Whether you just received a new Windows PC or spend the holiday upgrading yours to Windows 10, this is our list of our most-used and most-important apps. (And if you haven't upgraded to Windows 10, you maybe should — it's really good!) Browsing through the official Windows App Store can be a chore — sometimes a depressing one, when you start to wonder if the apps you really want exist. They almost surely do, just many of them are on the web. Once you get all those productivity apps installed, don't forget to fire up Steam and grab some games.
We've rounded up our favorite and most-used apps and utilities for the technology we use every day. Check out our picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs, Macs, and game consoles. We've also listed our favorite games for iOS and Android from this year.
Over the break, take some time to get organized and ready for the new year. It's hard to go wrong with to-do app Wunderlist, and the full-featured app has reminders, due dates, and perhaps most importantly, it seamlessly syncs across iOS, Android, Mac, and when you need it, the web.
For collaborating at the office or detailing how to get a house full of screaming kids to a sledding excursion, Skitch offers a quick and painless way to share screenshots and annotate with text, drawings, and arrows.
Chrome is still the best Windows browser thanks to its many extensions and apps. The built-in Chromecast support also makes it the best way to stream anything to your TV, whether it’s The Verge or an episode of Game of Thrones.
Chat apps may be increasingly moving to the web and mobile devices, but there's still a need for a dedicated desktop app. Pidgin consolidates your Facebook Chat, Google Talk, AIM, and other accounts into one app, saving you the headache of all those tabs.
If you read a lot of news then an RSS reader is essential. Nextgen Reader is the best you'll find on Windows 10. It’s a clean, useful $1.99 app that works well with a touchscreen or a keyboard and mouse. You can sync for offline support, pin feeds to your Start screen so you never miss a thing, and much more.
If you're a fan of organizing your photo and video collection then download Plex. It's free from the Windows Store, and it creates a media center of all your content that you can stream to all your devices.
Music Maker Jam
You don’t play an instrument, or sing, or understand GarageBand, but you’re pretty sure you’re better than Skrillex. Music Maker Jam is an ultra-simple way to prove it: it’s a hyper-visual mixing app that’ll let you easily play DJ at your New Year’s party, seamlessly fading between songs and tweaking the music just enough to really look like you know what you’re doing.
VLC Media Player has been around for years, and it's still an essential Windows app. It might not be the best-looking media player, but it plays everything perfectly and you don't have to pay a cent.
Readit is by far the best Windows app for Reddit fans. You can get notifications, Live Tiles, and support for gold features all as part of a well-designed app. It's also free and runs across Windows 10 devices and Windows Phone.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Windows 10's built-in Photos app is great for quick edits, but Adobe Photoshop Express has even more features. If you need to reduce the noise in a photo or want to apply filters and other tweaks then download Adobe Photoshop Express from the Windows Store.
If you’re still using Windows’ default notepad app, you’re doing it wrong. Notepad++ adds powerful features like regular expressions, tabbed browsing, and the ability to compare two documents side by side. Color-coded syntax highlighting makes it particularly useful if you code or work with websites.
If you got a new Windows 10 PC as a gift this year then it probably has a touchscreen. If you're really lucky then it also has a stylus, and you can use a pen or fingers with Fresh Paint to create some fun sketches. It's a well-designed painting app, and it's really easy to use to create original art or turn photos into paintings.