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.