Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a little obsessive about productivity apps. I've used 10 different to-do list managers. I'm always excited to check out new updates to my tech. I follow Lifehacker, TechCrunch, and Fast Company, and I'm the first to check Twitter during events such as the Apple Watch unveiling. In short, I can't go a day without getting some news about a new way I can hack my life to make it more productive.
I'm sure I could spend a lot of time talking about how I use my to-do lists and what growth hacking tools I use the most, but today I want to do a quick review of a new iOS app: Google Calendar!
In college, I used my calendar all the time. If you accidentally missed as many meetings with professors or advisers as I did freshman year, you'd understand my extreme need for an all-encompassing calendar app.
First, I want to say that I never even considered using the Apple calendar app. I use a Windows computer, so I knew I wouldn't be getting the full benefits of being able to sync with my laptop. I also knew the functionality would be bad, and I really wanted something that would easily sync with my Google calendar, as at the time I managed my a cappella group's calendar, detailing when rehearsals were, when shows were, and when we would be starting new songs and auditioning new solos.
After doing a lot of research and trying out a few calendar apps in my iPod Touch (I didn't have an iPhone because there was WiFi on campus), I decided to pay up for the well-reviewed and beautiful Readdle app. It was $6.99. What I liked the most was being able to color-code events (something a lot of apps weren't offering, for some reason) and view my week at a glance. I synced Readdle with my Google Calendar and that was that.
I've been using Readdle since 2011 and it's worked fine for what I needed. Last year, right around when I graduated college, it updated to "Calendars 5." However, now that I'm in the working world, I've noticed a few limitations. I have to upgrade to create recurring events. I have to upgrade to use my Task Manager. I even have to upgrade to invite someone to an event.
If I remember properly, I paid a good amount for this app in the first place! I was a loyal customer for years before the update. Why should I pay another $1.99 per feature?
So, when Lifehacker posted about Google Calendar finally releasing an iOS app, I was thrilled. I downloaded it right away. Here's how it compares to the Readdle Calendars 5 app -- the version that I downloaded, without the $1.99 upgrades. Keep in mind, these are the most important features to me as a marketer.
|Google Calendar||Readdle's Calendars 5|
|Viewing by Week||No||Yes|
|Added Features||Pictures||Advanced Alert Options|
Most of this is pretty self-explanatory, but I do want to highlight a few things.
I like to view my whole week's calendar at once, not per day or per month. Unfortunately, Google Calendar doesn't offer that option, although it does come close: There is a 3-day view, a schedule view (which is my favorite so far), and a day view. I would be surprised if they didn't offer a week view or even a month view in the next update. Readdle, on the other hand, can show a list view, day view, week view, and month view easily.
You can add a location to an event in both apps, but the Google app will sync with Google maps to show you where it is, how to get there, and what it will look like. A big added bonus.
What I like so much about the Google Calendar app is that it's beautiful and smart. When I write an event with the word "concert," the event shows a picture of a microphone. Similarly, if I write "gym," the event shows weights and earbuds. Check it out!
I wracked my brain for something that Readdle's Calendar 5 app does that's just as cool, but only landed on their advanced alert reminders; you can set alerts for the event time, 1 hour, 2 days, or customize it. Google has the same option, but Readdle offers you the ability to send those alerts via SMS.
And the Winner Is...
Overall, price trumps everything else in my opinion. Calendars 5 is still $6.99, while the new Google Calendar app is free, and offers many of the same features as well as several new ones. Download it now here and let me know what you think!
Editor's Note: Readdle's Calendars 5 app does offer the ability to create recurring events and invite people in the app that costs $6.99. The added in-app purchases are not showing for me because I updated from a previous version.