With 2017 squarely in the rearview mirror, we can look back at 2017's best apps from the Microsoft Store. From powerful photo editors to one of the world's most popular music streaming services, the Microsoft Store gained some solid apps last year.
Windows Central's best tech of 2017 awards
In addition to newcomers to the store last year, we included some applications that received major upgrades or rewrites, as well as a couple mainstays that are worth mentioning even though they aren't new.
The MSN News app earned a spot on our Best of 2017 list thanks to its lightweight performance and minimal design. It's an easy to use app that fits right in on Windows 10. It's a great app for checking out news from a variety of sources, and you can pick favorite topics to stay on top of the latest news that you care about.
The app is free and comes with Windows 10 but you can also follow the link below if you need to grab it.
Similar to its MSN sibling, MSN Weather is an easy to navigate app that does its job well. It lays out the weather in a way that's easy to digest while also presenting a lot of information. There are plenty of weather apps in the Microsoft Store but MSN Weather earned our top spot.
Just like the MSN News app, MSN Weather is free and comes with Windows 10.
Windows has been about being productive for a long time. And these apps make it easier to get things done.
ShareX takes a simple idea and does it well. It allows you to easily capture either parts of your screen or the whole thing. It has a plethora of programmable shortcuts that speed up your capturing process. You can also use it to record gifs.
It's a great example of a program you can download and just leave running in the background until you need it. In our full review we found it to be a major improvement over the built-in screen capture tool in Windows 10 and it's free.
Slack is ubiquitous when it comes to office and workplace communication. It allows you to chat with the entire office, specific groups, or individuals. You can use it to share files, videos, photos, or just simple messages. The app is also free to download so you can just download it and sign into your rooms and chats.
Slack is what we use to communicate at Mobile Nations, and the Slack app coming to Windows 10 makes it easy to stay in touch with work.
EnPass is a password manager that works with a number of platforms. It came to the Microsoft Store as an Edge extension and is one of the best password managers around. It converted our Executive Editor Daniel Rubino away from LastPass and is worth checking out if you're looking to increase your security or to streamline logging into sites.
The app costs $9.99 but Enpass does not require a subscription as some password managers do.
The music scene on Windows 10 changed dramatically in 2017. Groove Music's streaming service was discontinued and a major player stepped in to fill the gap.
Spotify is one of the most popular streaming music services in the world. It being added to the Microsoft Store is a major boost to Windows 10, especially with the death of Groove Music's streaming service. Spotify has a vast catalogue of music. The app itself is free but there are both paid and unpaid options for the service.
It also makes it easy to stream on multiple speakers or from control music on one device from another. Spotify also launched on the Xbox One, giving Windows users another way to stream their favorite music.
dJay Pro isn't an app that will be downloaded by the average Windows 10 user. It's a piece of professional DJ software that costs just under $50, though it's currently on sale for $29.99. It gained popularity on other platforms including iOS. But it earns a spot on this list by proving that a powerful iOS app can be ported to Windows 10 using Project Islandwood, as opposed the desktop bridge Project Centennial, which was used for many of the other apps on this list.
Apart from being a great example of an Islandwood port, dJay Pro is also an incredibly powerful app. It has Surface Dial support, intricate touch controls for mixing music, and Spotify integration. It also has the best app promotion video of 2017.
While you can't get the full version of Photoshop through the Microsoft Store, there are some great photo editors available.
Photoshop Elements comes in at a flat price of $99.99 (currently on sale for $69.99) rather than requiring a monthly subscription. It has an impressive set of photo editing tools and is a great alternative for people who need to do more than they can with Windows 10's built in editors but don't need a full, professional piece of software.
Affinity Photo is a direct competitor to the full version of Photoshop. It's a powerful, multi-layered photo editing tool that can be used by professionals. It has an impressive feature list and should be very familiar to people who have used other pieces of photo editing software. Like Photoshop Elements, it's available for a flat rate rather than a monthly subscription. It's usually available for $49.99 but is currently on sale for $39.99. Reviewing Affinity Photo convinced me to switch away from full Photoshop.
Other notable third-party apps
While the Microsoft Store saw the arrival of some large first-party apps in 2017, there are still a number of third-party apps that fill the app gap and provide outstanding experiences for popular services.
