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Best Windows 8 apps

Here they are - the best Windows 8 apps to download in 2013



On its own, Smartglass isn’t useful – in fact, unless you own an Xbox, you won’t be able to get it to switch on at all. However, when you connect an Xbox 360 to your local network, Smartglass will automatically detect it and connect, opening up a whole host of second screen services including music sharing, video streaming and extra features in games.

Xbox Smartglass
SmartGlass can even set up playlists for Dance Central – assuming you have no shame and own Dance Central

When you come home, tablet in hand, and are only half way through that TV episode you’re a fan of, you don’t want to carry on watching on a small screen when you’ve got a huge TV just sitting there. With Smart Glass, you can send a signal to the Xbox to connect, stream and navigate to the exact point you paused the video, carrying on where you left off. Your device then turns into a helpful guide, showing you the actors on screen and what other roles they’ve been in, as well as chapter breaks which you can swipe between to quickly (but accurately) skip between scenes.


With no LoveFilm app on Windows 8, its the US-centric service that leads the way when it comes to subscription video. Competition or not, it’s a brilliant iteration of the service, with loads of content onscreen that you can scroll through and a drop down menu allowing you to jump to between genres and personalised shortlists.

There’s a box that provides a quick resume link for the last three items you watched, better still you get a thumbnail for each exactly at the point you paused it, so you can see where you got to.

Enter a programme listing and get episode listings, descriptions and all the usual tags for actors and directors to find connected content. It’s simply the best version of the service we can think of.

Netflix Windows 8
Netflix is simply great on Windows 8


Not the cleverest or most advanced app you’ll find in the store, but Wikipedia is such an essential reference tool for most people that it still deserves its place in this list. The key thing here is that Wikipedia will be added to the Search menu as a modifier, so you can search the encyclopaedia without the usual rigmarole – put the term in Google, add wiki to the end, and then click the link. Instead just start typing from the Start screen and then click the Wikipedia button.

Once in the app, everything is pleasing laid out with a simple white background. You scroll through articles from left-to-right and the whole thing works beautifully in landscape orientation, though it takes a little bit of getting used to after years of using the usual web layout. Type anything within the app and it immediately starts offering auto completed search terms.

Our main complaint is that listing lacks the information box that usually appears in the top-right corner, you have to click to bring this up, and then scroll through it in a pop-up. Also missing are the indexes for longer articles, which makes navigating them far harder. Still worth installing, but needs a few fixes.

It’s everyone’s favourite Dr Watson, sorry Lucy Liu

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