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Microsoft has announced they will start allowing desktop apps into the Windows Store. It’s a sensible move and one that’s long overdue, but does it spell the end for the oft-maligned Universal apps Are You Confused by the Windows App Terminology? Are You Confused by the Windows App Terminology? Did you ever wonder what's the difference between an application, program, or software? Or whether that Windows app is metro, modern, universal, or plain straight? You're not alone. Let us clear things up! Read More ?

In a word – no.

Admittedly, some universal apps in the Windows Store are poor imitations of their desktop cousins Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download? Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download? On Windows 10 and 8.1, you can either download and install a Desktop applications from the web, or you can get an app from the Windows Store. We explore the differences between Desktop and Store... Read More ; the official Microsoft apps are some of the worst offenders. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some really useful, high-quality apps in there, you just need to know what to look for.

Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best Windows 10 apps. Make sure you let us know what we missed!

In this article: Cloud Storage | Food and Drink | Games | Image and Photo Editors | Music Players | Productivity | Reading | Shopping | Social Networking and Communication | Utilities | Video Players & Companion Apps

Last updated: October 10, 2016

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Cloud Storage

Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive all naturally have apps for Windows 10, enabling you to access your cloud-stored data using the Modern interface.

Box

box

Offering 5 GB of free storage, Box is a popular cloud storage solution among home and business consumers alike.

Dropbox

dropbox

There is room for improvement in the Dropbox Windows app, but it is functional and allows you to open, edit save, and share your data with contacts. Although it doesn’t use the Dropbox folder on your PC (for instance if you are also using the desktop version), it does make your files available quickly.

OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft’s flagship cloud storage service. For people who don’t want to deal with the somewhat fiddly desktop folder, the app is a great alternative. It works on both Windows 10 and Windows Mobile.

onedrive-win10

Food and Drink

Cooking isn’t for everyone, but if you have an interest in getting to grips with one of life’s most vital skills, having a computer on hand is particularly useful. Touchscreen devices like Windows tablets are of considerable use in the kitchen, along with these apps.

Timed2Perfection

timed

If you’ve ever come across a recipe with temperatures that don’t make sense, this app is for you. Banish the problems of getting your meals cooked properly with this Windows 10 app, which displays the correct temperature and cooking times for different foods as well as an illustration of gas marks, Celsius, and Fahrenheit.

Recipe+ Nutrition Profiler ($7.99)

recipenutrition-feb14

Designed to display nutrition information for existing recipes or ones you create. Works offline and features a database of over 12,000 food types, this is a great way to find out just what foods in your diet are healthy and where you can make improvements.

You may also be interested in Go Veggie ($6.99)YumvY Cooking CompanionBaby Food Recipes ($1.49), and Allrecipes.

Games

The Windows Store is packed full of games. Some of them are great fun and keep you engaged for hours, some of them will quickly have you searching for the delete button.

Either way, very few of these are available as standalone desktop apps – the only way to play them is to download the universal app version.

Halo: Spartan Assault ($2.99)

muo-windows8-game-review-halo-sa-mission-melee

Awesome top-down spin-off of the popular Xbox 360 game, this is an unusually strong title for touch devices and unmissable if you own a Windows 10 device. An excellent companion to the main Halo series, we absolutely loved this game, and you can read more about it in my Halo: Spartan Assault review Windows 8 Gaming Hits Second Gear With Halo: Spartan Assault Windows 8 Gaming Hits Second Gear With Halo: Spartan Assault One of the greatest video game franchises, Halo has been shy of Windows PC since Halo 2 was released in 2004. Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows 8 changes all of that – but is it... Read More .

Medieval Apocalypse

medieval-feb14

This hack’n’slash RPG takes you into an apocalyptic medieval world where you play a knight completing quests to defeat zombies and collect gold. Yes, that’s right – a zombie/knight hack’n’slash with fast, frantic gameplay. Oh and it’s free too, which really seals the deal.

