Windows Phone App Must Haves

Firstly, Merry Christmas everyone!

So I think it’s time for me to make a legitimate fave apps post for WP. Some background: I’ve been using WP7 since June ’12 ish. My main reason for getting a WP is because I fell in love with the metro UI and I really wanted to try it out. Note that I’ve never been on contract before (I’ve only ever bought unlocked phones), so I wasn’t losing out on anything.

So let’s get started..

1. Baconit – Reddit client. I think I almost like browsing Reddit on my phone more than via my laptop. Awesome use of the metro style. Tons of extra options like background updating, flip view (aka swiping between different topics), comment view, and more. They have a light and dark theme based on whether you are using the white/black system theme (it’d be great if users could choose).

2. Ocell – Twitter client. I recently got into Twitter (as recent as the past 3 months), and I also recently got a data plan. When on my phone, I will use txt for text based tweets (i.e. tweeting to 21212), but when I want to upload a photo, the Pictures hub default uploads to Skydrive (which usually opens the photo in a new window.. depends on the client). The default Twitter client is slow and clunky.. So I started alternating between rowi and Ocell. Both are great. Ocell only allows TwitPic as the upload client, but the nice thing is that it allows scheduled tweets! I haven’t taken advantage of the feature yet but I thought it was pretty cool. I also like that Ocell allows custom backgrounds.

3. 4th and Mayor – Foursquare client. I love it! Follows metro UI very well, very smooth overall. Much better than the default client. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have the option to select an event at the venue you checked into (neither does the default WP client). Is this an API limitation? Too lazy to check.. (It’s enabled on the mobile web version though).

4. Amazing Weather – a weather app. I’ve tried TONS of weather apps, from the default, to HTC’s, to Gismeteo. This one is the best. It grabs data from AccuWeather and displays it very nicely. There’s a Lite and Pro version, but the Lite is pretty good by itself. It has an awesome live tile (out of many options) that allows you to see today’s forecast, and the back tile would show forecasts for tomorrow and the next day. It has the smoothest experience by far. Definitely a keeper.

So the above 4 are the ones I use most often. There are a ton of other wonderful apps that I will note, although I don’t use them as much, so I cannot be the judge of quality. Here goes:

1. MetroTube – Youtube client. I was never a fan of watching videos on a phone (I think it’s silly), but this YT client is pretty amazing. Great use of metro style, extremely smooth, what more could you need?

2. Crunchyroll – I honestly just discovered this yesterday. I think they released this fairly recently, but wow! I am amazed by how stunning it looks. Definitely a +1 for anime and drama lovers. Full access to your queue and play history.

3. Period Tracker – for the ladies. I had to put this down because again, the UI is STUNNING (esp if you use the Nature Girl theme). It is prettier than both the iOS and Android apps ;) Has all the features as on the other apps, and backup/restore works perfectly fine.

4. UC Browser – 3rd party browser. IE sucks. Maybe IE10 is awesome on WP8, but UC Browser is an awesome alternative. This app gets a lot of updates, has night mode, incognito browsing, and bookmark sync. I’ll be honest though, I barely use a browser on a phone because most websites (STILL) do not have a mobile web version. And the thing that sucks is that there is no way to set your browser to something other than IE, so email links open in IE anyway..

5. BoxShot – Dropbox client. Pretty smooth. Can see your Favourites. There is lite and pro (pro has album sync). Lite has ads.

6. WordPress. I am actually pretty impressed by WP’s WP app (haha). Awesome use of metro. I don’t like typing long ass blog posts on my phone, but I do enjoy seeing site stats and reading other blog posts. Also great for approving comments.

7. Evernote. This app gets an honorable mention because it does what I want it to do – access notes and such. But it’s kinda laggy in its current state, and the experience for writing a note can still be improved (I guess it’s a little different from other platforms that can customize the keyboard).

As you can see, I’m a huge metro fan. It’s very eye-appealing. I’m not mentioning any games, either, because many famous games like Fruit Ninja and Angry birds do not have free versions. I’m hoping they lighten up a bit in 2013 so that more people can play these top games.

Oh, and I didn’t mention any photo apps because I have yet to find one that runs smoothly. There are apps that have many photo editing options and features, but they are pretty laggy right now. Some decent ones though: Lomogram, Instacam, Creative Studio (by Nokia).

And here ends my Day 2 for the DPChallenge : ) More to come!

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