5 Awesome Windows 8 Apps That Will Make You Love Modern UI
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windows 8 modern uiSeveral months ago, I made the leap to Windows 8. Having heard so many contradictory opinions, I didn’t know what to expect from this new Modern interface. I don’t own a Windows 8 tablet, which means I’m not limited to Modern UI, but my laptop is touch enabled, so I can make the most of it, if I want. Whether you’re limited to Modern UI or just contemplating its general usefulness, you need really good apps to help you take advantage of it.

The Windows 8 Store has been growing by leaps and bounds, and it’s now possible to find a great selection of Modern Windows 8 apps. From news apps 5 Fullscreen News Apps for Windows 8 5 Fullscreen News Apps for Windows 8 Do some reading, Metro-style. A variety of apps from major news sources and beyond give you quick, clutter-free ways to read the news you care about. If there's one thing Windows 8's new Metro (sorry,... Read More to email apps Email Goes Modern: Three Windows 8 Email Apps Email Goes Modern: Three Windows 8 Email Apps With your shiny new Windows 8 device or upgrade booted up, tiles gleaming at you and winking with useful information, you might take a few moments having a look around before you get the chance... Read More , there’s almost nothing that isn’t available for the Modern UI. But how do these apps compare to their desktop predecessors? Are they really worth the trouble? Turns out they are.

Fhotoroom [Free, $1.49]

windows 8 modern ui

Fhotoroom is a combination between an Instagram-like social network (and it can in fact serve as an Instagram alternative for Windows Phone) annd a basic photo editor, all wrapped up in a beautiful, touch-friendly interface that will have you coming back for more. Fhotoroom is flexible enough to be used only as an editor (doesn’t require sign in), only as a social network, or both. You can set the app’s homescreen to be the editor, or opt for a more social start screen.

When it comes to editing, the app offers 24 filters, popular effects such as blur, vignette, and leaks, a wide selection of frames, an edit brush, basic photo corrections, and more. Some editing features, such as color splash, denoise, and redeye fix, are not available in the free version of the app, but can be yours if you go for the Pro version ($1.49). Pro features are clearly marked, so there’s no confusion or disappointment.

modern ui in windows

Once you’re done editing, you can either download the photo to your computer, or upload it to Fhotoroom’s network, providing you have an account.

Bottom line: Beautiful photo-editing app that’s very easy to use with touch or with a mouse. It’s not a fully-fledged editing app, but can yield great results quickly. The social platform is a nice touch, and is easy to opt in and out of.

Metrotube [Free]

modern ui in windows

According to Metrotube’s website, the app is still in beta, but you’ll find that hard to believe once you actually use it. If you think YouTube is frustrating to use on Modern UI, look no further than Metrotube. Sign in with your Google account to access all the usual YouTube features, as well as your subscriptions and uploads. Metrotube is extremely easy to navigate with touch, but preserves enough of YouTube’s original interface to make it intuitive to use.

modern ui in windows

While watching a video, swipe your finger up from the bottom or down from the top of the screen to reveal the quality toggle, the Watch Later and Favorite markers, and the volume controller. The app is capable of showing videos in full HD, and on the right monitor, the results are stunning.

Accessing your watch later and favorite lists, uploads, recently played videos, subscriptions and video categories is all done through one convenient menu. If you own a Windows 8 desktop device, Metrotube works perfectly in snapped mode as well.

Bottom line: A perfect way to enjoy YouTube on your Modern device. The app combines a familiar interface with Microsoft’s Modern guidelines, creating a touch-friendly and easy to use interface, with all options included.

MetroTwit [Free, $4.99]

modern ui design

MetroTwit has been my go-to Twitter client for well over a year now, long before Windows 8 was officially launched to the public. The app’s Modern version is very similar to its desktop counterpart, with the omission of many of its customization options. Despite that, MetroTwit for Modern UI is very well suited to touch interface, making even the more complicated tasks such as setting up columns a breeze.

