Agenda Calendar 4 for iPhone review: One of the best alternative calendar apps just got better

We took a look at Agenda Calendar for iPhone and iPad back when they were first released and this time, the guys over at Savvy Apps are back with Agenda Calendar 4. This time around they've managed to make a great app even better by cutting unnecessary UI items and adding easy to use gestures.

I've had some time over the past few weeks to use the iPhone version of Agenda Calendar 4 and I have to say that I've come away more delighted than I was with the original version, which was also quite good.

When I first opened the newly updated version of Agenda Calendar on my iPhone, I instantly noticed that a lot of menus and other items that I'd become accustomed to seeing were not along the bottom. So I did what seemed natural, I started swiping and flicking my way through the different screens.

The removal of some of these unnecessary menus made way for you to be able to see more events and details on one screen. That means more of my events filter at the bottom and I have to scroll less in order to view what I'd like. If I want to see a larger list view of my events, I can simply swipe to the left to view an entire list of not only events, but reminders as well.

For those not familiar with Agenda Calendar already, it will pull in from your native Calendar app as well as the Reminders app. If you already use these, there will be virtually no setup required. All of your items will be imported instantly for you. Agenda Calendar can also interact with and share information across many apps such as Omnifocus, Clear, Things, Todo, Due, Drafts, and more.

As far as the different calendar views go, you can swipe left and right between a six month view, single month view, and list view. On the single month view you'll also see your events and reminders aggregate below the calendar.

When it comes to handling reminders, Agenda Calendar isn't yet a full fledged solution. It will simply filter all the reminders in from the native Reminders app. If you need to mark something as complete, you'll still need to use the native Reminders app. If you don't mind just deleting the reminder, that works too but it's more of a workaround than an actual solution. It won't be a viable one for anyone looking to keep a record of reminders they're completed in the past.

The good

  • Already great interface got even better
  • The ability to share across many productivity apps makes it a better solution than the native Calendar if you're already using other todo apps
  • Gesture based interface seems more natural than the old menu style layout, it won't be hard to get used to for existing Agenda users
  • Allows you to view reminders and calendar events all in one place

The bad

  • Reminders management still isn't an all-in-one solution, but it's getting there
  • All reminders are clumped into one group instead of staying in their respective lists

The bottom line

If you use other task apps such as Omnifocus, Todo, or Clear, you may find that Agenda Calendar's ability to share information to other apps and keep everything in sync will make your life just that much easier. It's definitely a better option for these users than the stock Calendar app.

For existing users of Agenda Calendar for iPhone, Agenda Calendar 4 will be a great update and solve some of the tiny frustrations with the interface. It may be a separate purchase but if you really love Agenda Calendar, it's well worth it.

