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Cal: Android Calendar & Exchange review

Does Cal combine great design and powerful functionality to make the best Android calendar app? Find out in our full review.

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Created by Any.do, the developer of the award-winning Any.do To-Do List & Task List app, Cal is designed to be more than just a standard calendar app.

As well as automatically syncing with calendar services on your device – including Google, Exchange, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL and even iCloud – it can be linked to your Any.do tasks so they show up in the calendar, and to Facebook for friends’ birthdays.

The aim is to help you focus on the important things, whether related to work or home/social.

The interface itself is inspiring, featuring a different photo for each calendar day, based on any of nine themes – just tick the ones you want. The slick design certainly makes a pleasant change from the dull styling of your average calendar app, while not detracting from the functionality.

The standard view shows the current week at the top with a large photo below. Just swipe right for the next week, or pull down to reveal the whole month. Events from linked calendars and Any.do aren’t actually readable on the calendar – their presence is indicated by a dot. It’s a shame that there’s no indication of which days are particularly busy.

Instead, you need to tap a day to reveal its events below. Tapping a calendar event makes it full-screen with options to see/add attendees (with photos if available), location, notes and reminders (location and time based), plus repeat and delete. There are also handy options to email or message attendees (collectively or individually) and navigate to the location on a map.

Adding a new event (by pressing ‘+’ at the top right) comes up with a similar range of options once you’ve entered the title (by typing or speaking), set the date/times and assigned it to a calendar. Tapping the location icon even comes up with suggestions, such as coffee shops, bars and restaurants in your area.

If you’ve linked Cal to your Facebook account, friends’ birthdays will also appear in the calendar – tapping one takes you to a full-screen profile photo of the friend, with an option to post to their wall while staying in-app. It’s slightly strange then that tapping an Any.do task takes you to that app instead – not that it’s a major problem.

Tighter integration with the Any.do app is supposedly one of the extra features added to the new Android version of Cal – it’s been around on iOS since last summer.

Other bonuses include a landscape mode (sadly sans themed photos) and home-screen widget – a 3×4 one, scrollable for the current week – which makes it a lot easier to see what’s coming up without having to open the app.

Despite the Facebook and Any.do link-up, whether Cal is likely to help you to achieve a better work/life balance is debatable. Nor does it offer a lot more functionality than Google Calendar, say. However, it does it all so well and with such panache that it’s hard to resist.

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