Review: Agenda

Since the iPhone came out I have been less than enamored with the stock calendar app — it’s not that it is bad — it’s that the stock calendar app doesn’t meet my calendar criteria.

To sum up the linked post about calendars: I don’t see any reason why a calendar app should ever show me the ‘past’ by default. In that respect the built-in calendar app fails miserably unless you keep it in day or list view — neither of which is very good.

I have — off and on — for quite a while now been using Calvetica. The problem with Calvetica is that I have always liked looking at Calvetica more than I have liked using it. That is: I find it a bit cumbersome to use, but very beautiful to look at. (Yes adding calendar items is a touch faster in Calvetica than the native calendar app.)

I was lucky enough to get contacted a while back about a new calendar app: Agenda. I was told (as I have been before) that this was THE calendar app and that I was going to love it.

After using it for weeks now I can report that I do, indeed, love it. However, before I talk about what I love, I should probably mention what I don’t love about the app (and it is a short list):

  1. I am not a fan of the icon (surprise). It’s not terrible, but it is also not representative of the app in the least. It shows an old desktop style calendar when this app is anything but mimicking that design.
  2. The last thing that I am not a huge fan of is the bottom toolbar being translucent — that design choice just kind of bugs me. Again, it’s not terrible and many probably like it — I just find it distracting.

The Good (Really Good)

The good part about this app is that it is just a never ending scrolling list of days, no times shown unless you have an appointment on that day — then it shows you the start time of the appointment. This is awesome, this is what I need, this is perfect.

On my iPhone I don’t need to know anything other than what is coming up and Agenda excels at showing me this. If the app did nothing more than that it would be worth the $1.99 price tag, but it does so much more.

The entire app is driven by left and right swiping (even though Nokia just invented that). By default you see the list of days, swiping left to right zooms you out, meaning you now see a month view, then a year view. Swiping right to left moves you into a day view, then appointment view. The animation and swipes are very fast and well done.

What makes this interaction so good is not that it exists, but that it makes using the app one handed a joy — this is an app that you can check as you run out the door.

I love that.

Some Oddities

The current version in the App Store doesn’t have one of the best improvements to the app: double tap the top to return to “today”. That is coming in an update already submitted and the lack of the feature really slows down the usage of the app — because getting back to ‘today’ without it is really cumbersome. I wouldn’t mention that this was being improved, but since it is already submitted I think it is safe to judge the app with that being a part of the app (added to it that I have used the app with this feature).

All the calendars are grabbed from Apple’s Calendar app, which is fine, but do note that all the calendars appear as one color (black) in the main view. I can’t decide if I like this choice or not, on the one hand the other views color code the calendars so it is nice not to have to be disgusted with the rainbow that is my schedule — on the other hand it is sometimes frustrating trying to “dig” deeper to find out which calendar that event is on.

Buy It

This is all a rather long winded way of saying: buy this app. It is a great calendar app, the best I have used on the iPhone thus far. Well done.

UPDATED: A lot of people have commented on the badge icon, this is optional and can be completely turned off in settings. The badge, by the way, shows the current date. I recommend you leave it off, then again I hate all badge icons.

Originally posted for members on: June 22, 2011
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