Pocket Informant in Review – Efficient Productivity App?

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I’ll first get into what got me looking for an app like Pocket Informant. At first I was thrilled to enter my appointments into the inbuilt Apple Calendar, and it worked alright, till my PC decided to quit syncing my calendar and contacts (old PC took far too long to back up my iPhone). A couple iPhone crashes later, and re-entering all my events and contacts twice over, I was scrambling to find apps that would back up my calendar, to dos, notes, and contact info online.

Saisuke and Todo were the answers for calendar and Todos, and besides only being able to use one calendar on Saisuke initially, they both were efficient, and synced to free online services. Perfect! Except that since I don’t have a lot of to-dos, I rarely opened the Todo app, and I missed doing a couple important things. I was thinking, “why isn’t there an app that takes care of both events and Todos”, and then SmartTime came along. I quickly discovered how much I needed monthview (at that time, not included in SmartTime). Currently, SmartTime is on the way to becoming useful, but it’s still a little convoluted.

Then I picked up on rumors of Pocket Informant. Reading the description, former Window Mobile Pocket Informant user’s rave reviews, and looking at the screenshots, I eagerly awaited Pocket Informant’s release. Once I downloaded the app, I thought that the icon is damn ugly. The red center made me think of a clown’s nose (and I’m not fond of clowns).

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So let’s open this app… and monthview was awesome! The timebars make seeing a days scheduled events for a day easy. Monthview is what I work from. Tapping a day brings up a window with a list of events and todos for that day, and swiping changes the month. That’s pretty much all I need to view my calendar…

But I should go into the other calendar views as well, since this is supposed to a comprehensive review.

Weekview puts Today into a large box at the top of the screen, divides the screen in half below it, and then into columns of three days. For days with a lot of events, you can either scroll by swiping up on a day, or tap the day to see a larger list of events for that day. Dayview and listview are the same as those in the inbuilt Apple Calendar.

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Adding new events is easy but at times slow, and editing and deleting events can be even slower still. Twenty seconds to delete a single recurring appointment…. frustrating when I’ve got ten more recurring appointments to delete.

Setting up my various calendars to Gcal was weird. I couldn’t get some calendars that came with Pocket Informant to delete on both Pocket Informant and Gcal. Syncing would bring the calendars back. I tried a lot of things, and when I finally got them permanently deleted off both Gcal and Pocket Informant, I wasn’t even sure how I did it.

Aside from some initial difficulties, and times when Gcal is ‘doing stuff’, sync has been flawless. Updates will make these functions a whole lot faster. After talking to the developer on the WebIS forum, I have faith that his company will eventually make this app a lot more efficient. My only wish for event management is copy and paste of events, and that too, is planned.

Going onto the Todo functions, I’d first have to say that I’m not the best person to ask, since I don’t have a lot of to dos and certainly no projects. I’ll say it works well enough for me. I’ve got a list of tasks like ‘pay electric bill’ in one folder, and wait…. I actually do have one project (it’s been kind of waylaid by unenthusiasm on the wife’s part). Anyways they work well for putting things on the correct day for when they are to be done, or letting me know what’s next to do on the a project in the ‘Today’ view (just a list of events and tasks for a day).

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The other I use is contexts for lists, such as movies I want to rent, music I want to buy, grocery lists, etc. Stuff I don’t want showing up in the Today view. Pocket Informant comes with some other functions like ‘next action’, and ‘starred’. But I’m not qualified to comment on those, since I’ve never used them.

Never had a problem with syncing tasks to Toodledo.

Pocket Informant’s developers have an excellent track record on other platforms, and the constant work on their app and professionalism of their responses to their users has earned them my faith. In short, it is an app that does everything I need it to do. Navigation, and everything else is intuitive. I wouldn’t yet recommend this app to a power user (someone who needs to add, edit, and delete a lot of events) – It’s still far too slow at times for that. I don’t doubt it’ll be up to speed in the future though.

And the ugly ‘clown’ icon has now grown on me….

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App Summary
Title:Pocket Informant (V 1.02)Developer:Web Information Solutions
Price:$12.99App Size:2.7 MB
  • Syncs reliably
  • great interface
  • promising future
  • intuitive
  • superb app developers
  • Sloooooooooowww at times….

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