All the usual Twitter actions such as following, favoriting and re-tweeting (both methods) are easily available either by tapping a tweet in your timeline or by viewing the tweet on your entire screen.

modern ui design

When it comes to sending out tweets, MetroTwit supports photo attachments from your computer or camera, as well as geotagging, but doesn’t have a built-in link shortener or a scheduling feature. In fact, if you’ve been using MetroTwit for desktop with your own bitly account, you’re sorely going to miss this feature on the Modern MetroTwit.

modern ui design

The free version of MetroTwit supports only one Twitter account, and features a small ad in the bottom left corner of the screen. $4.99 will get rid of the ad and add multi-user support. MetroTwit+ users on desktop can use the same unlock code for the Modern version.

Bottom line: A great take on Twitter for Modern, but might not suit power users who need customized shortened links and other advanced settings. Individual users, however, will enjoy a free, touch-friendly Twitter experience they won’t easily give up on after trying.

NextGen Reader [$2.99]

NextGen Reader Interface

NextGen Reader is an amazing RSS client for Windows 8 that currently has only one problem: it only supports Google Reader syncing. So why did I choose to include such an app in this list? NextGen Reader will truly make you love Modern UI, and if true to its promise, will also feature options other than Google Reader before July 1st. There’s not much time left, so I’m putting my faith in the developers, trusting them to not let this gorgeous app go to waste.

Despite syncing its feeds from Google Reader, NextGen Reader is as different from Google Reader as night from day. Almost every aspect of the app is customizable, from the general color scheme to the way individual articles appear in each subscription. Keyboard shortcuts are fully supported, as well as touch gestures for easy navigation between articles and feeds. In fact, everything is easily done using touch alone, and that includes marking posts as read, customizing filters, etc.

NextGen Reader Subscriptions

Do you want things to be even more touch friendly? NextGen Reader has a Modern view, presenting your feeds in easy to browse tiles. It also integrates with Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability, for a better reading experience and easy article saving.

NextGen Reader Unread Items

Bottom line: NextGen Reader is such a comprehensive RSS solution, I’m almost tempted to use it as my go-to Google Reader replacement. We’ll have to keep our eyes peeled and hope a new version comes out soon; one that doesn’t require the defunct Google Reader in order to work.

Toolbox For Windows 8 [Free]

Answer quickly, what’s the most frustrating thing about Modern UI? If you answered “lack of multitasking,” you’re not alone. Forcing Modern apps to run in full-screen mode is one of Microsoft’s most debatable decisions to date, taking Windows 8 Modern users back to a technological stone age. So is there a solution?

If you don’t mind spending $4.99 on the matter, you could go for ModernMix — a Stardock app that lets you run any Modern app in a window — but if you’re hunting for a free solution, you’re going to love Toolbox for Windows 8.

Toolbox Interface

Toolbox does the impossible: it lets you run as many as six Modern apps simultaneously on the same screen. Don’t get to giddy, though; Toolbox is limited to a number of apps, including clock, stop watch, doodle, voice notes, calculator, Facebook, and a browser. Within the confines of these apps, however, you can create as many layouts as you wish, and save them for easy access later on. You can also use one of the pre-made layouts that come with the app.

windows 8 modern ui

Toolbox for Windows 8 is easy to set up, touch friendly, and very useful when you need to run several apps at the same time. New apps are added to the collection from time to time, so there’s always something to look forward to.

Bottom line: Toolbox is the missing piece for Modern UI. If the lack of multitasking drives you nuts, this app can alleviate your pain.


Modern UI is slowly growing on me, and writing this post made me even more fond of it. It’s never going to be as useful as desktop mode, perhaps, but if you own a Windows 8 tablet, you still have a great OS to work with. Getting the right app is a huge step towards falling in love with Modern UI, and with these five, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will.

Not hooked yet? Here are 5 more Modern apps that can help you use Windows 8 with style Use Windows 8 In Style With These Amazing Metro (Modern) Apps Use Windows 8 In Style With These Amazing Metro (Modern) Apps Windows 8 hasn’t quite taken off yet, but this shortcoming certainly isn’t due to a lack of apps. After all, there are several years’ worth of traditional Windows desktop apps to fall back on! As... Read More .

Do you have a favorite Modern app? Is there an obvious choice I missed? Add your favorites below!

