On 2nd July 2013, Windows Store has reached the 100,000 apps milestone in just 8 months after Windows 8 was launched, which is pretty impressive. There is no doubt that it will take much shorter time to reach the next 100,000 apps, as Microsoft is just starting to build momentum.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of high quality free apps among the first 100,000 apps, and I have personally tried out some of them after 7 months of Windows 8 usage. Therefore, I have decided to harvest a list of awesome Windows Store apps that are free and useful for Windows 8/RT users.
How do I compile this list?
To select the best of the best free apps, I have gone through tons of reviews, websites, ratings, and testings to shortlist applications that own the characteristics of a high quality app: useful features, easy-to-use, clean interface, etc. Also, they should meet these general requirements:
- at least 500 user ratings
- 3.5-stars and above
with some exceptions:
- newly released apps with less than 500 user ratings, but has received excellent feedback and ratings from users
- apps with less than 3.5-star rating, but has improved greatly from previous updates
After a long process of selecting apps that are qualified to the above requirements, I have divided the list into 20 different categories, for your convenience. Hope you enjoy the list!
Please help to maintain this list by reporting any removed apps, mistakes, deadlinks, etc. You can also contribute to the list by suggesting any great apps that deserves to be in the top 100. Feel free to tell us in the comment section below!
1. Pinball FX2
Miss the classic 3D Pinball game from your old Windows machine? Pinball FX2 is a must install for pinball lovers. Its impressive graphics explain everything.
2. Cut The Rope
One of the most popular smartphone games. Feed the frog and collect as many stars as you can!
A sci-fi strategy game. Superb gameplay and graphics.
4. Solitaire HD
Your Windows isn’t complete without the old card game. Now in HD.
BubbleBreaker is a lightweight game that runs smoothly on most devices. A great time wasting and stress relieving game.
The best racing and drifting game in the Windows Store.
Royal Revolt! is a tower defense game with superb graphics and cute characters. It is fun, addicting, and easy-to-play. Conquer all 58 castles now!
Find as many words as you can within 2 minutes. You can go horizontally, vertically, or diagonally among the 16 letters to form a word. You will be competing against all online players on the same board. Tell me when you manage to enter top 10.
9. Flow Free
Can you see all the dots with different colors? Pair all colors and cover the entire board without crossing and overlapping. A simple game yet addictive, especially at the higher levels.
10. Jewel Fewer
Ah yes, how can I forget to include a match-three game? Jewel Fever consists of 3 game modes: normal, quick, and infinite. Time limit is 60 seconds. Enjoy!
11. Blocked In
Another addictive and brain challenging game. Blocked In has 3600 unique puzzles in 5 level packs, 2 game modes (Challenge mode allows you to earn star, whereas Relax mode is just like the normal game), and 4 difficulty levels.
Skype for Windows 8 works perfectly with Windows 8 computers and tablets, with low battery consume while running at the background and easy-to-navigate interface for touch screen users.
The official Twitter app for Windows 8.
LINE allows you to make free calls, send videos, send free messages with stickers, and more. Do note that you must have a LINE account registered with your smartphone before using you can LINE on Windows 8 computers.
A super addictive app. StumbleUpon shows photos, videos, and articles of your interest. Don’t be surprised if you end up browsing contents for hours with this app.
IM+ Instant Messenger supports most of the popular IM services such as Facebook, Skype, Yahoo!, Google Talk, ICQ, and more.
A free acoustic virtual piano that works best for touch screen devices. It is also keyboard supported.
18. Xbox SmartGlass
Xbox SmartGlass is a companion application for Xbox 360, that allows interactions between devices (PC, smartphone, and tablet) and Xbox 360. With this app, you can turn your device into a second screen and remote controller. Find out more about Xbox SmartGlass here.
Netflix is the Grand Daddy of all video streaming services. If you are a Netflix subscriber who loves to watch shows and movies on your Windows 8 device, this is a must have for you.
Bored of the default Windows 8 themes? This app collects high quality wallpapers and backgrounds from various categories. You can easily find your favorite photo and set it as your desktop background or lock screen.
21. Reddit To Go!
Reddit is a social news site where users are allowed to submit content and vote “up” or “down” on other users submissions. This app has a slick and clean interface which enhances your redditing experience.
22. Fresh Paint
Perfect painting app for kids, even for adults. You will experience the fun of highly realistic oil painting, without spending on any painting materials.
SketchBook Express is a drawing application for sketching and painting. It is basically the lite version of SketchBook Pro with less features, but hey, it’s free!
24. Movie ShowTime
A must have for movie lovers. Simply enter your location and this app will show you all of the movie showtimes from theaters nearby. It also provides movie details such as IMDB rating, movie length, movie synopsis, and even movie trailer.
Learn how everything works with this app. HowStuffWorks has over 40,000 articles with cool videos and illustrations to make learning easier. You can also listen to their podcasts if you hate reading.
Fotor is a photo editor that allows you to add borders, effects, texts, filters, and make some basic edits. You can also make photo collages with this app. If you are looking to do some quick and simple photo editing, this app is for you.
Can you see the different effects implemented on a same photo from the image below? PhotoFunia has over 300 different effects ready for you to test. Add your photo and turn your image into a billboard instantly!
Fhotoroom is a photo sharing network and photo editing application. Free version is limited to basic features such as crop, rotate, resize, add frames, apply light leaks, etc.
Adobe Photoshop Express has much limited features compare to the popular Adobe Photoshop. It has some basic editing features such as cropping, rotating, straightening, flipping, removing red eye, auto-fixing, adding effects, etc.
30. TuneIn Radio
Best radio app for Windows 8 devices. TuneIn Radio supports over 60,000 radio stations and 2 millions on-demand programs. Browse stations by location, language, or schedule (music, news, sports, or talk).
31. Music Maker Jam
Music Maker Jam allows you to add and mix prerecorded audios, effects, instruments, and loops to create your own tracks easily.
Shazam is a music identifier app. You can buy, share, watch, or get lyrics of the identified music.
MegaTube is a YouTube Downloader, MP3 converter, and player. You can download YouTube Video in various qualities or convert it to MP3. It also works as a Youtube player to play videos online or in your custom playlist.
34. Play Guitar!
A virtual guitar with chord viewer and editor.
The best app to watch Youtube videos on your Windows 8 devices. It has most the key features that you need: access your subscribed videos, watch videos in different qualities, watch videos later, add video to playlist, etc. If you are looking for a YouTube player app without a downloader, this app is for you.
36. Multimedia 8
Multimedia 8 is a media player that allows you to browse and play music and video easily. Other features include playlist manager, video converter, 3D video player, etc.
37. The ESPN App
The official ESPN app that provides sports-related news except soccer. Refer to the next app if you are looking for soccer news app.
38. ESPN FC
The best football app that covers worldwide football news, with live score, results, fixtures, tables, and profiles.
The largest free encyclopedia on the Internet. Simply type anything on the app home screen and the charm bar will show up with suggested results.
40. Free Books
A free app with free books, but most of them are classics. Still, there are plenty of great books among its 20,000+ collections.
41. Manga Z
The best manga app for manga fans. Browse, download, and favorite manga easily with Manga Z.
Although this app has received relatively low ratings (3.1 stars) from users due to its sluggish and buggy performance, it is still an essential app for Kindle users. Read Kindle books on your computer or tablet with this app.
The latest update has improved the application speed and design. In overall, Barnes & Noble does a better job than Amazon on developing e-book reader app for Windows 8. It is smoother and more feature-rich than the Kindle app.
The official dictionary app from TheFreeDictionary.com. It supports English and 13 other languages.
45. Audiobooks 8
Access to 6500+ free audiobooks categorized by genre and language in Audiobooks 8. There are plenty of good books in this app, mostly old classics, with clear voice and right speed. You can also download any audiobooks that you wish to play offline.
A must-have for diehard comic book fans. This app has included more than 30,000 comics from over 75 top publishers such as Marvel, DC, and BOOM!. You can buy comics or access to hundreds of free comics in this app. If you already have a comiXology account, simply login to your account and start reading comics on your Windows 8 device.
47. News Bento
I personally love to read news on Windows 8 apps, as they have newspaper-like design that utilizes the whole screen to display news and articles, and News Bento is a great example.
The latest headlines are shown in tiles with images. It also supports live tile and Google Reader.
48. USA Today
One of the best designed news app with well-organized display, simple layout, and gorgeous photos. Get all the latest news from USA Today with this beautiful app.
49. Appy Geek
The best tech news app for tech-lovers. Get all of the top stories from major tech sites such as TechRadar, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, CNET, Engadget, and more.
50. The Economist
The Economist is a weekly international news and business publication, which focuses on world news, politics, economics, business, and finance. Do note that non-subscribers can only access to the weekly editor’s picks, not the full print edition.