Some of these Windows 10 apps are official offerings, but with the Windows "app gap," sometimes we must rely on unofficial apps to manage our gadgets. Luckily, in many cases, the third party apps are just as good (if not better) than the official versions you find on other platforms. We'll start this roundup by focusing on four products and their companion Windows 10 apps that are designed to help you manage your house, body and keep tabs on Mother Nature.
Netatmo Weather Station
Why you can trust Windows Central
Netatmo Weather Station is a fantastic weather system that allows you to monitor a range of indoor and outdoor conditions. The Netatmo Weather Station app is the official Windows 10 app for keeping tabs on everything through your Windows 10 Mobile phone.
The basic Netatmo Weather Station includes an indoor and outdoor module that monitors temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, noise and more. Beyond the basic setup, you can buy additional modules, a rain gauge, a wind speed monitor, and indoor and outdoor security camera with motion activated lights.
The Windows 10 Mobile app isn't as flashy as its iOS and Android counterparts but delivers the core information in easy to use fashion. You can swipe through the app to see all your Netatmo modules and view a three-day forecast. The Windows 10 app has Live Tile support that displays your indoor and first module's temperature. While there isn't a Windows 10 PC version of the app, Netatmo has a wonderful web portal for viewing all your weather data.
I've been using the Netatmo Weather Station for years. I like the modularity of the system and have sensors in the basement, main floor and upstairs of the house to better monitor the temps. I especially like being able to monitor CO2 levels when we "burn" gas logs in our fireplace.
The Netatmo Weather Station app is free and available for Windows 10 Mobile. The basic weather station currently costs $128 with additional modules starting at $58 for the rain gauge, with the outdoor security camera running $218.
One of the neatest technologies to come around for the house in recent years is smart lighting, and Philips Hue offers an assortment of options from colored bulbs to light strips. While there isn't an official Philips Hue app for Windows 10, there is a small collection of third party apps available, with hueDynamic being one of the best available.
Priced at $4.99, hueDynamic is available for Windows 10 PC and Mobile as well as Xbox One and Windows Holographic. This Windows 10 app delivers more than 40 mixable and dynamic lighting scenes with simple room and lighting group controls. "Scenes" include mountain chill, jungle night, fire and ice, fireworks, and more. There is even a small collection of disco modes with the ability to adjust the light's strobe rate, intensity, hue and more.
Additional features include:
- Cortana integration to use voice commands such as "Hey Cortana, lights off in the kitchen" or "Hey Cortana, start jungle night in the living room for 30 minutes."
- Camera support that allows you to use your camera to sample lighting from your television and sync those colors to your Hue lights. (You can set the sampling to the predominant color or the average color present.)
- Plex Media Server integration to automatically adjust your lighting when you start watching the TV.
The layout of hueDynamic is very user-friendly with the ability to tag lighting patterns as a favorite, allowing for easy access from the Favorites Page.
I have the Phillips Hue Starter Set in my living room, and it didn't take long to add bulbs throughout the house. Setting up hueDynamic to control these lights was easy, and overall it's a great way to set mood lights or freak out your kids by setting their lights to a strobe effect. If you have Phillips Hue lighting in your house, hueDynamic is a must have Windows 10 app.
While the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is my fitness band of choice, the Garmin Connect Mobile app is in desperate need of improvements. In contrast, if you are looking for a fitness band and the Fitbit product line has caught your eye, the Windows 10 Fitbit app should not disappoint.
The free app is available for Windows 10 PC and Mobile and not only looks good but monitors your daily activities, dietary intake and Fitbit social circles. Additional features for the Fitbit app include:
- Monitor and analyze your heart rate when paired with a Fitbit device equipped with a heart monitor.
- Hydration monitor to make sure you are properly hydrated during workouts and throughout the day.
- Sleep monitoring to see how well-rested your night's sleep actually is.
- Manage your weight manually or automatically when paired with a Fitbit Aria Smart Scale.
The only thing missing from the Windows 10 Mobile app is support for push notifications to Fitbit bands, but there is hope. Fitbit recently released support for push notifications as a public beta.
There is still some work to be done,. But all Fitbit really needs is a water-friendly version of the Charge 2 to completely dominate the fitness band market.
If you are looking to manage your house's heating and air conditioning system, Nest learning thermostats are a good place to start.
The thermostat learns the temperatures you like and programs itself to match those patterns. Being a connected device, you can remotely control the temperature settings from a Windows 10 PC or mobile device. Unfortunately, there is no official Nest app available for Windows 10, but there are several unofficial apps that are worth a try.
Nest Manager is one of the more popular options and shares the overall simplicity the Nest environment offers. Available for Windows 10 PC and Mobile, the free app allows you to control your Nest while on the go or from the comfort of the sofa.
Simply log into your Nest account and you can view the current settings and temperatures for each of your Nest thermostats, set your status as away or home and adjust the temperature settings. Nest Manager also supports minimal access to your account, the ability to view any system messages, and create a settings schedule for your Nest.
I have Nest thermostats installed on both our HVAC units, and after about a week of setting the temperature manually, it was nice to have the Nest do all the heavy lifting. There is room for improvement with Nest Manager, but it covers the basics and allows you to make adjustments from the convenience of your Windows 10 PC or Mobile device.
If you've tried any of these Windows 10 apps, let us know what you think in the comments. The world is full of gadgets and if we have missed your favorite Windows 10 gadget app, feel free to toss out a recommendation.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.