Fairway Solitaire

Two of the most relaxing pastimes meet each other in this game as you play a hand of solitaire, while simultaneously making your way around a golf course. You need to try and achieve a score of par or less to advance to the next levels (aka, holes).

fairway-solitaire

Image and Photo Editors

Whether you’re editing photos or creating a work of digital art from scratch, Windows 10 has on offer several great tools, free and paid, to help you achieve your finished piece.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Not everyone needs the expensive full-featured version of Photoshop What Can You Actually Do With Adobe Photoshop? What Can You Actually Do With Adobe Photoshop? Photoshop can now do a lot more than just edit photos; some of the tools from programs like Illustrator have made their way into the software and vice versa. Read More , but there are lots of times you’ll need something more powerful than MS Paint.

A great option is Adobe Photoshop Express. It’s designed to be an on-the-go photo editor. Features include basic alternations like crop, straighten, rotate, and flip, one-touch adjustments for brightness, exposure, and shadows, and slider controls for exposure, contrast, clarity, and vibrance.

adobe-photoshop-express

If you have an Adobe ID, you can download additional plugins.

Fhotoroom

fhoto

Excellent photo app migrated from Windows Phone, with a collection of basic editing tools and over 70 styles, frames, filters, and light leaks.

Fresh Paint

freshpaint

Easy to use painting/art Windows 10 app with very low learning curve, this is ideal for kids and adults, – all you need is a desire to paint! If you’re using a tablet with a stylus, such as the Surface Pro slates, this app suddenly becomes all the more powerful.

Gallery HD

gallery

Find photos and videos on your computer, network, or external storage and enjoy them in stunning slideshows with fade and zoom effects. This is a great way to unify your images and view and edit them in a single app in Windows 10’s touch screen interface.

Music Players

Rock out with your Windows 10 computer thanks to this collection of MP3 players and audio streaming apps.

TuneIn Radio

tunein

Does it get better than free internet radio? The popular mobile radio streaming app, now on Windows 10. Pretty much any channel in the world can be tuned into with this app, saving you the bother of finding the right stream in your browser.

VEVO

vevo

Provides access to the amazing free VEVO service, where videos, live concerts and new artists await! Note that some events may need to be booked or a nominal fee paid.

Clouder!

clouder-feb14

Browse and listen to thousands of SoundCloud tracks, share with friends and explore playlists uploaded by other users. You can also mark tracks as favorites and play them from your personal dashboard.

Other worthy Windows 10 audio apps include Webradio and Mix Radio (formerly known as Nokia Music).

Productivity

Like any computer platform, Windows 10 is designed for productivity as well as entertainment. It’s not all about cooking, either, with tools for note-taking, remote desktop and more.

Translator

Yes, Google Translate is still the market leader in the world of translation apps 3 Best Translation Tools Based on Google Translate 3 Best Translation Tools Based on Google Translate Read More . Sadly, it doesn’t have a Windows Store app.

If you interact a lot with other languages – perhaps because of your news interests, cultural interests, or work requirements – it can quickly become frustrating to keep jumping between the documents you’re working on and the Google Translate website.

bing-translate

The translation quality of Bing Translator is just as good as Google Translate, it works offline, and it’ll sit happily in your taskbar for easy access.

OneNote

muo-onenote-unique-familytree

Make notes, plan outlines, clip resources, and sync your digital scrapbook to the cloud with this fast, impressive app and its unique finger-friendly dial menu. It features OneDrive syncing, enabling you to instantly see your notes on other devices. Note that EverNote Touch is also available if you prefer that notebook syncing service.

Money Lover – Money Manager

There are lots of family budgeting desktop apps QuickBooks Online: Reputable and Easy Cloud Accounting so You Can Focus on Your Business QuickBooks Online: Reputable and Easy Cloud Accounting so You Can Focus on Your Business QuickBooks has an established reputation for being the primary, all-inclusive accounting and finance management service for businesses of all sizes. Read More trying to grab your attention, and even more web apps. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try making your own budgeting spreadsheet in Excel 7 More Useful Excel Sheets to Instantly Improve Your Family's Budget 7 More Useful Excel Sheets to Instantly Improve Your Family's Budget Here are 7 more great Excel sheets that will help you improve your family's budget, whether you're single or have a spouse and multiple kids. Read More .

