Reviews

GetOutCast is a relatively new weather app for Windows Phone 8 that focuses on how the weather will impact your photography.  GetOutCast rates the photographic potential for the date and offer up a brief weather forecast.  The first release of GetOutCast focuses on sunrise and sunset predictions with future updates delivering landscape, astrological, lunar, and other photographic subjects.  

GetOutCast is an interesting concept and that could come in handy when planning a photographic outing.

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Are you looking for a way to send someone a “Get Well Soon” or “Thinking of You” type note?  Say it with Flowers is a new Windows Phone 8 app that will let you do just that.

The app comes with a small collection of flower images that can be customized with a personal note.  You can then send the final product by email or SMS as well as shared over social networks. 

Say it with Flowers is a simple app that could come in handy when you need to scramble to send that special someone a message to get you out of the doghouse or lift his or her spirits.  In some respects, Say it with Flowers is a greeting card styled messaging app.

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Quick show of hands, how many have turned off their Windows Phone ringer at night or during a meeting only to forget to turn it back on? 

Quiet Hours is a simple Windows Phone 8 app that is designed to give your Windows Phone a little quiet time for those occasions where you do not want to be disturbed.  Once the quiet hours have passed, the app will set your Windows Phone ringer to a preset volume.

Quiet Hours can be a handy app for Windows Phone 8 should you find yourself dialing down the volume often or during regular intervals during the day.

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Taking a look at Nokia's problem-solving Lumia 525

Last year, Nokia introduced the Lumia 520, a lost-cost solution to those who want a Windows Phone in emerging markets. As it turns out, demand was much higher than anyone anticipated. Nearly a year later and the 520 is one of the best-selling Windows Phones around. It’s a great low-risk way to experience Windows Phone and it opens the door to higher end options. But if the Lumia 520 had one flaw, it was the amount of RAM.

Windows Phone 8 can run easily on 512 MB devices, but some higher end games (and a handful of apps) need some good memory optimization before they can run smoothly. That usually happens, but it can take months after the initial release. Microsoft is confident this will go away as developers target 512 MB devices in the future, but up until now, there hasn’t been a low-cost 1 GB Lumia to get around this problem.

The Lumia 525 fixes that by simply bumping the RAM to 1 GB. So, can lightning strike twice for Nokia? Watch my unboxing and first impressions of Nokia's device to find out.

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We first mentioned Fhotolens some time ago when the Windows Phone 8 photography app was in the beta stages.  Fhotolens has now made it through the beta testing and is available in the Windows Phone Store.

Fhotolens is a camera app from the developers of Fhotoroom that creates a virtual 10-24mm lens field of view to give your images a wide angled look to things.  The app also has a High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode along with front camera support and a nice collection of scene settings.

The app still needs a little fine-tuning but overall, if you are looking for a fish-eyed lens approach to things Fhotolens is worth a try.

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A few months back I reviewed the Brando Power Jacket case for the Nokia Lumia 920. A case with a built-in battery, it could potentially double the battery life of the Lumia 920 – a dream for gamers. But the Brando case didn’t perform all that well as a charger, limiting its usefulness.

Enter Mugen Power, makers of many external batteries and cases. At long last, Mugen now offers an extended battery case for the Nokia’s original flagship Windows Phone 8 handset. The Mugen Power Battery Case for Lumia 920 comes in black or white, as well as two different battery capacities: 3000 mAh and 4700 mAh. The 4700mAh model offers 2.35x extra power on top of the 920’s built in battery. I’ve spent the last few weeks using that version as my case in order to bring you this detailed review.

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Out Of Memory is a strategy oriented puzzle game for Windows Phone 8 devices that has you managing computer memory.  You are tasked with allocating computer memory to a variety of computer programs.  The goal, manage your computer memory for as long as possible.

Out Of Memory is a simply drawn up game for Windows Phone but does not lack challenge.  There are several types of programs that will impact your memory grid in different ways.  While we have plenty of puzzle games for our Windows Phone, Out Of Memory offers a unique style of gaming that has a certain amount of appeal.

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Are you a beer connoisseur?  If so, take a gander at the Windows Phone app Beered!  The app has over twenty-five thousand beers in its database along with over four thousand seven hundred breweries.

