This is genuinely a big decision for me. I have been a Windows Phone user since 2011 when I got an HTC Trophy. Prior to that I had a Palm Centro and then a Palm Pixi, which to this day is still my favorite phone I’ve ever had. WebOS didn’t get the love it deserved. I did also have a Treo 700 with Windows but only for a short time. The Trophy with Windows Phone 7 was my first real experience with Windows Phone, which I will now abbreviate as WP for the rest of this piece.
I can blame, or thank, Palm for getting me into Windows Phones. I adored the Pixi for its form factor, despite its name. It was a small candy bar style phone that fit perfectly in my pocket. I had that phone for just over two years with no intention of getting rid of it any time soon. However the touch screen on it became unresponsive prompting me to have to do something. At the time I didn’t have the cash to outright buy a new one and the carrier I was with no longer offered it.
So I have had the 8.1 preview for about a week now and feel I’ve used it enough to talk about it at least semi-intelligently. I am not a power user but I do use my phone all day for various tasks. This isn’t a full review of all the new stuff on WP8.1 but rather my experience with it as it pertains to me and how I use my phone. So I will break this down into the areas that have impacted me.
Internet Explorer 11
The most used app on my phone is Internet Explorer and with WP8.1 you practically get the full blown IE11 which comes in very handy. I enjoy using the internet on my phone and rarely encounter a web page that it will not load. Adobe Flash is still an opportunity for it but youtube, NHL.com and other websites that use video all load fine and play fine. It loads HTML5 content without any issues.
My favorite part about IE11 on Windows Phone is that you can load the desktop version of the websites by default, which may not seem like a big deal at first as most phones do that, but with IE11 they actually act like the desktop sites. A big win in this area is that Youtube will block some content from being able to play on mobile devices even if viewing the desktop version of the site, at least that has been my experience on Android phones and tablets and the ipad. But on IE11, I just load the desktop version and that video is no longer blocked. It even plays in browser if I want instead of auto-full screen just like on a real computer. It’s a little thing, but it makes a huge impact with how I use my phone. Continue reading Windows Phone 8.1 Preview, my time so far.→