Fantastical 2 for iPad review: Bigger (and sometimes even better) than on the iPhone

Concluding fall, I reviewed Flexibits’ Fantastical 2 for iPhone, a squeamish upgrade to my favorite agenda app for iOS. But as good as Fantastical 2 was, information technology was notwithstanding missing one matter: an iPad version.

That didn’t stop me from using Fantastical on my iPad. Despite a glut of iPad-friendly calendar apps in the App Store, I liked Fantastical’s intuitive interface and stellar natural-language result-creation capabilities so much that I ran the iPhone version on my iPad in 2x mode.

I don’t have to do that anymore: Flexibits has finally released
Fantastical 2 for iPad. And though information technology’s not quite the revelation the original version was for the iPhone, it gives you lot everything that’south great near the iPhone version along with an interface that takes reward of the iPad’southward larger screen. Fantastical 2 for iPad requires iOS vii and costs $xv, though Flexibits is currently offer it for an introductory price of $10.

Embiggened and enhanced

As obvious as “Fantastical on the iPad” sounds, Flexibits faced some significant design challenges when it came to upsizing the app. Foremost amongst them is the fact that Fantastical, on both the iPhone and on the Mac, uses a tall, narrow interface: the signature DayTicker (by default, a five-day summary view, which tin be expanded to a calendar month view) at the top, and beneath that a vertically scrolling, chronological list of the events in your calendars. (Yeah, if you rotate your iPhone to landscape orientation, y’all get a full-screen, calendar week-view calendar. But that’s more of a bonus—well-nigh of the iPhone app’south features and functions are focused on the vertically oriented interface.) In fact, the taller the screen, the better—Fantastical for iPhone is a superior feel on an iPhone 5 or 5s than on an older iPhone with a shorter screen.

Fantastical for iPad’s DayTicker tin prove a simple preview or a detailed week view. (There’s besides a total-screen view, not shown here.)

The iPad’s screen, past comparison, has a much wider aspect ratio, fifty-fifty in portrait orientation. Only Flexibits couldn’t but make the event list and DayTicker wider, as you’d end upwards with lots of blank, unused infinite. And then the company came up with what it calls the
Dashboard. Instead of the two panes of the iPhone version—the DayTicker on top and the outcome list on the bottom—the Dashboard offers three sections: a larger DayTicker on peak, the scrolling consequence list on the left side below information technology, and a monthly agenda on the bottom correct.

But the iPad’s DayTicker is also much more useful than the iPhone’due south. Whereas you can swipe downwards on the iPhone’s DayTicker to get a simplified monthly calendar, with colored blocks representing events, on the iPad the first swipe gives you a detailed calendar week view, complete with outcome times and specifics. And if yous swipe down on the DayTicker a 2nd time, you lot get a total-screen calendar.

The Dashboard’due south monthly agenda is substantially a simplified version of this total-screen calendar. Instead of detailed issue data, information technology shows you, using colored dots, which dates include events for your various calendars. It’s not equally useful as the full-screen calendar, or even the expanded DayTicker, when it comes to viewing the details of events, but it’s handy to be able to run into a monthly calendar while looking at specific dates and events in the other sections of the screen, and it’s convenient to see, for case, which days are full of work appointments and which accept only personal events.

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Different the iPhone version’due south screen-specific views, Fantastical for iPad’s Dashboard gives you all the same views and options in both landscape and portrait orientation, with the only real difference betwixt orientations being how much space each department gets. For case, with the DayTicker collapsed to prove merely the upcoming days, portrait orientation gives yous a tall, narrow monthly agenda and an event list that shows roughly 15 events; landscape orientation displays a wider monthly calendar (and DayTicker) with a list of roughly ten events on the left.

Whichever the orientation, the three sections of the Dashboard—the DayTicker, the event listing on the left, and the month view on the right—e’er stay in sync. Whorl one, and the other two gyre to go along upwards; tap a engagement in a week or calendar month view, and the other two sections leap to display that date. It’s elegantly done.

fantastical 2 for ipad event details
Tap an outcome to see its details, including a map preview if a location is included.

Tapping any event, in whatsoever calendar or listing, shows its details. If an event includes a location (and that location is detailed enough for Fantastical to pin it down), viewing the consequence’south details screen displays an inline map; you can tap the arrow push button under the map preview to open up the location in the Maps or Google Maps app (whichever you’ve chosen in Fantastical’due south settings). You can too choose whether URLs open in Safari, Google Chrome, or 1Password.

Reminders are besides handled a bit differently on the iPad version, thanks to the tablet’southward larger screen. Instead of a Reminders submenu in the event list, the iPad version of the app displays a dedicated button (which looks like a checkmark) in the championship bar; tap that button (or swipe from the left edge of the screen) to view a slide-in Reminders list.

Fantastically familiar

Visual differences aside, Fantastical for iPad works much like Fantastical for iPhone, which is a good thing. The carmine title bar indicates the current month and year and offers buttons for accessing settings and creating a new event, though on the iPad you also go a defended search button. (When you launch Fantastical for the outset time, yous’re asked to allow information technology to admission your calendars and reminders—a standard procedure in iOS 7. Any agenda you’ve configured in iOS 7’s Settings app should work with Fantastical.) Tap the date in the title bar to jump to the electric current date; tap and hold to access the engagement picker to jump to a particular appointment.

