6 Cool New Features in Windows 8.1

With my new Windows 8.1 Surface RT, I’ve found I can do everything I need to do for work while on the move (aside from programming).  Here’s the six coolest features about Windows 8.1:

Windows Smart Search reinvented
The new Smart Search allows me to search everywhere – all of my files, my applications and the Internet.  It reminds me of the old Google Desktop search, which I used to use frequently to find old documents.

Read it later with Reading List
The Reading List feature can be accessed from anywhere – on all types of content – to add things to a queue for reading later. By swiping from the side of the screen and tapping “Share,” you can select “Reading List” from any webpage, document or news article, and it will queue up those items for reading later.

All Apps view enhanced
The word “New” shows up on newly installed apps in the All Apps view, and the view can be easily accessed from the start screen by swiping up. Some new apps come preloaded with things like a calculator and alarms that we’ve become accustomed to with Windows or other devices.

Full version of Microsoft Office
The Windows 8.1 Surface RT tablet comes with a full version of Office, including Outlook.  This makes using my Surface for work so much easier.  I have it set up with my company email and calendar and can use it for all of my scheduling and emailing.

Handling of multiple application windows
More than two apps can now be open on the screen at the same time, and on the fly, you can decide which part of the screen you want to open something into.  With this new enhancement, you can keep it from automatically taking over a window or part of the screen when you open something new or drag it into view.

Customize icons
Customizing is a lot smoother with 8.1. By right-clicking (if a mouse is attached) or pressing and holding on an icon, you can quickly move, resize or customize it.  It’s much more intuitive that the old Surface and easier to access the options.

More settings
Windows 8.1 has more settings and customization options than the old Surface.  There are new options, like quiet hours to set times when you don’t want your notifications going off in the middle of the night.  You can also meter and keep up with data usage while on the road.  With a new setting, you can also add micro-SD cards and have it automatically include anything on it, like pictures or videos in your library.

Overall, I like my new Surface RT with Windows 8.1 and find that I am able to use it for almost everything I need in a device.  As Microsoft continues to blur the lines between tablet and laptop, I imagine more and more organizations will start adopting these devices.  The cost is reasonable and comes with a full version of Office (including Outlook Now), so from a financial standpoint, the tablet is quite attractive.

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