What are our favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features?

Enjoying the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers? We're sure you all are. We can see there are numerous discussions underway as to what are your favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features. Whether you're a Cortana fan or simply worship Joe Belfiore for adding in the Notification Center (better late than never), there's a lot in this preview release.

In this roundup, we'll be running you through some of our favorites, just in case you're wanting to know what the Windows Phone Central team likes most on their smartphones. Head past the break to see our favorites.

Daniel Rubino

"My favorite feature of Windows Phone 8.1 would be the Action and Notification Center. Sure, Cortana is fantastic, but I find myself using the Action and Notification center nearly all the time. It’s what I do now when I turn on my phone and I really appreciate the ‘overview’ of my digital life that it presents."

Windows Phone 8.1

Sam Sabri

"Can I say everything? That’s probably cheating, but it’s really true. Of course Cortana is my favorite feature, because there’s just so much potential with her. I can probably do an entire blog post on why Cortana is the future of computer interaction with Microsoft and I probably will do that soon.Instead I’ll take this moment to highlight another feature that won’t get a lot of attention, but one that I’ll use all the time. In Internet Explorer 11 there’s now support for an unlimited number of tabs! Plus IE11 also syncs your tabs, bookmarks and more! I use the browser on my phone all the time, it’s probably my most used app. That’s why I can’t wait to take advantage of those features in IE11."

Windows Phone 8.1

George Ponder

"Where do you begin in picking out your favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features? For me, I’d have to center my favorites around those that deal with photography (plus I’ll throw in one non-photography feature for good measure).I really like the quick settings buttons on the new Camera app. I never liked digging through the settings menu to change a scene and having these buttons available may sway me from Nokia’s Camera app. The other photography feature is the Start Screen background. It is a fantastic way to set your Windows Phone apart from others and showcase your photos.Now for the non-photography feature it would have to be the Notification Center. Too many times have I missed a notification before it slid away, never to be seen again. It drove me crazy not to be able to figure out what notification I had missed. The Windows Phone 8.1 Notification Center will definitely help keep me sane."

Windows Phone 8.1

Rich Edmonds

"Wow. Just wow. Windows Phone 8.1 makes me feel like the first time I held a Windows Phone. I'm intrigued. Like many, I was desperately seeking a central location for all my notifications to be stored. What we've been provided in Windows Phone 8.1 is a superb solution to the familiar issue across all mobile platforms. While the implementation is similar to other operating systems, I think Microsoft nailed it with functionality and keeping to the Modern UI with the Notification Center.Then again, it's difficult to choose a favourite. Don't get me started on the Word Flow Keyboard! I really rate this update."

Windows Phone 8.1

Mark Guim

"My favorite Windows Phone 8.1 feature is the action center. It gives me quick access to settings that are important to me. I currently have Wi-Fi, Rotation Lock, Bluetooth, and Screen Brightness there. I’m curious what you have for your phone."

Windows Phone 8.1

Paul Acevedo

"My favorite feature is the one I've been lobbying for since I got my first Windows Phone 7 handset: independent volume control! As an avid gamer, there's nothing more annoying than having to turn my phone's volume down for a game and then missing a call because I forgot to turn it back up later. So glad Windows Phone now has this basic and super important feature. Can't wait to play some more games on Windows Phone 8.1!"

Windows Phone 8.1

Michael Archambault

"After installing the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer’s Preview onto my Nokia Lumia 1520, it did not take long to figure out my favorite feature – Cortana. Since the moment Apple released Siri, I have had my desires on a quirky voice assistant for Microsoft’s mobile platform, and the wait has truly paid off. Cortana is a beautiful combination of Siri’s intelligence and Google Now’s intuition. Anyone who has been waiting for an artificial intelligence companion with a plethora of features will find it within Cortana."

Windows Phone 8.1

Abhishek Baxi

"I would've liked to say Cortana, but since it will be a while before she joins me here in India, I'd skip it.One, I quite like the Skype integration. I frequently use Skype for calling Skype contacts, and when I'm travelling abroad, I call up family and work via Skype to save up on international roaming.Second, I like the evolution of syncing with Microsoft account. The Accent colour picked on phone syncs to my Surface and so do the IE11 bookmarks and tabs. These are nifty, but very important features."

There you have it, folks. Are you surprised by some of our choices? Share your own thoughts in the comments.

Further Windows Phone 8.1 Reading:

