Android app review: Wunderlist

My years-long hunt for the perfect GTD (getting things done) application has taken me on a complicated and sometimes expensive journey. For a long time, the premium service, Remember the Milk was my go-to solution for chore organization, thanks to its broad cross-platform support and adoption by developers in diverse OS camps. While I find RTM valuable, I always had qualms with how I accessed my tasks on this or that device–with the interface, primarily.

I’ve used one company’s app on my phone with another on my laptop, and have, at times, gone to the trouble of trying to get them to synch up through Google Calendar. My top performers have run the gammut from most basic and lovely programs (Anxiety) to the decidedly complex Android app, Astrid. Along the way, I’ve used some excellent programs (see CloudList) and beautiful web interfaces, but none of them kept me from my continuing search. That is, until now. Check back in one month to see if I’ve changed my tune.

While I won’t go so far as to call my latest favorite task manager perfect, it meets my needs in that sweet spot between overly simple and excessively feature-laden. It’s called Wunderlist. It’s free. And, it’s available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, and OSX. For those sticklers who want total cross-platform support without emulation, you can manage Wunderlists from your GNU/Linux box or other unsupported device via wunderlist.com. The web browser interface is nearly identical to what you’ll find in the applications, so accessing Wunderlist with Chrome in Ubuntu isn’t going to offer any fewer features than can be found with the OSX application. If that just isn’t good enough, fire up Wine and you’re good to go.

Wunderlist running in OS X

The Android flavor of Wunderlist

In all of its incarnations, Wunderlist is a simple, slick-looking, to-do program that allows for cloud synching of multiple lists, scheduling, sharing, searching, printing, and prioritizing items with stars. There is also an unobtrusive “overdue” notification. The interface offers the surprisingly satisfying option of selecting from nine different backgrounds. This is available on all platforms and goes a long way in allowing the user to make the app feel like part of their daily workflow.

The Android layout consists of five tabs: Lists, Today, Overdue, Starred, and More. The more tab just offers a selection of due dates that tasks can be arranged under. The settings for the program are few, which is a good thing in the case of Wunderlist:

Because Wunderlist is such a simple, straight-to-the-point solution, there really isn’t anything else to cover. You enter a task, check it off, and go about your life as your Wunderlist installations, on various platforms, effortlessly stay in synch with one another. There are, however, two features that I find missing from this program. But without a price tag, I’m definitely not complaining. If a premium version is ever released, I would like to see a widget for mobile with equivalents on the desktop, and some integration with host system calendars. It would be tough to implement the latter without cluttering up Wunderlist’s inviting and simple experience, but integration would be a major selling point for a lot of people.

As it is, Wunderlist is a complete solution that’s easy to use, though perhaps lacking a few bells and whistles. For me, a GTD solution is there for just that: getting things done. Wunderlist facilitates that. The ability to change the background delivers enough pizazz for my tastes.

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