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  1. Saraa Jhones
    November 14, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Thanks for the article.
    I am user a Windows Phone lover. Yesterday I downloaded a new productivity app "Enpass" for my Password Management. The UI of Enpass is awesome and it guarantees great UX.
    I must recommend it to all Windows Phone users if they love an App with awesome UI.

    • Yaara L
      November 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Thanks Saraa!

  2. Amit G
    July 30, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Thanks a lot for info. Will try most of them now. Have just started using windows 8 phone and I am loving it, just because of help from you people.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 31, 2013 at 6:07 am

      Bold transition. :) I love Windows Phone, glad you're enjoying it!

  3. Max
    June 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    “It’s more important to keep moving forward with a good decision than to slowly optimize for the best decision every time.”

    Check out the Decision Making Wheel - nice and free decision making app for Windows 8 devices at http://decisionmakingwheel.com

    • Yaara Lancet
      June 29, 2013 at 6:31 am

      Thanks. :)

  4. Gordon Hay
    June 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    For YouTube I would suggest having a look at MegaTube, it does all you would expect and includes a versatile download function.

  5. Henk van Setten
    June 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I'm glad you conceded about this UI "it’s never going to be as useful as desktop mode, perhaps". Without this concession, this article would have lost all credibility.
    One other thing though - I know this is a disputable matter of taste, but why do all those "Modern" apps look so incredibly ugly? It looks as if each one of these crude interfaces has been thrown together in a hurry by some eight-year-old child, no, make that a three-year-old toddler.
    In interfaces, true ugliness always comes into being when function is hidden by form - instead of form following function. The latter is a prime condition for a good interface, and I suppose the children who came up with all this junk didn't get to this part yet in class...
    Well, I guess ten years from now they'll have found out!

    • Yaara Lancet
      June 22, 2013 at 8:13 am

      I agree in part with your opinion. Personally, I find Modern interface to be beautiful. I like the way most app look on it, if they're well made. This is a matter of personal taste, as you say.

      I do agree that in many cases, functions are hidden by form in these apps, which is a shame. I can't count the number of times I has to go searching for settings or ways to do things, which were hiding in non-intuitive places due to interface constrictions. I hope Microsoft will learn something and change this in the future.

    • Anomaly
      June 22, 2013 at 10:02 am

      The reason for the idiotic look is to appeal to the morons kids. They think it looks good and don't care that it is a stripped down joke.

      IE 10 with modern UI is a disgrace. It makes IE 6 look good. Going to IE 10 Modern UI from FireFox or even regular IE is like going from a Ferrari to a tricycle ( the Modern UI being the tricycle). The usability difference is that big.

  6. likefunbutnot
    June 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Do we have to have this post every single week?

  7. CheerryLips
    June 19, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Anomaly, what smartphone and tablet you have? I bet you do the same on other platforms. Why is Microsoft different?

    • Anomaly
      June 22, 2013 at 3:34 am

      Android phone, no tablet, I find tablets useless.

      I do not use locked down platforms and never will. I use Windows 7, Mac OS X, and many distros of Linux. None are locked down and if they ever do I will dump them like fast.

  8. Anomaly
    June 19, 2013 at 2:27 am

    Enjoy being locked into the MS app store. There is no other reason for the Modern UI other then to lock you into the app store. I can't believe how stupid people are being about this. They are being screwed and walking right into it.

    • Jack
      June 19, 2013 at 4:25 am

      You're not "locked in", you are free to install programs from any source, it's only modern apps that come from that store. And it isn't like the Apple store, they allow pretty much any app on there, as long as it isn't illegal.

      • Anomaly
        June 20, 2013 at 3:43 am

        I know it's only modern apps that come from the app store that lock you in. Guess what? What do you think MS wants you using? How much longer do you think the desk top version will be around? All MS OS's will be like Windows 8 RT on the Surface Tablet in the future. No desk top only Modern UI and your ass locked into the app store. No thanks.

        • Jack
          June 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

          Desktop is one word. And prove that will happen. You do realise that MS is bring back a lot of the missing desktop features with windows 8.1, and that nobody would buy a computer OS with those kinds of lock-ins? You probably saw what happened with the Xbox One DRM, the complaints about caused Microsoft to change their DRM policies completely. And I won't "enjoy" being locked into anything, in the million-to-one chance that Windows 9 doesn't support classic Windows programs, I'll just switch to Linux, just like everyone else will.

