The best Windows 8 apps to begin 2014 (Part One)

You might have just picked up a great new Windows 8 machine for the holidays, or perhaps you’ve been using one for a while now; either way – we have compiled the largest list of the best Windows 8 applications in the Windows Store, just for your pleasure.

We have taken every single category in the Windows Store and decided to pick the top three applications for each. This is part one of the list and will cover Social, Entertainment, Photo, Music & Video, Sports, Books & Reference, News & Weather, Health & Fitness, and Food & Dining applications. We hope you enjoy part one of the list, and if there is something that you love, be sure to share it in the comments and let other readers experience it for themselves!

Social – When it comes time to chat with friends and share your favorite moments, the apps listed below are sure to please.

Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.


It took time for the official Facebook application to arrive to Windows 8 and it made the perfect bait requiring people to update to Windows 8.1. The official Facebook application shares the same layout scheme as all other platform applications (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone), while bringing modern design style to the table. The app comes complete with multiple snap modes, live tiles, notifications, and now – “smiley stickers”. What could be better? You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


The official application from Twitter provides a great mark as an easy to use social communication app. While some features such as “live streams” are not present, design and functionality make up for it. The application includes real time notifications of Direct Messages, Mentions, and more. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


Once you are done typing characters to your friends, you can decide to chat face to face with Microsoft’s official Skype application for Windows 8. While the application needs better support in the “multi-party conversation” department, a one on one chat with your friend has never been so great. The application can snap to any size and includes calls that can be displayed and answered on top of your machine’s lock screen. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Entertainment – You don’t always have to be social though, there is nothing like kicking back and enjoying your favorite content with the following apps.


The Netflix application provides a beautiful gateway into the world of entertainment. Sure, the library selection might not be the best in the world, but let’s face it – almost all of us subscribe to it. The application is well designed and now supports multiple profiles. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Hulu Plus

Sometimes you just don’t have enough time for movies and you might want to simply squeeze in a quick television show. Hulu Plus offers unlimited streaming of some of the best shows on TV including Modern Family, The Office, Family Guy, Top Gear, and more. It does require a monthly subscription, but downloading the app will give you one month free. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Reddit To Go!

If you are unaware of one of the internet’s most popular website, Reddit, then you may be living under a rock. Reddit allows users to submit images, videos, articles, and more to “sub-reddits”. Make sure to check out the website then download this great unofficial application for touch friendly access from your Widows 8 devices. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Photos – There is no better way to capture a moment, than within a picture. They do tell a story of a thousand words, don’t they? Luckily with these apps, you will have be able to experience those stories.


If you are a photography enthusiast, you have definitely heard of 500px. Just as the photography within the application itself, the design is simply beautiful. Enjoy browsing popular, upcoming, and Editor’s choice photography or interact with the community and upload your own for some more fun. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe’s Photoshop CC suite can be extremely expensive for many, and at times, we only want to apply simple touchups to our photos. Photoshop Express is an excellent free application that allows you to perform touchups on your favorite photos. A few “fun” filters have also been thrown in for your amusement. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


If you want to add some flair to your photos, then you can check out the Photoastic app, which allows you to create collages of your favorites. You can even add funky shapes and background color to make them really pop. With 100+ collage templates, what is not to love? You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here.

Music and Video- Netflix and Hulu may be a blast to watch, but they can cost a bit. Here are some great Music and Video applications to chill back with.

Hyper for YouTube

There may be a ton of YouTube applications available for Windows 8, but they simply don’t all shine. Some are missing features, while others are downright ugly. After extensive testing of all the YouTube apps, we have to crown “Hyper for YouTube” as the king. Sure, the layout might be identical to another more well know app, but this app provides more features, access to your favorite content, and the ability to snap the video in any screen ratio you desire – win! You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Nokia MixRadio

There are a colossal number of radio on-demand streaming services, including the one that comes preinstalled on your Windows 8 PC (Radio through Xbox Music). Despite already having something built-in, many of our readers simply love Nokia MixRadio. There is nothing more to say other then, Nokia has done it again and created a beautiful, yet functional, application for Windows 8. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


If you love music, but also love videos - than you probably have a thing for music videos. If such is the case, you can download the VEVO app for Windows 8. The VEVO catalog features over 75,000 music videos, along with live concerts and a 24/7 music channel. There is simply no way to better experience your favorite music videos as VEVO has contracts with all the major labels. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Sports – I cannot personally say that I am a fan of the sporting world, but many people are. I had some assistance picking out the best Sports apps for Windows 8 and here they are.

