The Week's Best Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone Apps

By A Kennedy on at

After a seven day working week, sorting out taxes (October 31st deadline freelancers!) and realising I haven't been up after 5.30am any morning this week, I've started to comprehend that it's Monday again. My reliance on caffeine has reached an all time high, and I keep remembering a (day?)dream about ninjas stealing my Nespresso machine. I also think I've written an app roundup; I hope that one isn't a dream.

 

iPhone Apps

 


7 Minute Workout: If you've been following my app roundups, you'll know I've been trying this whole "healthy lifestyle" thing for a while now. I keep failing because... Well, because, food tastes good. Also I sure as hell don't exercise enough. So this app sounds too good to be true. Seven minutes a day? Really? Anyway, I've been using it for a week (who can't take seven minutes out of their day?); hopefully it works and I'm ripped in six weeks. I'm dubious. But If you have no motivation to spend hours trotting away on the treadmill in the gym and you want to get some exercise in, this is probably worth the £1.49. [Free - Premium £1.49]


Stop Motion Studio: Stop Motion Studio is a video app where you can create unique stop-motion animated movies and share with friends on YouTube/Facebook etc. Pretty easy to use; you import images from your library and cut, copy, paste into frames. With it you can also paint directly onto images and add movie titles and credits. [Free]


F1 Challenge!: I'll be the first to admit, I know next to nothing about cars. Less about Formula One, but a F1 fanatic friend of mine raves about this app, so I thought I'd give this a go. Wasn't necessarily my cup of tea but I have it on good authority that this arcade-style racing game is awesome for those who like racing games. From my brief dip in, I can tell you that this game is 100 per cent precision-based, tense, and addictive. Once you get a handle on the unfamiliar controls, you can tell that even seasoned players will find unlocking the higher level content challenging. Which is the point really, to challenge you. [£1.99]


App in the Air: This app was featured in our US counterpart in June of last year -- not as relevant for us then, but after numerous updates it now has a better range of all of the UK based Airlines/Airports and isn't so US-centric. Which is great for us across the pond, because App in the Air has been put down as one of the "top essential apps" by Business Insider. And we like it too. It reminds you to check in online, gives you updates about flight schedules and timing, and tells you where to go for coffee. Travel PA, free. I'll take it.  [Free]


X Factor UK: I'll be honest, I don't watch X Factor. The cat-like screeches of some of the contestants make me want to sit down to dinner, take a sip of wine, and stab myself repeatedly in the ears with a fork. However, nine million of you tuned into this year's opening episode, and my Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds are so polluted with updates about it, so I guess I'll cater to the masses. X Factor UK lets you watch all the biggest performances minutes after they appear on TV; make predictions about the outcome; test your X Factor knowledge, and give your opinion in real time during the show itself. You can enjoy, or endure, all the latest backstage news, photos and gossip. I guess. If you want.  [Free]

 

iPad Apps

 


Green Smoothies: The nutritionist in me is jumping up and down, screaming excitedly and clapping my hands like a seal every time I open this app (although the Brit in me means I remain stony-faced). Made by Ascension Kitchen, a blog that contains a goldmine of health tips, recipes and facts about nutritious eating and raw foods, Green Smoothies contains a definitive guide to recipes of the titular drinks of deliciousness. It has 30 recipes at the moment, and nutritionally, boy does each one pack a punch. Along with the recipes you gain the chance to read some of the more detailed nutrition that's jammed into each mouthful of the smoothies, with descriptions of how the recipes can help with ailments such as inflammation, energy (or rather, lack thereof), immunity, digestion and recovery. [£2.99]


The Photo Cookbook: This is a digital version of one of those great cookbooks that emphasises preparation of the meal rather than the final result. Rather than having a picture of the mouth-watering finished cheesecake slice, leaving the less experienced cook wondering why the hell he can't make the garnish look that damn pretty, this app has recipes with pictures of the ingredients and methods. Each step is short and easy to understand, and along with the pictures, this helps cooks of all levels to remember the little touches that can easily be overlooked in a dish. Then, and only then does each recipe end with a photograph of the finished dish, for presentation's sake. C'mon folks, impress those dinner guests. [£2.49]


Autoscout24 Mobile: Autoscout 24 claims to be the largest car marketplace in Europe, with over 8 million vehicles for you to browse through. It's very user-friendly with a useful "SearchAlert" feature, which informs you as soon as one of their suppliers uploads a car or motorbike on AutoScout24 that fits to a pre-loaded enquiry, ensuring that you won't overlook any bargains. Along with the regular features you gain access to in the AutoScout24-magazine, it has some interesting test reports about vehicles but also gives you tips on car purchasing and lets you know about manufacturer sales. [Free]


