[Review] Things

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Reaktor5, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Reaktor5 macrumors 6502a

    Reaktor5

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    #1
    As a (procrastinating) college student, I'm always in search of an app to make me more organized. Sure there are dozens of To-Do lists on the App Store, but which is the best? I stumbled upon 'Things' and quickly found it to be exactly what I needed/wanted. It's a well designed (there's a reason it won Best of Show at Macworld) and simple, task manager. Think of it as a regular To-Do list on steroids. Many other similar apps are cluttered and not-so user friendly. 'Things' seems to excel where these apps fail. Now, I know some of you won't pay $9.99 for a To-Do list, but if you think you'll use it everyday like me, it's well worth the price.

    What I consider the two killer features of this app are the desktop counterpart ($49.95) and the tagging system. The desktop app allows you to sync over the air everything you need to get done. It's very easy to set up and everything is kept up to date both on the desktop and on your iPhone. Changes are kept up to date regardless of the platform. Tags are incredibly useful. Say you have multiple classes or areas in your life that you often have tasks to complete, 'Things' make it able to classify these so you can see what you need to do in those areas.

    Every task can be put in certain categories. (Read more about those here: Managing Your Levels of Commitment - Things Wiki) I find these convenient because you can see what has to be done today, what can wait awhile, and what is scheduled. Moving items between different categories is simple to do and makes things easier than deleting and making a new task. You can turn the badge icon on too, so every task you need to complete today shows up on the home screen which is helpful at a glance. Every task can also be assigned a tag, notes, and due date. The notes useful for information I'll forget if I don't write it down.

    'Things' is invaluable to people who put things off or anyone that just wants to be a little more organized. Cultured Code seems to be listening to its users and already has put out a few updates in its relatively short life. It's nice to see developers eager to release new features and so involved with the user base. I recommend everyone at least check out their website if you're interested. The screencast they have posted might answer some questions I didn't.

    Screenshot of the desktop client.
     

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  2. Khryz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    #2
    Nice review. I was considering this but then I started seeing a lot of people recommending Appigo's ToDo over this, both same price.
     
  3. gospel9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #3
    Unfortunately the Things UI is really lacking for me. The whole time while trying to use Things I was drilling down items all over the place... After having used it for a month, I have found a lot of the functionality or user interface to be a cumbersome to work with.

    In my system, I tend to tag most of the stuff I put down. Why is it that every single time I am entering a new task, I have to press "detailed" in order to edit things like simply assigning a tag? If it's really smart, it should let me pick and choose the tags I want right off from the same screen, or at least show the tags that I use most often where I can easily pick (I have about 3 tags that I use very often).

    While it does offer a tagging system, in order to show all tasks grouped by some tag is not there in the system. You can select a single tag filter (YES, only ONE tag can be selected) in a particular section (in your Next list, or Someday list) but not in all sections.

    Tags become especially important when Things dosen't support "Contexts". So ideally you would have to manually tag your tasks as @home, @work, @grocery, etc tags. A better and more intuitive and searchable tag manager is needed ... The only way to access the "manage tags" is via drilling down a task that has a tag on it... Not very intuitive at all. Imagine the scenario when the user wants to rename a tag... You would have to drill down to a task (possibly 2 or 3 drills), drill more by pressing the Edit, drill more by pressing on the tags, and then you can select Manage Tags (followed by a new view pushed upwards), and then here you have to press Edit (drill more), and then finally tapping on the tag you want to be renamed, and hitting Save buttons all the way un-drilling back to the top. Not to mention how the app tends to crash every once in a while editing tags... It is still rather buggy.

    Another thing that Things don't offer sub-lists or sub-tasks, there's no divide-conquer in the app whatsoever. It does however offer a "Projects" lists, which in a way gives the user the ability to add a ONE-level hierarchy to the NEXT items (for some reason, all project tasks must be under the Next-inbox, you can't have it under Someday or whatever). This is a big no-no for anyone who happens to have a lot of projects and a lot of sub-tasks in their projects... because you would have a gigantic Next-inbox and there is no way around it unless you stop using the Projects function of the app.