The ESPN App

No, I am not referencing it as “The ESPN App” – that is actually the application’s full name. ESPN is a center point in the world of sports news and they deliver a great experience that will even synchronize with your own personal myESPN account. There is no better application for the latest breaking news and real time scoring. Pin the app to your start screen, for an excellent live tile experience to always stay up to date. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

NFL Mobile

In the United States, football (the one you play with your hands) is one of the most popular sports of all time. The official NFL (Nation Football League) application is available for any of you who can’t go a few moments without thinking of your favorite team. The app includes the latest scores, customizable team alerts, fantasy football management, video highlights, and more. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Yahoo! Sports

If you want to get a great overall situation of the sports world, but aren’t too keen on ESPSN’s official app, then you can checkout Yahoo! Sports. The application delivers live coverage of NBA, NFL, and NCAAF games, along with the latest news and exclusive blog reports. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Books and Reference – If you are like me, you have had your head in books since a young age. If not, it is never too late to start now with some of these great apps.


Amazon’s Kindle service has easily dominated over others such as Nook and Kobo, and it has good reason to. The Kindle store includes over 1 million books, “including new releases and best sellers”. With Kindle Whispersync, you can read your book across multiple devices and have your progress automatically updated. While the Kindle app has a bit of work to do, it still provides the #1 eBook store and one of the best reading experiences on Windows 8. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


Remember us talking about Kindle dominating other services like Barnes and Noble’s Nook? Well, if you did happen to jump onboard the Nook train – there is no need to jump off as it is still a great service. The application provides easy access to your content and even allows access to magazines and newspapers. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


Sometimes it is easier to kick back and listen to a book read by a professional, than it is to read a book on your own. Amazon’s Audible service allows you to access 100,000+ audio books from your Windows device and enjoy them any time you like. Now, we just have to get Morgan Freeman to narrate something. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

News and Weather – When you are ready to explore the world that exists around your PC, you might want to download one of these great news or weather applications.

Nextgen Reader

This is an application I personally use every single day of my life. Nextgen Reader pairs up with the RSS service feedly to provide a simply beautiful way to browse the latest news and content. Add tons of customization available including themes, sync settings, and more – Nextgen Reader will always hold a special place for any Windows User using RSS feeds. Nextgen Reader is simply the best. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


Another recent addition to the Windows Store is Flipboard. For those unfamiliar, Flipboard allows users to create a personal magazine and then flip through it page by page. What can you magazine contain? Anything you want, from major news sources to your own social feeds. With Flipboard you can easily enjoy the most important news and events of the day from the most comfortable seat in the house. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


If you get brave enough to step outside, than you might want to check out the excellent weather app – WeatherFlow. It is not the most information filled weather application on the market, but the extent of effort that has gone into this application’s design is just breathtaking. Animated backgrounds (including clouds, snow, and rain), personalized live tiles, and an easy to read forecast makes it a sure winner. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Health and Fitness- Depending on where you are in the world, it is either about to turn 2014 or it already has. Many of us have getting back in shape (or maintaining our health) on our new year’s resolutions and these apps are a great place to start.


If you want to get your body fit, than there is no better app for Windows 8 than Bodeefit. The app features walkthroughs of various workouts that don’t require any additional equipment – just your own body is needed! With daily workouts and workout logs, the app will have you focusing on both your upper body, lower body, and core. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


If you prefer to get your exercise done over the length of the entire day, than picking up a Fitbit device and download the Fitbit app might be a great idea. The new app from Fitbit finally allows your device to sync within the Windows 8 application, while also providing historical data and progress feedback. Also, don’t forget to get social by adding your friends and family to see how you stack up. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


Shoulders, biceps, forearms, abs, quads, traps, triceps… the list goes on. If you want a breakdown of all the gym terminology, along with workouts to help you get your totally rad body toned, than GymGuide will be your new best friend. The app includes 804 exercises and videos to learn from, along with high quality images, and step-by-step videos. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Food and Dining – After all that working out, you might be a bit hungry. These apps will make sure your stomach is full whether you are looking to cook in or dine out.


The website, Allrecipes, has been around for a while now and has amassed a database of over 50,000 recipes and a community of over 30 million “home cooks”. When it is time to cook, launching Allrecipes can help you discover new meal ideas, or assist you with true and tried favorites. You can even search by ingredient, dish type, and various dietary preferences. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).


