So you've got a Windows Phone 7 phone, and now you need to fill it with lovely Windows Phone 7 apps. But with over 45,000 apps available for the Microsoft platform what are the best ones to get and are there any that take advantage of the Metro interface.
We've scoured the massive collection of Windows Phone 7 apps available (December 2011) in the Windows Marketplace to see what's on offer and what you should download.
We've tried, tested and reviewed all of the following Windows Phone 7 apps ourselves, rather than just guessing whether they're good or not.
They aren't in any order. All are good. And we will be updating this article as we discover more.
The music app for the music generation, the Spotify app for Windows Phone 7 is free, although you will need a premium subscription for it to work (£10 a month).
Still once you've done that you can search for any of the millions of tracks available on Spotify, load up playlists, and download music to your phone for offline listening if you know you are going to be out of service. Easy to use, if you like music, this is the one for you.
Chances are you've got a stack of RSS feeds that you like to read and Flux is one of the best RSS feed readers available on the market.
The app taps into your Google Reader account allowing you to read the feed quickly and easily. You'll be able to filter out read and unread posts as well as manage whether you want to look at the images (save bandwidth) and how you want to read them be it a mobilized version or the actual website. With plenty of options and quick loading times this will let you read what you follow really quickly. Thumbs up.
Full Review: /apps/reviews/112381-flux-windows-phone-7-review
Want to read pdfs on your Windows Phone 7 phone? Then you'll need to download the Adobe Reader.
It's free. Basic in its offering, but will let you open PDF files from email, the web and device.
You like reading books, you like reading your Kindle, but you don't always have your Kindle with you. Amazon Kindle for Windows Phone 7 is exactly what you would expect.
The official Windows Phone 7 Kindle app. That means you get to do all the usual Kindle app stuff like read your books, buy new books, and everything else you've come to expect from the Kindle apps.
BoxFiles for Dropbox
Windows Phone 7 comes with its own cloud sharing service, SkyDrive, however you might already be using Dropbox. If that's the case, don't panic, for while the company has yet to release an official app for Windows Phone 7, there is a very good one in the guise of BoxFiles for Dropbox that lets you access your dropbox folders on the go, share and transfer files from your SkyDrive account, or merely upload photos from the phone.
Users can take advantage of the Pin to start offerings of WP7 but pinning certain folders, as well as allow background transfers up to 5MB so you can head off to another app in the meantime.
If you are a frequent flyer with British Airways and are also a Windows Phone 7 smartphone owner then you need this app.
The app lets you manage your booking via your phone, giving you travel updates as well as becoming your boarding card. But where the Windows Phone 7 app excels is that it will let you pin your latest travel details on to the home screen allowing you to see the gate information at a glance rather than having to open up the app each time.
Full review: /apps/reviews/110156-ba-windows-phone-7-app
Make notes? Forget things? Well now you don't have to thanks to the Evernote app that will let you record notes and then have them synced to your other Evernote apps be it on an iPad or your computer.
New to Windows Phone 7.5 are better social integration, search integration, background synchronization, and pinning of notes, notebooks, tags, searches, maps, and "new note" shortcuts audio, text and photo).
All can also set the app to sync in the background so when you do load the app on your phone the files are all ready and waiting for you.
Full Review: /apps/reviews/110641-windows-phone-7-evernote-app
HTC Windows Phone 7 owners already get a flashlight - or torch to you and me - with their phone, but if you are a Nokia Lumia 800 user you won't.
There are plenty of options in the Marketplace, but we like Flashlight-X. Why? Because it is so simple. Turn the app on and your LED flash on the back of your phone will become a bright beacon and you can turn it on or off with a press of the big Pocket-lint logo looking power button. If you are worried about needing the option to SOS for help, there is a pretty set button for that as well.
FlashLight-X is free but with adverts, Flashlight-X Pro is 79p and rids you of advertising. Both offer exactly the same functionality.
Windows Phone 7 comes with Bing search built in and that offers plenty, but there are times when the results just aren't what you want or what you expect.
If that's the case then you'll want Google Search, the official search engine app from Google.
The app is very simple letting you search Google's search engine with quick links to the company's web search, image search, places, and News.
