Prio Review

Our iPhones offer several ways to stay on top of our daily schedules. There is the Calendar app, that is used to create comprehensive entries that can hold a lot of different data, and there are Notes and Reminders as well. Even though these apps can help you become better organized, and they can surely get the job done, there are numerous alternatives that are more powerful. If you take a look at the iOS App Store, you’ll see hundreds of to-do apps, list creators, and calendar apps. Our job at MacReview is to review some of the most interesting newly published apps, as well as to make it easier for you to choose a new productivity app.

In today’s article, we are going to take a look at Prio – Task List & Reminder ($0.99). This is one of the newly released apps that is promising to bring a new way to keep track of tasks, reminders, and lists. Aside from its eye-catching UI, I was very interested in trying this app out since it promises to replace several built-in iOS apps.

Prio

I am sure many are going to be intrigued by this app simply by taking a look at its iOS App Store screenshots. Prio features a beautiful gradient background that looks great on differently sized screens. Even though you’ll see the default pink and purple theme at first, there are 20 color choices to choose from. The app features subtle animations throughout, and it’s very responsive. In addition, Prio uses the sans serif typography style that suits it well and is easy to read. However, I wished to see a bit larger font size.

The app will greet you with a brief introductory tutorial, where you’ll be explained how to add new entries and create lists. The main view is called “Active Tasks”, and this is where all items go by default. You can create new lists by tapping on the “hamburger” button, or swiping from the left. By using the main menu, you can add or delete lists, but you can quickly access them using the two-circle button in the top right corner. To add a new entry, you need to swipe from the top of the screen. You’ll get to see a text field, where you can write a reminder or a note. In order to add additional information, you’ll need to tap on the entry to view the detail screen. Now you can add info like a priority level, due date, reminder, or re-assign it to another list. This seems like an unnecessary additional step, since there’s no way to add these bits of information while creating a new entry.

Other interesting features are iCloud support, so you can easily sync your data, and Notification Center support. The Notification Center widget will show Today’s Priorities only.

Alter Review

No matter what iOS version you are currently using, you have access to at least two different ways of creating to-do lists on your phone. You can use Notes to create a shopping list, or you can use Reminders for elaborate actions that also require geolocation data. However, there are countless other options in the iOS App Store that are far more useful. These applications are able of some very complex operations, and they can be true lifesavers in all kinds of everyday situations.

I believe that most of us receive messages and e-mails from our friends, spouses, and co-workers, mostly about things that need to be taken care of. For example, I often receive shopping lists via e-mail, so I always use my iPhone while browsing for the right items in a store. A few days ago, I received an iOS app that promises to take care of my shopping lists by extracting information from my e-mails and messages, which is something that positively surprised me. This application is named Alter, and it is designed and published by Sicknote Software. You can download it from the App Store for $1.

Alter 2

Even though it may sound complicated at first, Alter is quite simple and straightforward. Once you receive an e-mail or a message with a list of things that you need to take care of, you can copy the entire message and open Alter. Then, you will need to paste it into the app. The home screen of Alter will be blank every time you open it, if there is no previous to-do list already loaded up into the app. Once you paste your message, you will see how Alter is trying to understand sentences and extract those that can be used as a to-do list. The text you paste will be presented through separated paragraphs, with highlighted sentences. Once you tap on the list button, you will see the series of tasks that you can further organize.

Alter’s list view shows extracted information that you can merge, move, and delete. This is the final step in creating a new to-do list. However, this is where things become very limiting. This app is doing a great job of extracting data from your mail and messages, but it is able of handling only one to-do list at a time. What this means is that you can add many items, but they will be merged into one list. You can see how this can become unorganized, cluttered, and simply annoying.

I liked Alter’s concept of solving a problem that most of us face on a daily basis. However, it could be said that this app brings only partially useful solution. I would recommend this app to those who do not need more than one to-do list at a time, since advanced users can find much better alternatives in the App Store. I hope to see this app evolve in the future, since there are many simple ways for this app to become very powerful and even essential to many.

 

Taskbox’s Boxer Review

Apple’s own Mail app is certainly one of the most frequently used apps on our iOS devices. It provides very streamlined and effortless way to check for new emails, respond to messages, and organize one or more inboxes. However, if you really want to take full advantage of your iOS device, you might want to take a look in the App Store which holds hundreds of very useful and sometimes very powerful and unique e-mail clients, which makes them great alternatives to Apple’s preloaded app.