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • The customizing the start screen
  • +WP8.5❕
  • hi I have a question... I own a mac and use a Nokia Lumia 1020... Am I able to register my lumia for developer access to test out the 8.1 dev beta that is out right now?
  • Yes.
  • How do I do this?  Sorry I am new to Lumia and this OS  CNet is saying mac users can't do this.... :( http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-and-when-to-upgrade-to-windows-phone-8-1/
  • Do not listen to cnet... Listen to us :)
  • Sure thing Sam!  You and Daniel Rubino are the bomb!
  • Of course.. The update is between MS, and your device... The process doesn't have anything to do with your computer.. You don't even use your computer.. Everything can be done right from the device, while you're at Starbucks...
  • How do I do this?  Sorry I am new to Lumia and this OS
  • Wait a min...
    Everything you could possibly need to know is right here.....
  • What device do you have???
  • 1020 bro
  • Heehee you called Rodney "bro"
  • lol
  • Whatch tryna say NIST???
    Look➡♋ ... That woks now.. Lol!
  • Really Rodney? A 69 with an arrow? What are YOU trying to say?
  • You can do that, easily. I have a NL 1020 to and a MacBook Air. As they posted above, you just need to follow the instruction from WP Central, and it have nothing with you computer, it is between MS and you device.
  • Yeah man!! Just sign up for a developer account as if you were using microsofts app studio! No need to install anything its all internet based so you're sweet to go! Also you can sync music photos and all of that through iTunes! Microsoft was pretty clever on it! Don't like iTunes? Just plg it in and Mac will recognize it as an external storage device! All files, folders, music will be accessible through there! 
  • Thanks everyone!  You guys are much cooler and nicer than those Apple support people!!
  • You will have to download 1 app: "Preview for Developers". It's really simple, just create a App Studio account and then go to this app i mentioned and sign in. Then you should be able to go to your phones settings under "Phone Updates" and click the "check for updates" button. Just download and install and you are good to go! 
  • Ignore NIST... Lol..
    1020?. Awesome.. I have a 1520, and a 920.. I swear, the three columns look absolutely amazing on a 4.5" screen.. I hope that MS, and carriers, decide to use that as the default configuration on store shelves. With the background, and smaller tiles, the WP8.1 start screen looks much more serious, and cooler, on 4.5" devices... You're going to love that option❕
  • I downloaded the update, but after the first time it said there was another update and installed (looked like the same thing as before), and it says I have another update again.  Is that normal?
  • Yes❕ .. Most definitely... The first one is to configure the device for the second one... Weird, I know.. But, this is typical of WP updates.. Do the second one and you're rockin baby❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕
  • Yeah thats normal, dont forget to set region and language into US if you want to try out cortana. on a side note , what 1020 color did you get?
  • Cool thanks!  I got the yellow 1020.  Thought it looks the best!  How do I make 3 rows of apps on my start screen?
  • Settings> Start+Theme> scroll down to "Show More Tiles" and turn it ON. :)    Welcome to WP 8.1!! 
  • Thank you!  I'm diggin' this 8.1 preview!!
  • I think this may help you with what info you need http://www.wpcentral.com/how-sign-windows-phone-81-preview-developers
  • Yep the beautiful start screen makes d appearnce more elegant
    Den the notification center but want a bit edit in WiFi option want em to make it a time of 2sec when we touch the WiFi button to open up wifimenu . Nd simply it should be on/off on press
    Same with Bluetooth too only to add the 2sec option
    Dis will make actioncenter more useful :)
  • It doesn't switch off when you toggle again because you may look for another network or change some settings. It's fine.
    Source: Reddit
  • ^This
    Also Notification centre and the ability to install Apps on the memory card
  • Swype for me and third row of tiles on the start screen
  • I am surprised how quickly I fell in love with that feature actually. But the keyboard swiping is my absolute favorite new feature.
  • +820 the accuracy made my friend with a new Moto G real jealous! I told him to wait for 8.1 before settling on anything.
  • Me too. I had been very reluctant to use this feature (especially after being burned on my cheap Android phone in the past). But I used the Swype keyboard on my 521 last night to write an e-mail, and it was SURPRISINGLY useful! I might actually start "typing" with this feature from now on.   Also, forced myself to utilize the extra tiles, and I'm liking them quite a bit too. The font is very difficult to read on the Calendar, but the notifications are fine and all tiles are easy to click on.
  • 8.5 will have default messaging app selection...... Actionable notifications and live tiles....:D
  • I would like to have the possibility to enable the Wifi at a certain time. So I don't have to turn it on when I wake up! Would be great if MS add this feature
  • I'm waiting for their Geofencing to work properly - who needs certain time when I'm in an area, turn my Wifi On, turn my Bluetooth Off.   NFC even when trusted, still can't turn BT or Wifi off yet. So can't even do that when I walk in and out of my house.
  • You can have it turn on when at your favorite places. It would be nice if it turned off automatically when leaving favorite places.
  • I wish instead of the geofencing working with my location data, it could work when I make it to certain wifi hotspots. Like,when I get home, it sees my wifi,and gives me my reminder.
  • I think, you can ask Cortana to switch on WiFi at a certain time. Try it.
  • Android style lagging
  • Lol done parts are kinda lady but I'm guessing it's a bug or something
  • Lol!!!.... We're still technically in beta..
  • No. This is probably the build that carrier roll out their phone with.
  • People have stated that factory default fixed lag. I'm planning on doing this today.
  • True.. But, remember that update that came just after WP8.0 was released 6 years ago❔.. I'm hoping that MS has one in the works for 8.1... But, you're right this has RTMed....... But,,,,, Storyteller was released to the public as beta, also instagram, and it looks like Cortana will be as well...... The reality is that WP is the real "Beta test"... Lol!!!
    I wonder if some of our issues could come from not having the most optimized firmware for our specific devices running WP8.1... ???
  • My guess, a factory reset clears out the 8.0 junk which somehow didn't get cleared out my the update. Its a big big update, maybe the in update method wasn't that efficient, and it needed to clear out the junk before releasing its full potential ?
  • Nop, Joe Belfiore has confirmed that the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers isn't the final build, sure, it will be used on phones that go on retail, but we're going to see another (big) bugfix release.
