Fantastical calendar app

Despite their seemingly simple core functionality, calendar apps are an established sector of the app market, each offering a variety of features to set it apart from the competition. Those who need something simple that just shows the current date and a preview of their week have lots of options to pick from, as do users who are looking for something more developed and full of interesting features.

Flexibits is a company with a strong reputation, despite their relatively small product portfolio. Their calendar app Fantastical is probably their strongest asset, with a large user base and a long history of satisfied fans. The company has been hard at work releasing updates to the app and integrating customer feedback as best as they can. Fantastical enjoys the reputation of the calendar app with probably the most responsive developers right now, and rightfully so. 

Pricing

Unfortunately there's no option to purchase Fantastical by itself (Image credit: Flexibits)

Plans and pricing

Fantastical is offered as part of the Flexibits Premium Subscription, which is really just a bundle package of the company’s two apps under one subscription. Unfortunately, there’s no option to purchase Fantastical separately, so you’re stuck with Cardhop even if you’re never going to use it.

Two types of premium subscription are available, one aimed at individual users and the other for families with up to 5 members. Both have a 14-day free trial available. The company has received some criticism for their pricing system after it was recently overhauled, as currently, there’s no way to preview the full annual cost of a subscription, even when purchasing it for a full year. The site only shows the cost per month, requiring the user to do the yearly price calculation themselves.

Many features are only available in the premium version. This includes the ability to add tasks, full-screen displaying of the current day/week/month/year, Apple Watch support, and all collaboration features. Templates are also only available for premium subscribers.

Platforms

Fantastical is available for Mac, iPad, iPhone and even Apple Watch (Image credit: Flexibit)

Features

Fantastical offers a large number of features, and the app’s overall design is suited for power users who want to get the most out of their time management. It does feature some simpler display options, but most of the time the interface will be populated by various buttons and tools.

As we mentioned in the last section, taking advantage of most of those features requires a premium subscription. The free version seems mostly intended as a showcase of the app’s general functionality, but lacks some options that you might be used to having for free in other apps. The inability to create new tasks is perhaps the most obvious one, but as you dig deeper in the app’s interface, you’re going to come across more things that you can’t use without a premium subscription.

Interesting Calendars

Fantastical's Interesting Calendars feature allows you to set up calendars based on your interests so you know when your favorite team is playing or a new episode of a TV show is airing (Image credit: Flexibit)

One of the innovative features offered in Fantastical are its “interesting” calendars. Those are externally synced calendars defined by your interests, updating themselves automatically with potentially relevant information. For example, you can set up a calendar for the schedule of your favorite sport. However, users have often reported that the feature is a bit lacking and doesn’t really offer any actual interesting information most of the time. 

Light and Dark Mode

Light mode, dark mode or a mixture of both (Image credit: Flexibit)

Interface and in use

Fantastical’s interface is easily one of its strongest points. The app is well-known for its fine-tuned approach to presentation and navigation, and it leaves almost nothing to be desired in this regard. Everything is laid out beautifully and logically, there are various customization options to make your calendars truly your own, and you can enjoy a consistent view between desktop and mobile devices.

Creating new events and tweaking them later is as simple as it could be, with lots of options provided for every popular use case. The interface of Fantastical leaves nothing to be desired. The developers pride themselves on the work they’ve put into this, so you should expect nothing short of great performance.

Support

Flexibit's support section contains an FAQ, help book, tutorial videos, tips and more (Image credit: Flexibit)

Support

Customer support is reliable and tends to respond quickly. Premium users are prioritized, as with many other apps. The company has provided lots of help resources in an attempt to preemptively address most issues that users might run into, so it’s worth checking that out before submitting a support request. From our observations, even free users can usually enjoy fast response times and a personalized touch in their communication.

The competition

Fantastical is pretty isolated in terms of competition, mostly because of its dedicated user base. The features offered by the app are relatively unique to it, at least in this combination and with this sleek user interface on top, so that’s another bonus in its favor. However, if you’re looking for something more affordable, or even an app that offers many of Fantastical's features, check out Any.do

Final verdict

The app is great for those who are willing to spend the money on a premium subscription. It can also be a reasonable substitute for other calendar apps with its free version, but there are better options in that part of the market. If you want something with an established market presence and reliable developer support though, look no further – Fantastical should definitely be one of the first things you check.

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