Boxer is one of those mobile email clients that promises to revolutionize the way you read messages and respond to them, even though it comes with plenty of other interesting features. The first thing I noticed about this app is that it’s priced at $10, which is more expensive than most mobile email clients, so I was curious to see if it’s really worth the money.

Upon the first launch of this app, you will get to add your e-mail accounts, and this is where I was pleasantly surprised. Boxer supports almost any kind of email exchange protocol, and all of these work seamlessly together. Many will find it helpful that Boxer successfully manages to support Microsoft Exchange and IMAP accounts. If you add several accounts at once, it might take some time until Boxer loads all the messages, but this is nothing to be concerned about.

Boxer 1

The main view offers very intuitive and streamlined interface, and offers you the chance to review all your mfail, do some basic operations like deleting and archiving (which can be done by swiping across the message), but you can also add labels, “like” a message, or transfer messages into to-do lists. If you choose to “like” a message, this will send a short mail notifying the sender that you read and saw their message.

Another equally important side of Boxer is its organizing side. You will get to use all your labels and tags, as well as folders that you might have created online. This app allows you to create to-do lists based on messages and prioritize them. I can see myself using this feature on a daily basis, since it really works well and can be of great assistance. Another thing I really liked is that Boxer supports numerous email-relevant services like Dropbox, Evernote, and similar. It also works well with Apple’s Calendar and Contacts, so you can access additional information and respond to event requests, to give you one example.

As you can see, there are many great features in this app and integration with numerous third party services. Perhaps this is why I noticed some lagging and longer loading times, even though I am sure this is completely fixable.

Boxer is one of the most powerful iOS e-mail clients at the moment, and I believe that many will love it. However, I would like to see its price lowered a bit since $10 is a lot of an iOS app. This will be the main obstacle for many potential users.

 

 

Screenshotter Review

Since I tend to write a number of reviews on a weekly basis, I also tend to take many screenshots within iOS apps. On the other hand, I am using my iPhone to take photos all the time, which really creates confusion in my Camera app. I am sure many of you are craving for a better way to organize your images within iOS, and I am sure that many are turning to third party apps to make this happen.

A few days back I decided to try an iOS app that was promising to help me organize screenshots on my phone. This app is named Screenshotter, and it’s created by Cluster Labs. This app is completely free to download and use, and it doesn’t come with any in-app purchases, so what you see is what you get.

Once you open Screenshotter for the first time, it will automatically pull in all your screenshots from the Camera Roll. I did have a lot of them saved, so it took about two minutes to load all of these images. If you do not have as many as I do, I believe this process will take just a few seconds. After that, I was taken to the main view where I could see all the images. I was surprised to see how effective this app was, since all my screenshots were successfully identified, and none of my other variously sized photos were mistakenly pulled in.

The main view of Screenshotter shows you the main depository for your images, as well as any other folders that you might have created. This means that every time you take a screenshot, this app will automatically pull it into the main category where you can see all your screenshots at once. This view, as well as any other folder- or album-view is designed to show two rather large thumbnails per row, so you can quickly find the one you are looking for. Images are always organized in chronological order.

Screenshotter is also great for organizing your collection of screenshots. From the main view, you can select multiple images into a batch, and you will get to use one of two available options: Move to Folder, or Archive. If you move the images into a new folder, you will create a new album. On the other hand, you can remove images by sending them to the archive folder. Due to iOS’ restrictions, this app can’t actually delete any images, so they are always going to be visible in the Camera Roll, which is where they can be permanently deleted.

Screenshotter is very simple and it’s designed for only one role. What is important to mention is that you can’t use this app to organize the rest of your images, since it’s made only to identify and work with screenshots. Anyone who needs this functionality on their phone will find this app tremendously helpful, and I am sure there are many people who are looking to avoid the Camera Roll and the confusion it creates.

 

Kazzy Review

We can all agree that productivity apps are one of the most important and frequently used apps on our iOS devices. Even though every iOS version is equipped with several tools that allow you to track your time, appointments, and other obligations, these still feel very basic in many ways. This was the way for Apple to leave some space for third party developers who are interested in dedicating their time to create rich and practical productivity apps. Due to tough competition in the Store, you are able to buy an amazing app that will serve you for a long time, for just a couple of dollars. This is probably one of the best sides of Apple’s rich ecosystem of apps and services.

