(Originally written for Solsie.com on November 14, 2006. *click*)
On the Developer One website, it says “Agenda One. Mobile life management that simply works.”
Let’s see how that works out in action!
Let me first say that I own Pocket Informant and Agenda Fusion, and am currently using PI. In my experience both PI and AF can crush you with possibilities on first use, and the screen gets filled with icons, toolbars, note previews, etc. I already expected this from the screenshots, so I was not surprised. But it was still overwhelming.
So I installed Agenda One (AO) without watching or reading the Developer One website. As a result, the screenshots in this preview are really from the first experience with AO!
AO uses various Views, and you can toggle between them using the View Picker. You can choose which views to display here, and change the order in which they appear. If you don’t wish to use the View Picker, you can turn it off and press the left soft key to go to the next View.
As you can see below, the screens are clear, have a nice font, and don’t display too much information. If you take a very good look, maybe you’ll notice that the tasks are visible on a lot of screens/days. Of course you can enable/disable the display of completed/undated/overdue tasks (varying from view to view) in the settings. So don’t be bothered about that!
Let me give you some more information about each screen. (That immediately tells you something about the kind of review this is: not an in depth comparison between some pieces of software, but an article about how Agenda One feels on first use, with screenshots, and some supporting information about the settings you can tweak to change the way AO behaves.)
Here we see a Navigation bar on the top. Tapping it brings up the Date Picker. You can use the D-pad or stylus to pick another day of the month, or move the month and year up/down one by one. So there is no drop down menu that displays all 12 months. Back on the Today view, the navigation bar also has icons to return to the current date, and move to the yesterday/tomorrow. The navigation bar can be turned off in the settings. If you use the D-pad or function in the Menu to change dates, this saves you some space on the screen. (The D-pad can be used everywhere by the way, one hand navigation is very good)
Under the Navigation Bar, there is a Timeline. It displays a part of the day, in blocks of 1 hour (which can be turned off to just display a 12 o’clock break). You can change almost everything about it: start/ending time, working time, default background color, working hours color, border color, etc. You can also just turn it off. The sad thing is that you can’t drag across the timeline to select a period of time for an appointment.
Under the timeline, you can see the appointments and tasks (optional). Icons for alarms, recurrence, notes, etc. are displayed. Past appointments (both, in my screenshot) are grey, completed tasks are check marked. You can have a leading rectangle in front of each item to display it’s status or category. Tapping on an appointment/tasks opens the Preview screen (we’ll get to that next).
In the bottom, the left soft key is used to change the view. The right soft key gives you the possibility to create, delete and beam an appt/task, mark a task as Completed or change it’s priority, convert tasks <-> appointments, go to Today or another date, enter the Options, change apply a filter, and exit AO. Busy users can also used the Compressed view, in order to fit more info on the screen:
Finally, here are the Appointment Preview screen (you can change the background image, this is the default one) and the New Appointment screen. One note about the New Appointment: you can’t type the date or time, you have to move the minutes, hours, months and years up/down one by one.
The calendar view is very similar to the Today screen, but you can change the amount of displayed days from 1 all the way to 7; default is 5. If you set it to 1, it’s almost similar to the Today screen (just the bars with dates are slightly different). Here, you can tap-and-hold the timeline to create a new appointment/task for that day.
The navigation bar and Menu items are pretty identical here to the ones on the Today, Week and Month view.
This one looks rather full, but again this screen is highly customizable. You can disable the timelines in general, or just leave them for the current day only (this made me lose half of the ‘current day’ date bar so this should be fixed in a new release). You can also change the date format (from a LOT of preformatted examples) and choose to place the days from top to bottom, instead of from left to right. There are more customizations but this review is already getting bigger than I was planning on. So if you want to check out everything, download the trial.
One important note: you can’t tap-and-hold on single appointments/tasks here, to change a single item. When you tap, you the day gets selected. Then you can create a new appointment/task through the Menu, or tap again to get transferred to the Today view for that day.
