This week one of the key players in the App Store, Flexibits, released the iPad version of their top-notch calendar app Fantastical 2. If you have ever found yourself disappointed with the stock Calendar app that comes pre-installed on your iPad, worry no more. Fantastical 2 for iPad looks to solve all your woes with an elegant, dare I say entertaining, alternative.
Fantastical 2 is just one of our favorite calendar apps for iPad. We’ve collected all of our favorites here. And if you’d like to see more of our top app selections in different categories, just head on over to our Best Apps Series. Now on to the review!
Fire up Fantatical 2 for the first time and the app will familiarize you with the layout in a simple tutorial of sorts. You’ll be introduced to the different view options. The DayTicker view is a column to the left showing the next few days. You’ll also see an abridged week view across the top of the screen. The number of days shown varies depending on your device orientation. When collapsed, the week view row displays your items in a time bar format. Swipe down all the way to expand the week view and you’ll see your item names sorted by time of day. My favorite view, however, is enabled by swiping down half way. This gives me everything I want to see, the week view with item names, the DayTicker on the lower left and the month view on the lower right. Flexibits really has optimized the iPad screen with this version of Fantastical 2.
In each of the views, your items are identified by color coded dots relating to which calendar they belong to. You can change these colors in the app settings. You can also add, delete, rename, and choose to display calendars in the settings. All your changes will sync back to your stock iPad calendar too. There are a number of other settings Fantastical 2 allows you to tweak. I really appreciate the option to toggle between a light and a dark theme as this grant the user a sense of personalization. Default alerts can also be set which will automatically be added to all events. You’ll also be able to specify a default calendar to associate new events with in case you don’t specify one manually. In order to avoid duplicate alerts coming from your stock Calendar app and Fantastical 2, I recommend turning on Fantastical 2 notifications and turning off Calendar notifications in Notification Center.
The real fun begins when adding an item to Fantastical 2. Why? Because the app uses a natural language input method. That means that instead of seeing a popup with input fields like “Event Name”, “Duration”, and “Location”, you’ll simply type a sentence like you would naturally. For example, type “meet with mark at ikea 2pm on april 7th”. Fantastical 2 is smart enough to then create a new event on April 7th called “Meet with Mark” at 2:00 PM and assign a location called “ikea”. Then you can even click on the word “ikea” and Fantistical 2 will open either Apple Maps or Google Maps and search for the nearest IKEA store. Pretty cool. You can even assign a natural language event to a particular calendar by typing four spaces or a backslash and then typing the first letter of the calendar you desire. One of the sweetest things about natural language input is that you can tap on the iOS keyboard microphone icon (to the left of the space bar) and speak your new item. Speaking of the keyboard, Fantastical 2 includes an expanded keyboard with numbers, letters, and extra characters all in one. This should be the system-wide default iOS keyboard layout in my opinion.
Besides calendar items, Fantastical 2 can manage your tasks. By allowing access to your iOS Reminders app, Fantastical will show you all your reminders. This is quickly becoming my preferred way to view see all my reminders in one place. Any time you add a reminder with Siri or manually, it will arrive in Fantastical 2. Of course you can add tasks and reminders right within the app by signifying “task” or “reminder” before the rest of your natural language sentence. Fantastical 2 also integrates with other apps like Drafts and Launch Center Pro. That means that if you use these fantastic productivity apps, you can add an event in either of them and it will automatically add it to Fantasatical 2 (some set up required).
I’m quickly integrating Fantastical 2 to my daily workflow. Everything works flawlessly, from the silky smooth simultaneous scrolling to the precision picked user interface details. If you cherish your iPad as the work of art that it is, and you scrutinized the apps that grace your screen, you will choose nothing less that Fantastical 2.
Here are a couple of our other picks of the best calendar apps for iPhone and iPad: