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

Checking in
At the very bottom of the app is Foursquare's most famous feature; the check-in. Tap the tiny map pin icon to search or browse for places nearby that you can check into and earn points. Those points help you beat out your friends to the top spot in the weekly leader board and earn bragging rights.

Even though the check-in process is about the same as it is on the iOS and Android apps, it felt more tedious on the Windows Phone app. You have to tap the icon, pick a place to check-in, and then confirm your check-in, before you get to the final check-in page, which tells you how many points you earned. On the confirmation page you can add a photo or comment and choose to share it with the rest of the Foursquare community and on Twitter.

Foursquare (Windows Phone)
To check-in, search or browse to for nearby places. After you check-in, the app tells you how many points you earned. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

What you see next is different from the Android and iOS Foursquare apps. After you check in, the other apps load photos and tips that others have left for the place, but the Windows Phone app only shows the comments and photos you've added, which I found unhelpful.

I'd rather be able to read the tips that my friends and other Foursquare users wrote so that, for example, if I am waiting for a table at a new restaurant, I can find out which dishes to try. In order to do that in this app, I had to back out of my check-in and then search for that restaurant in the app to see others' tips and photos.

Another issue I encountered was with notifications in the app. When someone likes or comments on your check-ins or likes a tip you leave, you get a notification. The app was able to tell me that I had notifications, with a small red badge at the top of the app, but I when I tapped that badge, I got an error message that said "something went wrong." I was never able to read my notifications throughout testing.

For finding new or interesting restaurants, shops, and attractions around you, Foursquare for Windows Phone is one of the best experiences I've seen. Not only are all my local suggestions right on the front page, they change frequently based on the time of day and my location.

Though the app hides away many of the social features that Foursquare on iOS and Android display prominently, you'll still have no trouble playing the Foursquare game of gathering check-in points to beat your friends.

Foursquare for Windows Phone is a must-download for its helpful discovery tools that will constantly steer you to new places to try.

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