Beered! allows you to tag a beer as a favorite, add a beer to the database and edit existing listings.  Beered! is a nicely laid out Windows Phone app to help you find a beer and keep track of the beers and breweries you have sampled.

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Spy Hunter is a security app for Windows Phone 8 that will help you catch those who like to spy on your phone while you are not around.

Once the trap is set, Spy Hunter snap a series of photos of the culprit, sounds an alarm and will record audio when your Windows Phone is unlocked.  You also have the options to automatically save your photos to SkyDrive and receive notifications when Spy Hunter is triggered.

Spy Hunter has a friendly user interface and not a bad option to consider if you need to find out who keeps messing with your Windows Phone.  However, it is not exactly fool proof.

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CineTube is a simply laid out movie player for Windows Phone 8 that taps into full-length movies that are freely available over on YouTube.

CineTube has a bit of appeal but also could use a little refinement.  It is worth a try but don't expect to see any current blockbuster hits listed.  However, you may find an older movie title that is just as entertaining.

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Events For Me is a Eventbrite client app for Windows Phone app that lets you tap into your Eventbrite account while on the go.  What is Eventbrite?  Eventbrite is an event managing service where you can promote the event, sell/buy tickets, and validate tickets at the door.  Eventbrite is used for fundraisers, concerts, sporting events and industry conferences.

Events For Me supports the event attendee aspect of Eventbrite’s services.  You can find events, buy tickets, display tickets for validation at the door, and more.  It is an interesting app and if you find yourself attending Eventbrite events, Events For Me is worth looking into.

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Voice Memos is a nice looking Windows Phone 8 for recording audio notes.  Moreover, the app isn’t just good looking; it has a nice feature set to go along with its clean interface.

Voice Memos has the capability to geotag your memos, add photos to the description, export them to your music library and more.  Need more features?  You can upgrade to the Premium version through an in-app purchase to unlock additional features such as SkyDrive backup.

Voice Memos makes a rather nice first impression that does not fade much after use.

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AppsQuiz is a new Windows Phone game that tests your knowledge of the Windows Phone Store icons (or logos) for many of the apps and games that are on the shelves.

The game is similar to the many logo/trademark trivia games (Iconmania, Logoarama, etc) but instead of guessing the manufacturer’s branding you are tasked with identifying a Windows Phone app or game based on its Store icon.

AppsQuiz is a fun game for your Windows Phone.  The game only has fifty levels, which may make it short lived for some, but we are hopeful that the next update will add more gaming to the mix.

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Colorblind is a fast-paced reaction styled game for Windows Phone 8 that can be deceptively challenging.

The game presents you with a series of colored squares that you have to tap based on directions that appear at the bottom of the game screen. 

It sounds easy but you have to tap as many correct squares within sixty seconds.  The more you tap, the higher your score and one wrong move will end the game.  Colorblind will test your concentration, reaction time and is a fun game to pass short bits of time with.  It also has a battle mode where you can challenge a friend head to head.

Colorblind isn't a complicated game for Windows Phone 8 but it can be a challenging gaming option.

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From Cheese is an interesting puzzle game for Windows Phone 8 where you lead a hungry little mouse through a maze to a block of cheese.  The smelly twist is that you guide the mouse by the cheese’s aroma, drawing a path for the mouse to follow from the cheese.

From Cheese has fifty-eight levels of reverse-logic puzzles full of obstacles and dangers to work around to get your mouse to his dinner.

It may be another puzzle game for Windows Phone 8 but From Cheese’s approach to solving the puzzles makes it an appealing new addition to our Windows Phone gaming library.

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I reviewed the Lumia 1520 and even did a follow up on living with the monster 6-inch Windows Phone. Today, I’m taking a look at the brand new Lumia 1320, a more budget friendly version of the high end Nokia device. Running between $350 and $400 off contract in various markets, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, the Lumia 1320 looks to be a winner for those wanting something a bit larger.

My Lumia 1320 just showed up, so we figured we would show you folks around the latest Lumia to grace our site. So grab a hot coffee and watch the unboxing video with a quick device tour. We’ll even throw in some high quality photos as well.

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My Notes, as you would suspect, is a note-taking app for Windows Phone.  The app is designed to create notes, lists and countdown timers in quick and easy fashion.

