Best Utility Apps For Surface | Xmarks and more!

Best Utility Apps For Surface | Xmarks

You may be tired of scouring the Windows Store to find the best apps for Windows 8 or for your Microsoft Surface. Fortunately, we do that for you.
One disadvantage of Windows RT is that you can’t install a third party browser like Chrome or Firefox. Those browsers offer a great feature that let’s you sync your bookmarks between your different devices. While this app isn’t a browser for Windows RT, it does let you sync your bookmarks.

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Screenshot (258)

Xmarks let’s you sync your bookmarks to all of those different devices instantaneously. It works with Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome and Firefox. Install the extension for your browser from xmarks.com on your main Intel-based computer. It will automatically sync the bookmarks in that browser to the cloud.

Now, on your Surface RT, Surface Pro or any other Windows 8 or Windows RT device, download the Xmarks Windows Store app.

From there, sign into the account you’ve created at xmarks.com and your bookmarks will sync instantly. I tested this by installing Xmarks on my MacBook Pro using Safari and it synced to my Surface RT without any problems.

The only thing missing from this app is the ability to sync bookmarks from the Xmarks Windows 8 app back up to your original device. Essentially this is only a one way street.

This app is still very useful though, mainly for people like me who have their main computers at home and carry their tablets or Smartphones (there is an Xmarks app for Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Blackberry App World) with them.

It’s really a pleasure to snap Xmarks to one side of my screen and have IE10 open on the other. Tap a bookmark and a new tab will immediately open in Internet Explorer. Xmarks is free and I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Xmarks app for Windows 8 Xmarks app for Windows 8 Xmarks Windows 8 App

I started out writing this post about Xmarks, but then thought it would be a great idea to include a couple of other apps that I use frequently…

LastPass

These days all of us have so many passwords, it’s impossible to keep them straight in our heads. It’s also a bad idea to keep them in a location that’s unencrypted. There are a few great password keeping applications out for iOS, Windows, and Mac, and LastPass is a great option for the Surface RT or any other Windows 8 device. It keeps all of your passwords, secure notes, and form fills for contact information, Credit Cards and more.

LastPass is free.

LastPass - Password Keeper for Microsoft Surface

Calculator² or Calculator+ HD

Windows RT and Windows 8 have a calculator on the desktop but there’s no Modern UI-based calculator preinstalled. Calculator squared is a great scientific calculator with all of the functions you could possible want. The snapped view is very useful as well for those times you’re creating charts in Excel or emailing that financial report to your boss.

I’ve included both apps as they’re pretty much equivalents. Both apps are free.

Calculator app for Surface Calculator app for Surface

 Book Bazaar Reader

Book Bazaar Reader is the closest thing to iBooks on the Surface. There’s a 3D page turning animation (unnecessary but a nice touch) which can be turned of, and you can import your own files that you’ve downloaded or side-loaded from elsewhere. What really makes this app the best EPUB reader for the Surface I’ve seen so far is the ability to completely customize the text size and margin spacing. If you like to import your own books that you’ve purchased or downloaded online (which I do all the time), this is an app you should definitely try on your Surface or Windows tablet.

Book Bazaar Reader is free on the Windows Store.

iBooks for Surface or Windows 8


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  • Brad

    This is great Lane! Definitely going to have to try Xmarks, cross compatibility with devices is a cool feature.
    Any chance of making a weekly (or whatever) feature for apps that have cross device compatibility? Another example is Finance Helper. Great budgeting app that works with all your windows devices (phone, tablet, PC). Find it here:

    http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/04f5f59f-421f-4ff6-909d-daa507e2781f

    Which brings me to another question. Would it be possible to include the link for the app? It would just be a bit more convenient for us, if it’s too much work, it’s not hard to search the store.

    Sent from our Surface RT

    • Lane Freeze

      I’d love to do a weekly feature like that. I’ll have to see if I can find enough applications to support that.

      Regarding your second suggestion, that’s an absolutely terrific idea! We used to do that but have gotten out of the habit. We shall start doing that immediately.

      • Brad

        Fantastic! Keep up the great work!

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