A lot of us made a huge leap to Windows 8 a few months ago during its release. With mixed opinions going around, we really didn’t know what to expect from this new modern interface. Whether you’re limited to Modern UI or just contemplating its general usability, you really need a good collection of apps to help you take full advantage of it.
The Windows 8 Store continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and it’s possible to find a vast array of Modern Windows 8 apps. From news apps to email apps, there’s almost everything you need for the Modern UI. But how do these apps compare to their desktop forerunners? Are they really worth your time, effort, or even money? Let’s find out.
NextGen Reader is an amazing RSS client for Windows 8. It currently only supports Google Reader syncing but despite this, the app is as different from Google Reader as night from day. Why? Because almost every aspect of this app is highly customizable, from the general color palette to the way individual articles appear in each subscription. It supports keyboard shortcuts, as well as touch gestures for easy navigation between feeds and articles. In fact, everything is done easily using touch gestures alone, including marking posts as read, customizing filters, etc.
If you want things to be more touch-friendly, the app 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.
Simply put, NextGen Reader is such a feature-rich and comprehensive RSS solution, you’ll be tempted to make it as your alternative to the already defunct Google Reader.
This app is just on its infancy stage, but you’ll find that hard to believe once you get your hands on it. If you think YouTube is frustrating to use on Modern UI, then Metrotube is your best bet. Just sign in with your Google account to access all the usual YouTube features, as well as your subscriptions and uploads. This app is very easy to navigate with touch gestures, and preserves enough of YouTube’s original interface to make it intuitive to use. The app is capable of showing video in all its HD glory, and on the right monitor, the results are simply stunning.
The app also gives you access to your favorite videos, videos that you can watch later, uploads, recently played videos, subscriptions, and video categories – all done through one convenient menu. If you own a Windows 8 desktop device, the app works perfectly in snapped mode, as well.
Fhotoroom is an excellent combination of an Instagram-like social network (in fact, it can be an excellent alternative to Instagram on your Windows phone) and a basic photo editor, all wrapped up in a beautiful, touch-friendly interface that will have you craving for more.
This app is flexible enough to be used only as a photo editor, only as a social network, or both. When it comes to photo-editing, Fhotoroom offers 24 filters, popular effects like blur, vignette, and leaks, a wide selection of frames, an edit brush, basic photo corrections, and many more. More advanced features can be yours if you go for the Pro version.
Once you’re done editing your photo, you can either download it to your computer or upload it to Fhotoroom’s network, provided you have an account.
Let’s face the fact: the most frustrating thing about Modern UI is the lack of multi-tasking! Forcing Modern apps to run in fullscreen mode is one of Microsoft’s most controversial decisions to date, taking Windows 8 Modern users to go back to a technological stone age. But worry not! If you’re hinting for a free solution, you’re definitely going to love Toolbox for Windows 8!
This app does the impossible: it lets you run as many as 6 Modern apps, all at the same time, on the same screen! But don’t get too giddy, though, as the Toolbox is limited to a number of apps like clock, stopwatch, doodle, voice notes, calculator, a web browser, and Facebook. But within the confines of these apps, you can create as many layouts as you desire, and save them for easy access later on. You can also use one of the pre-made layouts that are included in the app.
Indeed, this app is the missing piece for Modern UI. So if the lack of multi-tasking drives you nuts, this app can save you from the pain.
For a lot of people, MetroTwit has long been their go-to Twitter client, even before Windows 8 was officially released. The app’s Modern version is similar to that of its desktop equivalent, except without many of its customization options. Despite that, MetroTwit for Modern UI is suitable to touch interface, making even the more complex tasks like setting up columns a breeze.
All the usual Twitter actions like following, favoriting, and re-Tweeting are available in this app either by tapping a Tweet in your timeline or by viewing the Tweet on your entire screen. When it comes to sending Tweets, the app supports photo attachments from your computer or camera, as well as geo-tagging (although it doesn’t have an inbuilt link shortener or a scheduling feature).
MetroTwit’s free version supports only one Twitter account, and has a small ad at the bottom left corner of the screen. Go for the premium version ($4.99) to get rid of the ad and add multi-user support. Desktop users of MetroTwit+ can use the same unlock code for the Modern version.