Reviews

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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If you are in the market for a flashlight app, you have plenty of choices in the Windows Phone Store.  Unibeam is one option to consider.

While it can be a challenge to make flashlight apps stand out, Unibeam does so graphically.  The app has a decent feature set but really makes its mark with the graphics and animations that kick in as you activate the light.  It is a very nice looking, eye-catching flashlight app.

Unibeam may just be another Windows Phone 8 flashlight app for some but it takes on the task of shedding a little light on the subject with style.

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While some may say we have too many puzzle games in the Windows Phone Store, they remain a great option for the times you have a little time to kill.  Number Rumble hopes to join the number of quality puzzle games available for Windows Phone.

Based on playing the trial version, we can see the appeal Number Rumble has.  It tests your math skills along with your ability to manage combinations of numbers.  There’s a slight addictive quality to the game and if you are looking for a slightly different puzzle game for your Windows Phone, check out Number Rumble.

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If you need a little help getting those last minute Holiday greeting cards out or just are in the mood to spread a little more Christmas spirit, take a look at the Windows Phone app PostalBook.

PostalBook has over ninety Holiday oriented greeting card designs that can be personalize, saved, and shared over social networks.  Cards can be customized with text as well as your own pictures.

Electronic greeting cards are an easy way to reach out to friends these days and PostalBook comes across as a creative and convenient way to spread the Holiday spirit.

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You can’t count on much from Xbox Windows Phone games (what few there are these days) other than Xbox Live Achievements. But lots of gamers love those, so there exists a significant crossover between Windows Phone gamers and users of the two primary Achievement sites: TrueAchievements and Xbox360Achievements.org.

Surprisingly, neither site has released a Windows Phone app… until now. A developer called Divided Pudding (who also published xkcd Comic Reader back in March) has just released a TrueAchievements app, called TrueAchiever. Despite not using the exact site name, it appears to be pretty much the site’s official app. How does it measure up to the site? Find out in our full review!

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4Effects is an interesting photography app for Windows Phone 8.  While most photo editing apps will let you apply effects filters to your photos, 4Effects divides your photo into four parts where you can mix and match effects filters.

While 4Effects has potential, I am not sure if the Windows Phone 8 app would be your “go-to” photo-editing app.  It can come in handy for unique edits to your photographs and save a few reservations; 4Effects is not a bad app to consider for your Windows Phone photography app library.

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Lies of Astaroth is a fantasy card based battle game that has seen a bit of success over on iOS and now is available for Windows Phone 8. 

Game play has you dealing your characters from a deck of cards to do battle against a wide assortment of creatures.  The strategy battle game reminds me of the card games like Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh

While card based battle games may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Lies of Astaroth does have a certain level of appeal.  Graphics are attractive, game play is fairly simple and challenging and we suspect the game will find its fair share of success on the Windows Phone platform.

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A follow up on the Lumia 1520 review and using it as my daily driver

It has been a few weeks since the colossal Lumia 1520 from Nokia was released here in the U.S. on AT&T. Since then, I have repeatedly been asked one question from people on Twitter and elsewhere: “Do you use it as your daily driver?” (inevitably followed by “Should I get one?”).

I previously reviewed the device after spending a few days with it, giving it high marks for its display and camera. But now it’s a few weeks on and some of you are wondering if I still use it. After all, I do have access to every Windows Phone 8 device out there, so why not opt for the Lumia 1020 or the Lumia 925 or even the elegant looking ATIV S Neo instead?

That’s where this article comes into play as I’ll try to answer some questions about the king of all Lumias.

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1Alarm, a no-frills alarm for Windows Phone 8

1Alarm is a simple, easy to use alarm app for Windows Phone 8.  It is a single alarm without many bells and whistles, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The app makes use of gesture controls and a unique time setting interface to help the app stand out a bit.

While there are some functionality restrictions do to the Windows Phone OS, 1Alarm is not a bad option to consider if you are looking for a clean, easy to use alarm app for your Windows Phone 8 device.

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We have seen a wide range of games hit the Windows Phone Store shelves and Cliff Diving may be the first and only diving game available for Windows Phone 8.  It may not be your typical Windows Phone sports game but the game has potential.

Cliff Diving 3D has two levels of difficulty and a healthy range of dives to perform.  Graphics aren’t terrible but could use a little polishing and game play is fairly easy but not without challenge.  You will find your diver performing plenty gut-busters or belly flops until you get the game's timing down just right.

If you are looking for a unique game for Windows Phone 8 or just a change of pace from the puzzle games, Cliff Diving is worth trying.

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Slowly but surely, the upcoming Windows Phone 8 games we previewed from Casual Connect a few months ago have started to appear on the Store. First came Babel Rising 3D, then Yeti on Furry (awful name!) and Nightmares from the Deep: the Siren’s Call. Now Puzzle Retreat, the first game we covered from the show, has finally become available on Windows Phone 8.

Puzzle Retreat (from Australian developer Voxel Agents) is quite clearly a puzzle game. Windows Phone owners can enjoy the first 60 levels for free, and then opt to purchase additional level packs if they like. The developers took great pains to ensure Puzzle Retreat runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM, so everyone rocking a Windows Phone 8 device can play it.

We’ve got impressions, hands on video, and new behind the scenes info from the developer – all after the break!

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