Fantastical 2 for iPad Review: The Best Calendar on iPhone is Now the Best on iPad, Too
When I reviewed Fantastical on the iPhone, I ended up finding my new, permanent iPhone calendar solution. Now, finally, the same app has come out for iPad, and I have a new permanent solution for that device, too. Fantastical 2 for iPad is every inch as good as its iPhone counterpart, though it achieves that in different ways.
At its core, Fantastical for iPad works just like its iPhone counterpart, which means that it works like any other calendar app. There are the expected event entry and alert functions, as well as syncing with Google calendars, iCloud, etc. There’s nothing left out that one would expect, and in fact Fantastical’s interface makes sure they’re done well.
Where the Fantastical concept excels is in the entry of data. As I noted in my original review, event data is entered through natural language that functions really nicely. You type in a real-world sentence like “Doctor’s appointment in Ann Arbor at 11am” into the entry field, and Fantastical automatically figures out you want to log an appointment in 11am-12pm slot (it defaults to an hour unless you specify otherwise) and fills in the location as Ann Arbor. If you’re in a hurry, that’s it — type one line and the item is there for you later.
Other standout features of the app include the DayTicker, the name for Fantastical’s main display. DayTracker’s split-screen display gives you the days of the week along the top, along with colorful bubbles indicating scheduled events (the longer the bubble, the longer the event). Beneath it, there’s a color-coded list of event details on the left and a monthly calendar on the right. The three are tied together so that, for example, tapping a day on the calendar brings up that week’s weekly view and brings up the list of event details for that day, and tapping on any day or event brings up those details. Pulling down expands the weekly view into a detailed day planner, while tapping at the top always brings back the current day.
The display of Fantastical for iPad departs a bit from its iPhone counterpart. At first, compared to the iPhone screen the iPad Fantastical Dashboard looks a bit cluttered. Both the weekly and monthly views fill the screen at the same time, with the list of events to the left. While I’m used to seeing all this info in Fantastical, having it all in front of me felt unwieldy. I’m used to Fantastical being a glanceable app.
What I had to realize was that the iPad app isn’t meant to function the same way as the iPhone version. This is not so much a daily calendar system as a big- picture view of your week. The larger screen means that there’s more information on the screen at any time, making it less “glanceable.” But I adjusted to it, especially since I’m not using the calendar on my iPad the same way as I am on my iPhone most of the time. And now I love it.
Like its iPhone counterpart, I give Fantastical 2 for iPad the highest marks and recommend it to anyone looking for a calendar app. It’s just that good.
Our Score: 5 out of 5.