        • Anomaly
          June 21, 2013 at 5:03 am

          Thanks for the spelling lesson and correcting my mistake on desktop, it makes no difference to the points I was making.

          I obviously can't prove MS will ditch the desktop. I don't have to. Just look at what they are doing.Why put the Modern UI on the there in the first place if you didn't want to go to it eventually.

          The reason they are bringing back the features they had removed from the desktop is because of the back lash. It will take a few releases of Windows and lots of positive reviews of the Modern UI by people like you before they make the full switch but switch they will. MS sees the money to be made by locking you into an app store. They think if Apple can we can.

          Did you ever think you would see a locked down OS take off like iOS did? I didn't but it did and now everybody wants a piece.

        • Jack
          June 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

          I don't like modern UI, I ever said I did. Didn't you read the part where i said I would switch to Linux if desktop was removed? I just think you're being excessively paranoid, and there is no money in a locked down desktop OS, and there never will be. The modern UI is included with windows 8 because most new laptops and all in ones are touchscreen, and the whole point is to have a unified OS between devices. Sadly that means the modern UI on desktop, but it was always easy to disable, and with windows 8.1 it will be a feature integrated into windows.

        • Anomaly
          June 21, 2013 at 11:58 am

          No money in a locked down OS? Tell that to Apple. How is there no money in it? All the programs/apps that go onto the device have to come from the app store that the OS is locked into. They get a cut of all the money made from these apps. If there was no money in it then why is MS locking down the Modern UI? Why do you have to go through the app store? Why not just do it like the desktop and let people get their programs/apps from where ever they want? The best thing people can do to make sure MS does not have the system locked down like IOS is to make sure Windows 8 fails. Reject it big time. The surface Tablet with it's locked down crap is not doing well and thats a good start. Poor Windows 8 sales and lots of negative feedback is resulting in an update to Windows 8 that will bring back some features that were taking out. Good! Tell MS to drop dead if they plan on locking down Windows. Don't do what the Mac fools did and make a locked down OS a success.
          Just for your info I use Windows, Mac and several different distros of Linux every day. I have no loyalty or bias for or against any of the platforms, I just call it like I see it.

    • Yaara Lancet
      June 19, 2013 at 5:53 am

      I've heard this opinion before, and I don't quite get it. How is Microsoft's Modern UI different from Android or iOS, when dealing with tablets? Are you not pretty much locked into the App Store or Google Play when you own an iOS tablet or an Android tablet?

      If you own a full Windows 8 laptop, like I do, you're still not locked to anything, as you can install whatever you please on the desktop part of Windows. I do agree that the Modern section is not very useful on a full Windows 8 computer. I barely use it in my day to day, which is why I was looking for good apps. So I might start to make more use of it and see what it's like.

      If Microsoft decided that Windows will be nothing more than Modern, with no desktop, and all you can install are Modern apps, then you would have a point. I know some people think that's their direction, but I don't think it is, I think they're merely trying to establish a mobile OS to rival with iOS and Android.

      • Anomaly
        June 20, 2013 at 3:51 am

        I don't use iOS for that very reason. Android does not lock you in to an app store, you can install apps from any where without hacking the phone or tablet. It's a simple setting change built into the OS.

        If you think MS doesn't want to eliminate the desk top and go all Modern UI you are naive. They would like nothing more than control what you can put on the computer and make money off it. They couldn't do it with Windows 8 because it woud be too much too soon but once they have people using the Modern UI and have blogs like this one pushing it you can kiss the desk top good bye and be locked in the MS prison. It's so obvious whats going to happen and you people are being led there like fools.

        • Yaara Lancet
          June 20, 2013 at 4:46 am

          I guess we'll just wait and see, maybe you're right.

          BTW, I know you can install anything on an Android, but it's not that straightforward, and I believe 90% of the world's users cannot or will not bother with it.

          On the other hand, there are several different app stores, such as the Amazon Appstore (if you live in the right countries).

  9. Onaje Asheber
    June 19, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Fhotoroom is real nice! So are some of the Apps also...