May 1st in Free software by .

Calwidget Review: a free Android calendar widget

Lots of calendar widgets are appearing on the Android Marketplace, Calwidget is one that we chose to review today, so find out how it did by reading our first Android widget review…

Widgets for Google’s Android OS allow you to run small ‘apps’ on any of the three desktop screens. This is really useful for app’s that provide you instant snippets of information without having to launch any app’s when using your phone.

For a few days now we’ve been on the hunt for a good calendar widget for Android. Our basic requirements weren’t complicated or advanced; simply to provide a good sized summary of the up-coming appointments in our calendar including the date, time and title. So we set off on our hunt for a free calendar widget on Android that ticked all the boxes.

Firstly, there are quite a few out there, and many of them, were pretty useless or awful I have to say. We did however find Calwidget which so far, has been pretty good running on our Sony Ericsson Xperia x10 phone.

Calwidget screenshot, google android widget

Click for larger image

Calwidget comes in several sizes, allowing you to choose how much desktop space it uses up, such as 2×2, 2×3,2×4,3×3 etc… We found that 4×2 works pretty well as it offers the full width of the screen for longer titles to fit in without being cropped aswell as a decent few listings of the upcoming appointments in your calendar. But, it obviously takes up half the screen, so some people who have other widgets or lots of shortcuts to their apps, won’t be able to squeeze 4×2 on their desktop, and as such, the option to choose your own size is great.

Calwidget offers a nice and tidy layout too. The appointments, times, and dates are very easy to read and feel uncluttered. So if you’re just having a glance at what’s coming up in your calendar, it’s perfect and can easily be read from a distance. Rather than attempt to be a calendar style (which wastes a lot of space showing days that you perhaps have nothing scheduled for), Calwidget offers a basic list of your upcoming appointments. Really cool!

Calwidget automatically removes appointments from the list once their time has passed, so you can be sure the top item in the listing is always your next appointment – as opposed to previous ones which some calendar widgets rather annoyingly failed to achieve.

There are several configurable options within Calwidget which we always like here at Today’s Top Tech. If you have multiple calendars (eg. a work calendar, a social calendar, a birthdays calendar etc), then you can choose which of these to display on your Calwidget widget screen. The layout option allows you to choose from various settings such as how to display and deal with allday events, to display locations of events, indentations of titles and so on. You can also configure the colours that are used for your widget, and set the date formats. Another nice configurable option is what to do upon touching the widget. You can set the widget to either display a menu upon being touched, which then gives you the options to “Refresh the widget display, Open the main Calendar app, or go to the configurable options page for the widget. Alternatively you can set the widget to simply open the main Calendar app upon being touched. This is a nice feature, and to be honest we haven’t decided which one is best yet, so it’s nice to have the choice.

What we change/add to the widget

There are a couple of things we would change about Calwidget to make give it a higher review score…

1. Design / styling – I can see that the developers have favoured ‘readability’ or clarity of text over style, which is a good thing, but, I would’ve liked my shiny new cool Android phone to look a little cooler on the homescreen by a sexier looking calendar widget.

2. Pop up detail if individual appointments are touched – to make the functionality of the calendar even better, it would’ve been nice to have been able to touch a specific calendar appointment on the widget, which then pops up a quick detailed display of that item, without having to load the full Android Calendar app.

Even without the above two improvements, we still like Calwidget, and would happily recommend it to those looking for a decent and stable, configurable calendar widget on their Android device. (Note: There’s a warning on the description of this app, about a bug on the current release of Calwidget v0.2.42 running on Sprint Hero devices. You might want to check this out if you’re a Sprint Hero user before installing Calwidget).

Today’s Top Tech Review Our overall rating:   3/5

What we liked…

  • Shows upcoming appointments as a list
  • Allows multiple choice of display size
  • Stable, auto-refreshes
  • Clear and easy to read
  • It’s free! We like Free software
What we weren’t so keen on…
  • Doesn’t look very stylish
  • Would’ve liked to see option for detailed pop-ups when specific appointments are touched
  • Appears to be a known bug on Spring Hero in current version

Vital info

Software: Calwidget
Supplier: egg ‘n stone
Price: Free

Do you know a better one?

If you’ve come across a better Calendar widget, feel free to comment below. Please note, clear evidence of spam or self-promoting ad’s will be spotted by our techy team of detectives and removed! ;-P

Self-confessed tech and gadget geek. Love all kinds of tech, but especially that which helps me work more effectively, and looks / feels good to use.

VIsit Jon Smith's website

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