10 Great Windows Store Apps Worth Downloading

Windows Store splash screen

 Windows

Common wisdom says that the app store in Windows 10 doesn't have any apps worth downloading. While that was more or less true in the Windows 8 days the Windows Store in the newest version of Microsoft's operating system has come a long way. Helped in part by the universal app platform that lets apps work across multiple Windows 10 device types, the Windows Store has a respectable collection.

It's nowhere near the variety and number you see on Android and iOS, of course. Nevertheless, there are tons of apps worth downloading. As of Summer 2016 — just before the Windows 10 Anniversary Update rolls out — here's a look at 10 apps worth downloading.

01
of 11

VLC

VLC for Windows 10

 VLC

What We Like

  • Terrific touch screen support.

  • Picture-in-picture mode allows you to use other apps while watching videos.

What We Don't Like

  • The "repeat" and "shuffle" features don't always work properly.

  • Prone to occasional crashes and slow performance.

The popular open source media playback app recently released a great revamp of its Windows Store app specifically for Windows 10. The app is now part of Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform and can run on PCs, tablets, Windows 10 Mobile, and HoloLens. A version for Xbox One is also coming later in September.

VLC for Windows 10 has some great tricks up its sleeve including automated music playlists and artist playback using Cortana voice commands. Live tile support lets you pin specific content to the Start menu. There's also Continuum compatibility for Windows 10 Mobile devices that turns the app into a full-screen affair when you connect your phone to a monitor and keyboard. The only thing lacking from VLC for Windows 10 is DVD and Blu-ray support due to the limitations of Windows 10 apps.

Free.

02
of 11

Lara Croft Go

Lara Croft Go

 Square Enix, Ltd.

What We Like

  • Impressive graphics for a mobile game.

  • Clever puzzle design and epic boss battles.

What We Don't Like

  • It's a little too easy to find all of the collectibles.

  • Experienced gamers will beat it fairly quickly.

This turn-based puzzle game is a fantastic way to spend a few minutes, or a few hours on a tablet, PC, or phone. In Lara Croft Go you are the legendary Tomb Raider character who must strategize her way around various obstacles including deadly snakes, spiders, and booby traps. See if you can make it all the way to the end by figuring out the correct moves for each level, and don't forget to collect all the various trophy fragments as you go.

$5, in-app purchases.

03
of 11

Plex

Plex for Windows 10

 Windows

What We Like

  • Sorting your synced media content is a breeze.

  • Frequently updated with new features.

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't reliably save your viewing progress.

  • The Windows app isn't as stable as other versions.

This app is a little redundant on a PC that's already running the Plex media server. But for secondary PCs and Windows tablets, the Plex app for Windows 10 is a great choice. It gives you easy access to content on your Plex media server, and even remote access to that content if you are a paying user. Plex recently redesigned its app for Windows 10's universal platform but has yet to roll it out to mobile devices.

If you don't know what Plex is it's a fantastic media organization tool for all your DRM-free media including photos, videos, music, movies, and TV shows.

Free, in-app purchases.

04
of 11

Uber

Uber for Windows 10

 Uber

What We Like

  • Much cheaper than taking a cab.

  • Anyone can drive for Uber, so it makes for a good side hustle.

What We Don't Like

  • Unreliable customer service.

  • The map feature is very bare bones.

For the most part, Uber is restricted to apps on the phone, but in late 2015 the ride-hailing service rolled out an app for Windows 10 desktops and tablets. The app makes it easier to request a ride from your desk at work or your PC at home. There are also some nice Windows 10-specific additions like Cortana voice commands such as "Hey Cortana, get me an Uber to Times Square." The app also offers live updates when it's pinned to your Start menu.

Free.

05
of 11

OneNote

OneNote Windows Store version

 Windows

What We Like

  • Integrates with email and social media apps.

  • Feature-rich drawing tool lets you make hand-written notes using a stylus, a mouse, or your fingers.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks some features found in OneNote 2016.

  • Locating notebooks shared with you by others is overly complicated.

It can be a little confusing, but Microsoft's popular note-taking application comes in two flavors for Windows 10 PCs: the traditional desktop app and the Windows Store version. If you are using a traditional mouse and keyboard PC then the good old desktop version of OneNote is probably all you need. Anyone with a touchscreen, however, can probably benefit from the Windows Store app.