Maybe cooking is not your best skillset, if so, you should checkout Urbanspoon on Windows 8. Urbanspoon helps find great nearby restaurants based on criteria such as neighborhood, cuisine, and price. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can even spin the wheel to have a random restaurant brought to light. You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

Bing Food and Drink

Last in this category is one of Microsoft’s own creations. The Bing Food and Drink app not only brings a great selection of food to eat, but allows at home cooks to navigate between steps by waving their hands across the screen. If you are looking for something tasty, Bing It! You can download the app from the Windows Store by clicking here (opens in new tab).

We hope you enjoyed Part One of our two part “The best Windows 8 apps to begin 2014” list. Stay tuned to WPCentral for the second part, coming soon! The second part will cover Lifestyle, Travel, Finance, Productivity, Tools, Security, Business, Education, and Government applications.

Leave us a comment below and let us know what your favorite applications are!

  • Some of my top Windows 8 apps that I'd add... Songza, Breaking News, Redditing, Piece of Tube (YouTube) Mint, Flixster and MetroTwit (Twitter).
  • * cough* you didnt mention the wpc app * cough*
  • *cough* there isn't a WP Central app for Windows 8, yet *cough*
  • * cough* key word* yet ;)
  • 1) I wan't those interactive live tiles. 2) but I also wan't the live tiles on windows phone to turn horizontally when the phone is held horizontally. & 3) and I also want live wall paper like on android (The only thing I do like about android). 4) I'm a Developer so stop all this crazy talk of making android apps work on windows phone. That just creates more competition for me on this platform.
  • Songza ! I use it everyday. The songs selection according to time are just awesome. :D
  • @Daniel Rubino, I hope the follow up on VLC and Microsoft Flight would be fruitful.   I am really wanting for those as well as WhatsApp!   Also, GitHub guys didn't bring the app to the table, as they have the official Android app. They have a beautiful WPF application for desktop.. I wonder how much effort would it take to port the code to PCL and then to Windows and Windows Phone Stores.. I contacted them and asked for count me in as a supporter. Please guys get in touch with them via email; to port the code to portable class library (PCL) and yet release Windows & WP apps. They really revert back quickly. With reasonable amount of requests, I guess they would consider it soon.. Thanks. :-) PS It seems like people think releasing for Windows et el is anti-geeky or something..
  • Whatsapp is only for phones regardless of OS.  You can hack it to work on an Android tablet or iPad, but even then, its only intended to be installed on one device, and will cause issues if you keep a version on your phone + tablet.
  • My favourite app is still the Aloaha Mail Cloud Viewer:  
  • Is there no official Youtube app for Windows 8? I need to know this as I just purchased windows 8 pro
  • As far as I know google is still holding out on us but you still have the option to access YouTube via the browser and upload. Still, I believe you have the ability to modify your channels and the like via apps like Primetube.
  • Officially? No, Google doesn't think that the >100 million on W8 are a big enough audience to make an app for. They're not very smart at business. There are unofficial apps though.
  • This!
  • Yep, not big enough market. Easy to understand. The Xbox 360-is decent, though. (It doesn't tell who made it, but the help page points to
  • Lol if you have windows 8 pro you got a computer....just go to
  • That's a weak argument. I have a computer in my pocket and can just go to, but an app is always better than the web. By that argument, ipads and android tablets wouldn't need it either since they've got browsers.
  • On the phone, yes. You don't need an app on the PC though. I mean, who uses an app for YouTube on a mac? They go to the website.
  • Not all apps are better I promise you, cough Ebay cough Outlook
  • @unstoppablekem true about the Mac, but OS X isn't trying to be a tablet OS, as W8 is. If it was, then they would need an app. @DVELOPinc fair enough :p
  • Aren't apps just making up for the fact that web browsers aren't that great on mobile phones and some tablets?  YouTube works fine in the web browser on my Surface 2 and so does WPCentral for that matter.  So, I don't think that the comparison to the "computer in my pocket" is necessarily valid. I can't say that I'd install the app if it was there, I just hit the bookmark to the web page and it loads fine.
  • Apps are a bit more than just web pages in a format though. Large portions of the code are on the machine so loading is slightly faster, you would in theory get notifications for new videos and comments on your videos, multiple pinned live tiles for channels that show the latest vids in each. So yeah, it would be more helpful but we do have 3rd party apps for that kind of stuff.  