  • Yeah, I'm thinking we'll see a update very soon..
  • And, maybe when those customers boot up their devices for the first time there will be a message saying that a update is ready for there new device...
  • This is RTM, it's already passed out to OEMs and getting shafted into new phones MS wouldn't be so stupid to make a "beta" widely available, beta is usually full of bugs and unfinished parts of the OS with placeholders, this as MS mention is RTM, not a beta. So get your shit together. Ofcourse lag is here just because of lack of proper drivers, im pretty sure Nokia already has them ready and just waits for "official" 8.1 release, however im not sure about Samsung/HTC, they might stay with slight amount of lag if they won't support it
  • They're releasing Cortana as Beta though... The reality, whether it's called beta, or not, is that MS had to get to get this OS out the door before some things were completed.. That's quite obvious to see,, even for someone who doesn't have their shit together... Lol!!
  • The bugs are too obvious! Where is the quality control?!?!
  • Microsoft is very aware of everything going on with all of their OS's.. Trust me, they know.. It's just all about having release dates, and meetings goals for RTM.. If they waited to release updates until they were perfect then we would never get them,, because no software is perfect...
    We've been playing with WP8.1 for a week, they've been designing it for years.. They know!!!... Lol.. Think about it...
    Nevertheless, look at he quality of Android... Now, I think MS has done a acceptable job..
  • Yes, trust Rodney.
  • NIST... No Insurance Some Times❔
  • This is not the rtm build, rtm build has the usb setting and other features that were left out from dev preview, MS never releases beta/previews with all features announced, its been like that since way back in the days.  Trust me as a MSDN former technet subscriber.
  • Now, I didn't think of that.. Good point.. So, theirs hope yet?
  • Mine seldom lags... If ever!
  • I have to say IE11. It's not the best thing of WP8.1, but at least now I can use it without problems: IE10 on WP8.0 used to crash every single time I opened it ahahahah
    I had to switch to UC Browser until WP8.1 was released.
    Other than that, the swipe keyboard, the notification center and the three-columns toggle are the best features imho :)
  • Agreed with all you said except ie10 issues as mine never crashed. The feature I love most about ie11 is the page pre load also the swipe navigation.
  • Independent volume control is by far my most used feature.
  • To me, it's only annoying.
  • +1
  • Why? As Paul says for some of us gamers, one of the real annoyances was having to turn the volume down for everything in crowded places or where it was important to be quiet. Only to forget to turn it back up and have 30 missed calls from your wife. LOL I'm pretty sure this applies to non gamers as well.
  • It'll take time to get used to. When thought I'd turned my volume down and start a game, I quickly find out that the other volume is still 30/30
  • This
  • Yup, exactly. What they should have is a small Link icon between the Sliders that can be toggled on or off, so they stay at the same relative levels if the User so chooses.
  • I find it annoying as well. I never had an issue with forgetting call volumes and in fact I would usually just turn the in-game volume down as opposed to the system volume. So, now its more of an issues because I have to be aware of what I'm about to do and alter that volume level specifically.
  • I like the new independent volume control, but whish the guys will take it one step further, by giving each app a volume control. Even if it is just the messaging apps... I want my notifications to be subtle but ringtone load.
  • I like the new independent volume control, but whish the guys will take it one step further, by giving each app a volume control. Even if it is just the messaging apps... I want my notifications to be subtle but ringtone load. As seen with Blackbarry
  • I still would like a separate control for games volume.i rarely play games but always want the volume very low. Media volumes I nearly always want high.
  • It is more difficult now to mute my phone, requiring movement on 2 sliders, and then returning both of them to their previous positions afterward, instead of the former mute on/off button.  I hope the next update brings a return of the mute all button. Also, my phone volume (Lumia 920) seems quieter now; even at full volume I have trouble hearing many of my callers now on my bluetooth connection in my car.  This was rarely an issue prior to the 8.1 preview (my wife is having the same issue with her Lumia 920, but with the built-in speaker, she doesn't use a bluetooth speaker).
  • It's actually possible to mute both volume controls by just tapping on the icon to the left of the sliders. Then when you tap them again they return to the previous volume they were at.
  • Start screen customisation, Cortana and Action Center. Although the action center could have been better and with more functionality. And obviously, the WordFlow keyboard.
  • Addition of custom shortcuts would be nice! For example, I want to place a shortcut to Flashlight-X in Action Center.
  • I really like that the keyboard now suggests emoji as you type as well as text.
  • Install apps on SD card saves a lot of space on phone nd gives space for new and new apps
  • YES... Word Flow is the best!
  • Agreed. I'm astonished at how 'smart' it is and how much faster I can compose a message using it.
  • If I have to pick one, I would pick the keyboard too.. Action center and others are nice but this was a must have for me..
  • Removing the comma key and widening the spacebar is a godsend. And generally, the keyboard and text being more efficient with space is great as well. The old keyboard didn't scale up to 1080 very well.
  • This.
  • Action center
  • Probably the fact that I had all my data wiped out during restoring my phone after a hard reset in order to get Cortana to work properly and I can't restore my settings and all of my data are up there on that cloud and I'm not able to get it back to my lovely phone or maybe its the fact that glance is defected and doesn't show me the notifications
  • Notifications didn't show up in Glance at first for me either.  Go in to glance in the settings menu and it will prompt you to update it.  Once I did that, it worked fine.
  • I did go in, many times, but it wouldn't allow me to update, I was hoping to find a barcode to scan or something if that's possible
  • Yo, I just did a Bing search using Cortana for any updates for glance and it sent me directly to update from windows store
  • The "show more tiles" option, tile backgrounds, and the notification centre are amongst my favourite features. The "show more tiles" feature means I won't have to fork out £500-odd on a Lumia 1520, despite the (ever so slightly) reduced performance!
  • IE reading view
  • This also I like
  • LOVE THIS FEATURE! Never used a reading view before. So nice!