Or, you could consider Money Lover – Money Manager.

money-manager

You can track your money across long time periods, it comes with a financial calendar that’ll send you alerts and notifications, it includes lots of useful (and free) graphs and charts, and it works in multiple currencies.

Code Writer

Are you looking for a fast and easy-to-use code editor app? Code Writer has you covered.

It’s been around since the early days of Windows 8 and has built a loyal following of fans. It comes with active syntax highlighting, supports more than 20 file types, and has a live tile that displays both the names and save states of your open documents.

code-writer-windows-app

Interestingly, it also supports several cloud storage services Check Out These 4 Discounted Cloud Storage and Backup Services Check Out These 4 Discounted Cloud Storage and Backup Services Make sure you never lose your files to a devastating PC implosion again. Today, we're featuring 4 deals on Cloud storage and backup solutions that'll keep your files safe and secure! Read More , so you can take your project with you wherever you go.

TeamViewer Touch

teamv

Set up a connection to another computer in seconds, whether it is a Windows, Mac, or Linux device. Connections are secure and no configuration is required for firewalls and proxies. If you regularly have to access other computers for support or collaboration, TeamViewer Touch should be your number one choice.

Reading

Whether you’re using a tablet computer, a desktop, laptop, or hybrid, reading apps are vital to digesting information from the latest bestsellers to reports in PDF format.

Kindle

kindle

Access to over 1 million books on the Kindle Store is granted to you with this app, which can sync across devices. Get reading!

Audible

audible-feb14

Who’s got time to read books these days? Between commuting to work, updating Facebook statuses, and feeding the dog, most of us don’t have a spare minute in our days.

That’s why audiobooks have grown in popularity This Site Has Thousands of Free Public Domain Audiobooks This Site Has Thousands of Free Public Domain Audiobooks Audiobooks can be expensive. Why not relieve some of the pressure on your wallet by listening to these free public domain audiobooks instead? Read More over the last few years. They let you drive, update Facebook, and feed the dog at the same time, all while still managing to give your brain a fix of quality literature.

The Audible app has all the features you’d expect. They also recently added streaming, so you don’t need to download a book to listen to it.

News Live Tiles

The Microsoft News app is a nice idea. The app itself is constantly being improved and it’s now a good option to consider when you’re assessing the best way to consume your news The Best 5 Amazing News Apps For the iPad The Best 5 Amazing News Apps For the iPad One thing I'm sure I don't have to tell you is that news is changing. Everything from the way information is reported down to the way it's consumed has undergone a change in recent years,... Read More .

Unfortunately, the live tile isn’t so useful; it cannot display all the information you care about. The reality is, it’s impossible for the app to display all those headlines in such a small box.

news-live-tiles

The solution is to download News Live Tiles. It’s a glorified RSS reader that allows you to create feeds for any site you want. The headlines from those sites are then displayed in the live titles. You can have as many tiles as you want.

Nextgen Reader ($1.99)

nextgen

Originally designed as a Google Reader Windows 10 app, this tool now offers support for many other RSS feed reading services and has grown beyond its initial purpose into an extremely usable reader, complete with sharing options.

Shopping

Your Windows 10 computer is a hub to the online marketplace. You can connect to the likes of Amazon or eBay and make your purchases, directly from within a dedicated app. Who needs a browser?

eBay

ebay

Easily search, bid, buy, and list your own items for sale or auction with the official eBay app for Windows 10. Very similar to the eBay apps for other platforms and just as easy to use.

Amazon

amazon

Using this Amazon Windows 10 app is faster than using the website. Search is fast and processing purchases is efficient – try it!

CPlus for Craigslist

cplus

Whether you’re looking for something for sale, somewhere to live, or even somewhere to work, this remarkable Windows 10 app lets you win at using Craigslist. Previously known as Craigslist+.

Social Networking and Communication

Chat online? Enjoy Facebook and Twitter? Perhaps you socialize on Reddit? Check out these awesome options.

Facebook

fb

Offering a superior Facebook experience that matches the popular social networking site, the only thing you can’t do with this app is play games!

