About two years ago, I picked up a copy of Calendar Plus by Qbix, Inc. It’s a nifty little menu bar application that does one thing, but does it, both literally and figuratively, beautifully. Qbix recently updated it to version 1.9, and I want to tell you why you should spend the money on it. Click on through for my full review.But first, in the interest of full disclosure, Qbix, Inc. granted me code to download the App Store version to review. All thoughts in this review are my own, uninfluenced by anything other than my own experience. Let me start by telling you about the interaction that got me the review copy of the application.
As I said, I had first picked up a copy of Calendar Plus about two years ago. When I read the Facebook post announcing the update, I tried to update my version (1.5.1) from the in-app function, which did not work. I contacted support, and we tried to figure it out. When we couldn’t, and it was obvious that my previous version was pretty much obsolete (it was a direct download, rather than through the App Store), the person on the other side of the Support ID offered to give me a review copy in exchange for a review. Talk about great customer service! I had an unusual and apparently unsolvable problem, but the support person was able to bring me to a completely satisfactory solution. I work in retail, and customer service is a large part of my job, so I always appreciate a willingness to go above and beyond in order to solve a customer issue.
Anyway, to my review. I like having a lot of information on my computer screen, as well as having certain utilities quick to hand. My menu bar is loaded, just take a look!
I also started to use an app to manage my menu bar icons (Bartender) once I got more than 10 up there. I like my information to be at hand.
On to my review of Calendar Plus proper. Once installed and set up, it just sits in the menu bar, patiently and politely, for when I want to look at my calendar information, which I do at least several times a day. Calendar Plus can, if set to, display current and future weather forecasts. I’m not sure if Calendar Plus can interface with Outlook directly, since I don’t use it, but it can read the native Mac iCal application calendars, including Exchange calendars associated with the iCal installation.
Additionally, Calendar Plus has a number of visual options, including many attractive, preinstalled background image options and calendar display themes. It comes loaded with five images per month, which you can choose from, or you can select your own image from your computer to use as the calendar background. Alternatively, you can choose to have a solid color background, if that is more your style.
For a snazzy animated picture set of what Calendar Plus can look like, check out the Qbix website. My screenshot, below, is not nearly as fancy, but it shows you what I see this month. It should be noted that you can also have a compact, current and next week display if you want to conserve on screen real estate.
The little colored dots below the date is an indicator for the particular calendar that has activities for that day. I have six different calendars selected from my iCal, including Reminders (!), and there is an option to include your Facebook Events or the events of Facebook friends, as well. You can also connect Calendar Plus to Google Calendar, but I don’t use it, so I haven’t configured that. If you want to see the full details of a calendar event, single click it and iCal will open and display that appointment.
All in all, I give Calendar Plus a solid 5/5. It does what it does with great finesse and beauty, and does not make itself into any sort of annoyance or inconvenience. It plays well with others and is very well behaved. If you’re like me and like to have easy access to your calendar, definitely spend the $10 and pick up a copy of Calendar Plus for yourself.