  • Start images, IE11, Notification center, Cortana, and soon to be Lock screen customization...
    Videos playing directly in web pages!!!!!
    The whole freekin OS is awesome!!
    Now, it would be perfect if I we had the capability to add any toggle from settings we like... I really need to be able to toggle data on/off in a flash....
    Up next?? Dolby digital 5.1 surround audio capture!!,,,
    How about a native remote desktop client with a built in PC remote combining the functions of Splashtop, and Unified Remote, built right into the OS❔
  • The flow keyboard.
  • Forgot that one!!!
  • Word Flow!
  • how can i get Windows Phone 8.1 updated, or do i have to be a developer
  • Download preview for developers app and sign up for the free developer option. http://www.wpcentral.com/get-gdr3-today-windows-phone-preview-developers
  • http://appstudio.windowsphone.com/?stay=1
    Then download http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=178ac8a1-6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96 login then check for updates
  • Action center. Manually updating apps.
  • Action Center and WordFlow. Also texting and them bringing up emjoi's automatically for certain words is a nice touch.
  • mine would be swipe texting, loading apps to the SD card, and notification center. 
  • mp3's from sites like mp3skull.com can be saved now directly to the phone. or this old stuff?
  • Also "Show more tiles"
  • downloading of mp3's from the web and saving them to my memory card
  • Action center hands down and for me swype comes a closer second. Then Cortana and i love the fact that i can change the sounds for all my notifications
  • A notification center will never come to Windows Phone. -Liquid Daffodil.   HA!   Cortana and the notification and action center hands down. In general there are tons of great new features. Too many to choose from.
  • @Nimdock...I remember them saying that as well :)
  • The shape typing keyboard and the action centre and Cortana!!! Cortana CortanaCortanaCortanaCortana!!!!!
  • My fav is all the apps I can get rid of with baked in features
  • Cortana?
    No, not her.
    1. IE 11
    2. Notifications center
    3. 3rd column in start screen (btw, I don't like new start screen backgrounds)
    4. New camera interface.
  • Really?
  • Yup, why?
  • Cortana, just for the simple fact that she makes hands-free whilst driving much easier than the previous voice activation. Change music, play this, remind me, get me to... such a breeze. Just need the release of UK as pronouncing like an American is hard!
  • You Guys Have the BEST accents....I wish Cortana had a British Accent...that would be soo Hot...LOL I always thought it was easy duplicating american accents....UK accents are hard but I am pretty good at it....
  • HERE Drive+ UK English female. = HOT
  • Tell me about it. You should see what Cortana thought I was saying when I asked her "Do you like Steve Ballmer". lol
  • Word flow keyboard and start screen with notification centre
  • Since none of the cool features I was waiting for are available here, I would have to say the Action Center. And the tile backgrounds. And the third column. Hmm, I guess some cool features are available here after all... Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • I can't find where to open pages in new tabs, hopefully it will come in a later update.
  • I like all the features but do not like the way it has slowed my phone (Lumia 520) My phone is practically useless now. There is ALOT of lag on my phone now and I mean ALOT. How do I remove the 8.1 Dev Pev. I would rather wait than put up with those. My phone battery is lucky to last 2 hours! I have 3 Windows Phones but will not be installing this on the other 2 (920 & 1020). Also, cannot position cursor when texting like I used to.
  • Wrong article. This is the article about what you like.
  • Read the first line of my post "I like all the features....." Right article!
  • Once sentence out of the whole paragraph belongs here. Way to go! :D
  • What's your problem. Article asks what my favourite feature was and I actually like all the features in the update, but does not take away from the fact that it has caused some issues. The reason it only took one line is because I like ALL the new features and did not need to itemise them all (I probably haven't even seen them all yet) If I said I dislike ALL the problems then nobody would know what those problems are. The idea of a forum AFAIK is to share your experience/idea/knowledge or anything helpful. I would have considered it helpful if I knew of the problems I was going to encounter after instilling 8.1
  • My "problem" is that the article was specifically asking for the things we like. Not the opposite.   There have been many other outlets to list what you don't like. One of the most extensive ones here: http://forums.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-8-1-preview-developers/274902-... where even I have plenty of complaints.
  • And it affects your wellbeing how? Instead of criticising posts that 'you' have a 'problem' with, try sticking to giving helpful advice. As far as I have seen of your previous posts, you can be quite helpful. I was not having a go at WP or the update, only the issues it had caused my phone. I am a huge fan of WP and have been since they started (even Windows Mobile before WP) So if your life is that dull that you have to resort to responding to posts to get a reaction well go for it. Me on the other hand have a few more important things in my life so have fun!
  • Yes, sure buddy, my life is that dull.   By the way, the post was never to imply that you don't like WP, or that I like all of it, or that it should never be criticized. In the thread I link there are plenty of criticisims I offer.   Hope you can handle those other few importan things in your life that you mentioned.   I will have fun as per your advice. :)
  • Now, to be fair I could be having this conversation with any number of people posting in this article but I just happened to see your post first.
  • I don't post in these forums often and this is the reason why. I cant be bothered dealing with people like you, after posting a reasonable response to a question in an article. I never insulted anyone, I didn't have a problem at all. Just giving 'my' answer to a question. I don't understand why people like you just post unhelpful responses to peoples posts. If you cant be of assistance, well just move on to the next post!
  • Hehe, plenty of answers for someone who can't be bothered.   I didn't insult you either. The article asked for likes, so I called you out on that. If you didn't like it too bad.
  • Seriously? You "called him out" for listing his troubles with the upgrade, and then you both spent an hour arguing over the stupidity of you 'calling him out'? Quote: "If you didn't like it too bad.". Practice what you preach.
  • You'll need to use that Nokia restore application on a PC, can't remember the name.
