Editor's Choice

Insteon (often written as INSTEON) has been in the home automation business for a few years, going back to 2010. The company has apps on iOS and Android, but starting a few weeks ago, they released a universal app for Windows Phone and Windows. Even more, they teamed up with Microsoft to sell special kits in the Microsoft Store, complete with Windows Phone branding on the package.

Whether it is controlling your temperature, dimming the lights, watching the world through a Wi-Fi camera or getting an alert when your door opens, Insteon does it all. Because of the completeness of their system, their partnership with Microsoft and the overall coolness, Insteon is today's Hidden Gem. Watch our video review to see it all in action!

Remember, by leaving a comment on this article, you stand a chance of being one (of two) winners to earn your own Insteon Home Kit ($299) as seen in our review!

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Eight months on and the Lumia 1520 is still my daily Windows Phone and that's weird

There is little doubt that I live a abnormal life when it comes to smartphones and mobile technology. At last count, I have over 50 smartphones dating back to 2006 and every Windows Phone made in the last three years. Combined with the rapid release of Lumias – with occasional releases from Samsung – and I have plenty of choices to use every day.

That is why it is surprising (to myself at least) that eight months after its release I am still using the Lumia 1520 as my daily driver. To put it another way, this is my longest streak in using a single Windows Phone since probably the original Samsung Focus. Although for regular folks, using a phone for eight months uninterrupted is the norm, for me, it is the exception. For that reason, here is why I still love the Lumia 1520.

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Standing and standup desks have become the new rage in home offices and workplaces around the world, including the United States. So it makes sense that I should take a look at one I've been using for the last few months. You may be asking, why is he reviewing a desk? The answer is twofold. For one, it is #MobileFit month, and this is part of the category. Number two, it's a fun way for you people to peek behind the curtain to see what I use every day at my job.

So with that introduction, let's take a look at the Anthro Elevate II Adjusta standing desk, including a video review to see it in action!

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Like Readit, the app Tweet It! gets my Editor’s Choice for best third-party Twitter client. It’s constantly being updated and improved with some seriously cool features. Recently, the developer Timur Khamidov has been cranking away at updates, and the latest version is truly a fascinating one.

Many in our audience are using the Windows Phone 8 Update 3 Developer Preview. That OS update allows custom notifications and more specifically, for developers to add the ability for their own sounds to their creations. Quite a few of you have requested developers do this and we’re happy to report that Tweet It! now has this as an option.

Head past the break to learn about the rest of the amazing new things in Tweet It! version 7.8!

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A few weeks ago we told you about Readit, a new Reddit (reddit.com) app for Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices. We liked it so much, we gave it our editor’s choice for Reddit clients. Even though its 1.0 debut was one of the best we’ve seen for any app, there was room for improvement. As a few of you noted in comments, memory usage and performance could be better.

Luckily, the developers agreed with you as version 1.2 just went live in the Store. Its changelog is either the most detailed we’ve ever seen, or it’s just so massive that the developers should be commended for their hard work. In fact, it’s so big it’s not listed in the app or the Store.

But you’re at Windows Phone Central, so we have all the details…

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Editor's Choice for best Reddit client

We’re big fans of Reddit (reddit.com). It provides hours of entertainment, knowledge and general distractions for life. So far, our favorite client for Windows Phone has been the powerful Baconit, a superb demonstration of Windows Phone coding that also makes using Reddit a breeze. We also really enjoy Baconography, another fantastic offering.

However, today, we have what is arguably the most striking Reddit client yet: Readit, from Message Across Studios. We’re not going to pull any punches here: Readit’s design is one of the top we’ve seen for any Windows Phone app, let alone one dedicated for Reddit. You can toss it up there with 627.am, Simple Calendar, Vieather and anything by Rudy Huyn. (Actually, we know why we like it, as it reminds us very much of Amazon’s Kindle app.). 

Watch our video review below and see why it’s so great.

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My Editor's Choice for third-party Twitter apps gets another fantastic update

We all have our favorite Twitter apps on Windows Phone. Mine is Tweet It!

Sure, the official Twitter app is a looker but if you need something with a little more power, you turn to third-party apps to deliver. Tweet It! is that app for me because not only does it look great, but it has some unique and clever features that no other Twitter app can boast. In fact, I’m always calling it ‘clever’ and version 7.0.2.0 is no different.

So what’s so cool about Tweet It! that has me using all of these descriptors? Head past the break to see what’s new.

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OneShot, developed by Andy Stumpp, has quickly become one of our go-to apps for snapping photos on Windows Phone 8. With each update, the app becomes more user friendly, adds new features and brings new innovation.

The last time we visited this app was back one month ago when version 2.0 landed. Today, version 3.0 has gone live and if you know anything about version numbers that’s a big one.

So what’s new in 3.0? You’ll have read on to find out, but if you like taking photos, you’ll certainly want to see what’s new.

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When it comes to Twitter clients on Windows Phone, we’ve noticed everyone has their favorite and its usually for specific reasons. Tweet It! by developer Timur Khamidov has always impressed us for standing out from the pack.  The app comes with numerous unique options like a using the camera for a background, so you can see where you walking when typing, orientation lock, tweet your currently playing music and more.

Version 6.2 just went live in the Store and it’s quite a colossal update. The update and changes are so big, we would have thought it was a worthy of a 7.0 designation.  Let’s see what’s new.

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When it comes to gaming on mobile devices, there are two groups: the hardcore and the casual gamer. Our in house gamer Paul Acevedo falls into the former category, where I, your humble Editor, prefer the latter. Gaming for me is something I do for a few minutes here and there, with nary a thought on nailing those achievements.

