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Apple’s built-in iOS apps are quite good, but let’s face it: The Calendar app leaves a lot to be desired. Readdle has attempted to remedy this situation before, but the latest incarnation of its Calendars app has us seriously considering ditching the built-in app in favor of this third-party solution.
Calendars 5 is an entirely new universal app that feels right at home on iOS 7, with a flat, more streamlined UI than Readdle’s previous Calendars+. It also upstages Apple by offering natural language input, so users can type or dictate in plain English – for example, saying “Meet Dave at Starbucks tomorrow at 10 AM” is all that’s needed to create a new event.
The app syncs with both iCloud and Google Calendar, although Calendars 5 only allows a single account of each type. On the iPhone, a pop-up menu switches between Tasks, List, Day, Week, and Month views, while a bottom row makes it easy to jump to past or future events. Meanwhile, on the iPad, Calendars 5 adds a heat-map style Year view, and makes great use of the extra screen real estate. We did notice that a third-generation iPad tended to update events slower than the iPhone 5, even after opening the built-in Calendar app to make sure iCloud had properly synced first.
Readdle’s app resolves two long-standing gripes with the built-in Calendar: Lack of proper landscape mode on the iPhone for any view other than Week, and integrated task management synced from Apple’s Reminders app. Events are color-coded to match what’s been established on the respective service, and even Month view is exceptionally usable in portrait or landscape. For iCloud users, Calendars 5 does lack a few niceties that exist on Google Calendar – namely invitations, email and SMS reminders. Our biggest complaint, however, is the lack of a live icon for displaying the current calendar day – a convenient feature of Apple’s Calendar app we find it hard to live without.
The bottom line. Calendars 5 is an elegant solution for managing events and tasks, despite missing a few things Apple got right with its built-in app.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 6.0 or later
Natural language input. iPhone landscape mode for all views. Syncs with both iCloud and Google Calendar. Beautiful iOS 7-like user interface.
No invitations or email or SMS reminders for iCloud. No live icon with current day displayed. Frequently slow to sync with iCloud on iPad 3. Requires new purchase for Calendars+ users.