Clean and simple it gives you a good alternative if Bing isn't giving you the answers you need.
IMDb Movies, TV & Celebrities
You are sat in front of the TV and you want to know who that actor is that you just can't place. Fire up the Windows Phone 7 IMBD app and your question will be answered with a couple of key presses and some swipes of your finger.
The app is the be all and end all of working out who is who and who was in what.
It's also a great app for showing off just how pretty Windows Phone 7 apps can be with the information flowing through the panels as you swipe right to left across your phone.
Beyond a massive database, the app will also give you plenty of other stuff including top movie news, what's on at the cinema near you, and trailers.
A must for movie fans.
Facebook is incorporated at a core level in Windows Phone 7, so you do get to post Facebook and upload pictures already, as well as incorporating your contact’s details, updates and being able to view their photos. The Facebook app gives you the full treatment, again offering access to those areas already covered, but giving photos special treatment.
You’ll get easy access to friend’s updated albums, as well as random photos picked from your own and thrown in to the mix - we’d forgotten some of those horrific nights out, and here they are, resplendent in all their glory.
The app is basically broken down into your links (photos, inbox, events, friends, profile, etc), top news, photos, event, and notifications.
Foursquare has made it onto the map, meaning you can checkin as you roam around with your new phone. We like the big bold interface, offering up places, tips and friends. Places shows you nearby venues with the option to search for more - opening one up will let you checkin and also offers a Bing map, giving you the option to navigate to that location.
The tips section - apart from offering a range of disparaging comments - will again let you get venue directions and the Friends section will offer links to their Twitter feed and an email option. Basic stuff, but isn’t that the appeal of Foursquare?
What better way to empty your wallet than bidding on someone else’s junk whilst returning home from a night out at the pub. The Ebay app opens rather ashamedly with “popular searches”, offering up a horrendously pixelated image, most probably of some misshapen sack from Topshop or Next.
Sign in to access all the goodness from your account, with messages, watched items and your selling and buying all listed.
You can even head into the feedback centre, although unfortunately there is no spellcheck offered to make sure you don’t send complete gibberish. Reminders will come out of the background to alert you to junk you are watching - don’t miss out - bid now!
Webmasters that use Google Analytics, this one is for you. The unofficial app taps into your Google Analytics account and then lets you check your stats wherever you happen to be.
Features of Phonealytics include basic reporting allowing you to see your daily numbers, search engine traffic break down, and popular pages over the last day, week, or month.
There is an option to pin your favourite report on your start page, and have the data constantly updated throughout the day, but be warned this will drain your battery life faster than anything you can imagine.
Whether you are a RAC member or not, the beauty of the RAC Traffic app is that you can put in your start location and your final destination and then have the app tell you about any reported traffic incidents along the way.
Once you've then created a route you can have that route pinned to your start page so you can easy monitor what is going and hopefully avoid the traffic jams.
Yes there is an official Twitter app for Windows Phone 7, trouble is, it isn't very good. In steps Rowi, a third-party app that lets you monitor your Tweets as well as offering you alerts when you are mentioned. The App also allows you to create dedicated panels for certain people or search terms.
The only real drawback is that you can only track one account at any given time.
There is a free version of the app, but it comes with adverts.
Fancy getting fit? Already running? This is going to be the app for you. Runkepper for Windows Phone 7 allows you to track your runs when you are out and about as long as you remember to take your phone with you.
The app uses the phones GPS signal along with a stopwatch to monitor and time your activity so it can then give you accumulative data as you go.
The combination of the simple to use app, and the power of the website makes this a great combination for runners, cyclers and anyone else looking to track their fitness. With the calorie tracker included into there too you even get to work out just how many snacks you’ve earned yourself.
We've all been there - heard a track in a bar, or on the radio and wondered what it was. Shazam as you'll probably know lets you tag that track by listening to it and then giving you the results on your phone.
Here you get to pin a "tag now" button to your start page saving you valuable seconds opening the app.
Once you've tagged your track you'll get all the details, plus the ability to find that track in the Zune marketplace so you can buy it to listen to. If your being on the cheap side you can click on the YouTube link to see if it is available to listen to for free.
