Calendar Review

There are a lot of Apps for the PlayStation Vita, and a lot of them are useful, outside of just PlayStation-branded apps.  You have apps like Email to manage your email accounts, LiveTweet to handle your Twitter, or Netflix to handle your movie-streaming needs.  However, there are many integral applications for devices like this, using a Touch Screen and Multi-Device interface, and the Vita doesn’t have much of some of them.

Two big ones I think of are Notepad and Calendar.  Note-taking apps are essential for Mobile when you want to take some quick notes.  The PlayStation Vita does have access to this kind of app, but it is not native.  There are a few notepad applications through PlayStation Mobile, and none of them are really up to snuff.  They’re decent, but nowhere near great.  The Calendar, however, has had some development.  In the last set of software updates for the system, it got a dedicated Calendar app.

Calendars are important because you can set up notifications, events, and more.  You can keep track of things like when it’s time to come back from Break at work, or even what days that we have set for certain reviews.  It’s quite an interesting and useful feature.  So how does the PlayStation Vita’s Calendar App stack up?  Let’s find out.  Here is our official review of the Calendar app for the PlayStation Vita.

Functionality

The biggest thing you want to look for in a Calendar App is that it can do everything you need to do.  You need to be able to make multiple events per day, make Notifications for those events, be able to view in different perspectives within the app to better manage what needs to be done, and more.  The Calendar app for the PlayStation Vita definitely does a lot of what is needed, and does it well.

When you first boot up the app, you will be able to sync the Calendar with Google Calendars.  That is a very handy feature, to be able to load your Google Calendars straight into the PS Vita App.  You don’t have to do that, though.  You can create your own Local Calendar for use on the PS Vita if you don’t use Google Calendars.

When you go to set an event, you can go into any day and create one.  When you make an event, you’ll be able to set up a date and time for when it begins and ends, whether it happen all day or only a single hour.  You will also be able to designate which Calendar you want to event to appear on as well as associating the event with a specific PSN Friend or Application on the PS Vita.  This Application refers to any App or Game you have on the system, from games like Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster to Hulu Plus.

Notifications can be set in a variety of ways to give you a little notification and beeping alarm noise at a specific time related to the time the event starts, whether it be right when it starts, 5 minutes before, 20 minutes before, or even 24 hours before.  This won’t be noticeable if you have the volume on mute, though, as it doesn’t automatically turn the volume up when the notification goes off.  The notification also appears like a normal notification, like a Friend logging onto PSN or when you receive a Message.

You can also set up several events for the same day.  I, for example, went into yesterday’s date, and set up ten different events to see if I could find the limit for it.  As far as I can tell, you can make more than ten events per day, though I wouldn’t see why you’d need more than ten in a single day.

Once you have an Event set up, there are various other things you can do with it as well.  If you go back into the event, you can Add it to your Favorites, or you can send it to someone else.  Sending it can be done in three ways.  You can send it through the Messages App, the Email App, or you can Share it on Twitter.  We are planning to utilize this Share on Twitter feature in the future to give everyone heads-ups for future reviews.

Other features of the app include formatting Calendars and changing the colors of Calendars, but that is the app in a nutshell.  There is a lot it can do.

Interface

The Interface of this app is pretty simple and you will not need to actually scroll down through the screen to be able to see the complete Calendar.  This is a very useful part of the Interface to make it a lot more user-friendly than some of the other apps on the Vita that do not offer a simple interface like that.

You can scroll or tap your way through each day of the calendar pretty easily, and the interface gives you a bit of a helping hand when setting up an event.  If you tap on a day, it will let you know what you need to do to open up a new event, so settings things up isn’t hard.

On the main screen with the Calendar on it, there are buttons there are Left and Right buttons next to the Month Name, which allows you to switch between the current month you’re viewing.  On the right-hand side, there are four buttons you can press.  One is a Universal “Back” button, which takes you back one screen from wherever you are.  The next is an Add button, which lets you add a New Event to whatever day you currently have selected.

The third button allows you to change your view, between Day, Week, Month, and Event.  Event View is pretty unique in that it displays every event you have set up, in chronological order, allowing you quick access to those, instead of cycling through your months to find a specific event.  The final button lets you Manage Calendars or go into Settings, where you can add new Calendars or Format Calendars.

Adding an event brings up a pretty simple form where you can add a Title, Times, Place, Notifications, How many times it Repeats, Applications, PSN Friends, or what Calendar it is to appear on.  You do have to scroll down a bit to see all of these options, but they are displayed clearly, and selected any one of these either brings up a Keyboard or a list of options to choose from.

Once you have an Event made, the menu on that event is also pretty simple.  You have an Arrow button to go to the next event, and then the other button that brings up the option to Edit, Delete, Add to Favorites, Message, Email, or Share on Twitter.  It sounds like there’s a lot here, but it’s really simple to navigate through.

All in all, the Interface and Design are pretty simplistic and user-friendly, at least once you see what all it can do.

Performance

When you first boot up this app, there is one thing about how it performs that is a breath of fresh air.  The Calendar app, like some other apps, runs in the background.  This means that you don’t have to close out of the game you’re playing to be able to use it.  You can go straight into the app, set up an event, and then jump right back into your game.  That’s a great feature that not too many PS Vita apps have integrated into them.

Another really nice thing about this app is that it has an incredibly fast startup-time.  When you open the bubble, you will have access to your Calendar in a mere three seconds.  That’s the same amount of time it takes for the Calendar App to load on my iPhone, which is saying something.  Each Load Time for anything within the Calendar app is faster than that, not taking more than a moment to load something.  This was integrated very well.

Controlling the Calendar App can be done either with the buttons or the touch screen.  You can tap on anything and it will open, savor creating a new event.  That is done by holding down a day with your finger and then it will open that screen.  If you use it like this, it works much like a Mobile Calendar app would.  With the button interface, everything is very similar, with the inclusion that you have to hold down the X Button to open up the New Event box.

As smooth and well as everything runs, there is one thing that has hit a hiccup with the app.  When you include a PSN Friend in an Invite, regarding a game, it only appears as a notification for them.  However, when it appears for you, it is a notification you can tap and it will take you right into that game, whether it is currently open or not.  It would be really nice if they made it so they could do the same though that may have to do with the fact that some people have retail and some have digital of the same game.  Regardless, it is one downer to it.

Overall

All in all, the Calendar app for the PS Vita is a really well-done app for anyone who wants to sync Google Calendars or just manage events on a Calendar on the PS Vita.  Whether you want to schedule games with friends or just know when you have to leave for work, Calendar runs very well and, savor one or two hiccups that need to be patched in a future update, it’s a very solid app that has a lot to do and does it well.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates the Calendar App an 8.5/10

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