Messenger

Ever since Microsoft made changes to universal apps and allowed them to be operated from the taskbar, they’ve become a lot more useful. Even then, however, some apps just don’t work very well as universal apps. One exception is Facebook Messenger.

facebook-messenger-windows-app

If you’re the type of person who’s always using the service to chat with friends, having a dedicated taskbar icon can be really handy. Unlike the universal Skype app, which is shockingly stripped of features, the Messenger app retains the functionality you’re used to from its website counterpart.

Reddit2Go! for reddit

eddit

Modern-style Reddit experience, this app shows the front page and all subreddits, any of which can be pinned to the Start screen. There’s far more to it than this, however, as explained in our RedditToGo review RedditToGo Offers an Intuitive Reddit Experience for Windows 8 RedditToGo Offers an Intuitive Reddit Experience for Windows 8 Browse Reddit intuitively, with columns. Reddit To Go is a Windows 8 app that opens every link you click in a column, allowing you to quickly browse from one story to the next. You can... Read More .

Twitter

twitter

Limited compared to some of the alternatives, Twitter nevertheless offers everything you would expect as well as the Discover tool to find trends and follow suggestions. This is the only reliable and free Twitter app for Windows 10.

Other social apps you might be interested in are StumbleUponIM+ (an all-in-one messenger for reaching chat contacts across several networks), and the VK app for the popular V Kontakte social network

Utilities

Windows 10 is a virtual toolbox. It can be your search tool, your calculator, and even your digital nightstand.

PC Benchmark

System diagnostic tools 13 Windows Diagnostics Tools to Check Your PC's Health 13 Windows Diagnostics Tools to Check Your PC's Health Every Windows user eventually encounters problems that aren't easy to diagnose. Bookmark this article, so you'll have a list of tools handy to help you when it happens to you! Read More have a tendency to be extremely complicated. If you want a quick snapshot of your computer’s most vital statistics, without wading through masses of measurements that you don’t understand, you should try PC Benchmark.

It measures the speed of your main computer components such as system storage (both HDD and SSD), the CPU, the memory, and the GPU. All the results are displayed on well-presented graphs and charts.

pc-benchmark-app

FileBrick

brick

Access all of your local and cloud storage from one simple app. File Brick also acts as a DLNA server and facilitates sharing from YouTube, Picasa, and Flickr.

Network Speed Test

We’ve all lived in a place with a dodgy internet connection at some point in our lives. Perhaps the speed fluctuates wildly or your connection is prone to dropping out. Sadly, internet service providers rarely have much inclination to do anything about it – they’re getting your money and they’re happy.

It’s frustrating to try and build up a body of evidence to present to them. Speed test websites are full of adverts and they don’t log your historical results.

Network Speed Test rectifies the problem. It’s got a clean interface, it’s lightning fast, and it logs past network performance history in easy-to-understand charts.

networkspeed-feb14

Video Players & Companion Apps

Watching TV and movies, streamed content from popular online movie subscription services? You need these apps.

Netflix

netflix

Enjoy TV episodes, movies, and original content from the world’s leading streamed subscription service. This Netflix app is comparable with the browser interface Netflix Showdown: Windows 8 Modern App Vs. Desktop Version Netflix Showdown: Windows 8 Modern App Vs. Desktop Version Netflix is a fantastic service, but users on Windows 8 have multiple options for enjoying it. Should you go with the modern-styled Windows 8 app, or the desktop version accessible in the browser? Read More , and in some ways better.

Hulu/Hulu Plus

hulu

What could be better than unlimited streaming of top TV shows and fantastic movies? Hulu Plus offers more than the standard Hulu service, and for many users is worth the upgrade.

VLC

The Swiss army knife of media players has been a long-time favorite of users. Unfortunately, it can be a bit aggressive on your battery life.

The Windows Store app is lighter and less resource-heavy. It supports video, audio, MKV, and FLAC playback, and lets you manage your media library.

vlc-windows-app

Note: VLC also offers an app for ARM devices, called VLC for Windows Store.

