What we Use: Universal Windows Apps

Following adult on yesterday’s post, In Search of Good Universal Apps, I’ve been evaluating a series of in-box and Store-based concept Windows apps and devise to enhance my use of such apps going forward. But I’m already using, and can recommend, some concept Windows apps today.

To be clear, this isn’t about height sycophancy. My preference to use or not use a sold concept app comes down to peculiarity and suitability. By that we mean, if a desktop focus or web app is a improved resolution that a analogous concept app, I’ll use what’s best for me, not what’s best for Microsoft.

That said, concept apps—what Microsoft now calls Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps—have their advantages. They’re supposing customarily around Windows Store, that is a single, known-good place to acquire apps and games, and a apps themselves are battery-friendly and secure. They can work cross-platform (meaning phone today, nonetheless some-more inclination in a future), and can offer cross-device licensing, definition we (usually) customarily compensate once for paid apps. They scale according to a device (screen distance and so on) and are easy of complicated submit techniques like hold and pen.

And while many won’t see this as an advantage, concept apps, that are radically mobile apps, tend to be easier than desktop and even web apps. That doesn’t meant they can’t be sophisticated—Microsoft’s mobile Office solutions are a good spirit during a possibilities—though cartoonish and unsuited examples from a days of Windows 8 are still a bit too common. The goal, again, is quality.

The apps

Here are a concept apps we cruise “pin-worthy” today, definition we use them frequently adequate that they aver a mark on my taskbar.

Mail and Calendar

Type: (in-box, partial of Windows 10)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free

While I’ve apparently spent a garland of time with Mail and Calendar, and use a compared apps in Windows 10 Mobile even some-more regularly, we feel like these apps have maybe grown to a indicate where we can indeed used them day-to-day.

The customarily emanate is that my primary email (thurrott.com) is Google Apps/Gmail-based, and while Microsoft’s clients are compatible, they’re not always ideal. The biggest emanate is archiving/deleting email: When we pierce by a inbox in a Microsoft customer and repository or undo messages, those changes are not immediate. So some volume of time has to pass before they’re reflected in a cloud. The web-based Gmail and Inbox apps are of march a some-more internal experience, and changes are immediate.

We’ll see how this goes.

Edge

Type: (in-box, partial of Windows 10)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free

Like Mail/Calendar, this is a bit of an experiment. Edge apparently doesn’t offer any ad-blocking or other forms of extensibility, nonetheless this browser has some vital advantages over a alternatives: It renders calm wonderfully, and it handles a now-common high DPI displays many some-more seamlessly. It also looks improved in Windows 10, in my opinion. So I’m going to give it a go.

What Edge lacks, besides extensibility, is a good mobile sync story. Yes, Edge is accessible on Windows 10 Mobile, nonetheless it’s not on Android or iOS and substantially never will be. And … that’s OK for me. It’s not tough duplicating my truly-necessary bookmarks/favorites and site log-ins opposite platforms.

Groove

Type: (in-box, partial of Windows 10)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free

This is a easiest one for me: we use Groove with Groove Music Pass, and while it works good opposite all platforms, a Windows 10 customer is among a best out there.

That said, we do consider many song fans would be improved served by a some-more “complete” song use that offers loyal radio functionality—Google Play Music, perhaps, or Spotify, nonetheless conjunction offers concept apps—or by augmenting Groove with another (radio) service. Perhaps Pandora (which has a good concept app) or MixRadio (which does not, on PC).

MSN News and Weather

Type: (in-box, partial of Windows 10)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free

These (and a other MSN apps, like Money and Sports) and smashing calm apps, and while a Start menu in Windows 10 for PCs isn’t ideal for this, they offer good live tile calm too. we use both apps opposite platforms where probable (MSN News is on Android and iOS too, and Weather is also on Android), and in fact use MSN News as my primary news assembly app.

