Fan­tas­ti­cal 2

Make a date to re­place Cal­en­dar

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

£39.99 De­vel­oper Flexibits, flexibits.com

Re­quires OS X 10.10, iCloud or other sup­ported cal­en­dars

The orig­i­nal Fan­tas­ti­cal was a novel Mac add-on for quickly ac­cess­ing a cal­en­dar and up­com­ing events from the menu bar. Its nat­u­ral lan­guage in­put made it a must-have, not least for any­one who spent a lot of time deal­ing with cal­en­dar events. Now it’s go­ing for Cal­en­dar’s jugu­lar with a ma­jor re­vamp that en­ables you to ditch Ap­ple’s app en­tirely.

The menu bar com­po­nent re­mains from pre­vi­ous ver­sions and can now be de­tached and moved any­where on your screen. But the big news is the full-fledged cal­en­dar win­dow, com­plete with day, week, month and year views.

Dur­ing testing, our cal­en­dar data was de­tected and im­ported in a few min­utes (you can later add fur­ther iCloud, Google, Ya­hoo, Fruux and CalDAV in­for­ma­tion). The main win­dow mostly echoes that of Ap­ple’s Cal­en­dar, although there are dif­fer­ences in the de­tails. For ex­am­ple, Fan­tas­ti­cal’s event text is more read­able, but the de­sign as a whole feels less re­fined; its week view in par­tic­u­lar deals poorly with cal­en­dars that have more than two items sched­uled at the same time, the re­sult­ing in items be­ing il­leg­i­ble.

Where Fan­tas­ti­cal wins out is with the day ticker that’s per­ma­nently po­si­tioned on the left of the main win­dow. This dis­plays a mini cal­en­dar with coloured dots rep­re­sent­ing each day’s events; be­neath this is a scrol­lable events list. The ticker and main view pane are linked – se­lect an event on one and the other up­dates ac­cord­ingly. The re­sult­ing in­ter­face is more com­plex than Ap­ple’s, but richer and more use­ful; it’s a boon to al­ways have a vis­i­ble list of events at a glance, re­gard­less of the cho­sen cal­en­dar view else­where. The app loves its an­i­ma­tions though – if you have is­sues with speedy tran­si­tions, there’s no ‘re­duce mo­tion’ op­tion.

When it comes to adding new events, Fan­tas­ti­cal’s nat­u­ral lan­guage in­put re­mains im­pres­sive and is well ahead of Cal­en­dar’s in­put smarts. For ex­am­ple, type ‘Break­fast next Fri­day at 9am for two hours’ and Fan­tas­ti­cal builds the event in real time, cor­rectly plac­ing it in your sched­ule; Cal­en­dar gets con­fused and dumps a one-hour event a week early.

When it comes to adding new events, Fan­tas­ti­cal’s nat­u­ral lan­guage in­put is thor­oughly im­pres­sive

Up­dates to cal­en­dars also prove re­li­able, although Fan­tas­ti­cal lacks push up­dates – at most, it re­freshes cal­en­dars ev­ery five min­utes (un­less you do so man­u­ally).

Given the clunk­i­ness of Ap­ple’s Re­minders app, the in­te­gra­tion of Re­minders into Fan­tas­ti­cal is a missed op­por­tu­nity. They’re es­sen­tially spat out as one big list, which can be un­help­ful. The prob­lem can be mit­i­gated some­what by cre­at­ing cal­en­dar sets, which dis­play spe­cific cal­en­dars and re­minder lists ac­ti­vated via a key­board short­cut or your lo­ca­tion. Th­ese are great for any­one jug­gling mul­ti­ple cal­en­dars, and prefer­able to con­tin­u­ally click­ing check­boxes to turn cal­en­dars on and off. Craig Gran­nell

The menu bar com­po­nent is handy for rapidly ac­cess­ing the day’s events, in­clud­ing lo­ca­tion maps.

The day ticker in com­bi­na­tion with tra­di­tional cal­en­dar views is a boon for ef­fi­ciency.

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