  • I am a few days late on this article.  However, I wanted to respond to your comment.  Windows 8.1 let's you pin websites to the Start Screen and, if the website is setup to provide updates, the pinned Tile can be a Live Tile.  WPC has set this up and I have the tile set to Large so I see the titles of the last 3 or 4 posts on the site within Tile on my Start Screen.  I doubt many sites have this setup, but it is a nice feature.  I don't think an app is necessary for everything, the web works just fine and even better in some cases.  With that said, I am looking forward to the WPC app on Windows 8.1!
  • I use a windows phone.. There are over 10 youtube apps in the store.. Some are good. But i tend to use uc browser with that youtube tile in it everytime i want to see/ search a YouTube video. I used to have youtube apps. Loved the app that MS made with the download option. But now after factory reset.. I use web browser .. It has my subscriptions.. My watch later list, what to watch and others..
    guys i ve been wanting to ask this.. There is an app called webapps on WP.. Does windows 8/RT have something like that?
  • One thing i like about watching youtube videos on a pc (browser) is that u get clickable links /annotations on the video screen. On my WP i don't see those links.
  • No there isn't and Google won't be jumping in to support the platform with eagerness. There amazing alternatives though, such as "Hyper for YouTube" mentioned above.
  • Try MetroTube or Hyper for YourTube, both of them are awesome. I think there will be no official YouTube app for Windows 8.1 as you can see, yeah Google make a selfish business.
  • HyperTube is a better App than some of the other platform official YouTube Apps.   Also don't forget that you get the FULL YouTube web experience on Windows 8, you don't need an App to use it.  (On Android and iOS the website didn't work and still doesn't fully work which is why a dedicated App is needed.) This applies to any Website based content, even things like Facebook, Twitter, Hulu and Netflix that have good Apps are great experiences in the IE11 browser.  Websites (like WPC) also support tile updates, so if you pin the shortcut to the website, it updates with the latest headlines/content on the tile, making the need for a dedicate App not important.  
  • Why are people obsessed with 'official' apps? Metrotube and Hyper are better than any official app on other platforms.
  • WPCentral app? :D
  • We can't nominate ourselves. ;) But thanks! :D
  • Just picked up new tablet. It is fast and awesome and this list of apps is really useful. Thanks WP Central. Can't wait for your app take off on windows 8
  • Hyper needs an update its been a little buggy lately. Also does the nfl mobile app it cant play videos quite right.
  • My favorite apps are Twitter, Facebook, Mail, Pictures, and WPCentral! :D
  • AppFlow is a great app discovery app, sweet ui
  • Nokia MixRadio, Vevo and ESPN(during football season: Go Saints! Roll Tide!) are the only ones from that list I care about.
  • Where's Xbox video and music?
  • I LOVE Xbox Music and Xbox Video - I use them every single day and I have a large video collection within Xbox Video. As much as I would have loved to add it; the Xbox multimedia apps aren't yet nearly as popular as Netflix or Hulu Plus. But let's see, maybe next year (I hope)! :)
  • Very much agree on Xbox music. Anything I want, when I want, without buying forever, without ripping off. And same available on phone, tablet, PC, Xbox. Easier than iTunes. I still store what I own on Amazon and tend to purchase from there but I stream on Xbox music and annual subscription is reasonable. I listen in car a lot, including rentals, way better deal than XM radio.
  • Songza for music
  • Video clips on the NFL Mobile app suck. They start off nice, but a few seconds in, and the audio and video go horribly out of sync.
  • I feel the NFL rewind is quite awesome on my tablet.
  • I need AutoCad 360 :(
  • Isn't that just the cloud backup part of AutoCAD?
  • LOL @ that GymGuide screenshot.  Borderline NSFW :P
  • Weave, OneNote. For artist. Clip Studio Paint. Its a desktop app, but its probably the only one that is equivalent to Sai, and still have a compatible touch interface and touch gestures. Great for Wacom/Penabled tablets.
  • I really thought they were going to wrap up with an announcement and link for the wpcentral beta.
  • are these same apps the same for Win RT? can i assume, what about some games if you dont mind please.
  • Yeah, anything on the store is available on rt.
  • Really? But i thought there were desktop apps (apps that run on desktop mode) too in the store.. Are you sure about this?
  • You're right. There are some apps in the store that are x86/x64 only, mainly a few games. There are also desktop apps listed in the store but they will not show up on RT platform(at least i've never noticed them). Those desktop apps also link out to the web browser for you to download from their site. It's not handled by the store; just a listing. If it's a metro app, such as all of the ones in this list, you are safe to assume it is available for both 8 and RT.