While Twitter has an official app for Windows 10, any power user Twitter should check out Tweeten. It' a free app that takes the basic design of Tweetdeck, with multiple columns of Twitter feeds and searches, and enhances it. You can monitor multiple Twitter accounts, Twitter lists, the search column and also schedule Tweets. Additionally, you can upload and save gifs directly within the app. One of the main advantages of Tweeten is the sheer amount of information that can be delivered within its interface.
Google may have updated its Xbox One app, but it still hasn't shipped an official YouTube client to the Microsoft Store. Luckily, myTube! is a a fully featured third-party YouTube app. In fact, it has more features than first party apps because it supports background audio, picture-in-picture, and many other features that you don't see in YouTube apps from Google.
myTube! has an interface that's easy to navigate and feels much more native on Windows 10 than using YouTube within a browser. The fully released app supports 2k and the beta version even supports 4k resolution. The app costs $0.99.
Your picks for 2017's best apps
Did we miss any amazing apps of the year? What were your favorite Windows 10 apps of 2017? Let us know in the comments.
Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.
"Windows 10 Apps" LOL!! Also nice try, half of these are plain old PROGRAMS for Windows 95... apps...
Most uwp apps usability and design is crap. Programs are always better.
There might be a lot of UWPs that are bad but that does not make "programs" (I assume you mean x32 Windows apps) better. What makes UWP attractive is that they are sandboxed. They don't screw up your OS like some installed apps are app to do.
That's more on developers than Microsoft. There does exist quality UWP apps just as there exists quality apps on other platforms as well as bad ones.
You mean i can expect Winamp with the stereo skin.
Been waiting for this.
I'm holding out for Borland Quattro Pro 5.0
Reonm, again, display ignorance. Only two - Elements and Spotify are/were proper Win32 apps. Slack is Electron+UWP; dj Pro is iOS bridge + UWP. Affinity is new Win32 (2016) brought to UWP. Anyway, that is the point about UWP. Secure updates, UWP features to the OS, no entering of license information. I really need you to step up your game on reading this material, thanks.
Daniel, no matter how hard you try to convince people, as a developer I know and I can tell that UWP stands for XAML controls + C#/VB.NET code-behind. Anything else is just adapting to the situation, word twisting, semantics and excuse for a fallen initial strategy of Microsoft
reomw, as a C# developer, I can tell you are 100% ignorant of MS development.... UWP released with direct MS support for both XAML/C# AND HTML/CSS/JS (Visual Studio templates, documentation, etc.). They also announced and demo'd the iOS and Android bridges at the same Build 2015 that they announced UWP. Seems to me they pretty much announced everything you're calling "adapting, word twisting, semantics, and excuses" on day one.
As a C# developer too (and btw all other sorts of tech, including C++, but revolving mainly around Microsoft's .NET, with more than 10 years of professional experience, including Windows Phone and UWP), I can tell you everything Microsoft initially wanted was UWP to stand for XAML + C# and thats ALL. All those bridges, porting tools, "Web"ification (don't care about the PWA term, Electron and such web frameworks (Daniel, you're not even a developer to talk about what's this, when only reading the "brochure")) now count ONLY because Microsoft FAILED MISERABLY with their strategy. Those tools DO NOT generate touch friendly NATIVE APP content for Windows and everybody sober on the planet knows this. You have the full right, of course, to write whatever you want in your sites and blogs and continue to convince people as you are Microsoft related news provider and have interest in MS's success. I told Daniel here multiple times in the comment section about this and yes at this point he is right - UWP stands for all this things NOW. But lets not pretend this was the original idea and hide Microsoft's fail once again with fanboyism. I like Daniel and his commentary on things as well as his irony in particular very much, but sometimes I think Zac and Dan Lancaster are the best writers here. Oh and btw, just to put aside any accusations of ignorance on Microsoft-related and tech topics, I'm a software team leader in one of the largest corporations on the planet, so if someone is not a believer, you are welcome to have a coding 1x1 session with me anyday on any language you choose (since its not Python, Ruby and PHP :) ). I'm done.
