Windows 8 on the big screen!

Photo credit: bobfamiliar

Just a little over 24 hours ago I took the plunge and upgraded to Windows 8 – so far I’ve really enjoyed it, but that’s for another post and another day.

After getting my start screen situated and all my existing programs aligned the first thing I wanted to do as a Windows 8 newbie was to dive in and find the best windows 8 apps released to-date and see if the new operating system would truly increase my productivity, effectiveness and overall enjoyment of Windows.

My research was positive…

While I feel the Microsoft App store is still pretty shallow and could use some work I DID find a few Windows 8 apps (mostly free) that I’m already enjoying and feel you will as well, here goes:


Notepad Classic

Notepad Classic for Windows 8If you’re a fan of Notepad then you’ll love Notepad Classic. Combine the simplistic text editor with the modernized design and you’ll be in OS heaven. Easily snap the app to the left while browsing on the right and make notes on the fly without being forced to bounce back and forth.

Features:

  • Simple text editor, nothing fancy but works like a charm
  • Easily share the file with other apps…even traditional Notepad if you wish
  • Want more style? Easily tweak colors, fonts, font sizes, bold, word wrap and on
  • Snap & mini sized version of the app built right in

Check it out and download it it for free.


Fotor

Fotor, Image Editing for Windows 8Looking for a simple photo editing app? Look no further, Fotor covers nearly all the bases when it comes to basic photo editing and is very easy to use as a newbie to Windows 8. Simply install, choose which a picture to edit and click away.

Features:

  • Contrast and brightness adjustments
  • Crop with predetermined size options
  • Great images effects, filters and borders
  • 1-Tap Enhance
  • Tilt-Shift with several options

If you want something like Photoshop this app is NOT what you’re looking for but if you’re interested to do minor tweaks to some images, it’s perfect. Check it out and download it it for free!


Amazon

Amazon for Windows 8If you’re a fan of Amazon, you’re going to love this simple yet elegant interface that allows you to quickly make purchases, read reviews (a biggie for me), compare prices and really everything you would do on Amazon.com.

Features:

  • Simple, yet elegant interfac
  • Share products with friends
  • Compare prices, search, read reviews, etc.
  • Take advantage of an optimized, full screen Amazon

As you’d expect, this Amazon app is free so go check it out here.


Craigslist +

Craigslist+ Windows 8 AppI’m a big fan of Craigslist. My wife and I both use it quite often to get good prices out of our used items and great deals on some used ones so I was excited to see a Craigslist app for Windows 8.

Features:

  • Post items in the app
  • Search with one click filters (price, image, location, etc.)
  • Pin any category or search to the start screen
  • LIVE TILE support
  • Save & share your favorite searches and postings

I’ve found Craigslist+ to be very similar to the one I love on my tablet and is super easy to use. You can see more features and download the app here.


Steam Launcher

Steam Launcher Windows 8 AppAll you gamers in love with Steam are going to love Steam Launcher by Ninja Factory which adds beautiful tiles on your start screen to launch your favorite games. While the app is actually very shallow right now they have some features planned that’s worth noting:

Planned Features:

  • Custom tile images
  • Display game news and success on launch page

It’s not an amazing “ground-breaking” app but very cool for those that use Steam often. Check it out, it’s also free.


ESPN

ESPN Windows 8 AppWhile I could careless about having this app, the majority of you are going to fall right in love with the offical ESPN app for Windows 8. It packs all the great things you love already about ESPN.com into a beautiful wrapped package.

Features:

  • Experience a completely personalized experience + sync your myESPN account
  • Stay updated with breaking sport news, real time scoring, scoring alerts and on
  • LIVE TILE support – showing updated scores & news
  • Listen to ESPN podcasts
  • Read amazing editoral content from ESPN The Magazine
  • Lastly, easily share it with your friends

Enjoy a beautiful, nothing-but-sports, view with ESPNs fantastic Windows 8 app. It’s free so why not download?


Tweetro+

Tweetro+ Windows 8 AppPersonally, I think Tweetro+ could quite possibility be the best designed app I’ve seen yet with Windows 8, it truly delivers aesthetically! This app really adds an amazingly beautiful way to tweet, track your timeline, view images and videos from tweets and on.

Features:

  • Multiple accounts (comes with 2, can buy up to 5)
  • In-app browsing
  • Pin multiple tweet columns
  • Photo browser
  • Custom views including snapped
  • And of course, Notifications

While I’ve already purchased the app for $4.99, I’m doubtful that I’ll use it much since I’m a pretty heavy TweetDeck users at the moment and just can’t give away some of the features it brings to the table with multiple accounts. However, if you’re just a single users looking for a great way to use Twitter “The Windows 8 Way”, Tweetro+ is the BEST one I’ve seen yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the app but pop on this app knowing that Twitter has already announced it’s creating a native Windows 8 app to be released in the near future.


Google Search

Google Search Windows 8 AppYou know I couldn’t go a minute talking about apps without mentioning Google don’t you? Well, if you’re part of the Google ecosystem you’re going to love the newly released Google Search app for Windows 8.

Features:

  • Searchbox, search right from the app home screen
  • Voice Search integrated
  • Images Search integrated
  • Google Instant
  • Instant Previews mode
  • Snap functionality

While you can still use your browser the search, you may want to try out this free app from Google to see if it makes your life any easier. The user experience isn’t as stellar as the native Bing app but the results (what really matter) are.


Netflix

Netflix App for Windows 8Netflix for Windows 8 is a must have app for me as a newbie and I must say that Netflix really delivered a polished experience with this one that is guaranteed to impress.

Features:

  • Quickly view top 10, recommended, recently watched shows and movies
  • Easily snap the video to the left or right and continue browsing or using another app (simply awesome)
  • Search for titles, TV shows, movies, etc.

It’s a free, 4 out of 5 star app that’s a must have if you enjoy Netflix.


Hulu

Hulu App for Windows 8Along side Netflix, Hulu has also delivered a super polished (and quite amazing) app for Windows 8 that I’ve already downloaded and started to enjoy. The big feature that I’m already in love with is the ability to pin your favorite show for instant access from the Start screen; yes, that means no more having to search to find the show you enjoy and watch often.

Features:

  • Watch your favorite shows and moves right in Windows 8
  • Pin your favorite shows to your start screen (just right-click on the show > pin)
  • View in full-screen or snap to the side and watch while you work

It’s also free and one that’s a must for me. Check it out.


IM+

IM+, Instant Messenger for Windows 8Given the fact that the native messaging app kinda stinks at the moment due to not working with a lot of your major instant messaging service such as GTalk, you’re going to need an alternate app unless you want to continue using the desktop version.

If you’re interseted in checking one out, I’d recommend IM+. I’ve done some looking around and as of right now, it’s the best free one out there.

Features:

  • Supports all major messaging services
  • Free text messages and photo sending
  • Group chats
  • Multiple accounts
  • Typing notifications
  • Personal status

IM+ offers both a free version (which I’ve been using with minimal issues) and a PRO version that eliminates all ads. Give it a try and keep your eyes peeled for a better option in the future.


That’s a wrap…

…for now! My hope is as my Windows 8 experience widens I’ll be able to share with you guys even more great apps that you can try out. I’ll keep my eyes peeled but I’d love if YOU could share some of your favorite ones in the comments below as well.

Cheers!