    What's more... There's no reference-inbox in Things (unlike most GTD systems). And no Search (another big deal). I am not trying to complain over the features (I am well aware that other similar apps out there aren't great either). But at 9.99, you would be expecting more.

    It looks like new task management apps (Daylite Touch and The Hit List) will be coming up so I will wait for a bit longer before I change my system...
     
  4. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    Have you tried Omnifocus?
     
  5. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    I've just started using Toodledo. It looks quite a bit like the screen shots of Things. The cost is only $3.99 and so far it seems to have all the functionality of some of the more expensive task managers.

    I'm using Toodledo in conjunction with their web interface. This allows me to add my tasks at both work and home on a full size keyboard. When I open Toodledo on my Iphone it syncs and updates from the web.

    I'm hoping the Toodledo product will continue to be enhanced, although at this point it seems solid and has the functionality I need.
     
  6. Warbrain macrumors 603

    Warbrain

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #6
    That's what I'm doing - it's great. And they have a Dashboard widget and a Firefox extension..amazing!
     
  7. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #7
    I didn't know there is a widget, I'll check it out...thanks!

    Update...just checked out the widget. Sadly it doesn't work with the newest version of Firefox.
     
  8. Warbrain macrumors 603

    Warbrain

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #8
    Are you running a Firefox beta? There's a simple fix for that...
     
  9. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    What is the fix?
     
  10. Warbrain macrumors 603

    Warbrain

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    Go into about:config, search for user agent and change it to 3.0.5 instead of 3.1b14 or whatever.
     
  11. beate macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #11
    I was in love with Things until I hit my "busy time" with multiple, multiple-step projects. Disaster!

    I agree with the poster directly under you who suggested Omnifocus. I was staying away mostly due to reviewers saying it was too complicated. I tried it and find it totally usable. Omnifocus also has repeating task functions which Things currently does not in Project or Area sections. My projects all repeat - some only yearly but still...

    I still use both as I love the look of Things and can't give it up yet but for serious work, it doesn't...well...work.
     
  12. gospel9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #12
    No.... But thank you for the suggestion.

    The biggest thing that stopped me from getting OmniFocus was that I heard people saying it has a long, noticable start up delay. Perhaps it's because it's trying to look up location contexts? (one feature that I would turn off if I have the chance, why would I want to know how far away a grocery store is anyway... and assuming it looks up via the google database, it would totally not work for me).

    I am looking forward to TheHitList and DayLite ... I guess I'll stick with Things for a little longer until then.
     
  13. Mary1970 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    #13
    thanks for the great review.
    I also prefer Omnifocus.
     
  14. LostLogik macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #14
    Interesting review. I actually switched from Omnifocus to Things because (a) OF took too long to start up and (b) I liked Things' simple interface. I have however since returned to OF because an update has gone a long way to sorting out the startup time and (b) I'm finding the functions within it are actually very useful and Things too simple. Go figure :)
     
  15. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #15
    You don't have to use the location features. I just suggested Omnifocus because it has the features you said that Things didn't have like sub-tasks. You can check out the Omnifocus website, they have a pretty good video there showing how the app works.
     
  16. tokyoblue macrumors newbie

    tokyoblue

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #16
    I bought Things and have been using the beta since August, and I think I'm going to abandon it given the price tag of the desktop version. I can't justify $50 on software in this economy. At under $20 I might consider it, but even then I'd really have to think about it.

    To me, the combination of a day planner and Google calendar (+ iCal) does the trick for a lot less.

    After having the iPhone for five months or so, I can honestly say I regret almost every single software purchase. Thank God I'm over that phase...sorry developers.
     
  17. TraceyS/FL macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    North Central Florida
    #17
    I don't own either unit yet (and won't ever have an iPhone probably), but i have been reading about the apps out there, and threads like these because after being a CLie/Treo user for the last 8 years or so, i'm VERY particular with my money for apps.

    I thank everyone for all their input on these threads - you are helping me see what will work or not for me when i make the move from my Treo to a Touch.
     
  18. Doju macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #18
    Yes, due to the lack of divide and conquer in Things, I switched to RTM. Haven't looked back.

    Things is far too simple.
     

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