One of the most active categories in the App Store are productivity apps. These apps tend to evolve rather quickly, which makes them interesting to review and benchmark. Kazzy is one of the newest additions to the Store, which made quite an impact upon its release. This is a task management and organizing app that is trying to bring innovative controls and a new way of staying on top of things. I was very interested in trying this app out since it captured my attention ever since I looked at the screenshots, but as it turns out – these can be deceiving at times. Continue reading to learn more about how this app can be used and if it’s worth downloading it.

Kazzy 1

Just as you can imagine by taking a look at its screenshots, this app is trying to step up by offering innovative ways of adding and tracking appointments and other entries. What is crucial with these apps is that they need to provide a well-rounded tutorial that will explain all the essentials. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Kazzy, which is throwing you deep into its confusing controls that you need to figure out by yourself. The first thing you will need to do is to add a new entry, and this can be done by drawing a circle to form one appointment. You will get to draw a timeline into the provided dial that corresponds to the exact time of your selection. Once you are done, you will see that Kazzy has randomly appointed a color, and now you can give a name to this entry. This way you can add numerous tasks, and they can overlap as well.

Once I tried to do some customizations and other even a bit more complex operations, I realized that Kazzy is quite limited. For example, you won’t be able to move entries, other than delete them and recreate them using a new time. In addition, if you add more than ten new entries you will see that the interface becomes cluttered, so in a way it will work against itself. Finally, there are no categories or any other sorting options.

Kazzy is free to download and use, but comes with premium themes which are priced at $1 each. I need to praise their appearance, even though their value is lowered by limited functionality.

Kazzy is trying to be different and innovate, but the end product feels like a missed opportunity. The App Store offers much better alternatives, which are also free of charge, but many of them are very functional and useful.

 

Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Review

By taking a look at Mac accessories you’ll see some that are amazingly designed, which usually hides the fact that they lack in functionality, and on the other side you’ll see some accessories considered essential which feature the same dull design for years. From time to time, a new developer tries to offer neatly designed product that also tries to re-define the functionality of a particular category, but even this doesn’t always end up sucessful. In this article we’ll be taking a look at an accessory that’s undoubtedly very helpful and functional, but which is still trying to win over Apple users. This one is going to be a Thunderbolt dock.

By having a Thunderbolt dock you can remove the clutter from your desk, which is certainly something that many of us would benefit from. Also, when it comes to some more restrictive Mac models, a dock can help expand its abilities which seems like an essential thing to do. No matter what you think, you’ll see that docks have many positive sides and only a few negative ones, which makes them very interesting and a must-have category.

Elgato is one of those companies that are trying to offer their own version of a Thunderbolt dock. I am always interested in trying out new docks and I am happy to see that the competition is slowly rising, convincing me that we’ll see some great products in the near future.

When it comes to the main concept of Elgato’s Thunderbolt Dock, it’s actually very simple. This device is made to enable you to run a single Thunderbolt cable from your computer to the dock, while everything else can be plugged into the dock. This way you can simply unplug the Thunderbolt cable from your notebook and take it with you, instead of unplugging numerous accessories one by one.

The first thing you’ll notice about this dock is how nicely designed it is. The shell is made of anodized aluminum, making it very sturdy and firm. The front and the back are made of ABS plastic. I am sure you’ll think that this is something that Apple would design, which means that this is clever combination of functionality and minimalism.

When it comes to functionality, you’ll see that the front side brings a single USB 3.0 port, and there are headphone and microphone sockets. On the back there are two more USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt sockets, one HDMI, and an Ethernet port. I’ve tried all of these ports through a number of different setups and configurations and my conclusion is that Elgato has done an amazing job. Transfer speeds are great and you’ll even be able to use your iPad to charge it as fast as possible.

Even though there’s no question if this dock is practical and functional, there are some negative sides to it. The main limitation is the number of available ports. However, this is due to Thunderbolt’s daisy chain nature which means that we won’t see anything different in terms of available ports and their numbers. This is currently the best you can get with this setup. Also, the main issue is the asking price ($230) which seems incredibly high. Since most of these docks are high priced, they will have a hard time convincing users to actually buy them, at least until they drop their prices to $100-150.