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

40 Comments
  • WTF, I have paid for this app once already, now I have to pay again if I want the upgrade? Since when do you pay to upgrade? And why did you barely mention this? This may be the start of a new trend, don't you think it deserves some attention?
  • Read this: http://www.imore.com/apple-puts-its-price-tag-where-its-policy-charges-full-price-logic-pro-x-mac-app-store :)
  • How is this a new trend? Tweetie did it in 2009, and tons of apps have done it since. If the developer made a new version, shouldn't you have to pay for that new version? They have to feed their families, and if they can't make money, they'll stop making apps. And at $1.99 - less than a fancy coffee - it makes me kinda sad that people even think about this as "paying again". For a calendar app I use every day, I can't believe how stupidly cheap it is.
  • "How is this a new trend? Tweetie did it in 2009, and tons of apps have done it since." And that makes it acceptable? So because Hitler killed millions I can to? /yesIknowthat'sabadanology "If the developer made a new version, shouldn't you have to pay for that new version?" No, you shouldn't. Hence why I've stopped supporting 1Password. Should you have to pay for every 0.0.1 update to an app? No? Then why the hell is this different? It's like saying you should have to re-download Facebook every time there's a new update because they made a new app for that 0.0.1 update. "They have to feed their families, and if they can't make money, they'll stop making apps." That doesn't mean they can fuck with existing customers. Maybe they should try not screwing with existing customers, and make a new app to get revenue from. "And at $1.99 - less than a fancy coffee - it makes me kinda sad that people even think about this as "paying again". For a calendar app I use every day, I can't believe how stupidly cheap it is." Not everyone has money to waste on apps (or reviews them for a living and can thus claim them on there taxes), like those who work at iMore. _____________ Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to iLounge
  • So, Apple releases a new version of OS X, you expect that for free as well? Same exact principle. New version of software with new price to pay
  • Richard Devine wrote: "So, Apple releases a new version of OS X, you expect that for free as well? Same exact principle. New version of software with new price to pay" How have developers been giving upgrades free to existing users up till now? What changed?
  • updates, not necessarily upgrades. If a developer re-writes their app completely and basically makes it a new, more kick-asser version, why would they necessarily want to just give it away? Negates all their hard work, surely? If you don't want to pay again, you don't have to. But you keep the old version of software, just the same as you're still on Lion if you didn't want to pay for Mountain Lion
  • According to Allyson, it's an update, not an upgrade. She wrote: " For existing users of Agenda Calendar for iPhone, Agenda Calendar 4 will be a great UPDATE and solve some of the TINY frustrations with the interface."
    So it's an update, why are they charging this time?
  • It IS an update to an existing app. As was tweetie 2 over tweetie. When developers do work, they want to get paid for it. This update was significant and savvy apps is well within their rights to charge for it as a new app. Sent from the iMore App
  • "This update was significant..." And what if it wasn't? How do you define/determine significant?
  • @Richard You bring up OS versions, why do we not have to pay for IOS versions?
  • Up untill a few generations ago iPods had to pay for OS upgrade...not for point updates. Now apple does not charge...coz they can afford it.
    I'd gladly lay a little extra for something i really love and use... There are a dime a dozen review online - watch read and if u need to - buy. If not the old version works good just the same....
  • I'm skipping fancy coffee today and getting the update :-) Great calendar.
  • Rene Ritchie wrote: "They have to feed their families, and if they can't make money, they'll stop making apps." Do you know how much money the Agenda Dev's are making? If not, how can you make this argument? How do you know they're not being greedy/making lots of money already?
  • Can you duplicate events easily as in Fantastical?
  • Although the added features are nice. It looks like they removed the themes option in version 4, which was an important feature for accessibility that I can't find in version 4.
  • I have bought a lot of apps over the years, this is the first time I can recall that I had to pay for an upgrade!
  • You must not purchase that many. I can name several off my head that have released new and better versions and charged for them. Do you get paid for performing the same task at work every day? If you didn't, would you stop working? You sure would. Sent from the iMore App
  • "I can name several off my head" Yet you didn't???
  • "Do you get paid for performing the same task at work every day?...."
    If you got paid for 10 years work up front, would you go back and ask for more after a couple years?(think athletes)
  • Rene Ritchie wrote: "And at $1.99 - less than a fancy coffee - it makes me kinda sad that people even think about this as "paying again". For a calendar app I use every day, I can't believe how stupidly cheap it is." Here we go with the "cheap" argument, I've spent hundreds on apps, I don't want it to turn into thousands.
  • I don't have any iOS device, but I like to be informed. Damn charging for updates? That is f*cking ridiculous only thing that is more ridiculous is the editors believe is fine to do that.
  • Do you pay for a new version of Windows when Microsoft rewrites it, ie XP -> 7 -> 8? (YES) Do you pay for an update/service pack when Microsoft releases one? (NO) This is no different. Get over it people. You're not entitled to the developers complete rewritten hard work just because you bought a previous version 2-3 years ago. Stop acting like you are owed it. You're not. Don't buy it if you don't want to pay for the upgrade. Your loss. Stop whining.
  • Did you pay for IOS 2,3,4,5,6?
  • That was Apple's choice. They knew if they did charge for it, a large number of people wouldn't likely spend the oney, and then they couldn't make the claim that 80+% (or whatever number it is) is running the latest version of thier operating system. Apple did it for marketing purposes. In this case, its the developers choice. If you bought the previous version of the app, and you paid your money, and its working fine for you, didn't you already get your money's worth? You were fine spending that money for the only version of that app that was available. Why do you expect more now for free? It's not like when you bought it, you bought with the explicit understanding that you buying features A-F now, and when the developer rewrites it in a year, you were also going to get features G-M. You bought it for A-F. That's it.
  • "Why do you expect more now for free? It's not like when you bought it, you bought with the explicit understanding that you buying features A-F now, and when the developer rewrites it in a year, you were also going to get features G-M. You bought it for A-F. That's it." That's exactly what I expected, since I have never had to pay to upgrade any of my apps. To me, this is a change in how things have been done, and I'm wondering why this is changing now?
