When iOS 5 was released, one of its more advertised new features was the Reminders app, meant to bridge the gap between a static todo note and a full-fledged GTD style task manager. I love Reminders for keeping track of all those little things that are so easily forgotten, but find myself frustrated at times by the interface and the amount of time it takes to add reminders. Listbook from No Identity seeks to remedy a lot of what’s wrong with Reminders, but is it up to the task of replacing Apple’s built-in app?
Keeping It Clean
I’ve been really enjoying the Listbook interface since I installed the app a few weeks ago. While the app certainly borrows a page or two from Apple’s play book, I certainly don’t think that’s a bad thing. I prefer apps that seem more like a natural extension of the already-great iOS UI.
Like Reminders, Listbook gives you your list-of-lists along the left hand side, dedicating the majority of the interface to your tasks themselves. I liked the linen-and-paper theme of Listbook. While I typically love apps that offer multiple theme options, I think No Identity has done a great job in making Listbook as easy to look at as it is to use.
Creating Your Tasks
Adding tasks to Listbook is as simple as you would expect from an iPad app. The giant plus sign above your current to-do list brings up the new task window, which I found to be leaps and bounds better than task creation in Reminders.
As soon as the window is up, you have your title field and optional due date, as well as a giant plus sign in the bottom-right. Tapping this button saves your current task and starts creating a new one, making the rapid entry of multiple tasks a breeze and saving you trips in and out of the new task view.
Listbook also gives you the ability to apply colored labels. As a very visual organizer, this was one of my favorite features in Listbook. I loved being able to make easy-to-see distinctions between my tasks, instead of using text labels to distinguish priorities as in Reminders.
This to me was a huge win over Reminders, where priority levels are buried under the “Show More” option. Seeing my priorities and categories at the top level is a must for me.
Adding new lists was again as simple as tapping the plus sign in the top-left of Listbook. On top of naming each list, you can assign one of 10 icons to your lists, adding more visible distinction in Listbook. Again, while far from an essential feature, it was a very nice touch.
Listbook also lets you choose on a list-by-list basis whether or not you want to badge the app icon; this way, you could have an “Urgent” list and only see on the icon how many items are in that particular list. Again, far from essential, but a great thing for No Identity to think of and include in Listbook.
Setting Your Reminders
Adding alerts in Listbook was the real cake-taker for me. As soon as you start adding a task, you have the iOS date and time tumblers available. Unlike Reminders, which requires you to save a task before you can add an alert, Listbook turns on an alarm as soon as you start moving one of the tumblers. Instead of telling Listbook that you’d like an alert and then telling it when, all you have to do is set the day and time and Listbook will take care of the rest.
The Good and the Bad
Listbook is incredibly simple to use, and I found that it took much less time to add reminders in Listbook than it did in Reminders. I loved color-coding my tasks and adding icons to my lists. Plus, Listbook syncs via iCloud to Listbook for iPhone, and as a universal app you’ll only have to pay for it once!
The biggest drawback I found with Listbook was its inability to create repeating tasks and alerts. If you do the same things on a regular basis, this could be a huge deal-breaker. However, I emailed No Identity to ask them about repeating reminders, and had a response the very next morning letting me know that the feature is currently in testing and should be released in an update very soon.
I have loved using Listbook for my default reminders app, and with repeat alerts coming just around the corner, I feel like things are only going to get better.
Listbook is available on the App Store for $1.99 as a universal app. Download it today and let us know what you think!