If there's one category of application that really shouldn't need to exist, it's music playback, since every computing platform includes this functionality out of the box. However, time spent with music, as well as ways of indexing and accessing it, is a very personal thing and there are a number of third party music player for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, each attempting to add their own 'spin' (pun intended) on the genre. In this case, Loco Music Player, with a wide choice of themes and lightning fast track indexing.
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You may remember that one of my core 'must haves' for any computing platform is a KeePass client, with all my private data kept these days in the Cloud but mirrored on every computing device I own. From passwords to social IDs to engine numbers to bank details, it's all there, standalone and perfectly encrypted. Yet the likes of '7Pass' on Windows Phone haven't really matured, so I've switched to MetroPass, offering full upload (if not sync) back to the Cloud.
Yes, yes, I know I just reviewed the equivalent product for the Lumia 640, but a) this is in black, b) it's Friday, and c) there's a chance to have a dig at Microsoft over Qi charging again... This is the black official back cover replacement and it's for the larger device, the Lumia 640 XL, transforming my 'consumer' white 640 XL phablet into a mean black business machine...
I have to admit that I gulped a little at the price (£20) for this, the official Microsoft 'cover' for the Lumia 640, but I take it all back. When handing it round friends and family, physically melded with the phone, the general reaction was incredibly positive, turning a non-descript budget (in this case, black) Lumia into something of a blue leather object of desire. Really. It's that nice.
For a mobile platform 'without a YouTube client' (i.e. an official app from Google), Windows Phone sure has plenty of YouTube clients provided by third parties. And now the free Perfect Tube joins the fray, from the same developer as Perfect Music, reviewed here. And, like the music player, it's something of a triumph in terms of UI but ultimately slightly let down by real world performance and implementation in places, on my test Lumia 930.
I have to confess that I’m not entirely sure why everyone’s been so hard on Microsoft’s built-in Music player over the last couple of years. OK, so there’s the bizarre Xbox branding, but hey, that’s going and, err.. getting more bizarre (‘Groove’). But, on the whole, it works pretty well now, with both local and streamed music from OneDrive. Yet there’s an aftermarket cottage industry in replacement music players. Let's have a look at the commercial Core Player.
Being, traditionally, more of a fan of four wheel racing then two, I'd only given SBK15 (as in 'SuperBike 2015') a passing glance in the past. Turns out it's a terrific simulation and a great game that if anything, will inspire more people to watch and support the real thing. In fact, it's only by racing, wheel to wheel, right on the edge of a major accident all the time, that you start to appreciate the skill possessed by and the risks taken by the riders in the sport. SBK15 is a meaty game and can take a while to load - but trust me, it's worth the wait. And it works on all Windows Phones, regardless of RAM. Hit!
There's absolutely nothing new here, to be honest. It's a 3D rendered Scalextric-style racer, with Real Racing 3-style freemium mechanics, and from those two clues you can probably imagine the entire title without any help from me. However, that certainly doesn't do justice to the quality of the gameplay, the polish in the graphics, the fluidiity of the action, and so on. Nuts and bolts this may be, but Red Bull Racers is still a terrific game.
New in the Store in the last month, ZAPYA is a (still beta) tool that's cross platform and claims cross-platform file and media transfer, all on a peer-to-peer basis over Wi-fi. So, while you'd not want to Bluetooth a video (for example) to an Android-owning friend and messing around with platform sharing support is too painful, and uploading to Dropbox might take forever, why not use the fact that both of you are on the same Wi-fi network and simply transfer peer-to-peer? Enter ZAPYA. It's not a totally new idea, but does seem popular and... it's now on Windows Phone too.
With this being exam season for many people, I'm all for learning aids. And, in this case, something rather unusual and designed to help someone learn a text off by heart. Perhaps so as to be able to quote sections in an exam paper, perhaps to deliver on stage, perhaps just trying to keep the ol' grey cells stimulated. Memorize It! is unusual and effective and I'll even forgive the Americanised spelling of the name....