A brief guide to the smartest apps for business on the Windows Store in 2015.
Microsoft promises the Surface offers the best of a laptop and the best of a tablet. When the Surface first appeared in 2012 it was easy to find doubters of this big claim. With the latest incarnation, the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft have finally started to win round some of these early critics. A high-end, high-spec product, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 works as a powerful tablet, versatile laptop (with the Touch Cover), stylus-operated slate and, with a USB 3.0 Docking Station, a desktop PC.
Lighter, thinner and with a crystal clear 12” screen, the Surface Pro 3 makes a very good tablet. One way to harness its power and versatility for your business is by investing in the right Microsoft Surface accessories; another is to utilize the Windows Store – or Google Play – and install some apps. But what are the best Windows Store apps for business? We’ve rounded up a selection of Windows 8 apps that will help you to save time, have fun and be productive.
Microsoft OneNote is quickly becoming a must-have app for businesses and students, and the improvements to the touchscreen and pen for the Surface Pro 3 have made it an even more effective digital notebook. With OneNote, you can start making notes with a single click of the pen-top, upload minutes to the cloud and sync documents with all your other devices.
With over 4.5m Windows Phone app downloads, this powerful photography tool is already a staple app among devoted users of Instagram and Facebook. But that’s not to say it can’t be useful in a business environment. Whether you’re color-correcting a RAW image file or cropping TIFFs, Fhotoroom’s 90+ tools will help you achieve a professional effect on promotional images without having to use Photoshop.
Specifically designed for Windows 8, Drawboard PDF is arguably the best PDF app for the Surface Pro 3. Drawboard’s main strength is its versatility. It works well with just the touchscreen, but it really comes into its own with the Surface Pro 3 Pen. The inking is precise, making it easy to draw, underline and make annotations, while the ability to fill out forms and share them quickly and conveniently saves time and printing.
Toolbox is an ingenious multitasking tool that’s equipped with a host of utilities, ranging from a calculator to a basic browser. You can choose from various layouts and personalize your workspace with up to six different tools, helping you to keep track of things whether you’re on the go or at a static workstation. Recently Toolbox has started hosting advertisements, so if you want to multitask and keep your desktop Ad-free you’ll have to pay a bit extra.
This digital Kanban board is a godsend for anyone who needs to manage a team project. The big advantage of a digital board over its traditional predecessor is the ability to collaborate users in different locations. As well as enabling users to update the status of the different cards, Trello has a variety of viewing modes and tags, and enables integration with other online tools, adapting to and assisting your workflow.
If you’re always looking to save time but don’t want to miss out on the latest news, Flipboard’s personalized magazine might offer a convenient solution. It lets you gather news and information from top international sources such as the New York Times, TIME and National Geographic into one place. Useful additional features include the ability to save interesting articles and share them to social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is recognised for its productivity and versatility, and Wunderlist can lay claim to a similarly strong reputation. A multi-platform, multi-device service, it helps users organize their errands and tasks into neat, manageable lists. As well as sharing and delegating tasks to other users, it’s also possible to attach photos, PDFs and other files to the lists.
Skyscanner is a firm favorite with everyone looking to get the best deals on flights. If you have to make frequent flights for work, the Skyscanner app for the Surface Pro 3 offers a more intuitive and convenient alternative to the website. As well as finding the cheapest prices and making them easy to navigate, the app includes a neat Explore feature, which lets you search the best value flights from your nearest airport to destinations around the world.
With your flights booked, the next step is to download the MyTrip app. This powerful and well-designed app lets you take your TripIt.com itinerary with you on your tablet. The basic version will give you information about all of your bookings and passenger details, saving you from digging around in the bottom of your laptop backpack, while TripIt Pro includes real time gate status and flight information. Another point in its favor is the ability to sync the app for offline access and to share your travel details with relatives and colleagues.
The final app in our Windows Store roundup is Mint, a smart and convenient financial management tool that makes it easy to keep track of all your outgoings. You can check your budgets, edit transactions, check your credit rating and see breakdowns of your personal finance accounts all in one place. If you’re worried about security implications, Mint uses 128-bit encryption and is password protected for peace of mind.
How do you rate the apps available for the Surface Pro 3? Let us know by posting below.