Reviews

Gun Club 3: Virtual Weapon Sim is a feature rich shooting range game for your Windows Phone. It not only has a weapon simulator for dozens of weapons but you also have a firearms range experience that has you battling Zombies, tossed in the middle of a World War II battle and trying your hand at long distance shooting with sniper rifles.

Gun Club 3 has rather nice graphics, the weapons handle with a good amount of realism and the range courses are challenging. Navigation can be a little overwhelming with the many options available but if you like shooting galleries, Gun Club 3 is a Windows Phone app worth trying.

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Weather apps. Windows Phone has no shortage of them, possibly due to their frequency of use as well as the ability to work with specific data. Regardless, I am always excited to see new ones join the flock, especially if they embrace the Modern design language from Microsoft.

Atmosphere is a wonderfully designed weather app for Windows Phone 8 that has enough features to keep most forecast fans content. The design of Atmosphere is probably its main feature, as it is bold, clean and easy to read. Likewise with the Live Tile, which has one of the better layouts I have seen.

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Microsoft's Surface tablets have multiple great first-party keyboards to choose from. Several other Windows 8 and RT tablets have fine official keyboards as well, such as the Nokia Lumia 2520 with its Power Keyboard. These keyboards have a couple of things in common. They're typically a bit expensive, and probably can't be used with other tablets. Universal keyboards, on the other hand, don't suffer from either of those issues…

A few months ago we reviewed one such keyboard for tablets, the MiniSuit BluBoard. Now we're back with a look at the Lumsing Ultrathin Wireless Keyboard, which works with Windows 8 and RT, Android, and iOS devices. Lumsing's peripheral doesn't come with its own case and tablet stand, but it makes up for that by being more portable and offering better Windows support. It's also really affordable! We'll walk you through its ins and outs as well as the unwieldy Windows 8 Bluetooth setup process.

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Disney's Hidden Worlds hit the Windows Phone Store late last month and challenges you to find objects hidden in plain sight. A game of I Spy of sorts that takes you to three different worlds based on three Disney stories.

The story behind the game has you protecting the worlds of Beauty and the Beast, Tangled and Aladdin from a mysterious villain who is threatened these worlds' existence. You team up with Chrona and the Inklings to keep these worlds safe and restore their story lines.

While the game is fun with Hidden Worlds, I couldn't help but feel navigation could have been a little less busy. Nonetheless, Disney's Hidden Worlds has plenty of picture puzzles to solve and, overall, is a fun title to add to your Windows Phone gaming library.

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The Surface Pro 3 is one powerful tablet. Or a computer. Regardless of how you use it, the Surface Pro 3 can do a lot, especially with that single USB 3.0 port on the side. Recently, we took a look at a 4-in-1 adapter for the Surface series, but today we have a new one that is also highly affordable.

The HooToo HT-UE01 3-Port USB 3.0 HUB with 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Converter costs less than $30, and it greatly enhances what you can do on the Surface Pro series (all three generations). RT users have to sit on the side as Ethernet support non-functioning with this adapter.

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Last week the Xbox One received a barrage of no less than four downloadable ID@Xbox releases: Another World, Contrast, R.B.I. Baseball 14, and Zombie Driver. The ID@Xbox program allows indie game developers to publish their games directly to the Xbox One marketplace without most of the interference they would face on the Xbox 360. This week seems to have only one indie title in store for Xbox One gamers, but it's a good one: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition from Drinkbox Studios.

The availability of Guacamelee, a Metroidvania-style action platformer with 2-player local co-op would be good enough news on its own, but getting the Xbox One version for free is even better. Guacamelee! is this July's Games with Gold title, so all Xbox Live Gold members can get it for free this month. Read on for impressions, hands on video, and details about how the Games with Gold program works for Xbox One users.

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Pool Live Tour is a popular multi-player game over on Facebook and is now available on our Windows Phone. As you would guess, the game is an online multi-player billiards game that has you competing against your Facebook friends (or random Facebook members) to see who the best pool shark is.

Along with the online games, Pool Live Tour also has a daily challenge to tackle and practice games. Graphics are nice, gaming mechanics simple and overall, Pool Live Tour is an attractive billiards game for Windows Phone.

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Car Check is a nifty Windows Phone app that lets you track and manage your automotive expenses. Car Check has the ability to track your gasoline costs, maintenance costs, set reminders for scheduled maintenance and back all the data up to your OneDrive or Dropbox accounts.

The Windows Phone app also has the ability to chart your fuel consumption, distribution of automotive costs and fuel prices. Add Live Tile support and Car Check isn't a bad option to consider to help you monitor your automotive costs.

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Toca Boca is gaming studio that makes digital toys for kids that are designed to let the kids play, have fun and learn a little along the way. Toys in the sense that you can play the game without worrying about scores or time limits. The only restriction is with your child's imagination.

