper and take my money.
  • I hate multitasking in 8.1. If there is one thing I miss from 8 its how it would save the state of whatever app you were in when going to another app. Now I come back and sometimes it goes back and sometimes it refreshes. This causes problems with some of my daily apps (reading comments that have to be loaded in IE, refreshing loses my spot; WPCentral app goes back to the top of article list and the "load more articles" button disappears, since I read from oldest unread to newest). Extremely frustrating.
  • Of your list, the only ones I agree with are Cortana, Calendar and Check for Updates.  The rest of the list I absolutley HATE.
  • You hate having more tabs in explorer, having quiet hours, and that it finally has a notification centre... Weird.
  • You hate the Word Flow keyboard? Wow!
  • That the 20MB cell download limit for apps has been increased... Oh wait. That isn't fixed!
  • All of the above. But IE needs a little more user-friendliness, especially when opening, closing and shifting between tabs. The Chrome browser on Android does a good job at that. Another thing, I would like added is the 'Data Connection' toggle in the Action Centre. It's just inexplicable how they didn't include that.
  • What I would like windows to improve with is get better apps a better web browser etc!
  • 8.1 seems like a hopeless dream
  • Switching of primary account without full device reset.
  • Really hate the IE crash problems and seemingly endless amount of site incompatibility issues I have.
  • Definitely NOTIFICATION CENTRE.. I think that's a feature all of use for over 100 times per day! (even more than that)
  • FEATURES That have Been OMMITTED or needs fine tuning, annoying as well. 1, NO Call duration. - cant' tell how long you have been talking on the phone. 2 If you open phone book, its not possible to search a contact & open just to view the number, , if you tap the contact it goes straight to calling the contact. the only way is to tap & end the call immediately then go to call history, in there don't tap the name but the tap the icon at the end to view the phone numbers. - What a long way just to view a contact's real phone numbers!!!!! 3 You can't save a web page for offline reading. (option removed on Nokia Express). 4 You can't play an Xbox game (FULLY PAID) if there is no internet connection e.g Halo spartans 5 UI of FM radio is Vice Versa - one can not tune every time you want to change a station. Preset stations are behind the scene instead of the other way round.
  • +1
  • Would love to see Cortana in UK
  • Cannot find Quiet Hours feature, is it related to Cortana ?
  • Unfortunately yes.
  • Hey well my word flow isnt working lumia 520
  • >_<
  • delete
  • Notification Center's quick action/peek is the best feature for me. It just saved me space in device memory and start screen as I no longer have to pin tiles for system settings. I have uninstalled all my 3rd party system tile creator and of course battery monitoring apps.
  • Love:
    Notification centre
    Under the hood improvements
    IE improvements
    I find the cursor manipulation tricky. I don't use it that often. How about a cursor up down left right pad?
    Having to switch keyboards for a colon. Could this be added to the long press on period options?
    Cortana UK
    A decent outlook task manager with sort by date modified and task flagging
  • I wish Microsoft could provide an option of rotating tiles. So you would have horizontal tiles with text running left to right and vertical tiles with text running top to bottom or bottom to top. Simple rotation. No readjustment of text to allow for horizontal reading. That would be pure whacky!!
  • I like the quiet hours that activate when an entry in my calendar is marked as busy because I usually forget to switch the phone to silent and then I forget to switch it back. I also like that when you turn Wi-Fi off it has an option to automatically turn it back on, because I always forget that too.
  • all 8 feature you mentioned 9. improved battery sense, i will know which app using lots of battery and able to close ALL background task (8.0 are able to close a few) 10.able to install app to SD card
  • 8.1 is Amazing as you say! just passive cortana activation will useful and PPTP and L2TP VPN ;) I'm Waiting for Final Version 8.1
  • I love the new calendar but they should change the Live Tile to show more than one appointment. Checking for updates in the store is really great but I don't get why there is a popup every time I press the button.
  • The only disadvantage I see is that I have to wait another year to get a new OS winphone 9 or so
  • 1 year minimum ofcourse
  • Text message thread mute!!!
  • I really hope they fix the performance and stability problems with Cyan because my 1020's are going back to 8.0. The OS itself is fantastic but it is not usable. Camera lag is terrible even for 1020 standards and phone requires reboots to perform well after a few days. reminds me of a windows 95 machine.
  • Your list is a mirror of mine. I find I miss the shape typing when on my tablets. And while I definitely have maximized the tiles on my screen sites like this become almost unreadable on the live tile. This is because the 4.5" screen of the 920 is now the defacto low end for size. I think the 1520 may be too big so waiting in the 930.
  • Notification center and word flow keyboard is the features that I love and use the most. Others are great but I doesn't use cortana and quiet hours at all. Part of the reason is that the location based reminder doesn't work for me and cortana eats up a lot battery. As for quiet hours I just don't find it necessary.
  • It's like I'm the only one who noticed. I hate how IE11 has less video support than on the windows 8.0. Videos that previously would be full screen can't be played or simply play in the browser without the possibility of going full screen.
  • i have to say this, and i hope there are some others who agree with me. Because i do a lot of my 'browsing' on my cellphone, i visit a lot of sites to read articles. One of my best features is the reading mode on the IE browser. it cuts out all the (unnecessary) adverts & distractions and presents the article i want read in a sweet readable view. Don't get me wrong, i really like how cortana has become my personal notifier from pop-up scores of favorite teams i follow to suggested times i need to leave home to get to work in-time. But this reading mode, i love.
  • Calendar design is worse - no Agenda view...
  • pana...me puedes dar el wallpaper ..esq son bacanes ..pilas si es que puedes
  • I agree with the list here, pretty much everything and Cortana is useful on everything from my morning alarm all the way to the epic location based reminders. Just disappointed that the Xbox live/games hub us such a POS, for people screaming "its a app", sure maybe it is now but it was a big selling feature for us gamers and personal I think it sucks, talk about a step backwards.... And with 8.1 it seems lime the death of Xbox live, another selling point that I am actually pissed off about #SaveXboxWP So a lot of good but some parts major fail
  • If siri and google voice are an example, I know I won't be using cartona just like mostly everyone who has one iPhones and Android
  • Is there different typing fonts. Is there a "full keyboard" when you turn the screen horizontally?
    P.s. I don't have 8.1
  • Everything is good but, I want back my old ME hub , music+video hub.
  • Still no wp 8.1 update :( did anyone got it in India ?
  • Look I'm not trying to be negative and I've only just updated my phone so I can't say with absolute certainty that I won't learn to love the new features however you asked what my favorite features were? the unlimited tabs, that is something I appreciate and annoyed me with the previous version however I could live without that. What I can't understand is why you would take away my integrated texting and facebook messenger already today it has caused me communication issues which affected my ability to meet up with a friend to complete an assignment. I take this very seriously as I am someone who communicates largely through messenger and text and the integration was my favourite feature of my phone, it's the reason I never felt like complaining before, so what if I don't have access to all the cool apps my friends have, so what if I can only have so may tabs, so what if no one understands how to use my camera at least communication wise my phone was ideal and now it's simply not. I understand there are some cool features but I would give them all up to get my integration back. Am I the only person who is upset by this?