Looking to get the most out of your Windows device? Whether you use the Surface RT, a Windows 8 Phone, or even a desktop computer, there are more than a few apps that can help make your time with Windows a little easier. But with more than 130,000 apps to choose from at the Windows app store, where do you begin? Although a list of nine is less than comprehensive given all the available options, below you’ll find nine of the most popular, smartly designed, and all around worthwhile apps for your Windows 8 device.
With half a dozen major IM clients on the market, odds are not all of your friends and acquaintances use the same IM services. That’s where IM+ comes in. With support for Google Chat, Facebook, AOL, Yahoo Messenger Skype, Windows Messenger, and even ICQ, IM+ helps connect nearly every major IM client into a single network. And if you’re on a Microsoft tablet, you’ll be pleased to know that you can adjust the layout of your IM tiles in a way that perfectly matches the aesthetic and function of the touchscreen. If instant messaging is an important part of how you communicate with others during your day, IM+ is a must have for both productivity and simplicity.
Just about anyone with a kitchen and a mouth will love Everyday Food. This app enables you to search for recipes by ingredient, course, prep time, or even occasion. And if you don’t want to spend half an hour preparing something that should take ten minutes, you’ll appreciate the meticulously detailed how-to videos that are ideal for both beginners and visual learners.
Regardless if you have an e-reader or not, the entire Kindle library can be at your disposal with the Amazon Kindle app. Much like the Netflix app, this app automatically syncs where you left off to every device you use, allowing you to seamlessly switch from device to device without losing your place. The Amazon Kindle app also offers a special deal on one book every day, and Amazon Prime members get free access to the Kindle lending library.
Apart from the obvious benefits of being able to run Netflix on your mobile device, you’ll be pleased to know that the Netflix app is actually fairly slick. Much like the desktop version of the service, when you close a film or show in progress, the app will keep your place for you. You can even pick up exactly where you left off on any other device, allowing you to switch between your tablet and your home computer seamlessly.
Of all the note taking apps on the market, Evernote is probably the most noteworthy. Anyone who has used Evernote on an Android or iOS device will find the Windows version to be just as intuitive and stylish on Windows devices. And because the notes you take with Evernote are automatically synced through the cloud on all of your devices, it’s an all in one solution for students on the go.
If you’re doing work across several devices or developing a collaborative project, it’s nearly a necessity to have access to the cloud. Dropbox will let you save your photos, videos, songs, and just about any other type of file on Dropbox servers, making those files accessible at any time from just about any device with an Internet connection and a browser. And in the latest Windows 8.1 release, Dropbox even supports opening, editing, and saving your files right from the app.
While MS Paint has been included with every Windows release for the past two decades, most people aren’t satisfied with its barebones functionality. By contrast, Sketchbook Express is nothing short of robust. Although it’s still no replacement for Adobe Photoshop, it’s more than enough for anything you’ll need to mock up on a tablet or smartphone. With support for up to six layers, a one click import system, and variable brush sizes, Sketchbook Express is nothing short of capable.
Adobe Reader Touch
Designed with the Windows 8.1 touch screen in mind, Adobe Reader Touch is much more than a simple PDF reader. With full editing capacities, intuitive touch-based navigation, and simple share and print support, Adobe Reader Touch is about as necessary for your tablet as it is your PC. If you work with .PDF files, you’ll struggle to find a better reader than Adobe.
Why get an app specifically for Wikipedia? Well for one, it allows you to search, share content with other apps, or save articles for later reading — which isn’t possible from the Wikipedia site alone! But more than that, Wikipedia 8 has been designed for touch screens and provides a much smoother transition from page to page than the browser version. If you use Wikipedia on a mobile device, Wikipedia 8 is the only way to go.