That’s why Armed Strike, for Windows Phone 7.x and 8, has piqued my interest. It reminds me of the classic game ‘1942’ but updated for 2013. For one, it scrolls to the side (instead of up) and the graphics are quite tantalizing. It’s also that whole World War II plane thing, though it doesn’t look like you can do a flying loop.

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Every once in a while, we come across a developer who really grabs our attention, whose creations make us go ‘whoa’. Today, that developer is vivmotion, who has a small collection of very impressive, visually pleasing and highly useful apps for common everyday tasks.

Because of just how fantastic these apps are, we’re doing a triple threat post highlighting all of them as they truly show off, in our opinion, the Windows Phone design aesthetic. You can read below or just to skip to our hands on video to see them in action.

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One of our top calendar apps for Windows Phone 8 would be the aptly name Simple Calendar. The replacement scheduler app has one of the nicest looking Live Tiles that we’ve come across and the unpretentious UI makes using it a breeze to operate.

Version 2.4 just went live in the Store and it finally brings small and medium versions of the Gob and Frodo themed tiles, allowing you to customize the look even more. While version 2.4 isn’t a major overhaul, it does bring with it a lot of small but tremendously useful additions.

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Windows Phone 8 currently doesn’t suffer from a lack of high quality photography apps, but that doesn’t mean all are created equal. OneShot, which we’ve covered in the past, was one of the first indie apps to make use of Nokia’s new imaging SDK and today it received a major update.

Version 2.0 is now live in the Store and as the new milestone marker implies, there’s a lot of new features here to report. While OneShot’s earlier claim to fame was “live filters”, the new version tosses in many new tweaks and useful tools that has made it a highly recommended purchase.

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As the Windows Phone ecosystem grows, manufacturers will continually look for ways to expand and differentiate amongst themselves. One easy way for them to do so is with custom OEM Stores like the Nokia Collection or Samsung Zone.

The problem is with Windows Phone, you can’t force check for app updates, even for “system apps” like Samsung’s call blocker or Nokia’s Display + Touch. Sure you can wait the 24 hours for the Store tile to display an update, and that’s fine for most users, but let’s face it: if you’re reading this site, you want the latest and greatest now. This is especially true for Lumia owners since Nokia’s updates are known for enabling new, unannounced features making their occasional updates more like little birthday presents.

That's why SysApp Pusher is our must-have app this week.

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We’re not huge on stopwatch apps for Windows Phone if only because there are so many of them it makes it hard to pick the top ones. Often enough, it comes down to which you think is the prettiest, which let’s be honest, is slightly subjective.

However, we’re making an exception today for a special app: Avirall. For one, it’s feature packed, so much so, we’ve barely figured out all of the app’s capabilities. There’s an interesting selling point: it has so many features, it’s almost overwhelming. The other reason we’re mentioning it is the app was just launched and it is temporarily free—at least for the first 10,000 downloads. We hear that the app will fetch for $3.50 regularly, so free is a big deal here.

As you can discern from our quick video review (below), Avirall has some of the most impressive graphics we’ve seen. It’s 98% Modern UI with a splash of a super realistic stopwatch, complete with “working” buttons that click when you enable them.

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While there’s no shortage of solid photo editing apps for Windows Phone 8, for those who are about ot plunge in with the Lumia 1020 (or if you picked up a Lumia 925 this week), you’ll want to know what is the best. Certainly Nokia’s own Creative Studio is a must have but it’s also not as fully comprehensive as some may want.

Fotor, an app we’ve covered in the past, has gone to version 2.0 today and it has received quite a nice overhaul. So nice in fact that we’re calling it the top photo editing app you can get right now. Best of all? It doesn’t cost a dime. Completely free and as far as we can tell, no ads either.

The standout feature of Fotor is its design. It’s gorgeous. If you’re a fan of the Modern UI as much as we are, then you’ll be delighted with the Live Tile and when you launch the app. Upon starting her up, you’ll be greeted with two big buttons: Edit or Collage (check out these other collage apps) Edit takes you to your photo library and Collage lets you select various templates from two-photo collages up to a whopping nine.

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When it comes to the calendar app on Windows Phone, there are generally two camps: those who don’t mind it and those who yearn for a different, more configurable experience. And let’s face it, a lot of that comes down to how complicated (and scheduled) your life is.

Simple Calendar, currently available for Windows Phone 8 as a free app, is about to get a nice update to version 2.0. We’ve been using it over the weekend and you can color us impressed.

Check out our video below to see what's coming next!

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While Pandora made a big splash when it came to Windows Phone 8 earlier this year, MetroRadio had been around for much longer offering access to the same service. Back then, it would occasionally break as it used non-standard APIs to access the Pandora library. That has now been fixed, amongst other things, with the latest must-have update.

There are currently two versions of MetroRadio—one free, one paid—and the free one was updated last night with the paid receiving the same update a few weeks ago. It’s not a minor update either, as the app has been completely re-written with a new, simpler UI.

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Like shoes, Twitter clients are a personal preference where one size doesn’t fit all. We all have our favorites and Tweet It! happens to be one of mine. It’s fast, smooth, packed with features and just has a lot of personality.

Version 5.6.5.0 just landed in the Store and it brings some significant and important changes to charming Twitter client, including continued support for Windows Phone 7.x and 8 users.

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3D pinball at its finest

Last week we highlighted the new pinball game Dr. Pickaxe as one of our new favorite games for Windows Phone. Developed by Tainicom (who also made The Juggler), the game was on special for $0.99 during its first week and received our 'Editor's Choice' distinction.

Unfortunately that game had a tiny bug in it resulting in the first few games registered under ‘trial’ even after purchased. Even though it only had a limited effect the bug was quickly identified and a v1.01 was pushed out—but then Microsoft held up publication due to their own woes and so the game was hidden until fixed.

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