In past entries we have already discussed the importance of task managers, which is why there exists a number of them in the App Store ready for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to download. We’ve also reviewed a few of them and even compared one of the most popular free ones (Any.Do) to Apple’s own Reminders.
This time though, how about a comparison that leaves price issues aside and focuses on usability and originality?
For this, the two apps to compare will be Apple’s own Reminders (which comes pre-installed in all iOS devices) and Clear, a $1.99 task manager app that uses an entirely gestural approach.
Ready? Let’s get going.
Interface and Design
For two apps that basically do the same thing, both Clear and Reminders couldn’t be more different from one another. Apple’s Reminders follows the long Apple tradition of using a skeuomorphic design, which means that it tries to resemble real-life objects, something clearly (no pun intended) visible in the presence of leather and paper-like textures all throughout the app.
At the other end of the spectrum, Clear sports an almost flat design composed entirely of just fonts and subtle color variations. Also, instead of relying on checkboxes, buttons and other common gestures among most iOS apps, Clear can be controlled almost entirely using swipes in the four main directions, plus the additional pinching gesture here and there.
Using each of these apps is also as different an experience as their looks suggest. On paper, both apps perform the same basic functions: Creating and managing tasks that you can organize in separate lists. However, in mixing traditional app interface elements with its skeuomorphic design, Reminders makes for a strange blend that sometimes feels over the top, requiring you to swipe many times to access tasks’ details and other import an options that could be easier to find.
However, it makes up for this offering more depth, with options for time and location-based reminders that make it more powerful than Clear.
What Clear lacks in options, it delivers in simplicity and ease of use. The app organizes tasks in lists. Swipe down to go to a higher level (lists) or up to go to the currently active tasks. Swipe tasks to the right to mark them as done or to the left to delete them. Tap on any empty space to create a new task and even change the app’s main theme.
In both cases, these apps have Mac clients that look and feel extremely similar to their iOS counterparts (Clear for Mac is $6.99). They are also able to sync via iCloud, and I haven’t found a single issue with any of them when doing so.
Clear and Reminders are more than capable apps on their own. Personally, I find Clear suits my workflow better merely because of its simple approach to tasks. If I need to be reminded of a task and it needs to have a set time and date, then I’m far better off writing it down on my calendar instead. But if you prefer to keep your tasks separated, want a powerful notification system or price is an issue for you, then Reminders will have you covered.