Windows 8 App Roundup this week is focused on free Chatting Apps. We’re showing you three of the best chatting apps in the Windows Store as well as the default Microsoft app. Messaging, calling and chatting shouldn’t be difficult and some apps out there make it harder than it needs to be to stay in touch with family, friends, coworkers and others.
Skype never seems to disappoint, and it’s Windows 8 app lives up to that standard in some ways but fails in other. One of the biggest gripes we have with the Skype Windows 8 app is that it automatically logs you into your Microsoft Account as opposed to a standalone Skype account. This means you have to use the desktop version to use the Skype account you want. However, the Skype Windows 8 is truly a beauty in all other features, including the look and feel integrating Microsoft’s latest UI into its app.
- Beautiful UI, layout and functionality in design
- Easily call and message as you see fit
- Can only login through your Microsoft Account
- No file sharing or screen sharing options
IM+ supports just about every single chat service on the Internet. You can use Google Talk, Windows Live, Skype, AIM and more. While you can’t voice or video chat, you can share files, photos and more through your services and you can manage multiple services within one protocol with IM+. For more on IM+, check out our guide on the Windows 8 app.
- Can manage multiple IM services
- Easily share files, folders and photos with other users
- Can’t voice or video chat, even on services that support it
- Takes up substantial amount of memory for a Windows 8 app
Chat is an oddly simplistic messaging app in Windows 8 that takes the minimalistic approach in design. Using the XMPP (or Jabber) protocol, you can connect a variety of accounts, including Google Talk and Facebook. You can’t make calls with Chat, but its messaging functionality allows for an easy flow of conversation between two people which fits in nicely with the overall Windows 8 design.
- Can quickly add accounts and start chatting
- Simple design makes it easy to read and catch up on messages
- Can be difficult to connect via XMPP
- Can’t video or voice chat with others
Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging
Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging is the default Windows 8 suite of apps. The default messaging app is based on your Microsoft Account, so it’s harder to juggle multiple accounts with and doesn’t provide much in the way of features other than actually chatting. Considering Microsoft wants to make Skype the default service for Windows, it’s no surprise this app was overlooked and rushed to be added to the default operating system.
- Can manage your messaging, mail and more in one suite of apps
- Looks the same as the rest of Windows 8 apps
- Can only use your Microsoft Account
- No real functionality other than chat
What is my favorite messaging app in Windows 8?
I was really hoping after upgrading to Windows 8 that Skype would become my primary means of messaging. However, Microsoft’s decision to only allow you to login to your Microsoft Account and not be able to easily log in and out made that impossible. That’s where IM+ came into play. After tinkering with what seemed like hundreds of messaging apps, IM+ fell into my lap and I never let it go. It’s easy to use, can manage multiple services and when I need to voice or video chat, I can pop onto Skype for just that.
What messaging app is your favorite in Windows 8? Let us know in the comments below!