  • I get your concerns but I am confused about how it makes sense not to install on the 1020 and 920 which both have superior hardware to the 520 due to lag, something you'd be less likely to experience on more powerful devices. I installed on a 1020 and experienced no noticable lag so far. However, prior to the install I did move 18gbs of photos from the phone to the computer (mostly to backup in case things went sour, but also give the os some room to breath). Haven't had any troubles.
  • There are many nice features added to 8.1. My least favourite though is how much it drains battery on my 920!!
  • The Start screen customization, the new sliding keyboard (just not very good at it). My daughter flipped when she heard my phone talk to me (Cortana). Hopefully soon, the lock screen.
  • Start screen themes got my friends jelly. Notification Center, Cortana and IE11.
  • Cortana is awesome, independent volume control,ie11 update, now I can say this is Microsoft...
  • I really love the quiet hours feature and action center
  • More tiles and background images... I thought I was going to HATE the background images but they made my phones like a brand new device! I find myself just flicking the homescreen up and down. 
  • Speed Dial is one of my favorites. But I don't like how I can't uninstall access point. It is messing up my MMS Settings :(
  • In WP8 I set the year to something ridiculous like 2180.   Then I clicked on the shortcut and it asked me to uninstall. I don't know if it still works.
  • By a mill in mile the bigger, more to the right space bar, even if it comes with the loss of an always visible comma.
    None of the other features come anywhere close in improving the ux. The multiline view of search queries comes close second.
  • Although a small feature I really like that Cortana reads the messages and predicts an event in advance if there is a time. All I need to do is click the time and it will set up an event for me automatically.
  • ^This is also my favorite feature. This makes calendar appts SO much easier!  
  • Swipe keyboard is by far the best feature for me and people like me who are lot into chatting!!
  • Yeah chatting like a fruit ninja
  • Apps on SD card, hands down!
  • For me it's the Action Center, new swipe like keyboard, and the new start screen.
  • Word flow keyboard. It's awesome
  • Keyboard. Cortana. Looking forward to new podcast features. Weekly calendar. Still wish I could pin glance. Don't care about notification center.
  • George said that the new camera app might sway him away from Nokia camera. I feel the same way, but don't we have to use Nokia to take advantage of the preview oversampling?
  • I'm loving the word flow keyboard so much!!!
  • Lets see, my main favorites are: 1. Themed tiles background 2. Third tile row 3. Cortana 3. Swipe keyboard 4. Quite hours 5. Notification centre 6. It's quite faster to be honest (bit buggy but no biggie) 7. Improved calendar
  • Double post! whoops!  
  • Certainly word flow keyboard, now I'm chatting like a fruit ninja!!!
  • Swipe like keyboard..
  • Cortana and keyboard.
  • Lag is my fav feature
  • As much as I'm enjoying most of the currently available features I have noticed a drop in network performance with WP8.1
    Still can't use project my screen and the Skype in call video feature.
  • Transparent start screen, Notification, Swipe keyboard, Cortana. Btw here it's my start screen.
  • I use and love the following features a lot:
    1) action/notification center (being able to glance all notices and at once dismiss all to mark corresponding mail entries as read is huge timesaver),
    2) new calendar weekly view,
    3) Cortana alarm and scheduling via texts and voice commands,
    4) all of the *sense apps,
    5) independent function volume controls.
    Finally, I am also tickled by the whimsy of the transparent tile with custom background.
  • silent notifications, ability to hide notification banner, or/and disable vibration..  chatting with skype/fb on the desktop was  torture when u owned a wp8 device near buy , constantly buzzing.. ------------
    word flow keyboard is much appreciated suprise too, was pretty surprised when it was first leaked, i actually never beleived it , so unlike microsoft :P yea, i'll settle for these two for now :P
  • So far I'm really not liking the notifications center because it's become one more place to try to deal with notifications that are already on a live tile. In the case of Facebook, maybe it's an app bug but the tile keeps updating with a badge but the notification doesn't show up in center.. And if it does, handling it on the Center doesn't make the tile clear up. My other issue is that I'm just not getting enough info when I view it in the Center. I though it would have been two lines of text per notification but all I get is the name of who it's from and then maybe three short words before the text is cut off. A wide live tile shows me a lot more text, even if still on one line. So I end up looking there anyway. And having to swipe to see a notification then realizing the "glance and go" tile was better feels like a waste of time. My favorite features are the keyboard, Cortana, and then maybe IE11 (besides a Youtube playback bug)
  • Word Flow! (I never liked Swipe on Android because it was slow and prone to mistakes....WORD FLOW IS 1000 TIMES BETTER!) Default Camera Extra Tiles Backgrounds....notification + action center, all the Senses, apps to SD
  • I really like Quiet Hours and ability to muting rooms. Action center as well. Haven't really played with Cortana enough yet
  • How to add data connection to notification center????
  • Wondering that as well
  • Definitely Swype!!
  • Props for the new calendar. Adding week view was so overdue, no credit for that, but the expansion window when you touch a day plus a weather icon too is really lovely.
  • I'd say, Cortana, action center, and WordFlow keyboard is amazing! It feels like a new phone! I just converted my girlfriend to a Lumia 928 from Android.... will definitely set her phone up with the update! I think Windows phone is now on par with the other two players, Apple and Google... Look out!
  • Hope Bing ports it's daily picture on the transparent start screen.
  • I use WordFlow, Action Center and IE11 a lot. I also like the new startscreen.
  • Ease of access > speech for phone accessibility (caller id by speech)
    Saves changing ringtones for individuals. This feature was available on HTC 7 Mozart and I missed it when I upgraded to nl800/nl920/nl1020
  • Technically, that was available in WP8.
  • Action centre is the best other than nothing is excited
  • Keyboard is as quick as you like.
  • WordFlow keyboard fort me
  • Action center mostly for quick setting changes, the web browser is finally GOOD and stable, downloading files to the phone, independent volume controls for all functions, 3rd row of icons on my 920, better functionality in the call history, search text messages, etc
    This is the best update for the phone period. I am so happy with it. It really did a lot to enhance the phone and hopefully kill the rest of the negative comments.
