July 23, 2014

UpTo vs. Sunrise vs. Today Calendar: Which new Android calendar is the best?

android_calendar

Smartphones do so much for us. They offer all forms of media, keep us connected, and keep most of us productive. So what good is a smartphone without a great calendar application?

Just in the past few weeks, Android users have seen a slew of new calendar apps arrive on their favorite mobile platform. UpTo and Sunrise Calendar were previously iOS exclusives. While UpTo made its way to Android in a full-fledged app, Sunrise is still stuck in Beta. Today Calendar is the third app we’re going to look at today, offering a great alternative to the stock Google Calendar.

Trying to decide which new app best suits you? Take a look below at are comparison.

Before we begin, we understand that Sunrise is still in Beta, meaning the app isn’t fully ready for all consumers quite yet. However, we feel that it’s good enough to stand up against some new competitors.

Layout

Calendars 1

From left to right: UpTo, Sunrise, Today Calendar

UpTo: The main screen of UpTo shows the current week at the top, while focusing mostly on the agenda view towards the bottom. There are small dot indicators on the week preview that tell you when you have an event scheduled. Small weather icons are shown next to the day in the agenda view, which adds a ton of functionality.

Pull from the left side of the screen to access the settings menu and to check out the different calendars that you follow (more on that later).

Sunrise: Sunrise has mostly the same appearance as UpTo. It shows a two-week view up top with an agenda view at the bottom. There are no dot indicators on the two-week preview yet, but we’re told the developers are going to add it in. Sunrise even gives weather information, as well.

Pull from the right side or press the three vertical lines to enter a detailed “today” mode.

Today Calendar: Today Calendar still offers a similar experience, but it takes its inspiration from the stock Google Calendar. It shows a full month view on the top half of the screen with your events for the day on the bottom.

There are no fancy gestures that come with this one. To switch your view to Day, Week, Month, or Agenda, click the date at the top and select it from there.

Functionality and features

calendar events

From left to right: UpTo, Sunrise, Today Calendar

UpTo: UpTo is by far the most functional out of the lot. It’s main feature is the addition of “layers” to your calendar. The first layer being your personal events: entries that you create that you personally have going on. The second layer is filled with events or groups that you follow. For example, if you follow Chicago Events, you’ll have museum tours, concerts, and more added to your calendar. If you’d like to RSVP, simply pull the event to the left, and select Add. This second layer adds tons of new functionality to your normal calendar app.

You can also connect with friends and see what events they’re attending, whether personal or just ones that they’re following.

Other than layers, UpTo acts just like a normal calendar app. You can sync with Google Calendar, Outlook, or Facebook events, and even click the location of your event to quickly open Google Maps.

Sunrise: While Sunrise doesn’t have multiple layers of events. it still offers an intuitive user experience. Like we said before, swiping from the right is a great way to get a detailed look of your day, while most people will just settle for the agenda view on the bottom. Each day is broken up between morning, afternoon, and night, and an informative weather icon is displayed next to each one.

Sunrise also offers smart event icons that know which events you’re going to. These are really handy and are a really nice touch. It’s compatible with Gmail, Exchange, and iCloud, and can also open Google Maps to navigate to your event in a few steps. There’s also an invitation button towards the top to RSVP and respond to events quickly.

Today Calendar: Today Calendar has the least amount of features out of the rest, but it’s still a great option. Basing most of it’s functionality out of improving the stock calendar app, Today Calendar does a great job at doing all of the stock options better. The addition of a month/agenda hybrid view is enough to get people to switch from the stock app.

Not too many original features are offered with this app, but the things that it can do, it does very well. It has a clean, uncluttered UI that would appeal to minimalists that are looking for a bit more out of their stock calendar.

Widgets

Calendar Widgets 1

From left to right: UpTo, Sunrise, Today Calendar

UpTo: UpTo offers one agenda view widget with a nice black and blue theme. You can choose to include only your events, events from friends, or synced Facebook events. There aren’t any additional customization options when it comes to look or feel of the widget.

Sunrise: Sunrise just recently added a widget to their app in the most recent update. It’s white and orange, sticking to the apps theme. Unfortunately since it’s new, there are a few problems with it. The only way to jump to the app from the widget is to click on an event. Clicking the icon on the top doesn’t do anything, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was update pretty quickly. No other customization options are available with this one.

Today Calendar: Here is where Today Calendar really shines. It offers month and agenda view widgets, and each are highly customizable. There are light and dark themes, background opacity options, and even an option to show a bar rather than a circle as an event indicator. We’re not going to write out all of the customizations for this one, but trust us, you won’t be disappointed with these widgets.

The verdict

So, there’s no clear winner here. Each of these calendars are great at a few things, and others aren’t so great. UpTo has accomplished exactly what it set out to do: change the way we use calendars. They’re right, adding more layers to a calendar app bring a lot to the table. Though it still has a long way to go, Sunrise offers a beautiful, intuitive design that the average user is going to love. Today Calendar offers some of the best widgets we’ve ever seen while improving on its Google Calendar roots.

If you’re interested in downloading UpTo or Today Calendar, head to the Play Store from the links below. Since Sunrise is still in Beta, you’ll need to join the Google+ Community, then go to the Play Store to download it.

Have you tried any of these calendar apps? Which one did you find to be your favorite? We’d love to hear it in the comments!