August 27, 2014 2:01 pm

Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Smarts: Out of the Box

Lumia smartphones take “smart” to a whole new level. Each and every Lumia is packed with features right out of the box to help you work, rest and play.

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If you’ve purchased one of the latest Lumia smartphones, such as the Lumia 530, Lumia 630, Lumia 930 or the green AT&T version of Lumia 1520 that has it pre-installed, it’ll come loaded with Windows Phone 8.1. Otherwise, WP 8.1 is available to download across many parts of the world as part of the Lumia Cyan update.

Here are some of the super-rich Windows Phone 8.1 features on offer:

1. Cortana- New personal assistant (in select markets)

Running to catch the next train or eating breakfast so quickly that don’t have time to catch the morning news? Worry not; Cortana’s got it covered.

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Here’s what Cortana can do for you:

  • Display today’s top news headlines with links to the full stories.
  • Schedule birthday reminders for your mom, dad, or anybody.
  • Provide a local weather forecast.
  • Keep an eye on the scores of your favorite sports team.
  • Update you on your daily commute and how long it’ll take to get to work and home.
  • Call the people in your People hub (without actually pressing the call button).

2. Action Center

action centreeWith just a swipe, you’ll get the detailed lowdown of all the possible alerts and notifications that you can get throughout the day.

Once you see and select an alert on the Action Center, it instantly knows you’ve read it, and that alert will disappear from your notifications. Pretty neat!

3. Word Flow Keyboard shape-writing-keyboard_InvariantCulture_Default

If you love texting, emailing, and instant messaging as much as we do, you’ll love Word Flow.  Rather than typing out long words, simply swipe your finger across each letter in a word and the predictive text feature will do it for you.

Who knew texting and composing those never-ending work e-mails could be so much fun? This intuitive keypad also adds your contacts to the word library by default, has an Emoji feature, and takes typing to a whole new level!

4. Quiet hours (only available with Cortana)

quietThere are moments when we don’t wish to make any connections with the outer world. Think of Quiet hours as your “do-not-disturb” sign.

Simply turn on Quiet hours in the settings and all the notifications will be silent and your calls will go straight to voicemail.

The best part is that you can set any period of the day or night to be off limits. You can also add people to your “Inner Circle.” You give these special people authorization to contact you no matter what.

5. Sense features: Data Sense, Battery Sense and Storage Sense

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Your Windows Phone 8.1 will keep a tab of your battery, data and storage usage on its own. Input your monthly data limit and billing cycle period in Data Sense and surf the Web without worrying about excess charges. In addition, you can also restrict background data usage and roaming.

The Storage Sense feature makes it easy to batch-move apps from your phone over to a micro SD card, and uninstalling apps is also a walk in the park.

6.  Live Tiles make it more personal  

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Time to move on from pre-set wallpapers and background imagery and embrace Live Tiles and Start Screen background feature. It takes personalization and transparency to a whole new level!

Live Tiles represent an app or phone feature and provide easy access to things that are important to you without the need to navigate through different screens or long app menus. Make the Live Tiles more interesting by making use of the Start Screen background feature. More info on that here.

7. Project my screen

We all know Windows Phone 8.1 makes Lumia an even better business smartphone, but have you tried it yet?

Well, if you haven’t been using Microsoft Office to view and edit presentations, chances are, you haven’t stumbled on Project My Screen yet. This smart feature seamlessly connects your Windows Phone 8.1 screen to an external display so you can show your Windows Phone in action during those board or club meetings. All you need is a USB cable and voila, it’s done.

8. Camera

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We know how much you love snapping photographs, and with a Lumia, you’ve got the best camera hardware and software available.

The next time you turn on the camera on your Lumia, take a few moments to learn about the highly customized settings on offer. You can choose exposure, ISO, resolution, flash, lens picker or any five most commonly used settings of your choice.

8.1. Internet Explorer 11 

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With unlimited tabs, incognito mode, and synchronization across devices, you can surf the Web on your Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone just as easily as you would on your desktop.

What smart feature is the most useful on your Lumia equipped with Windows Phone 8.1?