 

 

Peek Calendar Review

In order to say organized, many people are turning to their iPhones for much needed assistance. Even though every iOS version comes with the built-in Calendar app, up until iOS7 it was somewhat hard and tedious to manage your tasks using this app. Many were actually forced into adapting to this app mostly because it included iCloud support, which meant that all your to-lists and appointments were synced with your OSX Calendar. The other solution was to use a third party app, or to go with Google’s Calendar which could be also synced in some ways. After iOS7 was released, many turned once again to the built-in apps which were redesigned, but this hasn’t stopped developers from trying to offer their own solutions.

As you’ll see in this article, there are some pretty amazing calendar apps in the App Store. We’ll be taking a look at an application named Peek Calendar, which could be downloaded for $2. This minimalistic app might seem barebones at first, but there are numerous hidden features which are accessed to using interesting gestures. Continue reading to learn more.

From the very first time you open Peek Calendar you’ll realize that it’s built for simplicity. What’s very important to say is that this app isn’t for those who juggle multiple calendars and need integration with other services around the web, so power users should look for some other app. However, I believe that there are a lot of potential users for this simple yet completely useful calendar app, and that many will simply fall in love with it.

The main screen of Peek Calendar lets you focus on today’s agenda. You can click on today’s date and unfold all your to-do items and appointments. You can also scroll down to see future dates, where you can review your upcoming obligations. If you need to add a new entry, simply tap and hold on today’s date and enter the needed info. You’ll be able to add recurring items, and you can also tie a certain location to it. Also, you can set up the time in a very interesting way, by swiping with your finger across the screen.

What’s worth noting are a couple of interesting and unique features. For example, you can place your hand across the top part of the screen, like you would protect it from the light. This will reveal the current time in a nicely animated manner. Also, if you shake your iPhone you’ll be given a suggestion of what to do next, or sometimes you’ll receive some general life tip.

Peek Calendar 2

There’s something very interesting when it comes to Peek Calendar, that can’t be really explained with words. Perhaps those are bright and cheerful colors, or incredibly interesting and very smooth animations. Even though power users won’t find what they need here, there are a lot of people out there who would greatly benefit from using this app. If you’re looking for the next great calendar, I would suggest at least trying out this interesting app.

Documents 5 Review

For a while now, one of the most used iOS file managers was Readdle’s app Documents. I am sure you’ve seen it (if not tested it by now) if you browsed the App Store in the past, since Apple decided to showcase it on many occasion which means that it was present on the front page. This app can be used to organize and view all kinds of files, and it’s completely free to download and use which made it so popular worldwide. The good news is that Documents is updated to its 5.0 version, which we’ll be looking into right in this article.

If you never used Readdle’s Documents before, let me say a few words about it. For quite some time, this has been one of the most comprehensive solutions for storing, editing, and organizing files on your iOS devices. This is something that many users need on a daily basis, and this was one of the main reasons why many opted to jailbreak their iOS devices. The reason for this is that there were some incredibly useful file managers, but only available to jailbroken iPhones. Luckily, Apple decided to approve a number of apps in order to prevent people from breaking into the iOS system, which resulted in several incredibly popular file managers, including the original Documents by Readdle.

Today we’ll be taking a look at Documents’ 5.0, which was upgraded to work with iOS7 but also brought some enhancements as well. The biggest change you’ll notice is the completely redesigned interface, which is now very modern and flat. I was pleased to see that this app adopted flat design principles by not going into minimalism, which is something we often see today. There are all the features and icons that you’re used to, but they are slimmer and very elegant now.

The main view of Documents 5 is very clean and offers a quick view of your folders and files. You can drag-and-drop items to reorganize them, and sort them by their names, date, or file size. Since this app is compatible with iPhones and iPad as well, it implements iCloud and allows you to choose which files you’d like to keep synced. Naturally, there’s the search feature as well.

One of the most useful features that I’ve found is ability to add external cloud storage solution, and there are a lot to choose from. These include Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and many more. There’s even a Wi-Fi drive, which enables ad-hoc connection to your computer and opens up ability to directly transfer files.

It’s actually amazing and astonishing to see what this app is capable of. Since there’s no built-in file manager on iOS, I use Documents 5 as my default one. I strongly believe that every iOS users could benefit from this app, and there’s no reason not to try it. It’s also interesting to note that you can download it free of charge, and there are no hidden fees, subscriptions, or in-app purchases.