Toca Boca has released two of their toys in the Windows Phone and Windows Stores that allow your children to tap into their creativity and imagination in the kitchen and beauty salon. Both games or toys have plenty of features, child friendly interfaces and nice graphics.

Toca Boca has seen plenty of success over on iOS and Android platforms and Toca Kitchen was a Parents Choice Awards Gold Winner in 2012. These two titles may not land on everyone's Windows Phone or Windows 8 device but they are two good titles to add to your Windows Phone Kid's Corner.

Plus being Hidden Gems, if you leave a comment below you will automatically qualify to win a new Windows Phone or tablet.

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Juiced Systems USB 3 Surface 4-in-1 Adapter review

Last summer we reviewed an accessory for the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro called the Microsoft Surface 5-in-1 Adapter. The tiny device plugged into a Surface tablet and gave it extra USB and SD card ports. As someone who occasionally needs to use his Surface for desktop-style work, I found the extra ports very handy. But the Surface 5-in-1 Adapter did suffer from a few design issues that limited its usefulness a bit, most notably the lack of USB 3.0 support.

Juiced Systems has taken our feedback to heart, recently releasing a new and improved model called the USB 3.0 Surface 4-in-1 Adapter. It plugs into any Surface tablet's USB port and adds a total of 4 ports (USB 3.0, SD, and microSD) without the need for a separate power supply. Despite "4-in-1" being a smaller number than "5-in-1," the new accessory is actually a better and more useful device for most Surface models. Find out how well the new Adapter fits every model of Surface tablet in our detailed review.

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For many, one of fitness goals to work towards is to lose weight. Whether it's five pounds or fifty, you can accomplish this through exercise and eating healthier meals. To help you keep track of your weight loss goal there is the Windows Phone app Weight Challenge.

Weight Challenge is a popular Health and Fitness app that fits in nicely with Fitness Month. The app lets you set your target weight and the date you plan to achieve your slimmer, lighter physique. The app has features to track your daily calories, exercise and waist measurements.

The app does have a certain amount of appeal with a user-friendly design and motivational feedback. If you are looking for a uncomplicated app to help you track your weight loss project, Weight Challenge is worth a peek.

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The Ingenious Machine is a Windows Phone puzzle game that is very reminiscent of the old board game Mouse Trap. Instead of designing a contraption from assorted gadgets to capture a mouse, with The Ingenious Machine you are building a device that will guide a ball across the screen to trigger a light switch.

The game has strong potential but is hindered by a difficult user-interface. The minimal graphics and animations have appeal, the concept is challenging but tiny gaming controls and odd game piece selection can be very frustrating. It is best to take advantage of the trial version before taking the plunge with The Ingenious Machine.

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Alpha Wave, a great time killer game for Windows Phone

Alpha Wave is an arcade styled Windows Phone game that reminds me of a cross between Galaga and Asteroids. Think of it as a version of Impossible Shoota that has less movement and more graphic punch.

Alpha Wave has three levels of difficulty, three gaming arenas and over sixty-five waves of enemies and dangers to destroy. Add twenty-four gaming achievements and there is plenty of gaming involved to help you kill time. Alpha Wave is a fast paced, eye appealing, fun game to add to your Windows Phone gaming library.

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Blues Bowling is a Windows Phone bowling game that was released a few months ago and caught our attention with its 3D graphics and blues soundtrack. Plus I'm a fan of bowling games.

Blues Bowling has single and multi-player games, simple controls and an online leaderboard to let you brag about your high scores (so far nobody has bowled a perfect score). If bowling games are your cup of tea, Blues Bowling is a Windows Phone game worth a try.

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On Sunday I predicted that Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition would arrive on Xbox One this week. And what do you know? The Another World Anniversary Edition has just been released as part of Microsoft's ID@Xbox program. It comes from French publisher The Digital Lounge and is available to download for the low price of $7.99.

Another World is a classic sci-fi adventure game/platformer set on a perilous alien world. Players will forge a friendship with a kindly alien while doing their best to escape from the planet's more hostile residents. The 20th Anniversary Edition brings the story to life with new high resolution graphics, multiple soundtracks, and easy Achievements. Adventure fans and Achievement hunters won't want to miss it.

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Nature Sounds to Sleep is a New and Rising Windows Phone app that fits right in with the MobileFit Fitness Month. The app offers a nice range of sounds from nature to help you relax and have a good night's sleep.

These sound apps can come in handy when you just cannot clear your mind to get to sleep. And we all know the importance of a good night's sleep. It helps you recharge your batteries, helps with your metabolism, eases your stress, and helps keep you in a good mood.

Nature Sounds to Sleep has a fairly simple interface and overall, it's a nice sleep app option to consider for your Windows Phone app library.

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Late last year, PicsArt photo editor arrived on Windows Phone, becoming one of the top rated image-fixing apps around. A month later, the Lumia exclusive app went wide for all Windows Phone 8 devices. Today, we're pleased to report that PicsArt is now available for all Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets, making it a true universal app.