OneNote from the Windows Store has all the main features you're used to in the desktop version, but it's also very touch-friendly with big, finger-friendly targets. Both the desktop and Windows 10 versions work well with a stylus so you don't need to worry about that. However, if you need advanced OneNote features that go beyond basic formatting then the desktop app might be a better choice.

Free, bundled with Windows 10.

06
of 11

Reader

Reader for Windows

 Microsoft

What We Like

  • Great stylus and touch screen support.

  • Better for reading PDFs than the default Windows browser.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited editing tools.

  • Takes a while for each page to load.

Windows 10's built-in solution for reading PDF documents is the new browser Microsoft Edge. Yuck. I'm probably biased, but I just don't like using Edge for reading PDFs — or much of anything else, to be honest. Microsoft also offers a free PDF reader in the Windows Store called Reader. This app originally debuted as a built-in app for Windows 8 but was removed in Windows 10.

Reader is great because it's simple and has all the basic features you want from a PDF reader including the ability to print and search.

Free.

07
of 11

Wunderlist

Wunderlist for Windows 10

 Microsoft

What We Like

  • Perfect integration with Cortona and the Windows 10 interface.

  • You can create subtasks within task lists.

What We Don't Like

  • No support for smart date recognition.

  • Lacks features found in versions for other operating systems.

Microsoft purchased Wunderlist in June 2015 and has yet to kill the app as it did with the popular calendar app, Sunrise. Unless it one day folds Wunderlist into Outlook, Wunderlist is a great, simple to-do list that's well worth using. It's also a beautiful app to look at.

Wunderlist offers daily and weekly to-do lists, and you can also create your own to-do lists such as work, personal, books to read, and so on.

Free.

08
of 11

NPR One

NPR One for Windows 10

 Miscrosoft

What We Like

  • Provides unbiased coverage of local, national, and international news.

  • Includes tons of content appealing to science and tech nerds.

What We Don't Like

  • The search feature isn't very reliable.

  • You can't read news on the app.

If you appreciate public radio this is a simple no-nonsense app that makes it easy to access your local NPR station or a preferred station across the country. That's all there is to NPR One. There's no news stories or specific shows you can choose to hear. It's just live radio and that's it.

There is a little more to it than that since you can check out your listening history as well as view what's coming up next. Still, it's an incredibly basic app that gets you straight to live radio fast. In my experience, it's also more reliable for audio streaming than the various individual public radio websites.

Free.

09
of 11

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express

 Adobe

What We Like

  • Makes Photoshop tools more accessible to the average user.

  • Fast and lightweight.

What We Don't Like

  • Many features require you to pay.

  • No option to add text to images.

It's always good to keep a simple photo editing app on your PC or tablet, and Adobe Photoshop Express fits that bill. This app is simple to use and has nice large menu items if you're on a touch device. It includes all the basic photo editing features you want without overloading you with options.

If you need to correct the color balance, crop an image, fix red eye, or add an Instagram-style photo filter then Adobe Photoshop Express is a great choice. When you first launch the app it will ask you to sign-in with an Adobe Photo ID. If you don't want to do that look for the skip option in the upper right corner to get straight to photo editing.

Free, in app purchases.

10
of 11

Line/Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger for Windows 10

 Facebook

What We Like

  • Supports live video chat.

  • Optional end-to-end encryption provides extra security.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited support for transferring different file formats.

  • Some features are not available in every country.

The messaging apps you use will depend largely on what the rest of your friends and family use. But if Facebook Messenger or Line are part of your messaging app ecosystem — mine includes Line, Messenger, and WhatsApp — then there are great Windows Store apps available for you. The beauty of using Line and Messenger is that you get alerts on your PC even when your phone is off in the other room or stashed in your bag. Instead of digging for your handset, you can just respond to the message right there on your PC. These two messaging apps also make it much easier to share content such as a link to a website or a picture, because (let's face it) grabbing this stuff is much easier and faster on a PC.

Free.

11
of 11

Lots More to See

The Windows Store in Windows 10

 Microsoft

Those are some of the recommended must-haves, but there are many more to check out.

Facebook's core social networking app is nice if you don't like the website, Dropbox is great for tablets (as is Netflix), Amazon has a useful Kindle app, and many others are very handy including Fitbit (for device owners), Minecraft, Shazam, Twitter, and Viber.

If you haven't checked out the Windows Store on your PC in a while, it's well worth a look.