I gotta give a shout out to Dominique from CalenGoo for facilitating this review. I would say out of all the intriguing software on the app store CalenGoo interest me the most.
I am big on planning and scheduling in a Getting Things Done kind of way and i make use of Google Calendar as my main calendar so it is natural that i would make it a criteria in choosing my GTD device.
In this review i would break down why this would rock more than the native Google Calendar sync and where it will not be that good in.
Why you would want to sync your calendar to google
Ubiquitous Calendar Assess
A good reason other than Appigo ToDo that sways me to the iPod Touch 2G was due to its ability to sync google calendars and contacts via exchange protocol from Google to my iPod Touch.This means that you can assess to your events and schedule offline, you don’t need a constant internet connection.
What this means also is that you make your google calendar your base where you house your events and schedule. If you are using an iPhone your calendar synchronize with it. If you are using an Android phone your Android phone calendar gets synchronize with it.
When you get home or in the office and want a better view of your calendar, you can view the same events and schedule from your desktop internet browser.
Auto-Backup of Calendar via web synchronization aka Offline Mode
Remember those windows mobile days where you need to put your windows mobile phone into a cradle and sync your contacts and calendars to your desktop through ActiveSync? Well in web 2.0 you don’t have to rely on that any more.
Offline mode for iPhone,Android and Adobe Air for desktop allows you to assess your calendars when you do not have an internet connection and automatically or manually synchronize your events and schedules when you have one.
In each device the application will make use of the local database in your iPhone. If there is an internet connection, the application will invoke a sync request to sync your data with the web database. What this means is that should you lose your phone, you will still have assess to your data as it is last sync this morning to the web.
Thus for this concept to work well your software must periodically poll to see if you have an internet connection, if it has, it will sync it.
Through iPhone Exchange services you are able to sync your calendar to google and will periodically update. It works very well and i am satisfied with it.
Continue after the break for review of CalenGoo with screenshots
Why would you consider an alternative to this?
The stock calendar software in iPhone is pretty nifty and it integrates well with Google Calendar. however it does have its flaws and thats where third party applications comes in.
If you take a look at the Month view you will realise that there is much waste of space. If there are events on that day then it will be represented by a dot. you need to click on the day to see the events for that day below. And most of the time you can only view at most 2 events then you got to start scrolling.
The solution is to proceed to the Day view. The day view as compared to Calengoo later is pretty much spaced out. If you are reviewing events that day you want to see more for that limited spaace. This is where Calengoo will excel as you will observe later.
Calengoo as a Mobile Calendar
CalenGoo is the cheaper solution on the App Store that synchornize with Google Calendar. It will cost you USD 6.99
You will need a Google Account
Its a given that if you want to assess google calendar you will need to sign up for a google account thereby giving you assess to google calendar. Creating the account is free (Which is why we use it!)
Link your Google Calendar Acct to CalenGoo
On first installation and use of CalenGoo you will be asked to sign into your google account.
The First Sync is pretty long
CalenGoo will then prompt how u want to download your events. Will u download future events only or all the events. I chose all the events
If your calendars are pretty big, and if you choose to download the full calendar, then do expect a very long first synchronization. You can’t run away from this. I have probably 8 calendars:
- Secret Milestones
- Singapore Holiday 2008
The biggest chunks are the Work and Reminders and together these 8 calendars took 7 mins to sync.
When it is syncing you will be able to see a spinner and which calendar it is trying to sync currently. The usage will be slow while this is happening and should be understandable.
Subsequent Sync More Pleasurable
The developer told me that you should be advise to turn off Show Login and Auto Sync for subsequent use. I am agreeable with the former but as a user of Appigo ToDo, I can tell you that you will frequently forget or just not sync manually, so it is best to turn it on.
Alot of people u see in the review at App Store complain that it is slow. I think there is no way around this really if the developer uses an api unless he has assess to something even lower level to help him optimise better.
Sync softwares like this will need to parse the data to and from the server, and that takes up processing. And if you are not an understanding user and just expects to have it auto sync yet expect it to be fast then i would suggest you get an iPhone 3GS cause there is really performance improvement in this area according to the developer.
The rule of thumb for me is that, regular syncing of minor delta difference means smaller chunks of sync time compare to one big delta and one big sync time with a bigger probability that your calendar will get screwed up!
And since this is a major point why we use the native calendar with google, which is to backup, not backing up or having latest data to be work with will be a minus point for this software.
The presentation of the Calendars
ah this is what we are probably most interested in. CalenGoo like alot of good PIMs in the past (Pocket Informant for Windows Mobile for example) provides a Day view,Week View, Month View and Agenda View.
The developer did a splendid job working with the limited screen real estate. All day events are housed to the right of the date.
You will notice that compare to the stock calendar software, he managed to squeeze almost the whole working hours into one glance! Thats almost 16 hours! Which means u only need like 2-3 swipes to view the full day and normally you don’t plan stuff when you are sleeping right!
Swiping left and right brings you to the previous and next day. The whole day view is a canvas in itself that loads on the fly.
You will notice that when you swipe left and right, the next day will roll up and down if there are tasks that takes place out of view. A very good idea there.
One negative thing about squeezing is that it does make touching and editing a task very difficult sometimes. you have to touch at a very accurate spot. This is for small events like the Stock Research Chunk up there.
The week view is something additional. Its good to finally have this and its well presented
The month view is a present change from the stock software. You can view every thing in a glance. Of course you will complain that you can’t see shit as the words are too small. Fret not. This is iphone. And in iphone you can always zoom in on that section by squeezing your 2 fingers together.
Creating new event
You can pretty much do what you can do on the stock calendar software here on Calengoo. What i like about it is that when you click the + to create a new event, it immediately brings u to input the event title because it is something necessary. saves alot of effort to navigate one more step to that.
The color of your calendar will depend on what you set in your online google account, so if you want to change change there.
Some would wonder why SMS is not working. You will need to set your handphone no on the online google account in order for it to work. Likewise for email.
One really good function is the ability to duplicate this event to create a new one.
I shall not mention much here cause there are a ton of things you can mess with for the layout of your calendar views! Including fonts and font sizes. Its gonna take me some time to figure this out. but i have attached a view of the configuration in one glance after my conclusion. (I have a reason why i need to put it after the conclusion. Its freaking long!)
All in all, this is a very well thought out application and the as far as i have explored other than Saisuke at 9.99 this is the only good solution to sync google calendar to iphone. But its got so much upside that at USD 6.99 its definately worth a purchase if you are into productivity and have limited cash to spend.
To know more about Calengoo do go to its site FAQ here to find out more.
Best iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ
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