The London Underground is a complicated system even when you think you've cracked what station is where, so rather than have to wait until you are actually in the station to know where you are going, Tube Map lets you plan your route ahead of time.
Rather than just be a giant PDF that you can pinch zoom your way around, you can get status updates on the lines, zoom in on status updates for individual stations, or plan your routes and the time it will take to get from A to B.
While not all Windows Phone 7 phones have a front facing camera - Nokia Lumia 800 we are looking at you - those that do, like the HTC Titan or Radar, can enjoy Tango - a messaging app that lets you do video calling.
Tango allows you to make free phone calls and free video calls over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. Make calls to any other person who has Tango installed on their smartphone, tablet or PC.
Yep it would be easier if Microsoft made Skype available on Windows Phone 7, but they haven't.
Still that shouldn't put you off, the app is simple to use and works across Windows Phone, Android and iOS phones and tablets, and PCs meaning you don't have to insist that your friends get a WP7 phone as well for it to work in the same way FaceTime users have to both have an iPhone or iPad.
Apple's iPhone has a built in voice recorder as standard. Windows Phone 7 doesn't. So if you want to record that important conversation, be it an interview, memo to yourself, or when you want to blackmail your friends you'll need an app to do it.
Pocket Recorder is one of the better voice recording apps in the marketplace and allows you to do all the above and more.
Pocket Recorder Sound + Recording Hub transforms your Windows Phone 7 device into a full-fledged sound recording and editing tool.
You can create ringtones from your recordings, pin them as tiles to your start menu, treat you recordings like tasks (complete with alarms), and many more features.
There is a free ad supported version, or for 99p you can ditch the adverts all together.
Using the power of Augmented Reality SkyMap lets you point your phone to the sky and see where the stars, constellations, planets or deep space objects are out there in real time.
SkyMap shows the sky in 3D, like you see it at night time exposing a collection of over 110,000 stars even if it is cloudy.
What time does the train leave? If you find yourself asking that question a lot it might be advisable to download Rail Planner for Windows Phone 7. The app, built in conjunction with the National Rail Enquiries service will let you plot and plan your train rides across the country.
Why is it so good - even though it costs £4.99? Well the big selling point is that Rail Planner provides “Live Departure” information for every train station in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) and includes real-time service service disruptions such as late running trains, cancellations or even engineering works.
Rail Planner also includes a “My Departures” feature which allows you to set up regular journeys so that Rail Planner can automatically display the status of upcoming journeys, directly on the app’s welcome screen.
We especially like the ability to see where your train is on the journey so you can get an ETA of your final destination. Handy when you are arranging a taxi or your partner to pick you up from the station.
Like Rail Planner, Next bus lets you map your journey out so you can see when to get to the bus stop. The difference here of course is the method of transport. Unique to the Windows Phone marketplace, Next Bus UK is essential for any public transport user.
Next Bus UK provides information from over 370,000 bus stops in England, Wales and Scotland, detailing the next buses due at your chosen stop.
The data is grabbed from real-time and scheduled departure times.
You can also search for the nearest stops around your location as well as look at over 1300 route schedules from cities around the UK.
It would be great if Hipstamatic or Instagram was on Windows Phone 7, but they aren't. The next best thing is Pictures Lab, an app that lets you apply funky affects to your pictures as you take them or after the fact.
The app comes with almost 30 controllable, easy-to-use, but advanced effects like different vintage and hipster-like filters, Tilt Shift (miniature faking), HDR, Lomo, Soften, Auto Adjust, Sharpen, Comic, Bulge, B&W, Sepia and many more.
Dynamic previews of the effects are shown in a list, making it possible to easily pick the right one with the ability to apply multiple effects to get the look you are looking for.
The app also provides basic editing features letting you crop, rotate and flip your pictures.
The app lets you browse your Flickr streams in "stunning high-resolution display", offers "rich navigational features" and makes it easy to share photos via email, Twitter and Facebook with a simple upload directly from your device.
There's also a nice feature mentioned whereby you can "seamlessly transition" from your handset to a Windows 7 tablet and vice-versa and keep your place in a photo stream.
You can also pin additional Live Tiles to your Start screen for quick access to the in-app camera, contacts' activity, and your photostream.
Are there any other essentials that you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments below.