Mophie Space Pack Review

When it comes to battery packs for iPhones, I believe there’s no better solution than Mophie’s products. Even though they are somewhat more expensive than other similar products, these battery cases are always nicely designed and offer excellent performance. A while back we brought you a review of Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 5, but today you’ll get to learn more about Mophie’s newest product.

As it turns out, this company decided to enhance their lineup and to bring a very innovative product. We’ll be taking a look at the Space Pack, which is yet another capable battery pack, but this one also brings 16GB or 32GB of additional storage. You can purchase it for $150 up to $180 for the larger sized version, and both of them are available for order right now.

Mophie Space Pack 2

I was very surprised to see that Space Pack brings the same dimensions as some older cases, considering that it also brings additional storage. Mophie is known for very elegant, somewhat light, and nicely designed battery cases, so it’s not surprising to see that their latest product continues this tradition. The case is comprised of two parts into which you need to place your iPhone and secure the connection by sliding the bottom part into the larger top part. The bottom part holds four LEDs which are battery level indicators, as well as the Lightning plug and the power switch. If you need to use the headphone port, you’ll need to use the provided extender since this port is deeply recessed into the case. You’ll also receive a micro-USB cable used for charging and transferring data to a computer.

When it comes to performance, the Space Pack promises to bring 1,700mAh cell inside. This means that you should expect to double the iPhone’s battery life, and this is proven to be true in everyday life. If you’re using the iPhone 5, you can expect slightly better results.

As I said earlier, this battery pack brings 16GB or 32GB or storage. This means that you can augment your phone’s storage, which is something that many users will appreciate. In order to use this function you’ll need to download Mophie’s Space app. This is basically a file manager, which allows you to view and play files like photos, videos, music, documents, and some other file types. You can transfer data from and to your Mac, but you can also copy some files from the phone’s internal storage. There’s even the option to turn on camera sync, which is designed to free up some space on the phone. Even though I was generally satisfied with how this app worked, it still feels like a beta version. Large files will need some time to be opened, and in some cases you’ll see that this app is struggling with large photo libraries. This is something that can be fixed in the future, so I am looking forward to seeing some updates since I am sure that Mophie will continue working on this app.

UpWord Notes Review

You can use some of iOS’ built-in tools to write down a note or set up a reminder. The main problem with these is that they offer great functionality, but it is split into several different apps. I guess that Apple wanted to create several tools in order to ease up daily routine for an average user, which means that advanced users are usually looking for an alternative. Luckily, the iOS App Store offers some great solutions, and you’ll get to choose from thousands of useful apps.

UpWord Notes (currently priced at $1) is promising to bring a fresh idea to iOS note taking. It’s not only made for advanced users, but for everyone who needs to write down some ideas or create to-do lists, all within one single app. Continue reading to learn more about its interface and usability.

UpWord Notes 1

UpWord Notes brings nicely designed flat interface which fits nicely with iOS7. Even though you’ll get to use several themes, the main one seems the most interesting to me. Light design and readable typography are the main characteristics of this app’s design, which might be a bit overcrowded at times due to numerous tools and features.

You’ll get to go through a tutorial the first time you open UpWord Notes, but I am sure many of you can skip it since this app is very intuitive and it’s a real pleasure discovering its great features. The first thing you might want to do though is to set up your Dropbox account, since this is the only way to sync your notes. UpWord Notes will create its own folder where notes are going to be stored, and this is something that you won’t be allowed to change.

If we compare this app with Apple’s Notes, the main difference is that you can create folders and organize your ideas. Every time you tap on the + button you’ll get to choose if you’d like to create a new note of a new folder. When it comes to composing a new note, you’ll get to use some very interesting formatting options. For example, you can swipe left to turn a line into a bullet, or you can keep swiping to preview other styles. If you place “!!!” in front of a line it will be marked as important, and if you place “>” a line will become bold. Once you’re finished editing, you can swipe right in order to put a strikethrough, and you can even pull down across the screen so those lines that you marked as done will be deleted.

Besides using UpWord Notes as a note taking and to-do app, you can also use it as a reminder. You’ll get to choose from several options for when you need to be reminded, and this works very well in practice.

Finally, it also needs to be said that this app comes with a very comprehensive settings, so you will be able to customize appearance, change the font and size, toggle night mode, set up category options and default reminder times.

It’s very hard for a developer to create an app that competes against Apple’s own solution, but it seems that UpWord Notes is one of the best examples. It’s very usable and packed with great tools, so I strongly recommend trying it out.