Calendar app review 2016

Maybe it’s a cliché but I do live large parts of my life based on appointments in my calendar. Intentionally I want connections to send invitations and I always send invitations when I am the one hosting a meeting, just to secure that spot in life, that hour, that oh so important hour.

Calendar app review 2016 - OS X and iOS Round-up
Fantastical in the today widget on the iPhone. A nice overview of meetings, long clicking makes it possible to add a meeting.

So handling those appointments becomes important. There needs to be a sweet, smooth and intuitive way of adding meetings and tasks. Here is a brief list of calendar apps that I use on iOS (iPhone and iPad) and OS X to make my day productive gold.

Fantastical – iOS and OS X calendar

Get it here!

iOS: The iOS app much like its desktop counterpart below offers an intuitive way of adding meetings by typing them in clear text. The whole process is quite simple. You can add Fantastical to the today widget as well (you know, the one where you swipe down from the screen) to quickly get an overview of your day or to add new meetings. The only downside here is that you can’t add meetings from the today widget, but I would imagine this is a limitation within iOS. Another negative is that the iPad version is a bit too bare, not offering that many configuration options when it comes to layout settings, like the other apps below it can limit overview and usability a bit.

Calendar app review 2016 - OS X and iOS Round-up
Fantastical is accessible from the title bar in OS X. That plus natural language makes adding meetings a breeze.

OS X: This is where this calendar app shines for me. Just click on the calendar at the top of the screen and type in what you want to do “Meeting with Timmy tomorrow 08:30 @ The Café” and with a swooshing sound it will add a calendar entry tomorrow at 08:30. It makes adding events a satisfying process, a gamified process in a sense, something I did not expect I would say about adding meetings. There is also a full blown calendar view that brings more detail, much like the built in calendar app, but better looking. A downside to the OS X version is that it is expensive at about 50EUR. I think some might have issues paying that even knowing that I now never touch apple built in calendar.

Verdict:

  • The calendar app I use the most.
  • Use natural language to add calendar events.
  • It’s efficient, clean and fun (yes I said fun about a calendar app) especially on the desktop OS X version.
  • Visually it lacks on the iPhone and iPad versions compared to the runner ups below.
  • It is expensive.
Calendar app review 2016 - OS X and iOS Round-up
Fantasticals full view on OS X provides more detail and looks good to boot.

Runner ups – The ones that didn’t quite make it

Sunrise

Get it here!

The iPhone version has more visual flair than Fantastical and it looks cleaner than week cal as well. When you have invitees to your events you will get a small icon next to the meeting with their photo, just as an example. When it comes to different views available there’s only a week view and a month view though. So here it lacks compared to the others.

There’s actually a free desktop app (even though this looks more like an integrated webb app) for OS X, a webb app and a version for Android available. I have bumped in to some bugs in the past with these, but they seem ok now. To me they are not as intuitive as Fantastical when it comes to adding meetings, but you can link it up to for example Linkedin to get more info about attendees etc.

Verdict:

  • A good (read: cheaper) alternative to Fantastical
  • iPhone, iPad, OS X, Android and webb app versions that you can use across the board to add meetings.
  • It lacks when it comes to intuitivity and integration with OS X (the title bar widget in Fantastical is, fantastic)
  • Only two calendar views available (monthly, weekly-ish)
  • Calendar store with free calendars
  • No natural language
Sunrise Calendar desktop app
The Sunrise Calendar desktop app in OS X. Also available for iOS, Android and webb.

Week calendar

Get it here!

It has a smooth iPad app with a lot of customization options when it comes to the visual side. Almost too much to be honest. The colour scheme can look a bit amateurish, much like the HTML-websites from the 90s where the colours clash. But then again if you have the time and put in the effort you can configure everything, you can add custom icons, custom menu items, meeting templates and it even has a calendar store where you can buy calendars with dates for big sports events, name dates, astronomical events and much more. When it comes to the iPhone app it actually feels a little less cluttered than the iPad app, assuming they had to clean the interface to make it fit. Which for my taste is a good thing.

Verdict:

  • The iPad app feels cluttered, the iPhone app in this area is actually better.
  • A LOT of customization options for colours, icons and a calendar app store for sports events and name days.
  • No natural language to add events.
  • No desktop app available.
The week calendar user interface on the iPad in all its colourful glory
The week calendar user interface on the iPad in all its colourful glory.

Calvetica

Get it here!

The one that started my interest in an alternative calendar solution for iOS. But we have grown apart a bit during the last year. I came to Calvetica for a calendar app that looked better and made it easier to handle many meetings, this was many years ago when Apples own calendar app was quite mediocre. But now after I started using the above mentioned Calendars I feel they lagged behind a bit. The view feels somewhat cramped, like they don’t use the screen to its fullest and the customization options are quite limited. But I felt it deserved a mention at the least.

Calvetica on the iPhone
Calvetica on the iPhone

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