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Calendar Shootout: Fantastical vs The Grid Calendar

The App Store has 750,000 apps available and surpassed its 50 billionth download. There is no shortage of calendar apps. Doing a search for “calendar” in the app store brings up nearly 5,000 results. That is a very large (ridiculous) number for users to search through. Today, I am going to narrow your choices down to just two, Fantastical and The Grid Calendar. Both apps are well designed and feature rich.  Let's dive deeper into the features.

App Store search results for "Calendar"

Fantastical is split into 3 sections. The first section includes settings, invitations, month, and a "+"  to create a new event. The second section is the calendar with  2 viewing options available. The last section is a scrolling list of your events. This is an endless scrolling list and works in both directions.

The Grid Calendar is broken into 4 sections. The first section consists of Settings, Month, and a "+" to create a new event. The next area allows you to filter your calendars. The 3rd section is the calendar with 2 viewing options available. The last section is a list of your events. The Grid only allows scrolling through the selected day.

The viewing options for Fantastical are Month View and Day Ticker View. A full swipe down on the calendar will change your view. Swiping left and right will change the month or scroll the days depending on what view you are in. A partial swipe will bring up a search field. The Day Ticker view shows you 5 scrollable days across the top and upcoming events on the bottom. You are able to scroll up and down on the events to a future date. Tapping on the month at the top will bring you back to the current day. Tapping and holding on the month will allow you to choose a date to jump to.

The Grid Calendar offers two viewing options: Month view and Week Ribbon* view. You can see the month and events scheduled. Swiping left to right will change the month. Tapping the month will give you the options to search for an event, be taken to the now or jump to a different month. Week Ribbon displays 7 days and is accessed by swiping down on the calendar. Week Ribbon view only displays the events scheduled for the selected week. *A 7 day weather forecast is also available. 

New Event in Fantastical

New Event in The Grid Calendar

Adding a new event in both applications is easy to do. Tapping the + icon will open up a new event window. Adding events is where these 2 apps really separate themselves.  With Fantastical, to change specifics you have to tap on "Show Details" . The Grid Calendar will take you into the specifics, saving you an extra step.

Fantastical's big feature is natural language engine.  The app is smart enough to take what you said or typed and make the event.  as you type the day, time or location the event is modified.

The Grid Calendar is by far superior when it comes to repeating events. Fantastical offers the default iOS calendar occurrence settings. The Grid offers 21 different settings (click the image to enlarge). The Grid also allows you to save events as templates for future use.

Editing events with both of these apps is easy to do. With Fantastical simply tap on the event and then tap edit in the top corner.

Long pressing an event will bing up a sub menu that will allow you to copy or move the selected event.

The Grid Calendar surpasses Fantastical in regards to modifying your events . Tapping on the event in The Grid Calendar will bring up a new box. Tapping on the pencil on the bottom right corner will allow you to edit the event. You can edit in The Grid or if you tap the Apple icon you can edit in the iOS format.

The Grid gives you the ability to share your event via email, Facebook, Twitter or via SMS, copy, move to reminders, delete and edit.

Both apps have plenty of settings to choose from.  Lets take a look into Fantastical first.  Tap on the gear to open the settings.

Within the settings, you can select what calendars are visible, enable Time Zone support, enable App Icon Badge, Highlight weekends, change the default alert and duration, change the day your week starts on, show empty days, and show event list.  Click on the images below to see more.

Tap on the gear icon to open the setting for The Grid Calendar

There are a ton of options available in the settings. There are 19 (!!!) color options available*.  You have the option to select the viewable calendars, choose the day you want your week to start on, Draw Style, Color Text, Calendar Text, Week Numbers, Day Badge, Default Event duration, Default Alarm, Reminders, and Weather. 

Conclusion                                                                                                                                                                                Both Fantastical And The Grid Calendar are powerful applications. Choosing one over the other was not easy to to as they both have pros and cons. Fantastical has a nice color pallet, allows you to share calendars and is easy to set up.  The natural language input is simply amazing.  How the app is able to recognize date, time and location and make an event is the killer feature from Fantastical.  The The Grid allows you to save templates, change color schemes, share events to social networks and more. The more is what swayed me towards The Grid although the language parsing made my choice difficult. . I love having a quick look at the upcoming forecast while I am planning my week. Being able to drag and drop an event from one day to the next and saving templates are great. I use the drag and drop all the time. I love the cleanness of the app with the Midnight Theme and having the draw style to Numbers. The Grid does have a few things missing that I would like to see. The ability to share a calendar vs events only would be nice but is not a must have. You have to share the calendar from the iOS app. The Grid is also a free application to start but you wont get weather, Week Ribbon view, reminder support and are limited on color options.  If The Grid could incorporate the language parsing then it would be a no contest which app is the best.  With nearly 5,000 calendar apps available to you in the App Store, both Fantastical & The Grid Calendar have better offerings then the rest. With colors and features galore these 2 apps blow away the stock iOS application. Which calendar will you choose?  

Fantastical ($4.99) is iPhone, iPod touch only                                                                                                                                The Grid (Free) is a universal application

*Available as an In App Purchase                                                                                                                                               

Written by Danny Tammaro.  You can follow Danny on Twitter, AppDotNet, Google+