Truly, ‘tis the season for giving a Windows Phone. And not just because the Nokia Lumia 800 is the most impressive Microsoft mobile yet: as you can see from the apps that follow, its suite of software is outdoing the iPhone. Read on for the 10 best Windows Phone apps better than their iPhone counterparts.
The Swedish song streamers sure took their time about it, but Spotify mashed up with Windows Phone’s Metro UI has been well worth the wait. It’s a spectacularly beautiful app with album art tiles: it runs in the background and you can control tracks from the lockscreen as well. By comparison, the Spotify iPhone app is just words on a screen.
Xbox Live Companion app
You can download My Xbox Live for iPhone and fanny about looking at your Gamerscore if you really want. But on a Windows Phone, the Xbox Live companion app lets you use your blower as a remote control, which is perfect if you use your Xbox as a media centre as well as a game station.
While we’re not convinced Windows Phone’s Live Tile homescreen layout is the ultimate in UX design, we will admit that the tiles’ ability to act as shortcuts for more than just apps is a nice twist. Foursquare for Windows Phone, which needless to say looks lovely, lets you set places as live tiles on your homescreen for quick check-ins with a single tap.
Want some free turn by turn on iPhone? You won’t find it built in, and none of the solutions on the App Store are as impressive as Google Maps Navigation for Android – or for that matter Nokia Drive for Nokia Windows Phones. Using Nokia’s Navteq mapping powers, it’ll guide you from A to B at no extra charge.
If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll want to check this out: British Airway’s fantastic Windows Phone app not only serves you up a boarding pass for a flight on your homescreen, complete with QR code, it lets you pin individual passes to your homescreen. Even if you’re flying economy, you can still enjoy the ultimate in convenience.
There are plenty of office suites on all mobile platforms, but Microsoft Office on Windows Phone is undoubtedly the best: it’s preloaded, powerful, and easy to use. For better or worse, you can even edit PowerPoints if you want. Ah, we hear you cry, but in Pages for iPhone you can edit Pages documents as well. Let us lay a slice of wisdom down for you: NOBODY WANTS YOUR INCOMPATIBLE PAGES DOCUMENT.
You can now get SkyDrive on the iPhone, and it’s a mighty impressive rival to the likes of Dropbox and even iCloud given Microsoft’s willingness to hand out 25GB of free cloud storage per user. As you’d expect from a first party product though, it’s a better experience on Windows Phone: it’s integrated as a drive for your files and in Microsoft Office, and third party apps can now plug into it as well. You’ll have to do everything within the app on iPhone, sadly.
Halo Waypoint is an interesting new companion app on Windows Phone, iPhone and Android for Xbox 360 title Halo: Reach, stuffed with map layouts, stats, and a realtime feature called ATLAS that shows’ player locations, ammo drops and more. Whatever you make of using a phone as a second screen for console gaming (We think it’s evil), there’s no denying it’s cheaper on Windows Phone: on iPhone, the ATLAS feature is a £2.99 in-app purchase.
Amazon’s e-reader app is available on every platform worth even half its salt, but it’s crippled on one of them: iPhone. That’s because Amazon baulked at Apple’s insistence on getting a cut of every single in-app transaction on iOS, and removed the purchase button for the iPhone app. No problems whatsoever on the Windows Phone app: it looks stunning, and you can shop on it too.
That ability to pin anything to the start screen really comes into its own with the eBay Windows Phone app: it turns this into a bargain hunter’s wet dream/worst enemy. You can save individual searches and bids to the start screen, which means if there’s a certain vintage dress or, let’s be honest, rare SNES cartridge you’re after, you can keep a constant look out for it on the move.