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BLOG: Unlock your Surface RT tablet's hidden superpowers

Marco Chiappetta | Sept. 11, 2013
The Surface RT might seem limited, but smart use of its connectivity and apps can make it an able sidekick for your computing needs.

TuneIn Radio
As its name suggests, TuneIn Radio is an app that gives users access to a smorgasbord of radio stations from around the world. You can search for stations by genre, show type, location, language, and more. I'm not just talking about typical radio stations that play music or talk shows, either; TuneIn Radio will even stream radio broadcasts from public services—like police and fire stations—from across the United States.

Khan Academy
If you like to constantly learn about new things, the Khan Academy app is an awesome tool that provides nearly endless hours of enjoyment and education. This free app gives users access to news, lectures, interviews, projects, test prep for standardized tests such as the SAT or GMAT, and a myriad of other topics.

Metro Commander
Microsoft offers a number of modern apps for Windows RT that are designed to let you get work done without leaving the Windows RT app ecosystem, but it doesn't include a decent file manager. Metro Commander is a free app that offers an excellent solution to that problem, with a clean dual-pane interface that makes it easy to manage files right from Windows RT's modern interface. It may seem like a small luxury, but being able to move files around easily in the Windows RT environment makes it much easier to use Windows apps like SkyDrive and Photos on your RT tablet.

Toolbox for Windows 8
The Toolbox for Windows 8 app works on Windows RT and offers a one-stop-shop of sorts for a number of handy, simple apps. The Toolbox itself is free and includes things like a calculator, voice recorder, clock, doodle pad, a notifier/alarm, and a Facebook app, along with a few other tools.

You can also purchase additional apps, such as a task scheduler, Twitter app, or RSS reader. But even if you don't spring for any additional add-ins, the Toolbox for Windows 8 app is incredibly useful.

Autodesk Sketchbook Express
Surface RT users looking to showcase their artistic abilities will probably dig Autodesk's Sketchbook Express app. This free app has a clean and simple interface, but it offers a wide array of brush types and drawing tools that help to create intricate works of art. Completed works can be saved in a personal gallery and images can be imported for alteration, making it a great tool for quickly editing sketches, mocking up presentations, and doodling.

The Surface RT doesn't have to be the also-ran tablet. Make the most of what it has, and you'll be surprised at how much functionality you can wring out of it.


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