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Windows Phone 8 review

Mon Oct 29 2012, 19:00

Windows Phone Store
Since the launch of Windows Phone 7 we've had issues with the number of apps available for the ecosystem, and things haven't got much better with Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft has been keen to talk up the fact that there are now 110,000 apps available for Windows Phone devices, but we found that the Store is still missing a number of big name titles, like Spotify and Instagram, for example. We can't help but think that those already using these apps will be put off from switching to Windows Phone 8.

Windows Phone 8 app store

Saying that, there are some big name apps available for Windows Phone. We managed to download BBC News, Netflix and several well-known games onto our Windows Phone 8 handset, and they all looked great on the phone's high definition screen.

We found that the Windows Phone Store is much more intuitive than Google Play too, and we found it really easy to pin down the apps we were looking for - the ones available in the store, that is. Our only real gripe with the app is the fact that it doesn't support downloads in the background, so if you want to install multiple apps, you'll have to keep starting from square one.

We can't help but think that more apps will start appearing after the launch of the operating system, as customers start to warm to Windows Phone 8.

Preloaded apps
We might have moaned about the lack of apps available available in the Windows Phone Store, but Microsoft has provided Windows 8 with a bunch of apps of its own.

Chief among these is Xbox Music, which explains why Spotify was sadly missing from the Windows Phone store. We were pleasantly surprised by Microsoft's home-grown music streaming service, which as well as offering a gorgeous interface, could easily take on Spotify with its vast catalogue of artists and albums. It's also a quid cheaper than its rivals, offering a monthly subscription for £8.99.

Xbox gaming, of course, also comes preloaded on all Windows Phone 8 devices, which is likely to be a big draw for owners of the Microsoft console. Smartglass is the standout feature, which lets you control your Xbox using your phone, although this is also available on Android devices.

Another app we fell in love with on Windows Phone 8 is Maps. Powered by Nokia's Maps technology, the app puts Apple's IOS 6 Maps to shame, offering detailed and more accurate directions. Aerial view is another great feature, with Nokia providing detailed images of surrounding buildings, which we found made it even easier to get from A to B.

Windows Phone 8 apps

Local information comes baked into the revamped Maps application, offering recommendations on where to eat and drink, what to do locally and nearby shopping haunts.

Next: Productivity

 

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