Xbox One SmartGlass

smartglass

If you own an Xbox One and a Windows 10 device, this is the ultimate companion app, a second screen to interact with your console and TV. An Xbox 360 version of SmartGlass is also available.

Hyper for YouTube

hyper-feb14

One of the most popular YouTube apps for Windows 10, Hyper enables you to view in SD, 720p and Full HD as well as download videos and MP3s to your tablet or computer. We were so impressed, we thought we would show you the benefits of Hyper for YouTube.

Now It’s Your Turn…

I hope I’ve shown you that you shouldn’t dismiss the Windows Store out of hand. It’s an increasingly important part of Microsoft’s Windows strategy and the quality of the apps within it is only getting better.

Have you found an app that you’d like to recommend to your fellow readers? Have I missed your favorite app off the list? Or do all the offerings still leave you unconvinced? Let us know your thoughts, opinions, and recommendations in the comments below.

Originally written by Christian Cawley.

  1. Ratindra
    October 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    There are other great apps.
    Newsflow
    Perfect Tube
    Explorer for Youtube
    Monument Browser (Alternate to Edge)
    XODO PDF
    Copy Space (universal clipboard)
    Win Screens (Wallpaper & Lock Screen customization)

  2. Rich
    April 1, 2015 at 4:02 am

    April 2015 and there are NO good tablet mode file managers, video players, picture viewers, and if you add the word comparable you can add almost all other categories of apps.

    With a few exceptions only apps where companies can sell "stuff" have decent apps.

    Microsoft's Weather, OneNote, 2 Ereaders, Torrex and several games are such. Office is good but overpriced for consumers.

    Add the worthless search/sort function in the Windows Store and I see little future for Windows on mobile devices which is a shame since the # of great desktop apps is almost boundless.

    Compared to my 2 year old Android 4.4 tablet, with almost all free software, my brand new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Windows 8 is virtually useless unless I use desktop apps.

    Then, and only then does Windows work, but the interface doesn't, not even with a stylus.

    Look at Total Commander, MX Player, Quick Pic, Flud and Foxit or Adobe PDF (until Adobe ruins it by their greed. Oops too late) on Android to see how a tablet should work.
    There are several good Office suites as well.
    Android is so far ahead of anything else on the tablet everything else is a joke. Including IOS Apple fans.

    Pop it on my $7 Amazon stand, or cast the screen, with a Bluetooth KB & mouse and my Android tablet does ALMOST as well as my Windows hybrid (won't cast, but a HDMI cable works) but the Windows hybrid wins because that is where Windows shines . . . the desktop and it's apps.

  3. Rhys
    February 5, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Hasn't anyone heard of 'Drawboard PDF'?!?!

    You have been missing out.

  4. Azus Smith
    December 31, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Cloud Storage is vision of Microsoft in upcoming years. This feature is engaging users with high-end future technology.

  5. Jerry
    December 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Komic Reader and News 360 are two of my favorite apps. News 360 is also cross platform so I get the same content on Android too.

  6. likefunbutnot
    December 16, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I use a non-Pro Surface with some regularity. The best single argument for modern-style apps is probably the paid Plex Client for Windows. Boy howdy is it slick.

    News Bento, File Manager HD, freda and Fotor are other tools I use quite often.

    Modern style apps are missing some things. Gaming blows, for example. Surprisingly, the options for local media playback are pretty limited, and some online services like Pandora that should have native clients are served only by third-party tools.

    • Sean R Kethcart
      October 30, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      +1 for Plex. Amazing media server and the client is nonpareil. Good call.

  7. Adarsh
    December 16, 2014 at 3:17 am

    I personally think Book Bazar Reader should have been in the ebook section. Supports many more formats as well as offering a numerous extra features such as taking notes and highlighting passages.

  8. portableman
    December 16, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Hyper For YouTube, OneNote, Nextgen Reader, Teamviewer are my favorite Windows 8 apps.

  9. Hildy J
    December 15, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    In the reading category, try Overdrive (books) and Zinio (magazines). Many libraries support checking out books and magazines to these apps making not just the app but the content free.

  10. brkkab@gmail.com
    December 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    You missed the Newegg app in the shopping category.

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