Here you can change the first day of the week, whether or not the Week Number should be displayed, if a Preview window (as seen on the bottom of the screenshot) should be visible, etc. Tapping the preview window takes you to the Today view for that date.
You can use the D-pad to navigate on the calendar (and yes, you can also go to different months this way – no limits!). Tap-and-hold doesn’t work, but you can create a new item from the Menu. I’m starting to think that this software is more friendly to the one-handed-navigator (and there are more of them every day!) than to people who use stylusses. But the last group doesn’t have to worry, it just takes a little time to get used to.
Another thing I have realized by now, is that this software is highly customizable. I’ll get to that later, but another example is that you can select what to display in the day-boxes: status icons, category icons, appt/task counters, timelines, or nothing. Everyone will find something that he/she will like!
You can group the tasks, of course. For example, available are: Subject, Category, Completed, Start Date, Sensitivity, and more. You do this from the Menu, where you can also create/delete/complete a task. A filter is available too.
My screenshot doesn’t include category icons, but if you use them: they show up on the right. There is a powerful sorting system that allows you to set three sublevels of sorting, after grouping your tasks.
I really like this. I wasn’t able to ‘just start typing’, but the combination of the (optional) picture search bar and regular contacts list would do for me. But of course, it isn’t acceptable that they say I can just type and there is a search at the same time, which isn’t happening at all.
[Edit May 31, 2007] I just recieved an e-mail from Alex (Developer One) who told me this was already fixed in the past. So searching should be no problem! [End edit]
AO uses the default Contacts editor. It’s a shame that I have to use the default editor with a program that looks so nice. But then again, the default editor does the job and we are of course talking about Agenda One, not Agenda Fusion.
Tapping and holding gives you some options (yes, it works here!). You can create, delete, copy and beam a contact, or assign a category. Strange detail: you can send a media message to a mobile number through the pop-up menu, but no SMS! Of course you can choose the contact and pick ‘send SMS’ in the default Contacts utility, but it’s strange that it’s missing from the drop down menu. A (very!) positive point is that you can press the left/right keys to browse through contacting options (txt, e-mail, phone numbers, etc.).
I can be short about it: it works. You can switch between two Search types: ‘Begins with’ and ‘Included’. You don’t have instant results, but the waiting times are not frustrating at all, either.
Take a look at the Settings screen. Agenda One is very customizable, so I’ll just highlight some interesting points.
First of all, the Color Selections. As you can see, a lot of color settings can be changed. 54 items in total!
You can also choose one of the three pre-installed Themes in the Theme chooser. Your current color scheme will be automatically backed up so you can return to your previous setup if you want!
As you can see, a ‘View Options’ screen also contains the most useful color settings, in addition to the regular settings.
This review could have been so much longer, if my goal would have been to cover everything, or to make a comparison between Agenda One and Agenda Fusion. But most SolSie.com posts are much shorter than this one, and I think (and hope) my comments and screenshots give you a decent view about this software.
- Very good one-hand-navigation
- Very customizable, especially when it comes to color and lay-out
- Very clean default lay-out: not overwhelming for new users, but still as informative as it should be.
- No tap-and-hold in Week and Month view
- Timeline is not selectable
- Contacts search didn’t seem to work for me
As you can see, the Pro’s cover the entire program, where most cons are related to bugs or limitations. But those limitations are necessary to make Agenda One a solution in between the default PIM and Agenda Fusion.
My general impression is that this software is very easy to use for first-time users, and pretty customizable for more advanced users. There are limits, but if you need an ultimate Power PIM you should get PI or AF. If you don’t need Notes or Projects support in a PIM, and don’t need to link Appointments to Contacts etc. but do feel that the default PIM falls short… You can rely on Agenda One.
The price is an issue however. Agenda Fusion costs $29.95 at the moment, Pocket Informant $24.95. Agenda One costs $24.95 as an introduction price, but the regular price is $29.95. This means you should only get Agenda One if AF/PI are too overwhelming. Otherwise, be sure to get one of the two big PIM’s, as they give you a lot more power for approximately the same money.
Agenda One. Mobile life management that simply works.
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