    Cortana. Is like sirii. To me, no big deal at all. I know most people are liking the idea of it especially the competition with google and apple, but I really have not found. A reason to go gaga over it. Even looking at future enhancements... I am not ruling it out, but it is way down the list on what actually makes 8.1 successful as it is merely a toy. So many other enhancements actually brought real functionality and true benefited to the platform that makes it stable and a real contender. But I understand... Having the same met-too media taught and flanted feature is important for the masses. Oh yeah... Word flow is super nice and really, really works well. I like how Microsoft is not relying on 3rd parties to bring functionality when they can do it much better and built in. This makes it where everyone has it without having to install a keyboard, but yet it is not required to us. Microsoft is on fire and I can see a real future resurgence and I am so happy to be on board. I mean, I am all in... xBOX one, tablets, laptops, desktop, phone, onedrive, Skype, etc. I can now be a REAL ambassador and pump the phone again... This time without he usually, it does not have this or hat... Now, the lack of apps is a non issue to me and as far as I am concerned... Anyone who says that, I want to know what they want as it is such a overused and unimaginable complaint.
  • Apps on SD is a life saver. I think that with 8.1 the sum is greater than its parts. Everything got tweaked, and the whole OS is a joy to use. Cortana isn't my cup of tea, I hate speaking to my phone, but I like that fact that's it's there as a feature. Missing a way to send/receive any type of file as an email attachment. This should be a priority....
  • Live tiles wallpaper
  • What's not to love first thing is the wallpaper underneath the live tiles, the second is the notification center, then the swipe keyboard, keep finding more every day. Today loving the fact I can change the sounds to my notifications so I know what app it is with out looking at the phone I could go on
  • When do you think we normal humble consumers will receive the 8.1
  • Cortana))
  • For myself it's the action center, new keyboard and the extra rules on the screen. Then of course Cortana
  • To be honest I really have no use for the notification center at the moment. My favorite feature by far is the swipe keyboard
  • Word flow*
  • You're right, sorry ;-)
  • Sdcard installation
  • Well, I'm surprised no-one mentioned the number one best feature in the article; proper SD card usage. Makes my 820 a really fantastic device as it negates the only down side it had, 8gig internal storage. Can't see the fuss about Cortana is worth while. Looks just like the old voice interface to me, just on another button. Perhaps that's just a UK perspective though... :)~
  • I like all of it notification, install in SD card, Cortana, independent sound, IE, and all Great job for all Microsoft developers
  • Notification center and quiet hours.
  • Its a tie between the action center, the customizable start screen and the abundance of new settings and control 8.1 has given the user. Cortana's nice, but I have to get used to using her (can I say that?).
    By the way, anyone notice a problem with the regional time settings? My quiet time stays on for an hour longer than it should...i think 8.1 is not compensating for AZ and daylight savings. ?
  • Oh and Cortana should be ready to talk to without having to push the mike button.
  • Just hold down the search key. She opens already listening.
  • Oh yeah! Kinda forgot about that after Daniels article on her live tile. Thanks, JP! Now why couldn't she answer that question?
  • Action Center quick toggles and Enableing the third row of live tiles
  • I still miss features tho and just one simple one too
    The ability to change message backgrounds either in shape and colour for your incoming and out going texts so you can easily distinguish yours and the other persons text as they look alike too someone with poor vision
  • I find it to be laughable when reviewers from incumbent tech blogs highlight features that were available prior to 8.1.
  • I have a question... Did preview version support OTG
  • Start Screen
  • I have a question for you all.
    Can we also get Cortana on our device out of united states in upcoming Lumia cyan update?
    Reply must you all guys
  • Daniel, hi I have a question... I own a mac and use a Nokia Lumia 1020... Am I able to register my lumia for developer access to test out the 8.1 dev beta that is out right now?
  • Action Center is fantastic. :D
  • Guys..can I install wo 8.1 on my Lumia 520 ?? Is there any lag due to this update ??
  • You can update dude....no lag..superb
  • Installed it on my mom's 520 and it works perfectly,but my 1520 it has lock screen issues.It's up to you to take the risk on beta software.
  • Word flow, extra row, and many...
  • Favorite: Quick toggles in action center, extra row of tiles, swipe down to close apps, quiet hours and wifi sense.
    Least Favorite (just taking some getting used to): Games in apps list, new way of handling background tasks, slightly lower battery life on my L925
  • Man, so many things to like about Windows Phone 8.1. I love the notification center and Cortana but my favorite thing to this point is the podcast hub. In WP 8 there were so many podcasts that I heard about being good but most weren't available through the WP Store. I've been able to find all of them using the podcast hub in 8.1 so I'm very happy about that.
  • For me, I almost want to say the independent volume control but then i realize my most used and liked feature I'd is the one I'm using right now. The keyboard swipe. I'm like a damn addict. Can't stop using the thing.
  • All awesomeness aside, I wish WPCENTRAL would do a piece on what we are missing/losing in 8.1.
    The trade offs make sense but I feel like WP is losing a bit of it's soul. What made it stand out more than other platforms is the level of integration. It just doesn't feel the same! Maybe its simply because I liked texting my FB messages so that I could speak the message or share a link to facebook easily through an SMS style message. It simply felt more integrated. Now it feels like its running for the app-centric world of the past. :(
  • Though I agree, I have to say that doesn't bother me. Plus, I don't know if anyone has noticed but they removed one drive integration as well. Now it opens an app and I'm definitely loving that. It took me from 5GB of space to 8GB. My other section in null now. Amazing. I really do agree though. The more they add stuff to compete with iPhone and Android, the less Windows Phone feels like Windows Phone.
  • All of them! Can someone tell me why I can't find any videos of windows phone 8.1 being compared to Android or iOS? The only real comparison I've seen was Cortana vs Siri vs Google Now. Is it because we're so close now to Google or exceeding iOS in my opinion???
  • If all apps comes to windows phone with full function then windows phone has a chance to beat every existing OS
  • I didn't think that the wallpaper option would change much about my start screen, but it's been 4 days now and I still find myself tweaking where everything is. Love it.