PicsArt (www.picsart.com) is a favorite photo site where artists and regular people share their photo creations. The company bills itself as "one of the world's most installed and free photo editing and drawing apps and a unique social network of creative," and we don't doubt it. With apps on Android, iOS and even Amazon, PicsArt is now embracing Microsoft's mobile platforms with aplomb. That's why it's our Hidden Gem of the day.

Remember, by leaving a comment on our Hidden Gems, you're entered into our contest to win a new phone or tablet!

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While gas prices continue to rise, SmartGas is a Windows Phone app that could help you find the best fuel price in your area. SmartGas will not only search for the lowest price for gas in your area but also calculate your smartest station based on the round trip cost of driving to and from the station.

I liked the concept behind SmartGas and saving a few dollars never hurts. However, a few performance issues, a cluttered appearance and some confusing in-app purchases holds this app back. On the plus side, the app is a universal app for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Bottom line - SmartGas has potential but needs a little renovation.

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FN8, short for Fit in 8, is a relatively new Windows Phone fitness app designed to give your body a workout when you are short on time. Finding the time to workout is one of the many challenges we hear about during Fitness Month and for those who find it hard to stay on the fitness path due to the lack of time, FN8 might be the solution to your problem.

The workout includes seven exercises that span the eight minutes and includes an eighty second warm-up period. The only equipment you'll need is a set of hand weights.

FN8 has a simple interface and includes helpful illustrations and audio cues to guide you through the eight minute drill. Overall, FN8 is an option to consider if time isn't always on your side and you need a quick, effective way to burn a few calories.

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As the Mobile Nations Fitness Month winds down, we turn our sights on a rather unique Windows Phone app that is designed to help ward off pesky mosquitoes. One element of being fit is staying healthy and with the risk of disease and being annoyingly itchy, mosquito bites can impact our fitness quest.

Anti Mosquito! is a Windows Phone app that is designed to complement traditional pest control methods (repellent sprays, citronella candles, etc.) to keep the mosquitoes away by using high frequency sounds. It's an interesting concept and if you are at your wits end at battling mosquitoes, Anti Mosquito might be worth a try.

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Our Windows Phones are fantastic tools for keeping up with our day-to-day activities from reminding us of appointments, providing access to email, managing finances and more all while on the go. With the Windows Phone app Baby Connect, you can now keep track of and manage a wide range of childcare needs. To date, Baby Connect has logged over 350 million events since the service launched in 2009.

Baby Connect lets you record feedings, nursings, naps, diaper changes, milestones, your baby's mood and more. Being available on Windows Phone, Android, iOS and from the web, the app allows you to exchange information in real time with your spouse, baby sitter or daycare service.

The app is a comprehensive way to chart your baby's daily activities and while Baby Connect may not be for every Windows Phone user in the crowd, it definitely qualifies as a Hidden Gem. Being such, remember that in leaving a comment below you will be automatically entered into our daily Hidden Gems contest to win a new tablet or phone.

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I run WPCentral from the ultimate standing desk

Standing and standup desks have become the new rage in home offices and workplaces around the world, including the United States. So it makes sense that I should take a look at one I've been using for the last few months. You may be asking, why is he reviewing a desk? The answer is twofold. For one, it is #MobileFit month, and this is part of the category. Number two, it's a fun way for you people to peek behind the curtain to see what I use every day at my job.

So with that introduction, let's take a look at the Anthro Elevate II Adjusta standing desk, including a video review to see it in action!

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While this may not apply to every Windows Phone user, the platform is a great medium for children's educational gaming. These Windows Phone titles mix learning the ABC's or basic math with visual aids that are presented in game format.

Super Why! is one such title that is designed to help you child improve their reading and spelling skills through four interactive literacy games featuring the four main characters from the PBS television series, Super Why!. These games are fashioned to teach your children the alphabet, rhyming, spelling writing and reading.

Let's take a closer look at Super Why! and remember, if you leave a comment below you will be entered into our daily Hidden Gems contest to win a new tablet or Windows Phone.

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Lost Echo was released in the Windows Phone Store last week after having a fair amount of success over on iOS. Lost Echo is an adventure game that has you searching for your girlfriend, Chloe, who vanishes before your very eyes.

The game has quality, detailed graphics and a simple user interface to guide through the game. In many ways game plays out much like a scavenger hunt for clues and pieces of the puzzle that will eventually solve the mystery of Chloe's disappearance. Lost Echo by no means is a fast-paced adventure game but if you like story driven adventures, it may be worth the price of admission.

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Heli Gunner 2 – frontline air combat is a first person shooter Windows Phone game that places you behind a helicopter mounted machine gun. In a nutshell, you fly around a village destroying enemy targets as they appear.

Graphics are nice, game mechanics could be a little better and the variety of targets range from enemy helicopters to ground troops. In just playing Heli Gunner 2 for the past few days the game has potential but just lacks that "something-something" to keep you pulled into the game.

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