Share your favorite Windows 8 apps (as well as those to avoid)

I realize the market in the Windows 8 Store is still small (10,000 apps or so) but there are some quality apps in there.

I’m digging through the selection and finding some nice surprises and a few disappointments.

Now, 10,000 apps, while small by the standards set by the Apple and Android markets, is still a lot of apps to go through. So I could use your help.

If you’ve found any apps that you’re willing to recommend, please leave them in the comments. All I need is the ap name, enough additional details to find it on the store (category, developer name, etc.), and a few words about why you find it useful.

Negative reviews are OK, too. If you’re disappointed by an app, let me know why.

App developers, you’re welcome to chime in. Just keep the sales pitch to a minimum.

40 thoughts on “Share your favorite Windows 8 apps (as well as those to avoid)

  1. To-Dos: Very basic, but useful way of remembering tasks.

    ESPNcricinfo: You’d ignore it in the US, but the app from the definitive cricket portal. 🙂 Brilliant execution and design.

  2. Anyone recommend any apps for kids? Will be getting a Surface RT soon and wanted to know if there were some fun drawing or learning apps.

  3. Shameless plug for my own apps
    1. MSMVPs Blog Reader – blogs hosted on MSMVPS. COM
    2. Barb’s Connected World – my own blog

    Both are windows store apps and are free.

  4. (Disclosure: I work for Microsoft, but not in Microsoft Studios. This is my personal opinion and not representative of Microsoft, etc.)

    Ed, I would recommend Adera (published by Microsoft Studios) as an interesting take on the hidden object puzzle category. There is one episode available for free (not sure if later ones will be free?) which takes about 3-4 hours to play through. So, it’s engaging, but not overly complex. It also goes quite well with the Surface RT as it supports the accelerometer, so you can tilt the Surface in order to move around. Didn’t see any lag at all when playing.

  5. Recommended:
    1) Boston Globe: Big Picture
    2) Remote Desktop (Microsoft)
    3) Tweetro
    4) MetroTwit (although right now it has a compose tweet bug that needs to be resolved)
    5) Wikipedia (official)
    6) OneNote
    7) Evernote
    8) The NY Times
    9) UrbanSpoon
    10) Bleacher Report
    11) Flight Aware
    12) RedditHub
    13) IM+
    14) TuneIn Radio
    15) MovieGuide
    16) OneNote MX

  6. A few I found recently are:

    Bento News Reader
    Big Picture
    How Stuff Works

    Tweetro is my favorite Twitter client.

    The big names of course.

  7. My current favorites are:
    Metrotwit (everyone knows Metrotwit!)
    News Bento, RSS reader
    PushPod, podcast app
    Encyclopedia Britannica, Books and Reference
    Music, before today’s update this would be on the Naughty List, but with todays updates it’s fast, stable and a very good app
    ReddHubb, reddit reader
    YouTube+, 3rd party YouTube app
    FlightAware, Travel
    Fhotoroom, Photo Editing
    Music Maker Jam, for creating music tracks. My kids love this one.

  8. I got here through Tweetro, so that certainly counts. Skype’s and Netflix’s apps are very functional as well. Love the presentation of the USA Today app, fantastic.

    Going to less-known apps, although not in very good shape at the moment, I’ve been talking to the devs of NotepadRT, and they’ve convinced me that the app has tons of promise. I’m keeping an eye on that one.

    Another surprise is IRC Explorer. I was going through the current IRC apps (there are like five now?) and like many of the apps I’ve seen, they’re pretty damn ugly. But IRC Explorer, wow, that was a really nice surprise. It’s not glamorous or in your face. It just looks pleasant, and functions quite well.

    Everyone probably knows about Forismatic, the quotes app. Such pretty animations, and the live tile is great too (although not sure why it’s blue considering the app is mostly black on white).

    Characteristic is another one of those extremely single-purpose apps (just shows you properties for all the keys on your keyboard), but it does its job well, and with a nice presentation to boot.

    TrimWord is my favorite Markdown editor so far, although that’s not saying much seeing as most of the Markdown editors aren’t very good. I don’t like their icon though.

    NextGen Reader’s a very class RSS reader, and although I’m a laptop user I’m sure it’d do splendid on tablets.

    I believe Reddit-To-Go is my favorite Reddit app so far, but I just normally use the Reddit site (and AlienBlue for iOS) for browsing anyway.

    I personally don’t use many Metro apps, but I love perusing them because they give me ideas and inspiration for my own work. Plus seeing as I love the design aesthetic, it’s always nice to look at pretty things.

  9. For a Google Reader app, I’ve settled on NGReader. Clean interface, very functional.

    Kayak has a nice app.

    Skype is good – and useful when you put in on one side of the screen and use another app while in a conversation.

    I’ve tried to use IM+ as a front end to Google Talk but can’t get it to work right.

    I also tried setting up Lync but you can’t customize the server config, so unless you are set up a specific way, it won’t work.

    Happy there’s a LastPass app, but they need to work on interface – group are shown in what seems like random order.

    Remote Desktop is fantastic – I can remote into my laptop running Outlook.

    I’m alternating between Tweetro and MetroTwit.

    Please, please, please can someone make a better mail app? The built-in one is slow and you can’t even flag messages.

