Review Fantastical Calendar for iOS and OS X

What is Fantastical?

Simply put, Fantastical is a calendar app. It has some innovative approaches that I haven’t seen in other applications so far, especially in the iOS world. But this will be the bundle review for iOS and OS X version.

OS X Fantastical Interface

Fantastical on OS X

What’s the purpose of it?

Idea behind Fantastical is to simplify your calendar input. While it may not be the best suited application for viewing your events, it is by far the best way to collect them into your calendar database.

It’s creators at Digital Bits found a common problem of all calendar applications, and wanted to solve it by understanding of natural language input. It is one of those applications that does that one thing really really good.

Factors

Functionality grade – 4

iOS Fantastical is fantastic for it’s main task, but the rest of the calendar application is not a match for other beasts out there. I’ve seen many raving about Agenda, but for the time being I am using default Calendar app and fantastical for input.

Mac version on the other hand made my Calendar app completely obsolete. It is a part of my status bar, has a bright color, and constantly reminds me about the date. It behaves like a popup in a sense. But they’ve added cut little anchor button, that allows you to keep the popup active, even while you work in other applications.

This is cool thing to do, when you are adding events from your email and you want to have a clear picture of what’s going on in your schedule.

So why it got a 4? Well the main reason why this application is not getting a 5, is because I am reviewing it as a calendar application. It doesn’t have what I need in calendar department. This way it doesn’t seem as an app, but more like a tool for the calendar, rather than the calendar itself. If you view it that way, it’s a clear 5.

Design Grade – 3,5

The design of the application doesn’t blend with my iOS / OS X environment. I don’t have the feeling as if it’s a part of the system. I like the design, but it clearly stands out in a world, where perhaps I don’t want it to stand out. It has bright colors, and is quite catchy, but not necessarily what an Apple user is looking for. And this might be a turn off for some people. But on the other hand it’s usable, and handy interface.

Interface of iOS Fantastical

Fantastical on iOS

Optimization grade – 5

I haven’t seen any problems on any of the platforms. I’ve been using iPhone version slightly shorter, but for the time being it performed flawless the same way as it’s OS X counterpart. This implies stability, safety and reliability that is much needed for productivity applications. Which makes it a good companion of Capturing phase of CORE System.

It’s speedy, no sluggishness and just works. Spends about 35 megabytes of RAM on OS X and takes about 8–10 threads, based by activity monitor. For what it does, it’s a fair trade off.

Unfortunately, as I am not jailbroken right now on my iPhone 5, I can’t give you the similar data for iOS.

Bugginess grade – 5

No bugs what so ever. I haven’t noticed app crashing, nor generating any other problems during the usage. It didn’t create any conflicts for me, so I am giving it a 5.

Integrations grade – 5+

This app integrates flawlessly. Major OS X integration is global keyboard shortcut. So if you have space for another muscle memory shortcut, and you are a person who frequently adds events to the calendar, you will absolutely love this. In a sense it is

It integrates with the default calendar perfectly. I haven’t tested Google Calendar, as I use iCloud for my calendar exclusively. But as I remember GCal integrates with Calendar app, and Fantastical is flawlessly integrated with default calendar, so I don’t foresee any problems there either.

These reasons alone would get this app a grade of 5 for the integration, but there is more. On iOS my default input application is Drafts app. And Fantastical integrates with it as well. So if you just love drafts for everything, you are in for the treat. I haven’t seen many other calendar applications providing this. And when I add events to Fantastical, he figures out the date, the time and even location. For this reason it’s a must have app on my iOS.

Overall Grade 4.5

If it was a more complete app, it would have been a 5. Also design kinks are getting it a lower grade in my book, as it’s different, and when I am on my Apple ecosystem, I am looking for more of the same and familiar. And I don’t get it in this case. Regardless of those flaws this is fantastic app, with a really high grade of 4.5 for both Mac and iPhone version.

Does it justify the price?

Fantastical is pricey on the Mac, costs 14,99$ and considering the price range it’s not for everyone. For me it’s a great piece of software, and only reason you are going to justify it’s price, is if you are indeed scheduling a lot of appointments in your calendar app.

This app would help you add them even more, with much less friction that you would get from other calendar applications. So in the end you have to ask yourselves, do I schedule that many appointments in the calendar? If you add something new at least once a day, it would make a significant difference. But if you use calendar sporadically, I don’t find it worth it your money.

iOS version on the other hand is 1.99$ and justifies the price for pretty much anyone, even those people who tend to use calendar sporadically. For the price that you pay, it over-delivers.

Conclusion

Fantastical is awesome on both Mac and iPhone, and as such is an essential part of my productivity ecosystem. If I wasn’t fanatic, and wasn’t reviewing apps, I am not sure would I get the Mac version. But on the other hand, given the choice, and thinking from my readers perspective, I believe that iOS counterpart is worth more than you pay for it. Especially if you are already using the Drafts for your collection and input.

It solves one problem, and it solves it better than any other similar app, and for that it gets big thumbs app.

About Bojan
Bojan is internet marketing professional with a passion for all things productive. You can invite him for a Hangout on Google+ and follow him on Twitter or App.net.

Comments

  1. Back when I was trying out Fantastical, I have reached the same conclusion about the desktop version – it is a nice entry mechanism, but the calendar itself did not make sense to me and I was not ready to pay the premium over the iCal. Now, that I quit my office job, I barely ever find myself having to enter anything into my calendar. Literally – I only schedule an appointment once in two weeks or so (most of my calendar eveants are my travel itineraries which are automatically imported from TripIt). Surprisingly, it still still a bit of a pain to enter something into iCal, but at this point it is not that big of a pain for me to seek a paid-for solution.

    Everyone else out there seems to be raving about Fantastical. Glad to see I am not the only one that does not see much of a benefit in it (regardless of how well it does what it does).

    • Bojan says:

      I actually quite love it, but if it wasn’t for the purpose of this blog, I most likely don’t get it, as I don’t have many events to enter into it.