Sooner Gets Todos Sorted Sooner (And Smarter) [Review]

Not the todo list you expected.

Not the todo list you expected.

New interface ideas are few and far between on the App Store these days, but productivity app Sooner is crammed full of them. It’s also elegant and speedy and rather fun to use.

Sooner is a storage space for todo lists and reminders. What’s different is the way it displays everything, on a selection of colored wheels on screen. The wheels are not immediately obvious – it does take a few minutes of playing around before you really get the hang of it. Once I’d done that, though, I found it much easier to use than I initially expected.

You’ll notice a large “+” button in the center of each circle. Tap and drag this to create a new item on your todo list(s) or a new event in your calendar. As you drag, you add other metadata to your item simply by aiming at the appropriate part of the screen.

For example: in todo mode, as you drag towards a particular list, you assign that item to that list. Drag it a bit further than you might otherwise have done, and it automatically becomes an “urgent” item. In calendar mode, dragging towards a timeslot sets the time.

Compare this to most todo and reminder apps, and you realize how much of a time-saver it becomes. Most events require multiple taps to set a start time and a stop time, but Sooner lets you do both simply by dragging carefully to the right part of the screen. Most events require more taps to declare an item “urgent,” but Sooner lets you do that simply by dragging a centimetre further in one direction.

Auto scheduling helps use up free time.

Auto scheduling helps use up free time.

Another clever thing: the automatic daily schedule mode, activated by tapping the friendly robot face button, grabs what it thinks are urgent tasks from yoou todo list and slips them into empty slots on your calendar. Think you have no time to get everything done? Sooner can find time for you.

It’s more than visual fluff: it’s innovation. Sooner goes out of its way to save you time and make your life easier. Unlike many of its rival apps, it achieves this goal with aplomb.

Overall it feels swift and efficient. A switch in the settings connects Sooner to your existing calendar database, which means your existing events will be imported, and all new ones you create inside Sooner will be synced to the default Calendar app too.

Even the Help is helpful.

Even the Help is helpful.

Does it have any drawbacks? One or two. Browsing the calendar becomes fiddly if you’re looking more than a week or so ahead, but for most people, most of the time, that won’t be a big deal. There’s no iPad optimization. Nor is there support for syncing between devices via iCloud.

But if your todos already live on your phone – and solely on your phone – Sooner is an excellent option. The striking looks aren’t there just for cosmetics. It’s been designed to help you and save you time. Three dollars well spent.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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