  10. NextGen Reader
    Microsoft Solitaire Collection
    I Love Music
    Art Text
    Fresh Paint
    Read It Better
    Bing News and Bing Sport
    Google Search
    To-Do List
    Perfect365 (really amazing)
    Grapholite Diagrams
    Joining Hands
    Comic Boss
    Task Robot

    and that’s all for now 😉

  11. For anyone who uses several systems and browsers including Windows 8, I recommend Xmarks to keep favourites synchronized across them all. I was really pleased to see it in the store already.

  12. I have NextGen Reader on my Wp7 phone and Win8 computers. It’s great in Win8, and I haven’t been to the Google Reader site since I got it.

  13. OneNote MX — great (needs a few more options)
    Boston Globe’s Big Picture (especially compared to the website)
    PuzzleTouch (nice demo of touch interface)
    Inrix (real-time traffic)
    TreeSize Touch

  14. Obviously biased (I’m the author), but Memorylage is a great app for browsing your photos, as it replaces the standard grid of thumbnails with a dynamically generated, metro-styled collage. It was released on the 26th, and already has over 5,000 downloads with a 4 star rating (4.5 stars if you count just the US).

    Memorylage Site (Has video demo)

    I also wrote a blog post about the process of getting into the store, which has over 86,000 page views after being picked up by slashdot, reddit and hacker news.

    The Missing Bit

  15. OneNote (both versions). I use the Desktop version for content creation when tablet docked and Touch for minor edits / review. Hope that ‘Radial menu’ makes it’s way into other apps


    NFB Films – National Film Board of Canada App, some quirky videos on there

    MS Office Videos – just links to YouTube vids I think but gives me something to watch while eating lunch in the office plus I may learn something

    Wordament – best way to waste 5 mins

    Alternating between FlipToast, MetroTwit and Tweetro (keep going back to Tweetro).

    Xbox Smartglass – because controlling the 360 from a tablet is cool.

    Love TapTiles but gutted to find its not available on the SurfaceRT (Why?).

    Music – I’ve got the zune pass thingy so standard music app is ok for my needs.

    Like that Internet Explorer can cope with most web sites but handling of favourites is clunky and a ‘Reader’ mode would be appreciated (Playbook scores highly on being sofa surfing tablet of choice).

    Kindle – Not really used this much on Win8 tablet but doesn’t seem as slick as the IOS version.

    Not Mail, Definitely not Mail. Luckily I receive very little non-work email and the Win8 mail client only just beats the POS that RIM give you on the Playbook.

    Just bought SpectralSouls (1st App/Game I’ve paid for), too early to tell but the screenshot appealed to me.

    I keep trying the BBC News App (the one that reminds you it is not linked to the BBC in any way) and always get cheesed off after 10 mins as it doesn’t seem to show all the categories so I end up on the actual web site. Pity really as a similar looking App on WP7 is actually ok.

    For the record I’ve been using most of the above on an Acer W500 since the RC version of Win8 and I received my SurfaceRT today (and very pleased with it too – except for the lack of TapTiles).

  16. I’ve tried most of the RSS readers, and I actually prefer Modern Reader myself. My only complaint is that it jumps to IE to render full articles instead of in-frame doing so, but I find a lot of the others just ‘too busy’.

    Also agree that the updated Music app is MUCH better, though it’s still missing some key features that make handling a large, local music collection tricky.

    Beyond that, for the Foodie in my I’ve been using many of the food apps, all of which are pretty good to excellent: FoodTV, Epicurious, AllRecipies, Everyday Food and Cocktail Flow are all nice.

    Beyond that, I use the HECK out of the news app and the NBCNews apps respectively.

  17. A good Kids app I bought recently is “Tots PlaySchool”

    @Matt Kerr – Probably something you should try. My kids love this app.

  18. Here are the Windows 8 apps I’d recommend based on my testing so far:
    • TweeTro
    • Package Tracker
    • Netflix
    • NextGen Reader
    • One Note
    • NBC News
    • Bing News and Sports
    • Inrix
    • Skype
    • You Tube +
    • Urbanspoon
    • Flight Aware
    • Movie Guide

  19. NextGen Reader
    Reddit to Go
    IRC Explorer
    Clipboard (use the share charm)
    Freda ebook reader
    Notepad RT

  20. My favorite ones are:
    Boston Globe The Big Picture
    Dhingana (Free & Legal streaming Hindi music)
    Khan Academy
    Periodic Table
    Onenote MX
    Flux (Great RSS reader)

  21. Hi, Ed:

    We are a Micrsosft certified Windows 8 developer and a partner on the Microsoft Application Accelerator Program (MAAP). We have already developed three Windows 8 apps, two demos and one in the App Store. See links below. Would love your feedback…

    Tom Bannon
    US Sales Director

    Samsung Retail app:
    Real estate app:
    eCard app (fun photo app in the App Store already):

  22. If you want to browse the Windows Store without all the rubbish apps, check out our new site – Great Windows Apps

    We filter out anything which fails basic checks (like having a really short description, using the default store icon, or a rating less than 3 stars). Then we feature true new releases and true top rated rather than the oddly curated selections you see on the store. We also have a section for apps which don’t yet have any ratings so you can try to discover the next big thing! :o)

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