Foursquare for Windows Phone review: A fast way to hunt for local hot spots

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The Good The design of Foursquare for Windows Phone makes it easy to find interesting new places by putting suggestions front and center. You can also use the app without signing up for Foursquare.

The Bad The app's check-in process is tedious. After you check in to a place, you can't see the tips and photos from other users.

The Bottom Line Even though Foursquare for Windows Phone's design can be overwhelming at first, it's an essential app for finding local attractions.


7.8 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 8
  • Interface 8
  • Performance 7

For some, Foursquare is a game in which you earn points by checking in to beat your friends to the highest weekly score. For others, it helps keep track of the places you go and find new spots worth visiting. The Foursquare app for Windows Phone caters to the latter group, by making its search and discovery features the main attraction.

The current Foursquare for Windows Phone app has come a long way from its first release, which was missing features found in the iOS and Android versions. The app got a refresh in May 2013, and has become a full-featured Foursquare experience that will help you explore what's hot around you while gathering enough points to make it to the top of your leader board.

Exploring the app
A major advantage of the Foursquare for Windows Phone app is that you can use the app you without logging in. You cannot do this on the iOS and Android Foursquare apps — in fact, you can’t do anything in the other apps without either signing up for Foursquare or signing into an existing account. You will, however, need a Foursquare account to check in to places in the Windows Phone app.

From a first glance at Foursquare for Windows Phone, it's clear the app's goal is to help you quickly discover restaurants, shops, museums, and outdoor points of interest. That's in contrast to Foursquare on Android and iOS, which show your friends' activity in the app front and center instead of local suggestions of places to go.

The app's home screen is called Explore and it's full of ways to browse and search for places you might want to check out and check into. It can be overwhelming at first, because Foursquare crammed in a lot of information, but it doesn't take long to find your way around.

Foursquare for Windows Phone helps you browse (left) and search for restaurants and attractions nearby. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

First, you can tap the small map at the top of the app to expand it and look at Foursquare listings around your current location. Each listing is marked with a small icon that clues you into what kind of place it is — a crab for a seafood joint, or a movie reel for a theater.

Second, you can use the search bar to search by business or place name or use a keyword, such as "burrito" or "museum."

Third, there is a list of nearby places at the bottom of the main page, which are separated by unique categories, such as “popular for lunch,” and “sandwich place connoisseurs tend to come here.” Those categories change based on the time of day, with breakfast joints and coffee shops in the morning and lunch spots around noon, and based on where your friends check in. Each listing has a photo, rating, distance from your phone, and one of the aforementioned icons.

There are also tiles in the middle of home screen that help you browse by businesses that are offering a check-in deal, the most popular spots nearby, and places you've saved to a to-do list in Foursquare.

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