Windows Phone Tips & Tricks: Connectivity

August 1, 2011, By Christian Cawley

With all of the functions and features on Windows Phone 7, you might have missed something pretty useful. For instance, assigning a ringtone to a particular contact is something we looked at not so long ago, but it’s also pretty easy to merge contacts. This is particularly useful if you have the same person in two databases, such as your SIM card contacts and Windows Live.

While the Mango release of Windows Phone 7 is set to boost the available features and functions into the stratosphere, you won’t be able to take full advantage of them without first being aware of the various shortcuts and hidden gems of the original.

Windows Phone 7 tips and tricks

In the first part of a new series, we’re going to take a look at various tricks and shortcuts that you can use in Windows Phone 7 to save yourself a bit of time, beginning with these gems concerning online connectivity…

Disable 3G Connectivity

By default, Windows Phone 7 features an active connection to the mobile Internet for both MMS and 3G network support. You might not want to use this function, or require a phone that requires charging less often (3G can use up your battery life) and this can easily be done via the Settings > Mobile Network screen; simply switch both options to off to disable Internet entirely.

Disable Data Roaming

If you have 3G enabled and travel a lot, you might find the bills start getting bigger whenever you’re abroad thanks to the high data roaming charges. While switching 3G off is one options, you can also disable roaming with the Settings > Mobile Network > Data Roaming Options selector.

Full Screen Browsing

The Internet Explorer version that is included in Windows Phone 7 is an interesting beast; most definitely Microsoft’s best mobile browser yet, it nevertheless features a few quirks. One of these is in fact by design: full screen browsing, enabled by viewing a web page and tilting your phone into landscape view. It’s an interesting use of the display but the browser in this orientation doesn’t have an address bar, which means you will need to tip your phone back into portrait mode to enter a new web page.

Turning Off Mobile Browsing

Many websites offer a mobile-optimized version of their page, but on a high-end platform like Windows Phone 7 this is going to be more frustrating than anything else, as often you will want the desktop view rather than the mobile view. Fortunately you can force Internet Explorer to find the desktop site via the Website preference option in Settings > Applications > Internet Explorer.

Finding Signal Strength Information

While they’re not displayed by default, Windows Phone will provide you with details on your signal strength for either a GSM connection, 3G or Wi-Fi, simply by tapping the very top edge of the device display. Your current battery status is also listed here.

Check back soon as we continue our journey through various Windows Phone hints and tips!

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