While the Windows Phone app store has most of our favorite apps, such as Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify, there are still several apps missing that we wish were there. Instagram and Vine, for instance, haven't developed official apps for the platform quite yet, though Vine says it's working on it.
Until Google, Dropbox, and others make their way to Windows Phone, we'll have to rely on alternative apps built by third parties. We've rounded up the best apps that take the place of Instagram, Vine, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Dropbox, Flipboard, and Feedly in the Windows app store.
We haven't reviewed all of the apps, so proceed at your own risk, but our picks have the best reviews and highest ratings. Let us know in the comments if you have any favorite copycat apps that we missed.
Out of dozen or so Instagram (Android | iOS) clients on Windows Phone, Instance has the highest ratings and best reviews. After playing around with it for a few minutes, it's easy to navigate and closely matches the experience you'd get on an official Instagram app.
You can browse your photo stream, like and comment on photos, and upload your own pictures. The official Instagram filters are missing, but the app gives you a few of its own filters to add to your photos. You can't shoot video with the app, but we couldn't find any Windows Phone Instagram-like apps that did, either.
Price: Free for an ad-supported version, $1.49 to get rid of ads
Developer: Daniel Gary
While we wait for Vine (Android | iOS) to launch an official app for Windows Phone, we can rely on 6Sec. The app launched in mid-July 2013 and quickly garnered many 5-star reviews, making it the highest-rated Vine client in the Windows app store.
As expected, you can shoot 6-second videos with the app and share them with your friends on Vine and Twitter. Just like on Vine, videos autoplay in your stream, and you can like, comment on, and repost videos. You can also explore videos in different categories or by hash tags, and pin a live tile of a specific hash tag to your start screen for quick access. The app is free, but if you want to upload videos, you have to pay $1.49, which helps pay for 6Sec's server.
Price: Free to browse videos, $1.49 to upload videos
Developer: Rudy Huyn
From developer Windows Maps, Google Maps is the closest experience to real Google Maps (Android | iOS) you can get on a Windows Phone. The app uses the Metro design and has search to find restaurants and businesses around you. There's an overlay for traffic conditions, 3D maps that show buildings, voice commands, and offline maps.
Reviewers in the Windows app store point out that it doesn't have navigation or Google transit details, but still say it's one of the best map apps out there.
The Windows app store is full of nearly identical YouTube (Android | iOS) copycats, which makes it hard to pick out one that's better than the rest. Based on the 8,000-plus reviews, an intuitive design, and plenty of features, our choice for best YouTube alternative is MetroTube.
The app has a Metro-style design and lets you sign in to your Google account to access videos you've favorited or saved to watch later. There are three levels of playback quality: HD 720p, high-quality 360p, and low-quality 240p, which would come in handy when your signal strength is weak. You can also preload videos to watch when you don't have a connection at all.
Honorable mention: YouTubeHD, which has hundreds of positive reviews and solid features, and also sports a design that's harder to navigate than MetroTube's.
Price: Free with an unlimited trial, optional 99-cent donation to support development.
Developer: Lazyworm Applications Ltd.
Facebook 5.0 for Windows Phone 8 is the best way to experience Facebook on the Windows Phone yet. It has better performance and more features than just checking Facebook on Internet Explorer on your Windows Phone.
The app was developed by Microsoft, not Facebook, and has the core features you'll find in other Facebook apps. You can check out the rest of CNET's review of Facebook for Windows Phone here.
Pinterest (Android | iOS) has become so popular, it's surprising that the visual social network hasn't built a Windows Phone app yet. Since it hasn't, we're left with a few third-party options, and the highest rated one is Pin+.
Pin+ uses the same simple design aesthetic as Pinterest's Web site, which makes it easy to navigate if you're familiar with the site. You can browse your feed, like and comment on pins, repin, and search. The only thing you can't do in the app is create a new pin. You can sign in with your Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter account, or just browse Pinterest without an account. From the few minutes I spent playing around with the app, it's well worth a download.
Price: Free for an ad-supported version, 99 cents for Pin+ Pro to get rid of ads
Dropbox (Android | iOS) client FileBox has many fans in the Windows app store for its simple design and reliable performance. This no-fuss free app lets you view your Dropbox files, download them to your phone, and upload files back to Dropbox. One reviewer's description seems to sum up how well FileBox works: "Simple, functional, minimal. Just how it should be."
Price: Free with optional 99-cent donation to support development
Flipboard (Android | iOS) has given us an easy and beautiful way to keep up the latest news and updates from our favorite sites without using an RSS reader. Since Flipboard is missing from Windows Phone, Weave News looks like a promising alternative.
The app lets you subscribe to curated feeds of content from categories such as best of YouTube, food and wine, or politics. It doesn't have the social feeds that Flipboard has, but you can share articles to Facebook, Twitter, Instapaper, and LinkedIn. It has rave reviews for its clean design and fast performance from those who've downloaded it.
Price: Free for ad-supported version, $9.99 to remove ads
Developer: Seles Games
Feedly might be the dominant RSS reader on iOS and Android now that Google Reader is out of the picture, but on Windows Phone it's all about Nextgen Reader. The app is a favorite among RSS fans to stay on top of news feeds and blog updates.
The app is a basic RSS reader with four themes, two dark and two light. It also comes with several live tile options to view how many unread articles you have from your start screen. You can group feeds by topic, read full articles without popping out to a browser, and even import feeds from your Feedly account. Bonus: it works on both Windows Phone 7 and 8.
Price: Free with unlimited trial, optional $1.99 donation to support development