Right now, Sunrise is probably the best all-around calendar app available. It has a clean, clear design and works just about anywhere. But the sunsetting of Sunrise is on the horizon, with Microsoft preparing to shut down the calendar app that it bought earlier this year as it folds features into its stellar cross-platform Outlook app.
However, not everyone wants to use the same app for email and calendaring. Whether you want to use a more advanced email triaging app on the go or maybe use Microsoft’s own email-based messaging app, you’ll need to look for a new app to keep you schedule up to date. For those already embedded in the Apple ecosystem, Fantastical 2 might be the best calendar app out there.
While the app isn’t quite as clean and refined as Sunrise, there are some really smart things Fantastical can do. Most notably, Fantastical has stellar natural language input.
That means you can type something as simple as “Haircut at four on nov 6 at squire barbershop” and Fantastical creates a calendar event on Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. with the title “Haircut” and the location set to Squire Barbershop.
Fantastical animates how it parses each word, making it easy to learn the best way of quickly typing in calendar events. And you can even use the always-improving dictation function built into iOS and Mac to create events without typing a word.
Fantastical can also handle all your reminders, again using natural language parsing to figure out when you need to be reminded. Reminders even work with your location, although locations don’t work with natural language creation. But with Fantastical’s access to your contacts, you can easily tap into the location section and just type “Home” to set a location.
Users can also set up custom calendar sets on the Mac app. Say you want to see a certain set of calendars when you’re at work, but when you head home you just want to see your kids’ and your spouse’s schedules. With Fantastical, you can easily switch between them with a simple keystroke.
Perhaps the worst part about Fantastical is its price. Where Sunrise was free to use on your desktop, smartphone and tablet, Fantastical costs $4.99 on the iPhone, another $9.99 on the iPad and a whopping $39.99 on the desktop. While those prices might seem a little outrageous in today’s free app world, you aren’t surrendering your data to any third parties; you’re just paying for good design and a smooth user experience. Also, you don’t need all three apps just to keep your schedule straight.
You see, Fantastical doesn’t do any of the background syncing. Instead, it pulls calendar dating from your iCloud, Google or other CalDAV account. So if you’re happy with Google calendar on your MacBook but aren’t a fan of iOS’s calendar app, this is a great replacement. Or if you like Google calendar on your Android phone but want something better on Mac OS X, the Mac app could be for you. You can even get a free trial of the Mac app on developer Flexibits’ site.
If you’re an Apple user looking for a replacement to Sunrise before Microsoft shuts it down, Fantastical is probably your best option. For Android users, keep an eye out in future weeks for our best replacement available on the Google Play store. And feel free to let us know your favorite calendar app in the comments below.