Xbox (Beta)

Type: Universal app (Store)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free

A pivotal member of Microsoft’s plan of fluctuating Xbox One capabilities to PCs and other devices, the Xbox (Beta) app is a look a a destiny of a in-box Xbox app that ships with Windows 10. It provides a series of good facilities associated to your Xbox Live account, and we generally like that we can stand and buy Xbox One games from within this app and have them implement remotely to your console. (On a associated note, it’s uncanny to me that Xbox Beta brings a store in-app, given Groove and Movies TV do not.)

Movies TV

Type: (in-box, partial of Windows 10)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free

While we don’t recommending shopping calm from Microsoft’s online cinema and TV shows store, there’s no reason we can’t lease cinema from this service. In fact, there’s a good reason to use Movies TV specifically for this purpose (and for internal video record playback too): It delivers much better battery life than desktop apps like VLC Media Player (which, yes, we always implement too, usually in case). This is pivotal for unstable computers.

Netflix and Hulu

Type: Universal apps (Store)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free (with subscription fees for each)

Speaking of unstable computers, we don’t use the Netflix or Hulu apps on my desktop PC during home, nonetheless we do use them on a go, and as with Movies TV, we get a improved experience—and improved battery life—with a internal apps. Netflix has been a go-to video use for years, and we drop in and out of Hulu from time to time for specific reasons. (Current reason: Stephen King’s 11.22.63 debuts on Hulu tomorrow.)

Audible

Type: Universal app (Store)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Free (with in-app book purchases)

Audible has been a long-time favorite of cave on phones—I listen to Audible books substantially any singular day—but interjection to dual new changes we now use it (albeit reduction frequently) on a PC too. First, Audible converted a app to be a concept app, definition it runs opposite PC, inscription and phone now. And second, Audible combined book streaming to a app, so we no longer need to download a book before we can listen. Awesomeness.

Games (various)

Type: Universal apps (Store)
Where: PC/tablet, Mobile
Cost: Varies by game

Until recently, I’d kind of flitted around with several mobile games on Windows 10—Minecraft for Windows 10 (Beta), that is excellent, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Halo: Spartan Assault, Halo: Spartan Strike, and others—but that’s all changing. Rise of a Tomb Raider is a first-ever AAA diversion pretension for Windows 10 that we can get by a Store, and Quantum Break, accessible for pre-order now, will offer cross-buy with Xbox One. This is fascinating to me, given it helps Microsoft move a morality of console gaming to a PC, where those games can offer improved graphics capabilities. This is, ahem, diversion changing.

A few apps I’m experimenting with

A few readers endorsed PDF apps, and given Adobe is so aggressively pulling Adobe Reader users divided from a purify X1 chronicle and towards a busier, cloud-connected newer app versions, I’m in a mood for a change. So far, we like Foxit MobilePDF the best, interjection to a purify design. But we will keep looking. (Regardless, PDF observation in Edge is not acceptable.)

I’m also meddlesome in a concept app deputy for VLC, mostly given Movies TV is so simple and a VLC desktop app is tough on a battery. The apparent choice is the VLC for Windows Store app, that I’m now examining. (It’s not a concept app, during slightest not yet, nonetheless there is a chronicle for phones too.)

Where concept apps don’t accommodate my needs

As we remarkable in In Search of Good Universal Apps, we still use a accumulation of desktop apps for several reasons. The dual biggest, literally, are Office 2016 (which we get with my Office 365 subscriptions) and Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Both are arguably formidable apps, nonetheless we feel in any box we could get prolonged with a easier solution.

With Office, we could substantially use a some-more simple Office Mobile apps for a many part, and given I’m regulating MarkdownPad 2 for calm modifying now, my non-OneNote needs have dropped. (I still really many cite a desktop chronicle of OneNote to a one bundled with Windows 10, and given it’s free, everybody should use that chronicle instead.)

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements for some really specific picture resizing needs associated to my web site. That is, we need to stand by a specific ratio (16:9) and to a specific distance (850 pixels wide). The ability to purify adult images with involuntary collection is nice, too, nonetheless that kind of thing is common. Anyway, I’m looking for a simpler, smaller concept app that will let me do this efficiently, as even a Elements chronicle of Photoshop is a large implement (and a focus customarily allows a few installs during a time, that is tough for someone like me who moves from PC to PC a lot).

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