Utterly subjective, of course. We're all different, but hopefully this top 12 will give you a starting point if you're too pushed for time to browse through AAWP's comprehensive directories of general applications and camera/media apps. Admittedly, those lists include software for both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, while the list below is UWP all the way, i.e. dedicated applications for Windows 10 (across all form factors).
Now... this is an unashamed update of an article from six months ago - yet the information is still very relevant indeed after the production updates for many devices to Fall Creators Update (FCU) and to Creators Update (CU) for older phones. If the updates haven't gone smoothly (and I've heard of PIM sync issues, audio volume and camera problems, all characteristic of system file conflicts under the hood) then maybe a November 2017 'refresh' is what's needed?
This year's Google Pixel 2 XL has won both praise and criticism - it's the pinnacle of Google's Android dream, but it's demonstrably imperfect. Meanwhile, this being AAWP, I want to compare it to something interesting in the Windows 10 Mobile world. So what about the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, still sold, with similar form factor, loud stereo speakers, AMOLED screen, premium materials? Factor in purchase prices and this could be a closer fight than you might think...
It's all very well having this newish and still-sold high spec Windows 10 Mobile smartphone in Europe, but the amount of back-end effort being put in by Microsoft and Alcatel to support it is, to be charitable, modest. Meaning that there's every chance that you'll need to take charge of its OS status yourself. Here's a beginner's guide to the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro and Windows 10 Mobile.
A week ago I pitted (with a little help) the new Nokia 8 camera against the stalwart Lumia 950 - the new Nokia against the old Nokia, effectively? This was at 8MP resolution all round and, while the comparator was perfect in terms of framing, we had comments asking for a re-shoot at full resolution on both phone cameras. So here we go - can the Nokia 8 do any better this time round?
With another update for the start of 2018, here's our directory of the very best of the Windows Phone world, now split into two for logistics reasons. On this page are general, news, productivity, travel, time, and more. See this page for anything related to imaging or consuming media of any kind. Note that Windows 10 UWP applications are now hosted in their own directory.
For logistics reasons, we've split our applications directory for Windows Phone 8.1 into two, with a natural spin-off section being anything to do with imaging, camera, media and music/voice. This is the mid-January 2018 update. The original applications directory excludes these categories. Note that Windows 10 UWP applications are now hosted in their own directory.
Forgive something of an observational rant, but with three decades in the computing world, I think it's valid to point out something that most commentators overlook. You see, an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone looks more or less complete in terms of its user interface and operating system - why should it be considered only a couple of steps away from disaster? Yet I contend that a modern OS is now so complicated that only genuine TLC can keep it on the rails. And that's not always forthcoming, especially in the world of Windows 10 Mobile, but also on some Android marques.
It's the long awaited return of Nokia to AAWP - but in Android form, with its current flagship, the Nokia 8. Claiming a flagship camera, you can probably guess what's coming next - we pit it against the imaging prowess of the Lumia 950, created by the ex-Nokia engineers at Nokia back in 2015. You can probably also guess the result ahead of time, but don't let me prejudice you. Read on for the full FIC excitement!
I collaborate with guest writer Noel from New Zealand to bring a healthy-ish data point on a classic phone and OS - amazingly, he's still living with Windows Phone 8.1 on his Lumia 1020. He goes into detail below, plus there are some comments from me too in answer to his concerns over updates and security.