Notes can be anything from cooking recipes to reminders on what size shirt your kid wears while Lists cover shopping lists, to-do lists, a parts list for building a tree house or anything else you need an itemized list for.  The countdown timer feature lets you set an event date in the future.  My Notes will then countdown the days until the event and send you reminders as the event gets close.  It's a nice feature to remind you of important dates (anniversary, birthdays, etc.)

Add SkyDrive backup, password support, Live Tile support, along with plenty of customization options for your lists, notes and timers and My Notes makes a nice first impression.  We found it to be an attractive note management app for our Windows Phone worth giving a try.

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One of the greatest tragedies in Windows Phone gaming is that PopCap’s original Peggle never made it onto the platform. Originating as a PC game, Peggle eventually made its way to practically every platform under the sun except for Windows Phone – including the Xbox 360.

Still, at least we know PopCap loves Xbox consoles. The long-awaited sequel Peggle 2 launched earlier this month as a timed Xbox One exclusive. The new console needs games and Peggle 2 happens to be one of the most enjoyable games around. A bit of polish got lost in the rush to launch, but the new Peggle still deserves your attention.

Detailed review with video after the break!

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4Blend HDR is the latest Windows Phone 8 photo app to enter the HDR ring.  The app has a simple layout, several filter options beyond the basic HDR, and taps into the Nokia Imaging SDK.

HDR, short for High Dynamic Range, photography is a process where multiple images are taken of the same subject at varying exposure values.  These images are then stacked on top of one another to offer a greater range of tonal detail.  HDR images seems to have a little more pop, sometimes in dramatic fashion.

4Blend HDR does a nice job of adding a creative flair to your Windows Phone photography but there is a little fine-tuning needed before 4Blend HDR can shine.

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A few months back, Windows Phone Central revealed that Game Insight would be releasing a sequel to My Country on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. The California/Russia-based publisher couldn’t announce a release date at that time, but at least we knew that 2020: My Country would be their next game for mobile Windows platforms.

At last, 2020: My Country is here on Windows 8 and RT; the Windows Phone 8 version should follow shortly.

Like the first My Country, 2020 is a complex and comprehensive city simulation game. Think closer to Sim City than Kingdoms & Lords. This one takes things into the near future, throwing a few sci-fi elements into the mix. It’s still free to play, which has its ups and downs.  Read on for our review on this new Windows 8 game.

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Name the TV Show is entertainment trivia game for your Windows Phone that challenges your knowledge of television shows based on their theme song.

The trivia game covers television series from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s with two gaming modes.  Name the TV Show will track your gaming stats and there is an online leaderboard to let you brag about your show tune knowledge.

Name the TV Show is an appealing, often challenging trivia game for your Windows Phone and is well worth a try.

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Smart Challenge is a brain twisting puzzle game for your Windows Phone that tests you deductive powers, reflexes, and powers of observation. 

You are presented with a series of brain twister styled questions and tasks where the answer may not be as obvious as it appears.  For example, on the main menu there is an arrow labeled “star” and you are directed to “press start to continue”.  Your reflex is to tap the arrow but to continue you need tap the word “start”.

Smart Challenges has three levels of play that are progressively unlocked and you might be surprised how challenging the simplest of tasks can be.

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Skiing Fred is an action packed skiing game for Windows Phone 8 that has you try to navigate down a trap riddled ski slope, keeping one step ahead of the Grim Reaper.

It is the first of the Fred series of games to land in the Windows Phone Store.  The Fred series of games have seen a nice amount of success over on iOS and Android.  Based on the short time we have spent with Skiing Fred, it should have similar success here.

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I’ve taken a look at quite a few cases for the massive Nokia Lumia 1520, but a new one available from Nillkin has won my heart. Running for $10 and coming in white, brown, black or red, the case is not only a good value but has some great features to make it a worthy slim case for you giant Lumia 1520.

Check out the video review and some high resolution photos to see why this case is a great choice for your Nokia.

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Howeather is not your typical Windows Phone 8 weather app.  It does not have weather forecasts, radar images or severe weather alerts.  Instead, Howeather delivers an Instagram-like social network where you can share your current weather conditions with others and ask other members “how’s the weather?”

As you interact with the Howeather network, you will earn experience points that will translate to weather badges.  It is a rather unique approach to sharing and gathering weather information from your Windows Phone.  Howeather does need to build up its user base to be effective though.

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