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Review: ReQall for iPhone, type or dictate to this free reminder service

Jaib reviews ReQall

Like Google Calendar or Google Tasks, ReQall is smart enough to parse your information and act on keywords. If I were to write “Contact He-Man, Master of the Universe, tomorrow at 12 PM” inside of Things I’d just create a task of the same name with no due date. However, if I type or say the same absurd task into ReQall on my iPhone it will still make a task of the same name, but with the appropriate due date and time already filled in — and that’s not even the coolest part. All of the things that I can type into ReQall can be dictated to the service as well, and in turn, ReQall will transcribe my voice to text and add an event or task as I described.

Q is for Quality
It couldn’t be easier to add an event, task, or note to your ReQall account. There’s a giant honking button at the top of the screen at all times, and tapping on it will let you add something by voice or text. The voice-to-text feature takes about 15 minutes post-recording to sync and find its way back to your iPhone, but the text input is pretty much instantaneous.
ReQall is actually even smarter than I initially realized. Dates and times are a cool trick, but the service also lets you transcribe notes, turn items into grocery lists, or share items with other people just by using certain keywords: add “Buy” anywhere in an item and it will end up as a shopping list, or start  an item with the word “Note” and it ends up in the Notes section. Beautiful.
Another cool feature in ReQall is how it claims to take care of the reminding for you. The app has basic views for events and tasks (today, tomrrow, etc.), but it seems that the main philosophy of ReQall is to trust the service: you enter tasks once, add a due date, and let ReQall act as your reminder. Not only will it alert you to pending tasks, but it can apparently even guess at what you might have forgotten (Pro account only). You can receive free reminders by push notification and email, and even by text message if you invest in a Pro account. The service is even thoughtful enough to send you a daily task list at any time you specify, if you’re into that kind of thing 😉

There’s no question about it: ReQall is an impressive and fully functional free service. The Pro version adds even more cool stuff, like Google Calendar syncing (yes, you can theoretically manage tasks and events from ReQall), location-aware reminders, and Evernote integration. However, after a few nights of playing with ReQall,  I realized it just wasn’t right for me.

Q is for Quirky
Here’s one gigantic feature that ReQall is missing: categories. I can’t use a tasks system that doesn’t support categories — that’s like taking the “Bento” out of a Bento Box set. I don’t want to eat from a “Box”, I want my food separators!
I thought I could get by if I added extra details as headers for tasks. A review of Minigore, for example, would say “JAIB review Minigore”. But I soon found that my task list resembled some sort of shouting match, with a huge column of capitalized letters vying for my attention. The system screamed for some sort of filter set or Evernote’s Saved Searches. Unfortunately, all the iPhone app will let me do is use the search bar, and that just doesn’t cut it for my uses.
I also found it rather strange that ReQall’s view of a task list is split up into tasks or shopping lists. I mean, I love getting new toys and buying chips from the supermarket as much as the next guy, but I also like to separate my personal, work, and hobby-related lists separate.

Q is for Qloud Qomputing (uhh)
The other main reason I’m ultimately staying away from ReQall is the fact that it’s more cloud computing. I left other solutions like Toodledo and Remember the Milk because they didn’t have any desktop clients, and I used Things because it was able to handle Ad-Hoc wi-fi syncing very quickly.
I’m not completely out of the cloud (I use Evernote and Google Sync), but this syncing is almost instantaneous. ReQall’s 15-minute wait time got to me after a while — especially since I’d be anxious to know if it recorded my entry properly or not.

Conclusion (I could tell you were getting pissed off with the Q jokes)
I think ReQall is a solid, free service, but it just doesn’t have the depth that I’m used to having in a task manager. It’s also capable event (calendar) manager, but I’d need to pay for a Pro account and sync with Google Calendar, and I’m not looking to add any extra monthly bills right now.
I’m no hardcore GTD acolyte, but I’m apparently a little more hardcore than ReQall is. It lacks the filter flexibility and categories that I’m so accustomed to working with, and syncing is still a little too slow for my liking, so I’ll be sticking with the 2Do iPhone app and its iCal syncing for now.

The ReQall app and basic service are free (iTunes link), and the Pro service costs $2.99/month or $24.99/year.

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  • What's the best solution in your opinion? Things iphone + Things mac, Google Task + Calendar, etc..
    I'm actually using Things (both), but I'open to new solutions.

    • I'm using the 2Do app (different from ToDo) to sync with iCal on my Mac.

      I used ot use Things on iPhone and Mac, but it just required a few too many taps to make a task the way I wanted to. 2Do is much simpler and more stream-lined, and even though iCal isn't as good as Things desktop for task management, I'm giving it a go.

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