Teamviewer Remote Control: A handy app that lets you remotely access unattended computers. It runs in a remarkably-smooth fashion, and allows complete control over remote computers using multi-touch gestures, allows you to reboot from a distance, gains access to your computer easily behind firewalls and proxy servers, and best of all, meets very high security standards (256 Bit AES Session Encoding, 1024 Bit RSA Key Exchange). TeamViewer is already used on more than 100,000,000 computers worldwide according to the app store, so they're definitely doing something right. [Free]


Priority Matrix: This app distinguishes itself from traditional linear to-do lists in the way that it excels in guiding the user's focus to the tasks with the the highest efficiency and return. Called a "higher dimension" productivity app by some of the user reviews, presumably because it helps them focus on more than just due dates, but visual categorisation through completion percentage and quadrants while remaining fairly natural to use. [£1.99 - optional £2.99 in app monthly subscription]

 

Android Apps

 


AA Breakdown and Traffic: If you've broken down, you can use this app to pinpoint your exact location and send it to the AA, so they can reach you quickly. Handily, you don’t need to be an AA member to use it either. The app finds your exact location on a street level map and you call the AA; it’s that simple. One of the better features of the app becomes apparent when you use it to plan a journey, and see the roadblocks and work happening on particular routes. If you're going on a long trip, it's always nice to be prepared, right? [Free]


Hipmunk Hotels & Flights: For both flights and hotels, there's a completely over-saturated market when it comes to comparison sites and apps, so I only discovered this one when I was looking for a flight to Colorado recently. I failed miserably and just ended up booking through BA (by the way, don't look for British Airways flights online -- nine out of ten times you get a better deal by calling them directly), but I found one thing out; Hipmunk has some kick-ass last-minute deals on hotels. It's like how lastminute.com used to be, before it went downhill. I found some hotel rooms for a genuine 60 per cent off, because as I'm sure you know, for a hotel, filling a room is always better than having an empty one. So ignore the flight function for now; it may become better in a future update, but the hotel search in this app is awesome. [Free]


Edge: Quick Actions: Ever complain that your device runs too slow? This is one of those useful Android apps to make using your device just that little bit faster. Still in beta, it leaves you patiently waiting for something that is likely to become a very, very useful tool. You can get speedy access to your key apps and settings when you tap at the left edge of the screen too. [Free]


Hot Deals UK: The HotUKDeals.com website has released an app that will become your portal to deals, voucher codes, freebies and savings while you're out and about. It's a crowd-sharing utility in which users can share discounts and tips to the greater public when they're not advertised in stores, papers or on flyers. If you have a specific store or item in mind, HUKD also allows you to filter offers by merchant to narrow your browsing. It's especially useful if you are about to make a large purchase; there are enough users that the majority of deals are available to take a look at. [Free]


Playboard: So there are thousands of awesome apps and addictive games you're missing out on, right now. Yes, really. Simply because the Play store only shows what everyone already know about, apps have to be pretty huge before they get featured. To find those magical hidden gems, you need something better than Google Play. Enter Playboard. [Free]

 

Windows Phone Apps

 


Fresh Paint: I'm going to be 100 per cent honest here -- this is a relatively basic painting app. However, considering the small amount of available apps for this purpose in the WP marketplace, I'm including this one because it's by far the best out of the bunch. It has fairly mixed user reviews, but the buggy, crashtastic nature of the app has been fixed with the latest update so let's ignore the negatives for now. It does what you'd expect it to do, with a smooth interface and good selection of virtual mediums to use. You're able to turn photos into pseudo-paintings at the click of a virtual button, and as with any paint app, you can draw pretty much anything you can imagine. [Free]


Monster Stack 3 HD: It's back. The third instalment of the ever popular WP game has arrived with a bang (and many downloads). Monster Stack 2 was voted the "best game of 2012" in the WP marketplace and this one expands the franchise with 30 new levels and a platform to build your own as well. It now supports HD graphics and with an all-new physics engine, I'm sure this will be just as addictive as the last two. [Free]


Minesweeper: Oh, nostalgia. Sneaking into my dad's study to play Minesweeper on his old desktop; what a memory. This (sort of) simulates the old Minesweeper game that still comes with Windows. Addictive and fun, while actually making you think, it's a vamped-up golden oldie. Now they just need to bring Hover into the new generation. [Free]


Reaper: By far, one of the best RPGs on the WP store. You play as the Black Swordsman and hack and slash your way through thousands of monsters in a world full of magic and wilderness. The art and sound design is flawless and the level of detail that went into the monster design is astounding. You get the first 10 levels as a free trial and then if you like it, you can upgrade in-app to the premium version. [Free - In-app upgrade to premium]


Wordament: There were slim pickings in the WP marketplace this week, so here's another game for you. Wordament is a real-time continuous word tournament. You compete in the same board with what could be up to thousands at once. There are many ways to win, and how you win is up to you. Looking through user reviews, "addictive" seems to be the most commonly-used word. [Free]