Calendar Apps: A Visual Guide

A rundown of the “best” choices for calendar apps on iOS. I’m testing Fantastical, Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, Outlook, and Sunrise.

Fantastical

tacticool

Fantastical has a problem: the app often times tries to do too much, and fails most of the time. No Fantastical, I don’t want to invite my friends to this via Facebook/Email/Carrier pigeon. We made the plans in person, now I’m adding them to my calendar. Also, Fantastical doesn’t have support for shared Google calendars, a must-have in my situation. The default event creation tool is a bit simplistic as well, and events have to be correctly formatted when entered. God help you if you type a number (classes) that isn’t a time. Most of the time, I just give up on the “helpful language recognition,” and just create my events the old fashioned way.

Apple Calendar

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Well… it looks good, I guess. That right there is a washed potato. Looks good, but I wouldn’t take a bite. Apple calendar is just like that. The UI looks good, and the events I make don’t try to blood type me as I type, and the app supports multiple calendar views. But, yet again, this app falls short because I can’t view shared Google calendars. Also, as with all Apple products, Apple Calendar lacks integration with, well, anyone, so don’t expect to use a decent map app to find your way to your meeting.

Google Calendar

banangun

Google Calendar accomplishes what few other calendar apps have the capability to do: with Google Calendar, I can actually see shared google calendars. :O No way! If I couldn’t, the above picture would be just the banana. The UI of Google calendar is awful. The line representing the current time seems to have a strict no-touching rule with regards to events. If two events overlap, the line stops at the earliest event, giving the user no indication of how much time until the overlapped event starts. The app does have multiple calendar views, but the Week view is useless on anything smaller than a tablet. There is no support for additional calendars, such as a TV show schedule or an athletic team’s play schedule. The app does integrate with all the other Google apps, so Google Calendar will push a notification when you should leave for an event, based upon the estimated drive time.

Outlook

back-fire-gun

Literally the worst calendar I’ve ever used. The only reason this calendar isn’t represented as a turd is because the email side of Outlook is still neat. The calendar side doesn’t allow you to edit events, make events or view shared google calendars. Furthermore, the only third-party integration available with Outlook is the option to invite attendees to a Skype call, which is about as useful as a shoulder-fired tactical nuke.

Sunrise

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Ah Sunrise, king among men. Sunrise is the most effective calendar I’ve ever come across. You want shared google calendars? You got it. You want Facebook integration for events? You got it. you want third-party calendars, such as TV schedules or sports schedules? You got it. you want accurate and reliable time tracking? You got it. Absolute kick-ass UI? It’s in there. Sunrise is the app that pretty much Has It All™. A schedule view would be nice, but considering the app hasn’t had any active development since it was bought by Microsoft (who’ve neglected to bring a single feature into Outlook), the app is aging quite well. It’s such a shame that support for this versatile app is being pulled Sometime Soon™.