I, like many of you I’m sure, am a very busy person. For example, today I’ve scheduled the next two hours to work on AppStorm projects, then I have lunch, I clean my office between 1 – 1:30 pm, I’ve got an appointment to talk about a book I’m working on at 2 pm, then a meeting with a PR rep at 4:15. Oh, and I’ve got to be home by 5:30 to meet my son who is getting dropped off by his grandparents.
Organizing a day like this can be an exercise in futility, particularly when you rely on the built-in Calendar app in iOS. So when it came for me to try to find a new calendar with better options, I went with the popular Calvetica Calendar. We reviewed the Classic version of the app back in January 2011, but what makes the higher end version so much better? Let’s find out.
How it Looks
The whole skeuomorphic thing that Apple has going on right now drives me nuts, particularly with iCal. As a man in his mid-30s, I’ve never owned a desk calendar with a leatherette top that always has a torn off page. My mother has, but for me, that concept doesn’t really work as a whole. Carrying it over to iOS makes me want to punch a kitten (and yes, I know that iOS came first with that stuff, but still).
When it comes to using iCal at home, I don’t. I use BusyCal, my favorite way to keep things in sync between the multitude of different calendars that populate my daily schedule. And although my days didn’t used to be a giant cluster of appointments, doing so now has actually increased my productivity. To keep it going, I need a way to sync everything to my iPhone, which I already have with iCloud. I just don’t want to use the default app, hence Calvetica Calendar.
The big thing here is the interface. Calvetica is very simple and clean, and simultaneously complex and full of features. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it utilizes multi-touch functions to navigate the app, making it easier to use in the process. Plus, it syncs via iCloud as well, so you’re covered there, too. If you’re a fan of clean and simple, look no further.
Using the App
The first time you load it up, you’ll get a little introduction panel that teaches you how to use the app itself. This comes in pretty handy, because there are a few different multi-touch features that are unique to the app, and chances are pretty good that you’ll want to use them along the way.
Even if you forgo the fancy finger moves, the design still lends itself to ease of use. Held vertically, the month is displayed on the top of the screen while the bottom shows one of three different modes: week, full day or agenda. If you tilt your iPhone on its side, the app goes to week view, and you can easily flip through the different weeks with your finger.
Being a calendar app, it’s pretty crucial that adding and removing appointments is a pretty straightforward process, and that’s definitely the case. Hit the + button to the left of the calendar and you get a dialogue for a new appointment. The app is setup to make adding an appointment quickly a fast process, but should you need to get more detailed, well then the options list just opens up.
By tapping on the More button, you get a long list that gives you tons of options: which calendar, notes, repeating frequency, attendees, location, sharing, multiple alarms and so on. In my situation, I often like to have two or more alarms for each appointment, that way I have plenty of time to prepare. Say I need to get a story in for the site before a certain day. I can make a reminder for two days before, one day before, then four hours before — or whatever I chose. Flexibility is a nice feature to have.
Is It Really Fun to Use?
Well, this is where the app isn’t quite as great for me. There are a few hiccups here and there, like with the multitouch features, for example. Pinching or pulling apart your thumb and forefinger (like you would zoom or widen out with the camera app) switches you between week, full day or agenda view on the main screen. But it doesn’t always work, making it frustrating to navigate in the process.
Additionally, I find the red used in the app to be really jarring. There’s just something about its frequency of use that takes me out of the simpleness of what I want this app to be from a design standpoint. That’s completely subjective of course, but it’s something that I ran into frequently.
Is It For Me?
There are tons of calendar apps out there, and Calvetica Calendar is really a pro model. If you are a hardcore calendar user, the flexibility and multiple options will really cause the app to shine, but more basic users should probably look elsewhere.
In an interesting twist, it seems like the people at Mysterious Trousers feel the same way. They have another app named Tempus that has the same basic design aesthetic, but is a little more stripped down than Calvetica. You can even compare the two on their website to see which one you prefer.
Do you prefer a more complex approach or something simpler? Do you have Calvetica Calendar and love it? Let us know in the comments below.