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Sunrise Calendar review

Can Sunrise Calendar beat Gmail to become the best Android calendar app? Read on to find out.

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While the Play Store isn’t exactly short of third-party calendar apps, including some very stylish creations, none of them offers that much extra functionality over the basic Google Calendar default. Created by two former Foursquare designers, Sunrise Calendar takes a more radical approach, aiming to change the way we think about a mobile calendar app, while also syncing with a web app available via the Chrome Web Store.

The key selling point is the way Sunrise integrates with so many external services, pulling in all sorts of data so that it’s all available for you within the one app. As well as bringing in standard calendar events from Google Calendar and iCloud, it will show Facebook events and birthdays, Foursquare check-ins, Evernote reminders and TripIt travel itineraries (including tickets and reservations). It can even add local concerts by bands tracked in Songkick and reveal the latest tweets of event attendees.

More business-related functions include LinkedIn photos and info, tasks from Producteev and Asana, plus GitHub milestones for software developers. The one glaring omission at the time of writing is Exchange support (as featured in the iOS app), although this is in the pipeline.

After signing in/up via Facebook, Google or email, you can link it to the accounts you want, set notification options and select which calendars to make visible. The look is clean but functional, with the default view showing dates for two weeks (expandable to four by swiping) at the top and a scrollable list of events below. Nice touches include basic weather info for the next three days, plus an arrow icon to return you instantly to today. It’s a shame that it lacks the web app’s handy search function, though.

Swiping left (or tapping the lines icon) brings up the agenda view showing three days at a time, with timed events as colour-coded blocks while all-day ones are pinned to the top. Long-pressing here lets you quickly add a new event. We particularly like the way Sunrise automatically adds a suitable icon for the event type, such as a speech bubble for a meeting or a knife and fork for a meal.

Photos of attendees are also shown, if available, and it gives you the option of emailing them a notification or not. The event location is displayed on a map which can be expanded to fill the screen, although directions must be viewed externally in Google Maps. That’s a rare exception, however, since most things can be done from within Sunrise itself, such as replying to invites from various services and editing events and Evernote reminders.

We did encounter a few teething problems, including it crashing whenever we tried to sync with iCloud. There’s no tablet-optimised version at the time of writing either, although one is promised. Other than that, however, this is a very useful all-in-one calendar for keeping up with all aspects of your digital life. It also comes with a resizable widget showing events from the next three days.

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For more app reviews, make sure to check out the latest issue of Android Magazine.

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