You lot create a new upshot by tap-belongings anywhere in the DayTicker or monthly calendar, or by tapping the plus-sign (+) push button in the title bar. That’due south when Fantastical’s flagship feature comes into play: Simply type a description of the event—or fifty-fifty an abbreviated version of it—in everyday linguistic communication. (Fantastical 2 understands English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.) For example, typing
Lunch with Jon Monday at Amici’s
results in an appointment called
Tiffin with Jon, scheduled for Monday at apex, with
Amici’due south
every bit the location. Typing
Staff meeting on telephone every Mon 1030a
gives you a repeating upshot entitled
Staff coming together
that occurs every Mon at 10:30am with
as the location. You lot can even apply complex date descriptions such equally
final Monday of every month
first weekend of the month. Adding
/[calendar name]
to the description adds the new event to that calendar, rather than to the default 1.

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fantastical 2 for ipad new event
Blazon your event description in everyday language; Fantastical figures out the details.

Fantastical interprets your text on the wing and shows you lot a preview of the resulting upshot in the DayTicker. Though other calendar apps (including iOS’s own Agenda) provide varying degrees of natural-language parsing, Fantastical’s is the best I’ve used.

You tin also utilize iOS’due south dictation feature to input your result description, and Fantastical integrates, using URL deportment, with automation apps such equally LaunchCenter Pro and Drafts, and so you lot can transport event descriptions to Fantastical from them.

While creating a new effect, tapping Details displays a traditional set of event-entry fields that you can use if the preview isn’t quite right; if you need to add a URL, a annotation, or some other info to the event; if yous want to tweak a recurring schedule; if y’all want to invite other people to your effect; or if you lot’d like to add a location. Whichever arroyo you use, tap Add, and the event is added to your calendar and appears in the DayTicker and event list. You can move an event by dragging it in the DayTicker or detailed calendars, and deleting an upshot is as simple as left-swiping over information technology in the event list and tapping the Delete button that appears.

You tin can likewise apply natural language to create reminders, which you do past borer New Reminder in the Reminders list; by tapping the result/task toggle when creating a new event; or by merely starting an event clarification with “Reminder,” “Chore,” “Todo,” or “Remind me to.” Typing (or saying)
Remind me to call Jane Thursday at 4pm
creates a reminder, for 4pm on Thursday, to call Jane.

A nice particular here is that when Fantastical determines you’re creating a reminder instead of a agenda outcome, the calendar is blurred and a large task-entry box appears, making it clear what you lot’re creating. As with events, yous tin can specify a detail list using
/[listing proper noun], and the Show Details button reveals options such as date/time reminders, geofencing, priorities, and text fields for URLs and notes.

fantastical 2 for ipad new task
Fantastical for iPad makes it obvious when you’re creating a new chore instead of an event.

New, also

Other features new in version 2 of Fantastical for iPhone are also nowadays in the iPad version: Background App Refresh support lets the app automatically cheque for new and updated events and reminders; Fantastical provides its own notifications; and you lot can quickly duplicate, move, or share (every bit an .ics file) an event by tap-holding it in the events list. Fantastical’due south extended keyboard includes a dedicated row with numbers and the
symbols for easier appointment and time entry, and y’all can choose betwixt dark and light themes. Fantastical also supports TextExpander Impact for quicker data entry.

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Finally, both Fantastical for iPad and the iPhone version have gained some new features since I reviewed the latter. The first is floating time-zone support, which always shows dates and times in the selected time zone, rather than your current time zone if you lot’re away from home. There are new options for the app’s home-screen badge: yous tin now have the bluecoat signal the electric current day’s remaining items, today’south remaining events, today’due south due reminders, all incomplete reminders, all overdue reminders, the current date, or the electric current agenda week. And Fantastical now offers custom alert sounds for events and reminders.

Bottom line

When I first started using Fantastical for iPad (first beta versions and then, over the past couple weeks, the final release), I found the layout to be a chip odd, especially the simplified monthly agenda on the correct. Only I think that was generally because I was used to the iPhone version’s vertical-layout accent. In one case I got accepted to Fantastical for iPad’s dissimilar appearance, the app really grew on me. It has my favorite features of the iPhone version—the DayTicker, the scrolling effect list, and the great natural-language outcome creation—along with a much-improved week view that’due south peculiarly expert when it fills the screen.

In fact, I observe myself using Fantastical for iPad differently than I use the iPhone version. As I noted in my review of the latter, Fantastical for iPhone is primarily an app for quickly viewing your current and upcoming events and tasks, and for making it as easy equally possible to create and edit those items. Simply thanks to the iPad’due south larger screen and Fantastical for iPad’s full-screen calendar, I use the iPad version like a traditional calendar app—browsing the detailed week view—much more frequently than I do on the iPhone. Which is a testament to the fact that Fantastical for iPad isn’t just a scaled-upward version of an iPhone app.

Is it for you? Unlike the iPhone, where I call back Fantastical is easily the best calendar app around, the iPad has a glut of solid calendar offerings. But if you’re a fan of Fantastical on the iPhone or the Mac, as I am, you’ll beloved the iPad version, despite (or because of) the interface tweaks required to fill the tablet’s screen—it’s the same app, with the same dandy prepare of features. If y’all’re currently using a different calendar app, with a more than-traditional calendar look, Fantastical for iPad’southward interface may take some getting used to. Only I retrieve that interface, along with Fantastical’due south unique features, volition win over many a user.