  • Oh so u use RT.. Is there an app called "WebApps" on RT? On WP it allows us to pin the web version of many services like yahoo, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc ..
  • Great article, but please get your then/than situation sorted out! E.g. Something is better THAN something. First there was something, THEN there was something. Very different!
  • ^^^ Came here to say this. Also, 'Dining', not 'Dinning'. Loved the article; just needed these rough bits polished out ;^)
  • Sorry about that - was a long day. Fixed!
  • Phototastic, not photoastic
  • And once again, we forget about the king of Video Organization..... Movie Premier. If you hate the horrid Xbox Video like me...go check this one out.   Also hate the other horrid app known as Xbox Music? If you can find Artist Info, check that out. Also Groove is nice.
  • I feel like there should have been a games section :) But great list! Can you make a list for Windows RT? 
  • All of these apps are in the Windows Store, which both Windows 8 and Windows RT have access to. :)
  • Oh, that's awesome to hear! For some reason, I thought that they had separate app stores all this time.
  • Yikes. You can think of Windows RT as the starter edition of Windows 8/8.1. The main differences are that RT doesn't allow you to install *any* desktop based programs and runs on ARM hardware. It's basically a fresh install of windows home that cannot be messed with outside of installing Store apps.
  • I'd say Tweetium is by far the best twitter app on W8
  • Will "project Siena" be includes in any of the parts? I'm surprised WPCentral hasn't reported on it yet.
  • I miss fliptoast.  Great social aggregator that just disappeared.
  • WeatherFlow is great, but needs Windows 8.1 support, with portrait orientation and large live tile.
  • :P
  • For the love of God do not mention the Amazon store app. The W8.1 app is fundamentally useless, requiring an internet browser open to do anything other then placing an order on the default Amazon fulfilled item. Wanna check used items? It opes the browser. Wanna check tracking? Opens the browser. Wanna check a different seller of a new item? Opens browser.
  • Great British Chefs for food is beautiful. Also Bing news and Bing sport are as good as any.
  • Additional Note: This is Windows, you can use your regular full websites without the need for dedicated Apps.  The reason many 'Apps' exist for websites on Android and iOS is because they don't work properly in their web browsers. Remember this if you feel like Windows 8 is 'lite' on Apps, as it works with more web content than other platforms because of WebGL/Flash/Silverlight and fast HTML5 RIA support.
  • Am I missing something? I don't think that Silverlight works in IE11 on Win RT (ARM). Otherwise I agree totally.
  • You seemed to have skipped Business apps. The three I use every day are: Bing Finance, Yahoo! Finance and Mint. All three have great modern functionality. Mobiligy is another nice app that even supports bill paying. I had problems with the live tile updating with it.
  • Some good choices, I use many of them. HyperTube is the best YouTube hands down. Nokia MixRadio though I have it, it won't load album art for me like your screenshot above. I just get a sea of pink faces. Other good apps Songza, Accuweather, MetroTwit and Weave (syncs with Windows Phone now).
  • Eh, these are only meh. Haven't really found anything of high calibre yet. Maybe myTube and Readit might do the trick.
  • I never understood the need for a YouTube pp on a Surface or other W8 device.  They have a FULL web browser.  Just pin a shortcut to the Metro or legacy desktop.  Ta da, you have your official app.
  • I like Pandora Vídeo Box and TrackSeries
  • allrecipes does not show up on my store! does everyone else see it? also, great find on hyper for youtube. finally a great app for youtube, thanks for the tip!
  • What's the best Pocket client?
  • Games??  I know the RT platform is missing great titles like XCom, Shadowrun and Nova 3, but there a some good games out there that should be mentioned. Halo Spartan Assault, Pinball FX2 and Riptide 2 are all excellent games.
  • A new app has just been released for Windows 8 : ... dcaf2f2448
    It allows managing Download Station tasks and much more. If you want to help us provide more Synology apps for Windows 8, please share. To send feedback, idea or wish, just email or visit
  • hi some one can help for app to receive sms on window tablet thks
  • These are some really great applications. Twitter, facebook and skype the great applications that let me active in the social world. These apps are also helpful for my business. The increasing use of the smart phones and tablets introduces lots of new development of mobile phone applications. Thank you for sharing the great list of the apps here.
  • Well these are some really awesome developments of applications for windows phones. I loved this article and those lovely apps, especially the social media apps that let me alive in the social world and get my social tasks done with ease. Thank you for sharing some really great things here.