  • I liked 3 things! Skinned tiles, 3rd column tiles, and swipe keyboard! I like the action centre but it does not have mobile data, and I like cortana but my country is not supported! And I'm really looking forward to see the new lock screen theme app! But now I love the new windows phone 8.1! Now I never get bored of my start screen!
  • The start screen customization (more tiles, image as background), action center and Cortana.
  • I liked all features specially the action center. Still disappointed big time that they did not allow to edit/delete email body content before forwarding or reply. Why this will happen MS? Thanks anyway MS.
  • Impressed with overall 8.1 especially the photog. Area really like it. I would however like to c SMS option not to show entire banner when messaged name only
  • I do a lots of typing on the windows phone keyboard. Emailing, whatsApp and more. I would say it's action centre and word flow keyboard
  • Ability to install apps on memory card, swipe keyboard and Cortana are my favourite :D
  • Please bring usb otg,file manager,Wi-Fi direct etc.
  • Three column + Appearence + Swip connectivite
  • Start screen customisation and action centre are my #1 and #2. Use the action centre all the time. The third being swiping down to close in the multitasking screen so much more efficient. Still getting used to shape writing lol.
  • Easy. Cortana. Every time my boss walks up, I say, "Sing me a song." It's great boss repellant.
  • I was very excited about the VPN feature until I seen it's limitations. After the plans to support more protocols? Sonicwall support would be nice.
  • Swype keyboard I'm speechless
  • Notification centre & background images
  • The tiny tiles on my Lumia 1020.
  • & I love the swipe keyboard but it still needs work.
  • I love the notification center and word flow
  • WP 8.1 support HDMI cable
  • Installing apps to SD. I previously had room for 3GB of apps. I've installed 15GB of apps since Monday.
  • Glance screen is not showing notifications , whatssp need a update it is crashing alot in 8.1 and photo hub is now boring , xbox music is shittt !! Battery life has improved a bit , phone is now more fast !! Cortana is really awesome !!
  • Yeah! Photo hub sucks. I like the idea of viewing my facebook photos from friends. Whatsapp is definitely not showing in action center
  • Word flow keyboard?? It's flawless!!!
  • My favorite feature is battery drainage lol
  • +520
  • I have no idea because I don't have the update yet available so that's be great if you could stop rubbing it in. Thanks.
  • Lucky !! Don't upgrade!! OS is laggy on 512 Mb phone
  • No mutual thinking Of you all....
    i Like all features most of time i try to discover some feature in cortana...
    and as well notification is awesome then android...
    the one thing ruined my mind in action center is it doesnt have cellular network to turn on/off directly...
  • Keyboard is awesome. I feel like texting all day lmao
  • Swype definitely! No more typing one key at a time like a savage anymore!!!
  • All features are incredible, personal favs.. Cortana, all sense options, Notifications area, Word Flow, custom start screen options, I guess all would be just as accurate. :-)
  • I actually don't really like the notification center- I think it's good but I think it will be abused. I found myself using it for Facebook, when I realized I never used the Facebook tile anymore- it's completely redundant. Tiles and the action center are really mutually exclusive- developers are going to be making fewer good tiles now... And there aren't even that many live tiles on WP in the first place. Thank god we can control which apps use it. The action center really kinda undermines the concept of "at a glance" and it definitely undermines the concept of passive updates (you check your phone when you want to, not when it beeps. This leads to measurably less stress and anxiety). So I have a few things in the action center, but I disable it for most apps. However I removed wpcentral's tile and exclusively have it show up silently in the action center for two reasons: WPcentral's app has shitty/no read article management, and the live tile isn't transparent. The action center creates a faux read/unread system.
  • I love being able to select different notification tones for apps like Whatsapp and Facebook. I don't recall that being possible before.
  • Cortana, word flow keyboard, action center, custom background start screen. And the rarely mentioned: from within the multitasking view, swipe down to close app.
  • 1) Install app on SD card. 2) Improved Store these are my most favourite features.
  • Why is she not in my lumia 720,whre are you cortana?
  • Notification Center and install to SD card :3
  • Action center, Cortana and IE11 with sync of passwords, bookmarks and the reading mode are my favorites.
  • Word Flow.
  • Geo-fencing, vpn, word flow keyboard, Cortana.  IMO notification center should have been there long time ago, even with windows 8 there should be some drawer or some sort for notifications.  Also there's one feature on Andriod that I would kill for to have on my WP and that's add participant to an existing text message....noticed Apple IOS can do it neither...
  • Don't know if Its been an issue for other users but the curser behaves differently and imo its more on a "track" than its free feeling sensation prior to 8.1. Imo I don't like it, I liked being able to just drop my finger and scroll, now you have to click the little circle to start moving the curser
  • Notification and action center for sure! But I love every feature and the lil lag now and then doesn't really bother me :)
  • The lower battery life
  • Anyone know how to do the thing on Paul Acevedo's picture? The "switch to "Skype during phone call"?   Edit: Found it
  • My favorite feature is the nofication center.
  • I had 7 GB of stuff but other storage took 20gb..left with few only but after update that bother went down to 1 ...so now I got my storage back..my fav feature is this Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • I think I'll go with the notification center. Although a feature I'm still animated to pursue is HID Bluetooth support. I really miss it since the windows mobile days and would like its support back for editing and writing document with onenote and offic mobile for windows phone. So here is my shout out for HID bluetooth (keyboard) support!
  • Question: Do you really type faster with flow? 
  • Parallax....that's da shi* right there....
    My screen couldn't be any beautiful.... And the Swype....amazing....
  • I'm with Sam. IE 11 is the best mobile browser I've used and it only got better. Notification center is the biggest fluke of the update, but I'm glad others like it. For me it adds nothing to Glance (always on).
  • I have a suggestion to microsoft, since windows phone 8.1 have start screen background (transparent tiles), that would be great if micorsoft add some preloaded theme with animations as well as they did at Windows 8.1 background.
  • The start screen and this keyboard I'm using to type this message is great, I'm surprised how accurate is the perdition
