More than a few members of the Georgia-based Mincey clan have a touch of OCD. Yes, I’m afflicted. No, I don’t wash my hands 163 times a day, but I do alphabetize canned goods in the kitchen pantry. Sorry. That’s how it should be done. I’m also a glutton for well designed Mac and iPhone apps.
Here’s a good example of the affliction. Apple’s Mac Calendar is a decent application. It stores to-do items as reminders, sets up various events with alerts, and syncs and plays nice-nice with Calendar on iPhone and iPad. So, why did I fork over hard earned money for the Fantastical app?
Beholder, Meet Beauty
Apple is known as a purveyor of quality applications, but, let’s face it– Calendar is boring, and not much has changed in a decade or so. Enter Fantastical. This is the Calendar app Apple should have designed because it looks better, works better, and plays nice-nice with Fantastical on iOS. Yes, I paid the price and I’m a happier human being because of it.
Here’s the problem. Fantastical doesn’t do anything much that’s different than Calendar. Likewise, a lowly Kia gets you from point A to point B but not in the same style as a Lexus. That’s the difference.
Enter Cardhop for the Mac. Yes, the Mac comes with Contacts and, like Calendar, it works well, syncs well between devices, but like Calendar it is boring as hell. Cardhop is Fantastical for Contacts. Cardhop is developed by the same folks who make Fantastical.
Cardhop is Contacts designed the way we use contacts. Oh, it’s also not boring, but packed with a few goodies to differentiate it from Apple’s Contacts in such a way as to be beneficial and usable, instead of just there and available. But Cardhop still uses the same contacts.
- Natural language input
- Uses Contacts contacts
- Quick-access Menubar app
- Quick action buttons
- Dashboard for upcoming items
- Multiple visual themes
- Add contacts from Mail
- Send email instantly
- Make calls from within Cardhop
- Notes that make sense
None of those bullet points matter much. What sets Fantastical apart from Calendar is visual usability. You want to use Fantastical. Calendar, not so much. Likewise, Cardhop is a contact manager app that uses contacts from the built-in Contacts, but it’s an app designed in a way that you want to use it.
As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you love Calendar and Contacts, as spartan and unattractive as they can be, you’re good to go. But if you want to use applications because they’re designed to be used, both Fantastical and Cardhop are worthy of the try-before-you-buy option.
Already there are plenty of four and five star reviews on the Mac App Store– all for an app that that uses the contacts data already on your Mac. What’s missing? iPhone and iPad version. Contacts is an app that has two lives. Some of us use it daily, others maybe every week or month. But if you use contacts you likely will appreciate how usable Cardhop can be.
While Cardhop is available on the Mac App Store, there is a try-before-you-buy option, too. It’s nicely done and massages that previously mentioned OCD gene.