Gizmodo Laptop Buying Guide 2014: Our Favourite Windows 8 Touch Apps To Get You Started

If you've bought a new laptop or convertible tablet running Windows 8, you already have access to Windows' existing programs and applications. But, in addition to running everything from Windows XP and Windows 7, Windows 8 also brings along a brilliant range of touchscreen-friendly apps and games. These are a few of our favourites.

We've put together a short list of some of our favourite touchscreen-friendly games, and some apps for social media and entertainment, to get you started with the Windows 8 app ecosystem. If you're on a Windows 8 PC, you can simply click the title of each app to view it in the Windows 8 Store.

Social Media

Facebook

Everyone uses Facebook these days. So having easy, snappable access to Facebook while you work or while you play can be really useful. The Facebook app is official, so you know it won't steal your data or mess with your privacy settings, too.

Keeping up with your friends is easier than ever with the official Facebook app. Your friends are always at your side with Snap View, even when you're using other apps. See what your friends are up to, and get updates in Live Tiles on your Start screen.


Viber

Viber is one of the best multi-platform messaging apps around. You can text like Facebook Chat, call like Skype, send photos like Snapchat, and send videos like Vine. It's simple to use, easy to understand, and most importantly, free.

With Viber, everyone in the world can connect, freely. More than 360 million Viber users text, call, and send photo and video messages worldwide over Wifi or 3G - for free. Viber is available for many smartphones and platforms.


Twitter

Twitter is the social network phenomenon that lets you share short messages with the world, telling them what you're doing or where you are. Chat with your friends or with people who share your interests, and keep track with breaking news in real time. Since you can snap the Twitter app to the side of your Windows 8 screen, you'll always be up to date.

With Twitter, you can watch the world unfold like never before. Get real-time stories, pictures, videos, conversations, ideas, and inspiration all in your timeline. Follow people and your interests to get unfiltered access and unique behind-the-scenes perspectives. Express yourself with photos, videos and comments.


Skype

Skype is Microsoft's brilliant video and text chatting app that lets you make video group calls and audio calls entirely for free. The Windows 8 app will give you notifications as you're working or playing away, and lets you answer calls directly from the Start screen.

Stay connected while you shop, read, watch and work. When you do more with Skype, there's more to talk about. Connect how you want, when you want. Chat, hear their voice, or get together face to face all within the comfort of one app. Snap Skype alongside other apps to get more done or play a game together while you chat. Share everyday things and special moments – files, photos, or even a video message.


Entertainment

VLC For Windows 8

VLC is one of Windows' best video watching apps. It has been in development for years and years, and the latest iteration is built specifically for low-powered, energy efficient Windows RT tablets. If you have a Microsoft Surface, for example, you can watch all your downloaded videos straight from your Start screen.

VLC for Windows 8 is an experimental port of VLC media player for the WinRT platform. VLC media player is an open source application that plays all multimedia file formats, from files, streams and discs on all platform. This application will play most video file formats, including Ogg, FLAC and MKV.


Amazon

Amazon may have started out as a simple online bookstore, but now it's one of the world's largest shopping destinations. If you want to watch a TV show or a movie, read a book or listen to some music, the snappable Amazon app is the way to do it.

The Amazon app allows you to quickly make purchases, search, compare prices, read reviews, and share products with friends using a simple yet elegant interface. Shop just as you do on the web. You can access any of Amazon's sites around the world from a single app by simply selecting your desired Amazon country store or shipping destination.


iHeartRadio

The homegrown Australian app that is iHeartRadio is a radio streaming service, letting you listen to any of dozens of the country's top music and talkback radio stations, or create your own radio station entirely from scratch. If you want someone else to pick your music for you with no frills attached, the iHeartRadio app is great.

Listen to your favourite live radio stations or create your own with iHeartRadio. iHeartRadio is "the best streaming radio app" (CNET) — the only app you need to enjoy free music, news, talk, sports and custom radio stations created for you.


Rdio

Rdio is one of the top two music streaming services in Australia, rivaling Spotify for the title of most popular and most music-rich. It's jam-packed with millions of music tracks, and for a surprisingly affordable monthly subscription choice you're able to access them all, whenever you want, wherever you are.

Discover your next favorite track with Rdio, a social jukebox with over 20 million tracks to play — instantly or in stations. Play what you want, when you want, from new hits to classic albums. Or, start a station based on any track, artist or genre and lean back while Rdio plays a perfect mix of songs.


Games

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Asphalt 8 is the latest iteration in a long line of brilliant arcade racing games. Asphalt 8: Airborne is the most graphically beautiful of the entire series, and it has a full 47 super-high-performance race cars from brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini. It's a great way to waste a few minutes on your laptop!

The best arcade racing game series reaches a new turning point! Perform dynamic, high-speed aerial stunts in an intense driving experience powered by a brand-new physics engine!


Star Wars: Commander

Star Wars is a beautifully rich world, and Star Wars: Commander is an equally rich game — it's a world-building title full of different things to do. You can play as the Empire or as the Rebel Alliance, building a base and defending it from the enemy in a battle for space supremacy.

Charge into battle on distant planets, and lead your troops to victory in this action-packed, combat strategy game! Build a base, recruit an unstoppable force, and challenge players across the Star Wars universe in Star Wars: Commander!


FIFA 14

Football is the world game, and FIFA is the world's football video game. FIFA 14 puts you in the shoes of officially licensed teams for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, or you can make your own Ultimate Team. If you want the authentic experience, you can get game commentary in German, French, Spanish or Italian as well as English.

Now with officially licensed 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil national teams, kits, and Adidas Brazuca ball! Welcome to the most authentic football game on Windows 8. Feel the excitement of every pass, shot, and tackle with new touch controls. Plus, live every moment of real-world football mastery with EA SPORTS Football Club Match Day.


Hill Climb Racing

Upgrade your race car jeep, bike, truck or other vehicle with dozens of parts, and charge across the world with racing levels in the countryside, desert, the Arctic or even the moon. Hill Climb Racing is a 2D racer with realistic physics, only on Windows 8, and best of all, it's free.

Meet Newton Bill, the young aspiring uphill racer. He is about to embark on a journey that takes him to where no ride has ever been before. With little respect to the laws of physics, Newton Bill will not rest until he has conquered the highest hills up on the moon!


Do you have any favourite Window 8 touch apps, or any other apps that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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