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December 26, 2013

Our 13 favourite Windows Phone apps of 2013

It’s cold, it’s dark and it tastes like mince pies: that’s right, it’s the season of end of year lists!

But never mind your Albums of the Year or your Top Ten Books or the Best TV Moments of 2013 – our list tops ‘em all. We’ve been highlighting our favouite new Windows Phones apps of the week since way back in April and there are so, so many, which warrant a mention. However, we’ve bitten the bullet and tried to pick our thirteen favourites. So, without further ado, here they are in no particular order. Cue drum roll, fireworks and confetti!

BBC iPlayer

What is it? The official mobile app for BBC television and radio

Why it’s a favourite: This, the official iPlayer app for Windows 8 phones, came out back in May and has been going strong since: it’s a fantastic resource for UK TV and radio fans, with wifi and 3g streaming (though not live streaming). Lovely interface, great content.



Angry Birds Go!

What is it? A racing game

Why we love it? This is Mario Kart with feathers: the Angry Birds have gotten wheels and, we guess, an appropriate amount road rage. It’s 3D, you can play as the Birds or the Pigs (oink!), there are special powers to unleash for each charcter, and a whole bunch of different tracks and game modes. More importantly for Birds fanatics, it’s free! Get downloading pronto lest e beat you to the finish line…

Who it’s perfect for: Gamers – but, again, only those with devices that have 1GB of RAM or more.



Nokia MixRadio

What is it? It’s Nokia Music, renamed and revamped.

Why we love it? All the music you could want, for free; hundreds of specially curated mixes (aka playlists) that you can download and listen to offline; no ads; and no subscription fee – who wouldn’t love that? Nokia Music was always our favourite smartphone app for tunes, and its new incarnation as Nokia Mix Radio is even better.  New features include Play Me – a personalized mix based on your existing profile – and the ability to edit that profile with a thumbs up/down feedback system. Fantastic! And it looks great, too.

Who it’s perfect for: Music fans


Facebook Beta

What is it? The mac-daddy of social media

Why it’s a favourite: Pretty much everybody’s on Facebook and the official app has been around forever, but the Beta version went live in the Windows Store earlier this year, meaning that you can now download the cutting edge developments from the team behind your newsfeed. It can be buggy but it’s usually better, we think, than the ‘real’ version.




What is it? a budgeting tool

Why it’s a favourite: Budgeting tools might not be all that sexy, but this is a really excellent tool for keeping track of your incomings and outgoings while you’re on the move, with its clear, simple graphics. Might be especially handy in this season of spending…




What is it? music app

Why it’s a favourite: While we’re having a mini media-binge, we’ve got to mention Songza: it’s a music library that lets you stream tracks, but what’s particularly nifty is the way it creates playlists tailored to the time of day, the day of the week, the activity you’re doing, you mood and more. Very cool.





What is it? A note-taking app

Why it’s a favourite: We’ve seen a multitude of note-taking applications in our time, but what we love about this, and why we keep returning to it, is the way it incorporates handwriting, typing, audio notes and pictures. You can export your notes as PDFs or images and share them. It’s gorgeous and simple to use – a real winner.





What is it? A Reddit client for Windows Phones

Why it’s a favourite: There’s an abundance of Reddit clients out there, but we love this new(ish) one because it’s really elegantly designed and easy to use; there’s so much going on with Reddit that it’s an achievement to fit it all in and make it look stylish without compromising on functionality.





What is it? The official Vine app for WP8

Why it’s a favourite: This only showed up in November: the official WP8 Vine app. Vine’s all about six-second long videos that you can share with your followers. The filters are great, the UI is bright and cheerful, and we’re delighted that WP users are finally in the Vine picture.




Instagram Beta

What is it? Perhaps the most popular photo-sharing app ever

Why it’s a favourite: Another latecomer, the official Instagram app for Windows Phones turned up in November, at least in beta form.  It’s got all the filters and sharing options that we’ve seen on iOS and Android, and it’s a great addition to the Windows Store, especially for Nokia Lumia users who’ve got such excellent cameras on their smartphones.  We’ve used it heavily and we’re still in love with it.



Modern Combat 4

A single- or multi-player action thriller shoot-em-up, this isn’t suitable for kids, but it’ll knock the socks off their parents. It’s got stupendous graphics, Hollywood-style voice acting, and it uses the Havoc Engine, which means you’ve got real-time collision detection for a realistic gaming experience. It’s pretty much nailed the big-screen experience on the smaller screen of a Windows smartphone. Plus you get to play as both the hero and the villain, for even more added value!


MoliPlayer Pro

What is it? A video and audio player

Why we love it? The selling-point of MoliPlayer Pro is the sheer amount of file types it supports. It’ll play just about anything you throw at it, including 1080p footage, if your phone can handle that, and when you’re watching the movies, it lets you change the aspect ratio and lock the screen so it can’t be accidentally paused or stopped (handy for parents). Definitely a keeper, and well worth a couple of quid – though there’s a free trial if we haven’t convinced you.


Asphalt 8: Airborne

Why we love it? We were revving our engines waiting for this one to be released! This series of racing games just gets better and better. The graphics are stunning (it makes great use of the Lumias’ excellent screens) and the gameplay is really detailed and high octane. There’s a whole bunch of locations (we like Venice the best so far), stunt moves (barrel rolls!), cars (of course) and options and modes galore. The soundtracks features real tracks from real bands, and the multiplayer modes are brilliant. This will keep you busy for months.



If you haven’t already downloaded these, get going now! And if you’ve got a favourite 2013 app that we’ve missed, (and we’re pretty sure you will have) please let us know!

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