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Best Windows 8 apps

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  • Magix Music Maker Jam
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UPDATE: Our best windows 8 apps roundup has grown to accommodate even more applications, available to download now.

Windows 8 is here - Microsoft's biggest operating system shake-up since it introduced the desktop. It's the first to truly embrace touch-enabled devices.

Clicking on the Windows Store icon on the Start Screen will jump you straight into a huge collection of free and paid for apps, all of which are designed specifically for the new Modern UI interface. There are some clear gems to be discovered around all the chaff, but it can take a bit of digging.

That's why we've rounded up some of the best early efforts here, to save you the time. Read on to work out which ones are right for you.

SHAZAM

Shazam
What was the name of that track again?

The music-identifying app is now available for Windows 8, so you can use it on your desktop as well as your mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

Although its key tool remains the music identifier, Shazam has added a few extra features including better social integration and a wealth of additional content and social features for television shows – good news if you’re a TV buff. The app also allows users to tag their favourite tracks, view song lyrics and read music reviews and bios of their favourite artists.

Price: Free
Download: Shazam

PUZZLETOUCH

puzzletouch
Easy mode makes this app anything but puzzling

After five minutes with this app, we were hooked. PuzzleTouch includes dozens of images but you can also create your own puzzles by using an image in your photo album. Simply drag and drop the pieces together until you have the finished product – it’s that simple.

If you’re useless at puzzles, don’t sweat it. There are several puzzle modes you can select, from the easy 12-piece puzzle mode to the more advanced puzzles that require you to rotate jigsaw pieces 360 degrees. It’s not the most advanced game in the world, but will keep you entertained on your morning commute to work.

Price: Free
Download: PuzzleTouch

MAGIX MUSIC MAKER JAM

After five minutes with this app, we were making dubstep worthy of Skrillex. Eight instruments are arrayed across your screen, from bass to synth to vocals, and you adjust levels and instrument types to get the groove you need. There's even a loop generator for more advanced control.

The free version lets you choose from Jazz, Dubstep and Tech House styles, and extra styles such as Hip-Hop and Deephouse are available for £1.79 each. Once you have your loop how you want it, just hit record to save it to an MP3.

Music Maker homepage

Magix Music Maker Jam
Wub-wub-wub-wub

EVERNOTE

Evernote is our favourite note-taking app, mainly because it is available on every smartphone operating system - whether you have an iPhone or Windows Phone or Android handset, your notes will be kept in sync.

Normally we use the web interface when managing our notes on a PC, but the Evernote Windows 8 app makes things easier. The clear, full-screen interface shows your notes as tiles, each containing a summary of the note, and any changes you make or new notes you add are synchronised across all your devices.

Evernote homepage

Evernote
Keeping track of your life across all your devices is easy with Evernote

SKYPE

Skype has expanded from mere voice over IP into video conferencing and instant messaging, across Windows, Android, iOS and even smart TVs. It’s also now owned by Microsoft, so there should be no surprise that it’s available at launch for Windows 8. It’s also one of the best looking Windows 8 apps we’ve seen so far.

Skype
All the features you expect from Skype, with the gorgeous Modern UI on top

All the features we’ve come to expect are here, presented in a gorgeous Modern UI style that’s easy to navigate with a mouse and keyboard or on a touch screen. It has a live tile, as any good Windows 8 app should, and if you allow it to merge your Skype account with Windows messenger, all your existing contacts will be imported, letting you chat without having to load up a second program.

There's no need to install the desktop program when you've got this installed - it's exactly what a Windows 8 upgrade should be, freeing the desktop for more productive programs.

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For more details about purchasing this feature and/or images for editorial usage, please contact Jasmine Samra on pictures@dennis.co.uk

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