  • Let me ask you this: what if you found out that the Dev's made $10 million, for example, off this app from the first 2 years. Now, instead of making maybe another 5-10 million over the next couple of years, they want to try and increase that to 15-20 million by having all the existing users pay again. Would you have a problem with that? Keeping in mind that most Dev's do not charge for upgrades. Lastly, how do we know that this scenario is not accurate?
  • To answer your first question, it should never have been this way to begin. Apple didnt provide any mechanism to allow a developer to differentiate between an update to fix issues bugs and an upgrade to a completely new version. That's why it's changing. To answer your second question, it doesn't matter how much they are making or how much they want to make. What matters is I paid for a version, and if the dev chooses to charge again for a complete rewrite, then I get to decide if the new features are worth it and pay again, or whether the existing is sufficient for my needs, and I don't purchase the new version. Now, I have two questions for you, if you don't mind. 1. Lets say you purchased the original version at the $1.99 price, and lets assume the dev fixed all known bugs with free updates, but never did a rewrite and never released an upgrade. So, you have a perfectly good working app that met your needs when you bought it. You said you felt that you were entitled to the rewrite when you paid your original $1.99. Are you now going to email the dev, and say, "Hey, where the heck is my free rewrite? I bought it expecting you to fix all the bugs in your current version (which you did), but I also expected you to rewrite it over and over again in the future, and add new features that were never in consideration in the version I purchased, and I expect it for free, despite how much time and effort you put into the new features I never was paying for!" Are you going to do that? Are you going to email every developer of every app you've ever bought that hasn't rewritten thier app and ask them where your free rewrites are? 2. Apple release a new iPhone every year. It's the "same device" (still an iPhone), just has new features (both software and hardware). Are you going to go to apple and demand they give you the latest version for free? Who cares if they put time and resources into developing the new version. Aren't you entitled to the new one for free according to your philosophy? Why is ok to pay for a new iPhone that is rebuilt from the ground up, but not an application that is rebuilt from the ground up, which the dev puts time and resources into? Apple fixes its bugs in the current version (usually), and so does the dev in the current version of his app. Haven't they already provided you everything you were promised when you purchased it originally?
  • To answer your first question, no, I wouldn't be asking the Dev for a rewrite, and your second point is a ridiculous analogy. You have summed up your position when you say "it should never have been this way to begin with". My position is that the status quo seemed to be working fine to me and don't know why it has to change. The Dev wants more money than what he was making, some may see that as a cash grab or greed. When prices go up, at some point, people will protest. Even you will balk at some point if you dont agree with changes in the pricing, I, along with others, are at that point now. Like I said, the status quo seemed to be working fine. By the way, there is a reason why 90% of apps are free, I suspect it won't be long before even this developer sees the financial sense in using ads for revenue.
  • The sense of "entitlement" of some is nauseating. I have designed and developed software for a living and can tell you the work that goes into good apps (design, coding, testing, etc), can be tremendous efforts, especially for small shops. Hundreds, maybe thousands of hours can be put into a particular apps SDLC and thus devs should be compensated for this time and effort. The App Store lack of support for paid updates has facilitated this model of charging for version updates, as opposed to the free "dot" releases. As mentioned before, if a given app is re-written, re-designed, whatever, it's a major effort and the dev has every right to charge again for it. If you value the app and what it does for you then paying an extra 1,2,3 bucks should be a no-brainer. I have re-upped for Instacast, 1Password, etc and will continue to support any app developer that creates quality software that makes my iPhone experience more enjoyable, productive, etc. I suggest if you want devs to continue creating the best apps on any mobile platform, you should support them as well.
  • "I have re-upped for Instacast"
    I have never had to re-up for Pocket Casts, how do they do it?
  • Perhaps they should. We have had Shifty Jelly on our podcast, and he told us that he chose to do v4 for Android first because it made financial sense to focus on the Android marketplace that had less so called "competition".
  • So you expect to pay once, get anything/everything else after that for free? Damn, sounds like a deal! Seriously though, developers are mostly to blame for this for training customers to expect free updates/upgrades/whatever. Its too bad. They should have just stuck with producing new versions which people would have to pay for.
  • No one is forcing you to buy the update. If you REALLY are that furious about it, vote with your wallet and stop supporting the developer, plain and simple. Endless b*tching about it without any action behind it is going to get you nowhere, and make you look like an a**. For what it's worth, I'm fine with this. People are *way* too sensitive about this sort of thing. This isn't about the developer "screwing their existing customers". This is about said customers feeling entitled. I can guarantee you that at least half of the people complaining about it now would have a very different opinion if they had an app that they were regularly supporting and developing in the App Store. It's a lot of hard work, and people take that hard work for granted.
  • "This isn't about the developer "screwing their existing customers"
    You have access to the Dev's financials? How do you know how much money they're making, and thereby maybe they are being fairly compensated already? Why don't you share that info?
  • Do you? Works both ways. Regardless, time is money, effort is money. Pay or don't pay, It's up to you.
  • All the whining about paying a few bucks for significant changes to an app are getting tiresome. There's never a shortage of the angry, cheap types, I guess. Dear Developers, please don't get discouraged by the whiners--they're just a vocal minority. Thank you for all your hard work and making cool apps!
  • There's never a shortage of suckers either, one born every minute they say! Dear Dev's, there's a reason why 90% of apps are free, when are you going to see the light and start using the ad based model?
  • I think you need to move to Android.
  • Looks like one app I have found called MySistant, works very well and it's free! http://mysistant.com/public/?_lang=en