Some of my favorite apps are : Series tracker and Trakter for tracking tv shows and movies Daily Bing wallpaper Microsoft-to-do for notes and lists Mixer , an unofficial Mixer app with lots of functionality and lots of app permissions :P
Grover Pro for podcasts
I second that, Grover Pro is awesome for Podcasts, it even has a Windows 10 Mobile version for those still using it.
I really love the official Twitter app. While not as full featured as other clients (including their own, on other platforms), I love the automatic update of the feed. I can just leave it running next to my browser (it sizes down to a nice 'sidebar'), and just watch my feed automatically update as new tweets come in. It’s also very easy to switch between multiple accounts.
I think that the MSN News app is pretty bad. It has limited to no caching, which makes returning to a news list slower than it should be. It can't grab and store content for offline use (common when flying since Gogo has poor price/performance). Worse yet, it doesn't let you control news sources to exclude ones that are often opinion or repackaged content rather than news reporting (e.g., much of what's on Business Insider, Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool, Wochit, International Business Times, etc.). This problem is worsened if you create any news topics of your own as doing so invokes a web search. What it reveals is that Bing's concept of a "news" site is too broad.
Agreed. Flipboard is a much better app but even that one is not great.
It's not bad for what it does but you're right there are better news apps on the store.
Got quite some apps of this list installed on my SP3 :) Good ones for me are Huetro (for controlling Philips Hue lights), Phonos (for Sonos)...
Huetro is awesome, both on desktop and phone.
Kodi should be there. But nice list 👌🏼
Agreed, I've also downloaded the Alpha build for the Xbox One but haven't played with it yet. One thing that Kodi does need though is the ability to look for media on external storage.
Tubecast is my Go To YouTube client.
Yandex Weather app is awesome! Yandex Maps is great too! Perfect Tools, nice.
MyTube is really well done.
Please update the Windows Central app! I even remember Al Sacco promising it.
This ^ ^ The phone app has been broken for what, a year now. Windows Central can't fix their own app after a year, really??!!
Phone app? It doesn't work on desktop either.
Windows Central can't get their Windows apps to work 😲
wow, that Djay pro is amazing, that's why touch enable is better than no touch.
I'd like to tentatively add The Wall! simply as an example of awesome design. Unfortunately it's not been updated with new content, and there's a bug in the FCU that causes it to crash when you use the back button that's been left unpatched for months now. But the design is great. Too bad the devs apparently just gave up on it.
I nominate Tweetium, ReadIt, Ouga, Music|Mode, and 17Track. I'd nominate Visual Studio Code but it doesn't count as an app.
I have been using Enpass since I came across it for BlackBerry 10. It is the most flexible cross platform password manager I have used. Another other plus for me is that I control where my passwords are stored. I use Enpass on BlackBerry 10, Android, Windows Edge, Firefox, and Chrome. It is very quick to sync data across ALL platforms.
I really wish the developer of Tweet It! updates the app again. The best Twitter client on Windows 10 and it feels abandoned
MSN News is pretty negative about all things political. It can't all be that bad. The North Koreans have not nuked us or invaded Hawaii that I'm aware of. I don't want to "Share" anything, and I'm a team of one, so I don't really need team apps. The Warden doesn't allow NOISE and that includes all music.....maybe if I had a headset or earbuds Your list only has the news for me to grumble about.
MSN News? MSN Weather? Those two lead your story? If that's all that the Microsoft Store has to offer--two super mediocre apps--then I think UWP is toast! MSN Weather won't allow you to change the weather source. I frequently (Ontario, Canada) find that MSN Weather has lower quality forecasts than Environment Canada and also incorrect current temperatures. As for MSN News--why oh why are you going to waste your life on news? Don't you have better things to do (says the guy writing a comment to trivial news... pot calling the kettle black).
MSN News is my favourite news app and MSN weather would be my favourite weather app if it were accurate, but it's not.
It's funny when young people don't understand that the word "app" is short for "application", which they call "programs". :-)
To pick MSN as your first pick is a disgrace. That rag, along with CNN, MSNBC and ESPN are nothing more than propaganda arms of the DNC. They will go to any lenghts to destroy this demacracy.
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