Get things done: 10 to-do apps for Android and iOS
Schedule Planner Pro is an ambitious task manager, aimed at those who like their time tracking data color-coded and charted out.
The app interface is easy enough to figure out and navigate, featuring five buttons located at the bottom of the screen labeled: Tasks, Charts, Calendar, Statistics and Settings. The main areas of interaction are all modeled after a paper-based ledger/calendar, and tappable areas are clearly defined.
Creating tasks and tracking them via the app's built-in calendar is as simple as tapping the Add button in the home screen. You can then plug in values such as category, title, from and to time estimates, repeat information and miscellaneous notes. Once the task is completely filled in, pressing the Add in the upper right adds your task to the main list, and sorts the task within other categories.
Schedule Planner Pro syncs with Google Calendar, as well as Apple's built-in Calendar; there's also Dropbox support for database backups. You can export statistics as a CSV or plain text file via Mail or Dropbox.
I found using the app to be straightforward and the design pleasant enough. But entering tasks, while simple, could be tedious. There are no shortcuts, no location support for tasks, and no Siri or iCloud integration.
There is a free, lite version of the software that lacks cut/copy/paste, alerts and notifications, and iOS and Google Calendar support among other things, but gives you a feel for what to expect from the full version. The full version for the iPhone costs $5.99 at the App Store (there is also an HD version for the iPad that costs $9.99). However, considering the functionality/cost ratio, I couldn't really recommend this app above the others listed unless you're a hardcore stats fiend and love to see time spent on tasks charted out in front of you.
-- Michael deAgonia
Smart Time takes a different approach to task management. It attempts to arrange tasks around your appointments by using time estimates, schedules imported from calendars already on your iPhone, and some manual adjustments of your working hours -- all accomplished by turning on iPhone's Calendar synchronization and configuring work/home schedules under the app settings.
Visually speaking, this application is pretty ugly; the layout is fine and fairly straightforward, but the colors and themes feel more DOS than iPhone. There are three main views - which can be toggled using buttons on the bottom of the main screen -- labeled Smart View, Calendar and Focus. Focus displays only items due that day and Calendar displays a more traditional daily view; but it's clear that the makers of this product think you'll be spending most of your time in Smart View.
Smart View categorizes tasks (to-dos) and events (appointments) into two differently sized bars: Events are displayed as long bars while tasks are half the size. The bars are contained between two lines representing a single day. Each bar includes some info: title, start and end times, lines representing the length of the task, and whether the task has an alarm associated. It resembles nothing so much as a project manager.
Smart View automatically organizes your to-dos around scheduled events according to what can be reasonably accomplished within that day. Tasks can also be dragged around in the Smart View via drag and drop, in case manual adjustments are in order.
There's also a weekly calendar view that can be triggered by turning the phone to landscape. Within landscape mode, this view can be toggled from a weekly view to a monthly view by tapping the month title in weekly view, and back again by tapping the week title in month view.
Smart Time also gives you the option to add directly to the iPhone's Calendar. It doesn't just sync events with and to-dos to the Calendar, but also grabs information from the Calendar and places it within the app, consolidating your appointments but still keeping the standard Calendar in the loop, in case you use that more often.
There are also some clever shortcuts, such as the use of buttons to create actions. For example, you can create a task with a location to go to, or a task to call or write a contact, without having actually typed anything.
What Smart Time lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in options and power. Note: It is only designed to work natively on the iPhone (though it will work on the iPad as a scaled iPhone app).
-- Michael deAgonia
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