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Eight things you didn't know your Windows Phone could do

Liane Cassavoy | July 1, 2013
No matter how hard it tries, and how much it improves, Windows Phone just can't get respect. If iOS is like Jay-Z--polished and effortlessly cool--then Windows Phone is like Kanye West --overeager and trying too hard.

You also can type text directly into the app for translation, in case you're unable to snap a photo. And Bing Translator doesn't require an Internet connection in order to work, so you can avoid hefty roaming charges.

Power saver
Long battery life is the holy grail of any mobile device, especially when you're on the go and away from a charger. Windows Phone makes it easy to preserve every last drop of juice, thanks to its built-in Battery Saver option, which you can turn on in the Settings menu.

When Battery Saver is enabled, the phone won't run apps in the background or sync email automatically. Your calling and texting will not be interrupted, but you'll have to sync apps and email manually.

iPhone owners can conserve battery life by taking some of the same steps, but they all have to be enacted manually, as iOS does not offer a similar, one-step battery saver option.

Share your location, selectively

When you're running late and you want to tell your friends that you're almost there, you could pick up the phone and call them. Or you could type out a detailed message with your location. Or, you could use Windows Phone's built-in location sharing feature.

It works when you're sending a text: you just tap the paper clip icon and select the option to attach your location directly to the message.

The recipient gets your location as a thumbnail map, which can be opened in the Maps app for more detail. (And if they're using some other kind of phone, like an, ahem, Android or iOS device, they'll get a link they can open in their browser.) Now, your friends will believe you when you say "I'll be right there."

Calculate like a professor
Every smartphone can double as a calculator, making it easier to split a bill or balance your checkbook. But when you need to handle advanced calculations, Windows Phone has you covered.

Open your calculator and rotate your handset to the left, and the plain-old calculator becomes a scientific calculator--handy when you need to solve a physics equation or want to practice trigonometry in your spare time.

Rotate the handset to the right and the calculator becomes a hexadecimal calculator, which is handy when you want to...calculate hexadecimally? If you actually know what a hexadecimal calculator is, I'm sure you'll be happy your Windows Phone has one.

Get in the group

With so many friends and contacts, it can be difficult to find out what's going on with the folks you really want to stay in touch with.

 

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