August 10, 2012

My look at other iOS task apps

I usually use Taskpaper. However, it does not have repeating task capability. Also, new apps have arrived such as Checkmark which appear intriguing. I decided to do a search for other todo apps. I had never used any apps which sync with Toodledo, thinking that a web interface was suboptimal. I decided to consider new apps including those that sync with that service.

Checkmark

This app is centered around the idea of geolocated lists rather than individually geolocated tasks. The GPS was not especially accurate for me. It lacks repeating tasks. The user interface is very nice and it is well designed. It will not accept a task without a location. So, in the end, this is a very narrow task app at present.

Due

This app is intriguing in that has a Mac app with which to sync. The design is nice. It is a simple list of tasks any of which can be repeating. There is snooze functionality. Tasks only appear in the pulldown list of notification Center if there is an alarm pending.

Reminders

Syncs with Reminders on Mountain Lion. No snooze feature. Must drill down into multiple menus. Strong Siri integration but cannot use Siri to add both a custom list and a reminder date. Can add tags to tasks in the task name (i.e., @home) and then search based on tags (home brew).

Alert Notes

This is an alarm app which has natural language input capability. In my experience the recurring task options are limited, and the check off process is more extensive than it should be.

Todo

A robust, mature app. There are many options for each todo. There are repeat tasks. It synchronizes with Toodledo, or an Appigo server. There is a Mac client. This is a very capable app. One must constantly drill down into menus, though.

Pocket Lists

I like the hierarchal capabilities. Tasks can be indented with a thumb swipe. Repeating items are possible. It syncs with Google tasks, Toodledo, and their own proprietary server. I don’t like the denim theme. The fields for data are too tall. There is a way to link devices apparently via a web connection.

To-do Plus 2

This app has a calendar which I initially thought would be the iCal calendar. However, it appears to be a freestanding, isolated calendar. I’m not interested in a calendar that does not synchronize with the Mac desktop so minus points for that. Apparently changed owners recently.

ActionAgenda

Has a wood theme that I don’t necessarily care for. There are other themes which would not be as annoying. Has a calendar on the bottom half of the agenda portion of the application but the day fields seem crowded. The app can do start and due dates. In order to repeat, or set a priority, the todo must be created and then re-selected to add more metadata. The feel of the app is like another operating system — not very Apple-esque.

ezTodo

I love the quick input of this app. There are not a lot of levels within which to drill down. It has repeat tasks. Tasks can be organized into folders. There are no tags. This app cannot handle projects and contexts. It is fast and nimble. Synchronizes with Toodledo. There is no way to filter out completed todos without deleting them.

Conclusion

I did not favor apps that deviated too far into fringe design, odd themes, or constricted or too large of data fields (ActionAgenda, Pocket Lists, To-do Plus 2). I did not like the apps that required endless tapping into different screens to set repeats, dates, notes, and other - this is a time waster in my opinion (Todo, Reminders). Some had too narrow of functionality (Alert Notes, Checkmark). My two favorites:

ezTodo - I liked the speedy feel of the app and the one-page-data-entry method. It syncs with Toodledo which I am not sold on, though.

Due - this is a well-designed and simple app. The stock settings of reminders and auto snooze” are annoying as can be but once these are purged, it can serve as a reminder app outside of another GTD app. I tried the Mac app and it is well-designed also. The iCloud sync is fast. The timers are useful for Pomodoro-esque productivity sessions.

I am still using Taskpaper (GTD, contexts, projects, speed, quick entry, quick app use, flat text file) and have now added Due (repeats and timers). Things 2 just dropped and I also have not yet used Reminders on Mountain Lion1. However, both suffer from the deal-breaker I found in Things previously: a high tap count (tap, tap, tap, tap and screen after screen after screen and it never ends…).

1Reports of decreased battery life under Mountain Lion have be waiting on the sidelines with Lion until there is an update.

  • apps
  • productivity
  • iphone
  • ipad
  • review

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