  • I don't know, its not out yet... Can we get back to WP8 which is after all what we're all using...
  • The best part of all this update I'll say, EVERYTHING, NOT SEEMS FASTER, BUT IS FASTER!
  • What if the official updates comes... our dev update will be deleted? just asking...
  • It is easy to get "bored" waiting for updates and then not be impressed with the update when it finally gets here.  This is not the case with 8.1; all the features that were leaked are so much better in practice than i imagined.  The Start Screen backgrounds seemed annoying when it was leaked but in practice it is beautiful.  The notifications are seamless to the OS.  IE is dramatically better; gestures, more tabs!, syncing and dare i say it seems faster! And I had no intention of using 3 columns on my 8X but I am giving it a try and so far i like it; just removed all my small tiles and only use wide and medium.  Makes for a really clean layout. For me, the only let downs are Music and Games; both are slower and seem too distant from the OS.  I hope the updates can improve the experience.
  • Do all the bugs count as a feature?
  • Notification center, keyboard, Cortana, new background.
  • I keep forgetting I have a swipe keyboard and it rocks!!
  • IE is fantastic...on Wi-Fi. On a cellular connection it doesn't work for me. Anyway, the parallax background and Swype keyboard are my favorites so far. Cortana is cool, but definitely needs tweaking.
  • Apps on SDcard, swipe keyboard, action center. Better multitask.
  • And of course Start Background.. :)
  • Q: I was on the phone with my brother and we both have Skype accounts the Skype button was disable during a normal phone call why is that?
  • Are the accounts linked in the people hub? Mine were not linked I just linked a few will test later.
  • Yes they are linked.
  • 1. Extra tiles
    2. Word flow keyboard
    3. IE11
    4. Action centre
  • I like the quick settings links at the top, perhaps, and maybe Cortana.  The Notification center was superfluous - that was in the Me Tile.  Photo Hub was hobbled, and Facebook integration was removed from People, Me Tile, Messaging Tile.  Word Flow is nice. X-Box Music/Video is atrocious and makes me want to return to Windows Phone 7 to get back my Zune Hub.  I cannot state vehemently enough how much I despise X-Box Music and X-Box Video.  Zune was infinitely better overall - the only upside is playlist creation and cloud collection, but it refuses to cloud synch obscure songs, so my collection is very incomplete. I've collected a few changes in this post: http://wp.me/p1fLW2-8L If you find some things you don't like, check out these three User Voice users.  They've collected some of the changes they want restored, that I collected in the above post: http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/users/16554317-jjohnson1701
    http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/users/49862340-james Overall, the loss of Music+Video/Zune, Photo Hub, People Hub FB integration, Messaging FB integration, Me Tile notifications and FB update integrations is not worth the addition of Cortana and a Notification Center.  Give me back WP 8, and I'll stay there for the forseeable future.
  • Another small thing that just proves they're listening: we can now paste a phone number into the phone app and call it!
  • My favorite feature is adding swears to the dictionary.
  • Does anybody know where dissapeared picture upload option for OneDrive???
  • So far my favorite features are the ability to put apps on the SD card and Reading View in IE.
  • 8.1 comments/ features are all very well, but most of us are still using Win.Pho. 8 and aren't savvy enough to upgrade prior to official MS or Nokia over air upgrade, So all these posts / features on WinPho Central are premature !
  • Why the smallest update of all naturally....they moved the Tiles up the screen 0.5 of a Centimetre by default so there's less wasted space at the top. Well i'm happy about it :oP    
  • I love Cortana! And while others (outside US) is having trouble with their store because they changed their location to US I am surprised that I can use store without trouble in the middle east and my region is US.
  • Action center and word flow. Love that and while I am not very fast yet, I am much more accurate.
  • So far: swipe. But today I've noticed that sometimes a single word I enter by swiping gets divided into a few nonsense word fragments. Some improvement needed..
  • They brought custom text tones! Finally! You can even make it unique to each contact.
  • Love the notification too!! And bacground image.. Love the parallax view
  • My favourite is being able to use my lumia as my phone I couldnt because the volume goes down everytime the phone was powered off therefore in a rush I missed important calls because the volume is too low when i power it back on,now the volume stays where i need it at MAXIMUM i work in a noisy environment and receive a lot of calls during work because i use my phone as a working tool.
  • No flow key board??? It's so fast as I type this
  • I am feeling you bro the word flow keyboard is phenomenal! It looks so much cooler than the swipe keyboard too
  • If official update comes do we need to reset our dev update?
  • Word flow word flow word flow word flow word flow word flow word flow word flow word flow
  • Am I blind? Still no file explorer?
  • The notification slide and the ability to have a third row of tiles
  • #1 notification center. Obviously. I mean, what else is going to break the ice with hopeful WP adopters... Functionality! #2 word flow keyboard. Bring in all the Android text fanatics who only skipped WP because of its absence. (I was almost one) #3 Cortana. So many iPhone and Android users play Xbox. So many love halo. Now how many are going to commit to WP because of its dedication to the game console... Numbers are increasing, I know it.
  • Customized start screen and customizable notifications are my 2 favorites.
  • Swipe keyboard only for U.S.? Can't find the setting.
  • There is no setting, it's always on.
  • I have a question. I updated to WP 8.1 and had the feature to change notification sounds for whatsapp, messenger ect. fron the noticications+actions setting. Yesterday I reset (formatted) the phone and now I cannot do the same. All I can change are Google mail, Hotmail, Messaging, Phone, Store and Wi-Fi. Is there a way to get that feature back?
  • With the update, I noticed we can't post to multiple social sites on the me tile like we could before the update. Is there another way to post to multiple sites at once? Just curious.
  • The podcast app is actually pretty nice.
  • Hello sir, I'm so happy. Windows phone 8.1 coming.
    But some application are lep. In Windows phone 8 massage and Facebook chat are working together. An we can see online friends.
    But windows phone 8.1 its not working.
    Hello sir plzzz help my request.......
  • I hate that they took away the fb messaging fromt the messaging app
  • The update is awesome.......but we want security locks for apps and photos , videos......so pls just give a privacy update so tat will so useful in windows phone.....waiting for the update!!!!!!!