So you’ve just recently got a shiny new Windows 8 machine and are looking for cool apps to make the most of it? Of course you can try your luck and sail the uncharted seas of Windows Store, but since it was not necessarily designed for simplicity and intuitivity, you would probably end up with empty hands. Luckily, we’ve put together a compilation of 15 best apps for Windows 8.
Before you head your ship towards it, know that each and every item in the list was cherry picked with quality in mind. We’ve highlighted a wide array of apps – from notebooks to file managers to media players – and they’re different in multiple ways, but at the same time they offer the best experience we could find. Hopefully they will prove useful to you. Enjoy!
Microsoft built OneNote for students and people who often take notes during meetings. It is a powerful notebook application with a wide array of features. It allows you to create separate sections for every subject or meeting, name and colour-code them, and synchronize between connected devices. For instance, if you own a Windows 8 tablet and PC, you can start writing on one of them and finish on the other in the blink of an eye as the progress is synced whenever there are changes.
OneNote offers plenty of formatting options for text, tables, and images. If your device has a touchscreen, you can write notes using your finger or stylus. All that comes wrapped in an intuitive interface that takes advantage of Windows 8’s multitasking-powered Snap View.
MetroMail is a brand new application designed for Google Mail. Unlike Windows 8’s default e-mail app, it supports labels, tabs, archived and starred messages, toast notifications, and multiple accounts. It is also very fast and reliable so if you’re a Gmail user, you cannot go wrong with MetroMail.
The official Twitter app for Windows 8 is good, but leaves plenty to be desired when it comes to quality, reliability, and performance. Fortunately, there is Tweetium – a great Twitter client designed with simplicity in mind. With its column-based view, it is very easy to configure and use. It may not support push notifications, but makes up for it with in-line media preview, customizable interface, and great multi-window support.
Tweetium costs $3, which is not an exaggerated price for the best Twitter experience on the platform.
The default music app for Windows 8 is good but very basic. If you’re an user who looks for more, you should check out MediaMonkey – a powerful media player built for music and video. It comes with a customizable interface and a wide range of features.
Those include dedicated sections for audiobooks and podcasts, volume leveling, equalizer, subtitles support for films and TV shows, and wireless access to your media via UPnP or DLNA. Additionally, if you decide to buy the full version of the app, you’ll be able to sync tracks, metadata, play history and bookmarks with other Windows 8 devices.
A lightweight alternative to the default video player. MetroPlayer is lightning fast and can play all MP4 and AVI video files. Moreover, it comes with support for SRT subtitles. Other video players available in the Windows Store have an unpleasant tendency to crash often but MetroPlayer is as reliable as concrete.
There are three or four great YouTube clients you can download from the Windows Store however in our opinion Hyper is the best of them. It is a handy application with a neatly designed user interface and advanced functionality. It does not only play YouTube videos but also allows you to save them to device’s memory as either MP4 or MP3 files.
Additionally, Hyper can play videos in the background (or in a minimized window) and comes with support for Google accounts, which means that you can use it to browse your subscription feed, upload home-made films, create playlists, and leave comments.
We’ve tested a number of RSS readers for Windows 8 and Nextgen Reader turned out to be a real winner. This powerful application comes with Feedly integration and live tile support. Additionally, it allows you to pin your favorite news sections to the Start screen and read headlines at a glance as well as navigate using keyboard shortcuts. As far as the interface goes, Nextgen Reader is fast and clean, with 3-pane view for large-screen devices and a number of colour themes to choose from.
Ability to save articles to Pocket and manage subscriptions from within the app add to Nextgen Reader’s functionality and justify its relatively high price.
A simple Pocket client. It integrates with other applications, which means that you can save any article, link, image, and video with just a few clicks. It sometimes struggles to display all saved content but works like a charm for most of the time. Postpwn may not have the fanciest interface, however offers plenty of reading options that make for the best Pocket experience on the platform.
For an unspecified reason, Windows 8 doesn’t come with a touch-friendly application for managing files. Fortunately, there are plenty of them available in the Store and File Browser is one of the best. It is simple, fast, and intuitive and allows for basic operation on files. It offers an ability to pin favorite folders and libraries to the Start screen as well as add them to the navigation pane for quick and easy access.
Rainbow Drive is a feature-packed file manager that integrates with OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud serivces.
A minimal application designed for distraction-free writing. It offers a number of unique features such as deep focus, which highlights the current line and grays out the rest. It also allows you to format the text, count words, and save the file on your Microsoft OneDrive account. Dictionary, Thesaurus, export to Word, HTML and WAV, and built-in text-to-speech engine are available in the full version of WritePlus.
Adobe Reader is a multi-platform productivity application built for viewing large PDF files. On Windows 8, it allows you to copy and highlight text, make annotations, print, and share with friends and co-workers. It comes with two viewing modes designed for browsing on tablets and touch-enabled hybrid computers.
Adobe Reader Touch is a great alternative to the Reader app that comes pre-installed with the system.
If you work with words on your daily basis, WordBook is an absolute must-have. It is a powerful dictionary application that offers access to definitions of hundreds of thousands of words as well as built-in Thesaurus and links. Great support for Windows 8’s SnapView makes it a perfect supplement for any writing tool.
Nokia-made alternative to Microsoft’s Bing Maps and Google Maps. It is a well-crafted application that allows you to browse and create collections of places that you want to visit as well as browse maps using a number of viewing modes, including 3D, satellite, and street. HERE Maps comes with built-in car navigation that uses Nokia's technology to guide you through cities and wilderness.
A simple application that gives you access to thousands of beautiful high-quality videos published by Vimeo users. It has a smooth and easy to navigate interface, however offers only the most basic features.
If you recommend any other apps for Windows 8, be sure to leave them in the comments below and we may add them to the post.